After our time in Udaipur, we were leaving to go backpacking in Goa. When we arrived to the airport in Udaipur, it might have been one of the smallest ones I’ve been in but when you get in there, you realize how few flights there are in and out of that airport. It would almost be hard to not to find the gate for your departure without ever looking at your ticket. And I think because it was so small is what made it so ironic the amount of security measures they have there.
For some reason I am always intrigued with the differences in security between countries. Here, they first they check your credentials at the entrance door, then you throw your bags on a conveyer and have all your bags tagged. Then you actually get to check in before once again going through another security checkpoint. Aha, but wait. There’s one more… you need to show your tagged bags to security once again before getting on the plane. I love it…. the process is simply crazy. We actually had a connection in Mumbai and even though we flew into the airport, we had to go through security all over again when we got there! In fact, we almost went through twice because we ended up at the wrong security checkpoint on the first go round. Awesome.
When we eventually landed in Goa, we were on a mission to get straight to the beach. However, we had no plan about where we were going and where we would be staying. And sometimes, that is what makes traveling so much fun… We ended up grabbing a cab from the airport and decided to check out Palolem which is a stretch of beach in south Goa. I had a friend that had stayed there a few weeks earlier and she said it was nice and ideal for what I was looking for and not too overcrowded like North Goa can sometimes get.
So after about an hour taxi ride, we ended up staying in a small resort beach hut that sat right on the beach. It even came complete with an attached bath, a 2nd floor balcony overlook and a restaurant with wifi just outside our front door. All for about 500 Rupees each. Somehow I had the feeling I was going to like this beach and my time in Goa.
In this post, I can’t really go into much detail about what we did everyday because to be honest, we didn’t do a whole lot! Much of the time we spent sitting on the beach or floating around in the Arabian Sea (in the bay of course).
The place we were staying had some floaties (a.k.a. Lilo’s if you’re from South Africa and England) so we took those out quite a few times and just let the current carry us down the cove that made up Palolem Beach. The fun part though was paddling all the way back after drifting out a kilometer down the beach. Other times, we would just play beach bats or just lie around. Yeah, it was a tough time here…. To be honest, I think after almost five months of straight traveling, I needed a break from it all. After a while, you just need to take some time away from all the crazy issues you encounter with buses, trains and planes, language barriers, crazy food and chaotic traffic (and livestock running in the streets).
For a bit of geography, Goa sits on India’s west coast about midway up along the coastline. If you swam straight off the beach heading west, you’d eventually hit Oman. And unlike the many other places in India, this is likely the most visited destination, apart from maybe the Taj Mahal and Mumbai. And for good reason, the beaches here are amazing, the food and lodging is extremely cheap and the water is warm in the middle of winter. While I was here, I actually only met two other Americans but I did meet several Russians and Brits and to a lesser degree, Germans. They all seemed to make up the majority of tourists here and I would imagine most were here only for the winter holiday.
Although my friend and I didn’t do everything there was to do here, there are actually quite a few things to do beside sitting around on the beach. They have boat tours you can do as well as the option to rent kayaks by the hour. And since there are so many other beach spots to the north and south of here, many people rent motorbikes and ride to the nearby beaches or nearby towns to visit the markets.
There is also windsurfing and kiteboarding (my favorite) available but for the most part, conditions are best in north Goa where its most popular and conditions are best. Aside from day activities, the nightlife here is also great. And out of all the time I spent here, not a night went by when someone wasn’t setting off fireworks. And I’m not talking about your basic bottle rocket here. Most of the ones set off were what I would call ‘official’ fireworks. The kind that have a 1/4 stick of dynamite in them. And on many nights, there would be fireworks getting set off at both ends of the beach’s cove. It was a sight to see, especially when you are sitting on the far end of the beach. And the beach itself transforms itself at night. All the resorts and restaurants pack up all the beach chairs and umbrellas right before sunset and start setting out tables and chairs and by nightfall, there are tables lined up from one end of the beach to the other decked out with candlelight and fresh seafood on display ready for grilling. However, after a few nights spent on the beach, I realized the candle light dinners were less about a ‘romantic’ atmosphere than they were for putting out some light. It was not odd for the whole beach to lose power and be pitch black on an almost nightly basis as well as during the day. It is something you just got used to so at least at night when you’re eating dinner, you can still find the food on your plate no matter what.