View from the restaurant where we stayed
Palolem is a two hour car ride south from Panjim. It's developed, but in a very low key way. The beautiful golden sandy bay, shelving gently to the Arabian Sea, stretches for maybe a mile between two headlands. It's fringed all the way with coconut palm groves, in which there are beach huts of all sorts and quality. Ours is in discreet concrete with attached bathroom, about 20 yards from the shore. There are a couple of dozen beach bars/ restaurants. Alcohol is easily available and cheap in Goa, unlike other parts of India. The atmosphere is wonderfully laid back. It's early in the Goa season, but quite a few young westerners hire the simple palm thatched huts and lounge on the beach and swim in the surf - as we do daily. There are equal numbers of Indian holidaymakers, many with young children.
Dads and sons and younger daughters play cricket or swim. Mum and older daughters watch and paddle or go in the waves completely clothed. A man walks up and down the beach selling fresh pineapples, papayas and coconuts, which he chops up for you with a fearsome machete. At the edge of the bay a pod of dolphins regularly jumps high out of the water.
There's still a small active fishing fleet of outriggers. They go out mid afternoon, pushed down the beach on greased rollers then out through the surf, then return late afternoon, get pulled up the beach and sell their catch on the shore - pomfret, red snapper, black snapper, squid. The smaller boats are rowed with peculair paddles, and steered with punting poles. The larger ones have outboards. The large ones also moor in the bay when not in use.
One man swims out and brings the boat near the shore for the crew - 10 to 12 men - to clamber on, through the waves. On Thursday, a small boat laid a net near the shore, and it was hauled in by two teams of men, working from the beach.
A tame pack of dogs wanders the beach for scraps - and have the occasional inter-canine scrap. And this being India, a herd of cows also inhabits the beach. But the beach is cleaned three or four times a day by a team of ladies. They burn most items, take away plastic and bury the cows**t.
On Tuesday evening, there was a magnificent storm, that moved south to north maybe 3 - 4 miles out to sea. It thundered for over two hours, with the sky sometimes lit up continuously. The palms looked magnificent against the backdrop.