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Goa's New Paradise: Palolem!
Author: Francesca Mascarenhas
My friends had been planning a trip to goa since the beginning of the summer and being unable to commit to dates I got left out of the plan. Though it didn’t bother me at first since its only a 45 minute plane ride away, what tempted me was the change of location in goa. Like the rest of the Bombay tourists that frequent goa we usually end up staying in the north. The beaches in the north are very popular and a must see with the best restaurants/shacks that serve great local cuisine and a very good time! And the distance between the north and south is very long to be travelling in the heat (its always hot in goa).

So the idea of staying in Palolem, the most popular of the beaches in the south was very alluring. So finally I decided to go and surprise my friends, little did I know that I was the only one to be surprised as someone let the cat out of the bag and they all eagerly awaited my arrival!

I decided Saturday afternoon and had missed all the flights so my only choice was to hop on to a bus that screams-“Mapusa direct” which implies they’re going straight to goa! After a not so good journey I awoke in goa and found myself amidst some road block that took forever to clear- in true goa style- sussegad(relaxed).

A quick lunch at my grand mum’s place (I’m goan, and wouldn’t dare go to goa without visiting the relatives) had me cruising along the sunny streets of goa to finally be at the south paradise-Palolem. For those of you travelling alone in the day, get a motor bike to get you to your destination, they’re safe and cheaper than the taxis that quote exorbitant prices when they see new blood.

So there I began my 3 day vacation on the sunny beach with clear white sand and bluish green water. Heavily loaded with sun block, since I roast like a chicken and sprawled out under the shade of the umbrella erected over the sun beds- it was bliss. Goa is the only place that makes us girls chatter less and just soak in the surroundings while doing what we do best- nothing.

When the service is so friendly you can’t help but guzzle beer after beer, its also the sun that keeps you thirsty. After breakfast being a three course meal, we’re ready to take in prawn curry rice, butter garlic calamaris, rechad masala fish (hold the bones please). Its paradise for sure, I know what heaven is going to be like, white sand in your toes, bright sunlight, easy chairs, probably some hymns playing in the background!

The sea is friendly as long as its not high tide, the waves are gorgeous and make for some cool boogie-boarding. They’re mini surf boards that you prop your self on just before a big wave comes from behind you and crashes into the shore. The ride is great but be warned that you will lose your voice if you scream every time you ride a wave all the way.

The best part though I have yet to get to, we stayed at Café Del Mar. The rooms are like little huts with thatched walls, in different shapes and sizes literally. One was round in shape while another had slanting walls forming a triangle. There are only 5 rooms that have air conditioning, so you better book in advance especially season time. The walls of these rooms are wooden though the toilets are all the same, large rooms with thatched walls that allows the sunlight to peep in, a sink that sits near a tree with a mirror nailed to its bark. Relatively clean considering the description.

So one day leads to the next and time really flies when you’re having a good time, look around for the local hippie-goan shopping and the beaches have the ladies who beg to do henna tattoos on you. South Goa definitely has a brighter zing to it, the beaches are cleaner, the tourists are fewer and there are many neighbouring beaches that are more breath taking than the last.

'Intercontinental The Grand' is situated on the neighbouring beach about 15 mins from Palolem, in case thatched ceilings are not your thing, there is something for everyone here.

Another bus ride back has me swearing to always fly, be it a spontaneous trip or not!

Viva La Goa!

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