. Around this time of the year, the temperature is around 30-35C during the day and goes down to 20C at night. So it's great, but unfortunately as is the case with beautiful places that more and more people know about, it is getting overly commercialized. By Indian standards, the place is very expensive (even in cheap places we would pay 4-5 times for a meal compared to other places in India), though it is still very affordable for westerners. The backpackers still come, but they are getting outnumbered by package tourists coming in from places like Moscow, London and Bangalore. Hence, paradise is getting paved, the relaxed attitude of people is giving way to rudeness and money is king.
We first stayed in Panjim, the low key capital of the state. The place feels like a Carribean town rather than an Asian one, and church bells ring from white-washed colonial style buildings. The place has a derelicte charm oozing out of the slightly mouldy Portuguese mansions and crosses covered with garlands of flowers at the corners of roads. There wasn't much to see or do here aside from a church or two, but we undertook a day trip to Old Goa. There we saw a half dozen cathedrals looking like some giant invisible hand had taken them from Southern Europe and placed them amongst coconut trees. Old Goa was three or four centuries ago the main Portuguese trading post in Asia and so important that it dared stand up to Lisbon and ask "Who's the man?!", but it would be hard to guess that from looking at it. Still, it was nice to see and we stumbled upon an unusual sight as well: the "miraculously" mumified body of St. Francis Xavier, which is still visited by Christian pilgrims from across Asia.
A day later, we boarded a local bus and went an hour south to the heavenly beach of Palolem.
We have decided to bypass a part of our journey which involved long tedious 20hr train rides and we took the plane instead from Kathmandu to Goa via Delhi. Delhi, though we were only in it for a day highly elevated our stress level. The city has to be seen to be believed, really, especially after a relatively relaxed stay in Nepal. Upon arrival in Goa therefore we felt like we were in a different country. Goa is very different from the rest of India and especially from the North: as we were to find out, South India is already much more relaxed than the North; but Goa is even different from the rest of the South. It is a small state (only about 3000km2), several times richer on average than the mother country, luxurious and picturesque. It has been a backpacker Mecca since the 1960's, when the hippies discovered this ex-Portuguese slice of paradise. Imagine a lush green countryside where almost anything can be grown, on the edge of a beautiful green-blue sea, the coast of which is littered with tropical beaches