Gone in Goa
I have been MIA from the blogosphere for awhile thanks to a week long vacation in Goa from Sept. 16-24 and last week’s mid-semester exams and elections for the International Student Association (ISA). This is the first of a couple overdue posts.
First, the trip to Goa. Emrys, a fellow Ambassadorial Scholar from South Carolina was planning a trip to Goa with friends from his university and invited me along. I thought it wouldn’t be a bad place to wait out the last week of summer heat in New Delhi. I was right. We had a fabulous time. A group of eight of us – three Indians, three Germans, and two Americans – spent a relaxing and fun week together in India’s favorite beach getaway. The colorful and terra cotta tiled houses reminded me of Mexico or Costa Rica and brought back great memories of previous travels to coastal destinations.
Goa is India’s smallest state. Located on India’s west coast touching the Arabian Sea, Goa was a Portuguese territory until 1961 and didn’t become an Indian state until 1987. As a result of its Portuguese ancestry Goan architecture is distinctly Iberian and features many impressive Christian churches. I learned from Rotarian John Gooch in Missouri, who is a trivia junkie like me, that when the Portuguese arrived to India they found the already well-established Mar Thoma Church boasting more than one congregation. It is theorized that Jesus sent the Apostle Thomas as a missionary to India, which explains the Christian presence in Goa dating so far back.
The week in Goa was a much needed escape from the heat and bustle of New Delhi. It was great to see a different side of India than the one I’ve gotten to know in Delhi, which I’m also more fond of since my return. Our group spent 4 days in North Goa and 4 days in South Goa. For anyone travelling to Goa I would recommend you spend the majority of your time in the south which is less crowded. The north is definitely worth a couple days, though, especially Arambol beach where you will find sunbathing Westerners, beautiful sunsets, and plenty of tchotchkes (chachkis) for sale. We rented houses in both places and had fun cooking prawns and pasta and spending the days on the beach. The water was great and the guys spent a lot of time body surfing in the “Danger Zone” (harmless baby rip tides) which often drew a crowd on the beach. When we headed south we rented motor scooters and spent two days touring the coast, for me the highlight of the trip. The scenery was stunning, I spent most of my time wondering if I had fallen into the pages of National Geographic. If you ever visit Goa, plan to rent a scooter and cruise down the coastal roads to Palolem or Cabo de Rama.
Pictures do not suffice to capture the magic of Goa but words do even less, so rather than write more I will let you enjoy this slideshow of some of the best images from our week.