Anjuna Travel Blog

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Overall, I have to say I really enjoyed my time in Goa.  Since the last time I wrote, Sandy left and returned to Jaipur.  Without my shopping guru, I resorted to spending most of my time at the beach or by the pool.  Majorda is a nice quiet area hosting only a few beach shacks in which you can find an array of overweight Russians in tiny speedos tanning their pale hides.  Surprisingly, Goa is most visited by the Russians followed by the English, Germans, French, Italians, and so on.  I really only met a handful of people from the U.S.
    After several days at Majorda beach, I met up with Leanne from Australia (whom I met at Majorda) and stayed at the same hotel as her named Satsanga.  Satsanga is an ashram located up in the hills near Anjuna beach, and it is owned by a Swiss man named Olaf and his wife Judy from Seattle.  It was very peaceful there, and I enjoyed the presence of the Olaf and Judy’s cats and dogs.  Every night I was there, as I entered into my room, an orange kitten would stealthily slip into my room and would surprise me later. 
    One of the days, Leanne, Aiko (from Japan) and I ventured down to Vagator beach.  Vagator is really beautiful: it consists of three small beaches, each cradled between rocky hillsides.  However, Vagator is frequented by many tourists, both Indian and Western alike.  One of the beaches consisted of mostly Indian men who were very enthusiastic about having a picture with us.  This is a trend that I have experienced while in Goa.  Many Indians who travel to Goa are from areas where they rarely see Westerners. For this reason, Westerners are just as much as an attraction as the beaches. 
    Vagator also has its share of hawkers who wanted to sell you various items.  Normally, I never acknowledge hawkers because even the slightest bit of eye contact or a “no, thank you” opens an avenue for them to hone in on you.  The Vagator hawkers were much more aggressive and literally would plop down on the end of your beach lounger and start chatting with you.  Out of curiosity, and my own detriment, I had started to ask them about their lives.  The women had grown up in small villages in the state of Karnataka and were married off when they were about 14 years old to men that were usually about ten years older then them.  Now being the ages between 15 and 22, they all had children.  One woman, Nikita, was 20 and already had three children.  They travel to Goa - with their children - for about six months out of the year to sell cheap textiles and jewelry.  While they are working, the children are left alone.  Some of the children can receive education, but most of them miss out on this opportunity because they have to move around so much.  Generally, the women despised their husbands especially due to the mens' incessant laziness and drinking problems.  When the women return to Karnataka, they are more or less servants for their husbands’ family.  In learning about their lives, I had spent way too much money, mostly because I couldn’t, at that moment, ignore my empathy for these women.
    On the last night in Goa, I finally met up with my good friends from Woodstock named Sophia and Ira.  They are the parents of two of my closest friends that I have known since I was five years old.  It was such a nice feeling to see familiar faces in a foreign land, especially when it is someone you know so well.  In a way, I felt like I was at home.  For the last six years Sophia and Ira have been staying at Mandrem beach, and I can completely understand why.  Mandrem beach is vast, quiet and utterly beautiful.  It is probably one of the best kept secrets of Goa since the rest of the beaches are being populated by large resorts, beach shacks, and sunbathing Russians alike (so shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone about it!! This is a much guarded secret!)
    While standing on Mandrem beach, I had a moment of complete awe.  I just couldn’t really gather any thoughts and for once my mind was quiet.  The only sounds were of the waves gently rolling into the beach, and the site of the red sun dipping behind the haze.  It felt like a certain openness in which the physical boundaries between I and everything else just melted away.  Then, as my mind began to work again, I became completely overcome with the feelings of gratuity and joy.  I was so happy to exist in that moment at that place.  I felt grateful for my life, the ability to travel to such a place, and for all the friends and family that I have been blessed with.  It was a moment that I think I will remember the rest of my life.
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Anjuna Hotels & Accommodations review
This place was great. It is a quiet, peaceful ashram. Owned by a Swiss man and a woman from Seattle. Really well done: clean rooms, nice pool, cool… read entire review
photo by: msarkar2810