We are arrive via train to Margao in the morning and catch a local bus to our awaiting paradise beach, Benaulim. We walk about 1km in the heat with beads of sweat pouring down our faces to arrive at a beach. We look at one another, no words needed, and exchange disappointed looks. The water is brown! We know we are in India but everyone tells is the beaches are spectacular. I guess we never realised how high our beach standards were from living in Perth.
After lunch at a beach shack we lug our bags again to find a room. We find a perfectly beautiful place slightly off the main road. It’s bright yellow and Maria, the owner, is very obliging and friendly. For 350 rupees ($7) we are staying in a new, clean, big room and a high pressure shower – luxuries we are not commonly used to.
We hire a scooter and it feels like we just got our licence again with the freedom we have. We head to the southern beaches which are apparently supposed to be the best of the state. Ok yes, they have slightly cleaner water, but its not blue. We put this aside and discover the paradise of the villages. People smile and speak English. A lot of people have big houses made of bricks and cement and own cars. The homes in Benaulim and Goa are all painted bright colours and surrounded by tropical forest and fruits. The local pigs run a mile when they see you. They dress differently here, the women wear dresses which come below the knee instead of to the ground. The Portuguese influence is still strongly evident with the spicy curries, buildings and churches. Speaking of, the most popular religion is in Goa is Christianity.
Another day we hop on our scooter and head to Savoi Spice Plantation. Here we take a tour around the 100 acre organic plantation. We try spices and learn how they are grown and harvested. We see Jack fruit, bread fruit, pineapple, turmeric, cinnamon, bay leaves, curry leaves, cardamon and many more. Neither of us had tried Jack fruit before but we are in love. The fruit huge and so tasty! The lady we hired a motorbike from has ample growing on her tree so we asked for one which she is going to give to us later today. After the tour we are spoilt with a local goan lunch including crumbed calamari, fried fish, 4 vegie dishes, rice and poppadoms. We also try some local liquor, Feni. This is only found in Goa and is either made from cashews or coconut. When it is distilled once it is referred to as the ‘ladies drink’ and when distilled twice it is the ‘man’s drink’. The ‘man’s drink’ is 45% alcohol.
Each meal we try a new local Goan dish from xacuti chicken, curry fish rice, vindaloo, shark amotic, fried fish and more. The food is delicious as with anywhere in India. The vindaloo curry we try is of sweet and sour flavour and is different to the one we have at home. We try a local desert, Bebinca, which is made from 46 eggs and has 16 layers!!!
We ended up staying here a week. We loved it for different reasons than we anticipated. It was perfect being off season as there is hardly any tourists around and it’s really cheap. Tomorrow we head off to another secluded beach in the next state south.