Goa is incredible. India is such a vast country in every way. Goa offers breathtaking beaches, crazy busy beaches, turtles, spice plantations, conservation areas, elephants, colorful markets, rockin' night clubs and very friendly chatty people. The waters are blue and warm but not too warm, sandy beaches and a place to sit and enjoy the best food I have had in India and a cold cocktail everywhere. My favorite place was Brittos, one of the original restaurants on the beach and came highly recommended, which I know why, it was fabulous~
The absolutely lovely bungalow I stayed in was on Baga Beach which is like the tropical beach on steroids. I arrived and it was full peak crazy, boats zooming around dragging people on tubs, parasails everywhere, nets being thrown out by people fishing, tables and umbrellas out with young men trying to encourage you to have a seat at one and enjoy a drink or maybe some food? The beach was lined with these restaurants and available lounge chairs. I walked a ways and found a quiet strip of beach that became my place to be and swim.
I met so many young men who felt obliged I guess to walk along with me and learned so much about the ways of India for these young men. I hadn't met people who were so open and talkative until Goa. They all commented on how quiet they thought I was, which of course I thought was funny. I enjoyed their stories.
After dark the lounge chairs disappear to be replaced with clothed tables, chairs and candlelight for evening cocktails and dining. I enjoyed this, sitting so close to the waves that they lapped my bare feet while enjoying a nightcap and watching fireworks....
Anjuna market was a BLAST. It is known to be a touristy market but I had to experience it for how famous it is. The largest market I have seen and right above the beach. After dark it switches to amazing music. I listened to an incredible sitar band, and on the other side a young woman in complete "hippy" attire rocked out to Janis Joplin songs. I met people from all over India and Europe.
I visited the Arya Cashew Factory where we saw the whole process of the cashew from harvest, roasting, shelling, scraping the skin, many quality control sorting and the final nut ready to eat. Each step done by the individual nut by the hands of women.
The next day was the organic Sahakari Spice Plantation and Elephants. This blew me away. Not only have I learned an incredible amount regarding the local spices, I was able to hear the extraordinaire stories behind the three elephants who reside there. The Elephants migrate and at times will be separated from their herd. There are people who monitor this as best they can to prevent poaching. They bring the elephants to the place they are migrating to and work for five years each to reintroduce them to a herd. If they are rejected, then they are brought to Southern India to the temples where they are treated like gods and hand fed by the women who tend the temples. They will remain the god of these temples or be able to roam conservation areas like this spice plantation. The conservation areas will not take more elephants then the land can maintain. The elephants work a few days a week giving short rides and get washed by us, and then give us a bath, which is a complete riot. I have always dreamt of being this close to an elephant so I was beside myself with excitement and joy.....
I Loved Goa!!