Letting Go in Goa

We have spent the past few days on the beach in Mandrem, North Goa, eating delicious food and not doing much of anything. It’s hot here, but the water is clear and warm and just steps away from our beach hut. The beach stretches in both directions as far as we can see. It’s a rough life, really.

Mandrem is almost a two-hour drive from Goa’s only airport, and hasn’t seen nearly as much development as the easier-to-reach beaches. There are no fancy resorts or towering hotels, just a smattering of beach hut complexes and a few small guesthouses. Nor is there any hint of the Israeli rave party scene that made North Goa famous (although it seems that even Vagator and Anjuna have calmed down over the past decade).

In spite of its small size, Mandrem actually has a few great spots to eat – our favorites so far are Well Garden for wood-fired pizzas and delicious salads, and Ketan for huge vegetarian South Indian thalis. When we get bored, we can walk north to Arambol or south to Aswem. Arambol is a huge backpacker hangout, with lots of shops selling hippy garb, trance CDs, and kitschy souvenirs. I’ve dubbed it “Kathmandu on the beach.” Aswem is much smaller, just a cluster of a few hotels, but one of them – La Plage – features a very good, if somewhat expensive, Euro-inspired restaurant.

We’ve settled into a nice daily beach routine:

  • 6:30am: Wake up and go for a jog to Arambol and back along the beach (we’re not certain, but we’ve heard that it’s 3km each way); or sun salutations and weights on the beach. If we sleep in and let our workout slip by even 30 minutes, it’s already too hot for jogging.
  • 8:00am: Breakfast at our hotel back in Mandrem (if we didn’t already break down and eat in Arambol)
  • 9:00am until noonish: Beach time
  • Noonish: Lunch at Ketan or Well Garden; or take a hike down to Aswem for lunch at La Plage if we feel like earning it
  • Post-lunch until 4:30pm or so: More beach time
  • 4:30pm: Shower and get ready for dinner
  • 5:00pm: Check out the sunset on the beach
  • 6:00pm: Early dinner at Ketan or Well Garden (are you sensing a theme?)
  • Post-dinner: Edit photos or work on the blog backlog for a while; read for a bit before heading to bed early

Sean arrives this evening to spend the weekend with us, so I’m sure our schedule will shift a bit. We’re taking bets on whether we can convince him to join our early morning jog. ;)

A few photos from paradise:

Just a small part of a large morning fishing operation about halfway between Mandrem and Arambol

Our breakfast view at The Dunes

Sunset at The Dunes

La Plage felt like a desert oasis when we found it for the first time

We often encounter this guy in the same spot on our walks between Mandrem and Aswem

The rocks about halfway between Mandrem and Aswem

Twinkle twinkle little starfish

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