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Goa 2010 - Page 1

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Our 'sunset' visit to Goa started off on a bit of a rough note this Diwali. We were planning to visit Hampi first, then take a train to Goa and finish off the last few days relaxing on the beach. During our Week Without Walls trip, however, Breck (as well as 15 classmates and 4 teachers) got food poisoning, so all our plans had to be reshuffled.

We made what changes we could to flights and reservations and all, and made it out of Mumbai just a few days later than planned. Instead of heading to the northern beaches as we'd done in the past, we went south to Benaulim beach. With no hotel planned, we hit the beach, wandered into a beach shack and "coco huts" place, and set up shop.

We had two cute cabins, all set up with fans and mosquito-netted beds. We were a little anxious about what the beaches would be like, since this was a big Indian holiday, and on our first stroll we got even more concerned. Just up the beach a bit was a huge contingent of people all holiday making, throwing trash, and generally making us wonder if we were going to get the quiet time we all craved.

As things turned out, we needn't have worried. The stretch of beach we were on was just opening up for the season, so we were comfortable and had peace the whole week!

In fact, our only competition on the beach in the first few days came from the fishermen working their nets. We would see them getting ready in the evenings and pulling in the catch in the mornings. We wondered whether the fish smell would grow too overwhelming - but no troubles at all!

One of the curious things we did notice was that there were lots of crows but no seagulls. We did finally see some towards the end of the week - but only over water. I wonder if the crows are too aggressive and drive them all off...

In any case, the fishermen would start off the mornings pulling in what they could from the waters right off the shore (and in some cases from a big wooden boat) and then sorting through the catch by hand
The fish they collected included squid, crabs, shrimp - even stingrays! It was quite the feast for the local birds as well, as they got to pick through the piles of leftovers. And yes - we took tons of pictures, and of course the naked fisherman was one of the favorite subjects for those shots. No apologies whatsoever.
After sorting things on the shore, all these fish were brought to a larger area, where they were further separated - some for immediate drying, some for preservation on ice. Susan took a whole series of pictures though here, and that will make up another part of the travelogue in a few days!
And in the evening time - fish for dinner! Of course, no matter how much he would pose with the fish, Breck never tried a piece (nor did Susan or Alea). But every night Dave had something, including these yummy tiger prawns!
That didn't mean Breck was scared of fighting the fish. During our morning walks on the beach, he picked up all sorts of things from the fishermen's baskets, including sting rays. Here he is showing off a trophy sized fish, posing with a dead eel (unfortunately, mom wouldn't let him bring home the eel teeth we pried out from the rotted head), and facing off with a crab.
And what could Alea and Susan do but laugh at him? He was so entertaining, even when sleeping in the sand.
But it wasn't all sleeping and relaxing all week - oh no, we even suited up and gave para sailing a whirl! Looking like D-Day paratroopers, we all took a turn being hauled up into the air behind a speed boat - pretty exciting times.



Flying up over the shore, we got a great look at the coast and how green the whole area was. With the wind in our hair and smiles on our faces, we twirled above the Goa surf and appreciated just how lucky we were to have an opportunity like this!


Back at the hotel to enjoy another stunning sunset (and another fish dinner!). Hopefully the next installment won't take too long to post - this was just the first half of our visit!

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