Sunday, May 17, 2009

Remember Goa?

Way back when, we went there, took a ton of pictures and then put them all on Chris's computer - the OLD Mac.  Now I have my own Mac (YAY! YAY! YAY!) but sadly, it is rather wanting for pictures.  Bluetoothing music from old to new Mac has been the priority, but I did snag a few Goa snaps to share with my Nag Champa fans.  So, here we go, again!

Most of our trip was spent just lazing at the beach in Mandrem, over the dunes from the much loved Rivercat.  But one day we schlepped up to Arombol and hit the beach there.  A totally different scene, and a totally different beach, as you can see.  The surf was rough, the undertow tricky and those boulders, though scenic, looked a bit to gnarly for us to swim with.  

We opted for the "sweet lake" instead.  The lake is tucked away north of the main Arombol beach, around two cliffs and past a string of beach shacks and tourist huts.  It being late April the walk was mellow but I can only imagine how rowdy it is during the season - you literally are forced to run the gauntlet of hawkers and cafes and touts to get to the beach above, and lake.  Crazy.  (Also crazy was the man who wanted to charge me 100Rs for sitting on a beach chair for all of 15 minutes.  I declined and he, surprisingly, backed off.)

The shot below is from a little bar/pizza place/pool hall right at the end of the main road in Arombol.  The kids ran the pool table like the sharks they are and threatened to not only school, but also kneecap all challengers.  So I guess I probably had it coming when the manager wanted to charge me 50Rs to use an office/bedroom/closet to change into our swimsuits.  (But as with Mr. Beach Chair, he backed right off when I told him I wouldn't be paying him one red hot paise to use his hovel to change in.  Cool.)  

Once changed, we started trekking to the sweet lake, stopping on the way to buy a chammok (second picture, Ben's running past one) at the world famous Arambol Hammocks.  I was thrilled to buy such a fab piece of swinging fun, but the shopping experience itself was probably the best I've ever had in India.  Andy, one of the owners was just getting ready to go kite surfing, and had about 90% of his shop/home packed for the season, but delayed to handle our chammock needs.  Out of nowhere a chammock materialized, and without my saying anything the price dropped and dropped again, and all the while Andy kept throwing in extras.  The man was thoughtful, kind and truly wanted to make me and the kids happy.  His partner Helen was joking with friends while we were there and seamlessly folded all three of us into her conversation, ending with Ben and Caitlin wrapped up in a Flying Carpet.  Icing on the cake was that the fact all this happened while I was wearing a tiny bikini and NO ONE LEERED AT ME, not even the tiniest bit, even once.  Hallelujah!  

So, Arombol, despite being ground zero for the Goa Freak scene was a pretty cool place to hang out.  The main drag looked like Shakedown Street gone wrong and I can imagine the place is a nightmare in the season, but it was a nice place to visit when it was dead. 

I'll leave you with one of the little nasties that invaded Mandrem toward the end of our time there.  These suckers where EVERYWHERE on the beach but thankfully only caused itching and nothing worse.  Looks like we picked a good time to head south to Panjim and Old Goa.


Susannah said...

hope the bikini was the fabulous (but delayed) JCrew one!

Goa sounds great; I want to GOOOOOa.

Maggie said...

The much belated and beloved JCrew jobbie did see a lot of action but if you can believe it, I was sporting something even smaller in Arombol.

Repeated bouts of food poisoning have been good for something after all!