Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Writing this blog post is going to be hard work. Not because writing blogs is particularly hard, but because my fingers, and perhaps the rest of my body, have gone into a semi-comatose state brought about by the Goan beaches.

Palolem is a beach
My long train trip is over. All 38 hours of it. The train spat me out in the city of Margao in the south of Goa and I promptly caught a bus further south, to Palolem. Palolem is a beach town. It is is a beautiful beach town. It is, in fact, more of a beach than a town. The beach is, in essence, the town. Palolem is a beach. There are huts on the beach with people in them. And bars on the beach with other people in them. There are palm trees around the beach and a flat sea just off the beach. The beach is crescent-shaped, which is apparently a good shape for a beach to be. It is hot. It is sunny. There is a certain sossegado to life on this beach.

Sossegado is a distinctly Goan word. It translates, rather crudely, to laid-backness. It is undeniably the best word to describe life in a Goan beachside town. Life is just laid-back. There's not much to do but lie in the sun (or the shade, if you're a pasty individual like me who doesn't want to look like a burnt tomato at the end of the day) and read. And then spend some time in the balmy water. Because there's not much to do apart from be a lazy lout and enjoy yourself, there's not much to write about to interest other people in an obscure, traveler's blog post. Which is the reason I'm citing for not having written anything, up to now. I assure you it has everything to do with me being too lazy to remove myself from the beach and type something up.

Three paragraphs in and I've managed to say nothing at all. This is a pretty good sign. It looks like I'll be able to pass off my laziness by obscuring it in florid descriptions of beaches and palm trees.

This is my Palolem beach hut - swanky, right?
One remarkable thing about accommodation in Palolem is the accommodation itself. Almost all of the accommodation is of the tiny, beach hut variety, just off the beach, amongst the palm trees. These little huts are fantastic! They are assembled at the beginning of each tourist season, just after the monsoon, and disassembled at the end of each season, before the monsoon's return. Huts are pokey, with little more than a bed and a mosquito net (and a tiny bathroom, if you're lucky) which is exactly why I love them. Waking up in a rickety little hut and stumbling out on to a beach is a brilliant way to start a day. If you haven't experienced this, you'll have to take my word for it. Another brilliant feature of these little huts is the maze of sandy, shady alleyways that get formed between them. A walk along these narrow paths is a good way to step away from the countless European tourists in Speedos who inhabit the beach. Speedo's should be considered a crime against humanity.
I wake up to this...

Patnem, a semi-Speedo-free zone
A little way south of Palolem is another beach, Patnem. Patnem is also a crescent-shaped beach, but with the added advantage of having fewer Speedo-toting Europeans around. It's a lot less busy and is therefore a good way of escaping the tourist hordes. I spent some time there today, and I plan on spending some more time there tomorrow, and the next day. Anything to save my eyes from that horrible excuse for a swimming costume. And the people who seem to think it's a very attractive swimming costume. These people are almost always fat, roasted men in their late fifties from the south of France.

With the conclusion of my rant on the heinous crime that is wearing a Speedo in public, or even in private for that matter, I think I'll conclude this pointless update of my blog. You are now aware of my laziness. My confirmation of it is firmly in writing. It's starting to approach evening time over here, the sun is well over the yardarm. I'm going to be heading back to the beach soon to enjoy a cold beer and a spicy, prawn vindaloo.

Oh God, those vindaloos... The mouth-watering explosion of flavour that is the Goan specialty dish. The spices, the fresh seafood which practically swam on to the plate, the zing of chilli... The sudden reverie that merely typing the word 'vindaloo' induces...

I'm off... I think I'll have an early supper.

A snapshot of the rocky Colomb bay

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