Relaxing on the beach

Trip Start Nov 15, 2004
Trip End Nov 10, 2005

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Flag of India  ,
Tuesday, April 5, 2005

After sweating it out in Hampi we headed to the coast for some relaxation by the beach. Goa is one of India's smallest states, controlled by the Portuguese for a long period, with a sweaping coastline and a variety of beachside locations to choose from. We opted for the quieter south and were pleased to find some natural sand dunes and trees still lining the beach and friendly sarong sellers and pineapple wallahs.

It was not all relaxation though; we explored the World Heritage Listed old Goa area where statuesque churches, filled with intricate pictures depicting the life of Saints, dominate the landscape . St Francis Xavier preached here a few centuries or so ago and until recently they would put his embalmed body on display one day a year. We were offered a postcard displaying this sight - lets just say it looked like it didn't receive the same attention Uncle Ho received!.

While we were in Goa there were celebrations for the beginning of spring with parades in all the major towns. We caught one of these colourful displays in Madgaon - a long evening beginning with groups of women dancing to drum beats followed by men dressed up as warriers also moving to drum beats. After more than 2 hours of watching the same dance style and listening to the same drum beats we took a break for dinner while the procession continued, on our return we were pleased to see the floats had started, all depicting gods and scenes from Indian myths, many with mechanically moving arms and heads. The parade seemed to go on forever so we eventually left, leaving behind young children waving at a float depicting torturous scenes like something out of a horror film.

Goa is famous for its markets so we decided it was time we did some shopping for Indian souvenirs. The Saturday Night Market was packed with tourists and Goa 'locals', many who looked as if they arrived in the 60's and hadn't left, selling local crafts and new-age clothing that you could only really wear if you were a tripped out westerner finding 'enlightenment' in Goa at full moon parties. Occasionally we spotted an Indian family looking rather bewildered by it all!
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