Thankfully it was only 100km from Gokarna to our next destination, Palolem in South Goa. Goa is a place that I had been dreading; banging music, drunk Russians and tackiness to the extreme. I like to let my hair down once in a while but I’m over the whole “let’s get smashed” way of travelling. I must prefer to save that for occasions when I ought to be on my best behaviour: friend’s weddings, family Christmas do’s, business events 😉
Still cycling without gears, the ride there wasn’t at all enjoyable but I managed to clock around 100km and reached Palolem in good time. The older ladies I met in Gokarna suggested Palolem was my best bet for meeting new people so I decided to give it a whirl. They were right, there are a lot more people here but mainly tourists on holiday, the majority being couples.
Not that this mattered of course but I failed to meet anyone willing to indulge in the social chitchat I desperately craved. On the plus side it was fairly inexpensive with my own beach hut costing just £2. Restaurant prices were more than what I’ve been used to but this is Goa, it’s a “touristy” place. My favourite hangouts are Cafe Inn for great coffee and my gigantic “special breakfast” and Cuba Goa for a great fish curry and bean bags on the beach.
As soon as we crossed into the state of Goa I instantly noticed a difference. Don’t come to Goa if you’re looking for a taste of India, I could well have been in Spain and I wouldn’t have noticed. There’s Magnum Ice Cream, International Alcohol Brands, Domino’s Pizza and Western menu’s galore. That’s not to say Goa isn’t great, just a far cry from the intense culture found across the rest of India.
Palolem is extremely beautiful and although fairly busy, low-season meant that I could nab myself a sun lounger and spend my day blogging in the shade followed by a wee hour or two in the sun, just to even out the ridiculous looking cycling tan. Head to the south end of the beach for sunset and parties, although when I checked out the weekly “rave” Hugo and I were the only ones there, an early night for me.
Many say Palolem is too crowded for the more laid-back South Goa but I think it’s perfect during this time of year. Most places are still open and the palmed-lined beach is absolutely stunning. It was closed when I went but if you walk across the sea/rocks at the north end of the beach you will reach a cool looking bar called Sundowner. I was in the wars again and cut the bottom of my foot open on the coral which is impossible to heal in this humidity with my daily swims and beach walks.
My lack of luck continues as I release I left my only bikini in Gokarna so I had to fork out an arm and leg for a new one. Every bikini I tried was obviously aimed at the beautiful Russian tourists as the bottoms resemble more of a thong than pants! What could one do? I can’t last a week in Goa without a dip in the sea. With no hostels or social bars, it may be difficult to meet people if on your own in Palolem, especially in low-season, but just grab yourself a good book or a blog like me, and you could spend a lifetime here. I certainly can.