After making miles through Europe, Russia, and Mongolia, we were suffering from severe beach withdrawal. Sure we had a taste of Siberian beach life on Olkhon Island, but frigid lake water wasn’t exactly what us beach bums had in mind. The last we saw a beach day was in December 2012 in Puerto Rico. The ocean was calling and we were way overdue. We weren’t sure what we were going to find in Goa as our India trip has thus far been challenging but we were hoping for a little restorative stint in the sand.
We knew Goa was going to be touristy and we wondered if it was going to live up to the hype. We knew it had its’ hippie heyday, complete with full moon raves and probably a fair share of glow sticks, but was all this fame just a thing of the past?
The first lesson we learned was never use hotwire.com’s secret hotel rates. We had tried this twice before where you get a good price for a room but you are only told the hotel after your nonrefundable booking is placed. The first time we used this service was great, the second was eh, and the third was ew. Three strikes and you are out hotwire! We got to our hotel in Candolim in North Goa and we were over India all over again. The hotel was far from the beach, the room was gross, the water was cold, and the ac was a joke. We found ourselves unable to sleep, hot, frustrated, and at 3am, eating a box of cereal on our stained bed.
The following day, we ended up moving to a better room where we got poor to mediocre sleep due to noise-at-dawn factors for our first week in Goa. Thank god for the beach. The shore is lined with food shacks that have sun beds with umbrellas. We spent every day laying out, swimming, eating seafood, drinking beer, and surrendering to the sand. It felt amazing to be reunited with the sea. We found a proper supermarket with all kinds of toiletries. It was like a backpackers dream. I even found the elusive tampons with applicators, which is like finding a needle in a haystack here in India.
We are surprised to find that the major tourist population is Russian. Signs and menus are in Russian and the locals have picked up a fair amount of Russian too to conduct business. There are tons of Indian tourists and plenty of Brits too, but we didn’t hear a lick of an American accent anywhere. Surprisingly, I also heard some Finnish and even saw a shack that flew the Finnish flag. So last we were in Siberia with Russians on a beach and now we are in India with Russians on the beach.
We also would drift to neighboring beach, Calangute which is much more crowded than Candolim, but more or less the same. Shacks, sun beds, seafood, and sand.
So minus the poor accommodations of week 1, we were starting to relax.
It was about time.