Goa: The Spring Break of India, where beer is cheap, beaches are endless, and being in Bollywood is possible.
After a long 3day train trip from Raj to Goa, Katy and I arrived in Baga to meet up with Jereon a friend from our Tushita meditation class. It was wonderful to be in a bikini on the beach with a cold beer in my hand. Beautiful sunsets over the Arabian Sea, long scooter drives through rice paddies, and tropical plants growing everywhere; it was paradise. Charlie and Brad (who we met in Leh) also met us in Goa. We moved up north to Arambol into a hut for only 250rs ($4.50) a night. There is nothing like falling asleep and waking up to the waves crashing outside. We befriended our hut neighbors and our group grew to 10. I experienced my first full power 24 Indian rave. From 7pm-7am we danced to some decent Israeli trance and some dark dark Indian trance and came out with even more friends. My most memorable moment was at the sunrise. As the night ended and the day began, everyone continued dancing and cheered on the sun. Seems like it’s easy for many travelers to get stuck in Goa for quite a long time.
Our Goa group found a much more private beach away from all the crowds, bars, and sellers that was just beyond our huts. This spot was perfect for relaxation and sat in between the ocean and Sweet Lake. We made friends with the coconut/fruit sellers and I purchased sarongs and gifts from the women strolling up and down. By the end of the trip we were regulars and we all knew each others names. Past the fresh water lake on a trail through the jungle you can find a Baba living in an enormous banyan tree. He invites you to sit around on the mats and lights up chillums to pass. He and I discussed yoga poses and he showed me the yogi book he follows. It was an extremely peaceful spot away from the Goa culture where travelers are invited to camp out with him. I wish we would have. As we left he thanked us for coming and said we were the first Americans to visit.
One day a worker from a Bollywood set approached us to be extras in a movie that was shooting just a few beaches south. We were dragged on a week by him saying “shooting can’t get a permit” “call tomorrow” etc etc and just when we gave up on the thought of it happening, Mangesh called. The day before we were leaving for Hampi, us 4 Americans and a few Russians were picked up at 6am to head to the set. Of course with any Indian task we sat around a lot. The scene was at the beach with a bar restaurant. The lead actress had a man follow her with an umbrella all day to ensure her very fair skin stayed very fair. There was a dance scene and us extras hung out in the back dancing along. Soon after we discovered a near by bar and started drinking Kingfishers. All day we were herded like cattle but the Russian fashion trends kept us entertained. Somewhere stuck between the 80s and 90s the girls wore skirts that didn’t cover their ass with fanny packs at their waist, and displayed the most ridiculous hairstyles. I should have captured pictures but we weren’t allowed to take any on set. There were some great scenes and I hope if we ever figure out what the movie is called and it’s produced we’ll see us dancing in the background. Katy and I were in a scene that they wanted us back for the next day, but our bus was booked to Hampi and I don’t think my patience could last another day in Bollywood. It was a disaster trying to get paid and bussed back North but we crossed it off our India bucket list and went home with 1600rs ($30) in our pocket.
To chalk it up we spent two weeks being beach bums, making friends, and drinking cheap alcohol. I already miss bodysurfing in the crazy Arabian waves, the delicious assortment of fruit being served to our chairs, and the friendly Goan women who had us laughing everyday. It was a nice break in the middle of our trip but after two beach side weeks it was time to move on.
Much love, Tor