Goin' no where in Goa

Arambol Travel Blog

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After 5 days I am starting to grow very fond of this sandy stretch called Arambol.
There is hardly any development along the beach, mostly just bamboo and palm leaf bar-huts bedecked with colorful tube lights. Throughout midday the sun blazes and the temperature can rocket up to an oppressive 32-36 degrees C so Kurt and I generally sit in the shade reading and sipping pineapple frapps. The only irratiting factor so far are the beach vendors. Easily comparable to the pesky mosquitoes, they swarm onto the beach when it cools off at dusk, brandishing sarongs or jangling necklaces in your face until you shake them off with a benign smile and by repeating "no no no no no" at least 50 times. Even after you think you've gotten rid of them, it turns out they're just hovering behind you, as if you're about to have some epiphany in which you realize you actually did need those 10 small granite elephant figurines...
Otherwise, when the sun starts to go down around 5, it's the best time to be on the beach. The hippie community followed by wandering Hindu cows come out in droves to hang out. Clusters of people doing tai chi move in slow dances towards the setting  sun and it seems like everyone else is either meditating or doing yoga. Occasionally there is the horrific sight of the 50 year old hippie dude in a stringy thong bending into unflattering yoga poses, but everyone politely averts their eyes to this.
Eventually, a nightly drum circle forms and people congregate to sing and play guitar while women in flowy clothing run and twirl in the sand (tonight there was a sweet juggler too). I'm really enthusiastic about the gathering but everytime I mention participating Kurt looks at me disdainfully and doesn't say anything.
As soon as it gets dark the restaurants put out rickety tables in the sand for dinner and the air starts to smell like a heady mixture of sea salt and Indian spices. My mouth usually starts watering for prawn vindaloo and garlic naan fairly early so Kurt and I head to our favorite spots. So far the best dinner we've had has been at a place called "The Olive Garden" (which is hilarious because the American version is a chain that deeply offends me as an Italian.) They serve a combination of Goan and Israeli specialties and so far all of what we've tried has been finger lickin'good (appropriate because here you eat with your hands.) I've also become very partial to the Goan banana fritters. Basically these are just thin slices of banana fried so they are delectably light and crispy, then doused in honey.
After dinner we either walk into town where they show American movies nightly at a bar of we head back to the hotel along the beach. The beach isn't lighted at night so it's really something to look up at all of the stars and see the milky way streak across the sky. On some nights the locals even set off fireworks (and they're usually more impressive than the 4th of July shows in Boothbay.)
I'm really impressed with the slow and unperturbed pace of life here. It's dawning on me that society in the US is oftentimes over-stimulating and constantly in overdrive. I hope that upon my return, and especially if I get into medical school, I can keep that in mind and try to occasionally take a step back if things get too crazy. In the meanwhile I'm relishing my peaceful existence here and making the most of it.
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photo by: Orange_Girl