A few caveats before I tell you about my Goan adventure. I only spent 12 hours there (well, 16 if you count the 4 hours waiting at the airport due to a flight delay on the way home), so this was not an exhaustive excursion. May is the off-season so many places were closed and though I was promised this was a hippy enclave, I didn't encounter a one! So that was disappointing.
The weather today was hot. And before you presume it was my delicate constitution making me produce sweat-lodge level buckets, my friend who was born and raised here agreed. So there. HOT, I tell you.
The state of Goa is definitely different from the other areas I've been in India. It's very lush and tropical and like the rest of the country, quite crowded in places. The beaches are known for partying so I don't gather it's very kid-friendly. Since Goa was a Portuguese colony until the 1960s, you can still see the influence in the architecture and in some of the food.
One of the places my friend Cherie recommended was Anjuna Market. So we made our way there early yesterday morning. It's very well-hidden, and you have to drive some crazy narrow roads to find it.
Then you have to walk about 1/4 mile down the beach to get to the market entrance. The beach was serene and not crowded at all. It's a nice walk (and it wasn't super hot yet).
Once we got there, we saw that quite a few stalls were closed but enough vendors were there to make it worthwhile to walk around.
The cool thing about the vendors I met is they're peddling wares from all over India. I found some beautiful linens that I'm bringing back and saw some other interesting items.
We also hit another market that has everything from umbrellas to cake. Almost like an old school shopping mall.
After shopping, we toured a cozy, little hotel on Baga Beach called Fiesta Resort. It's right across the street from the beach but you would never know how close it is to the action; it's very quiet inside the grounds.
And finally, an awesome meal in Colva at Kentuckee Restaurant where we ate freshly caught fish and cooled off with a Kingfisher beer. One of the things Goa is famous for is very high quality cashews. So you see them everywhere and they've even created a liquor! I tried a little sip and it essentially tasted like rum. Not bad stuff! <those pics will be posted in the next few days.>
It was a quick trip but we fit a lot into our time. Can't wait to share all my finds!