After the dense hustle and bustle of New Delhi, where you can sometimes barely breathe for the crush of humans, I thought northern Goa was quiet and small. Then we moved south to Palolem, and I thought I had found the most peaceful spot in India. But a few hours by train further down the coast is Gokarna, in the neighbouring state of Karnataka.
It’s a collection of drop dead gorgeous beaches, separated by cliff paths and palm trees. It’s almost empty by India standards, silent at night except for lapping waves and rhythmic cicadas. The early mornings litter the beach with yogis and sandy cows. By day we’ve been sleeping on the beach and munching on pineapples and shakshuka (the Israeli influence is still around down here). And, by night we’ve been sleeping off the beach and munching on papayas and moussaka.
The ‘sit back and watch the world go by’ thing is lovely and all, but I’m not entirely sure that the crowd here is really my scene. It’s a little too not-of-this-earth for me. Don’t get me wrong, inner peace? I dig it. But everyone here seems to have found their inner peace, and now feels the need to smugly parade that fact. The 50 year old chick doing tai chi in the shallows with her eyes closed and a big silly grin on her face? Inner peace: check. The guy with hair longer than his arms and Chinese characters tattooed down his back? Enlightened. That pair of brothers who seem to have given up both shoes and shirts, proudly displaying their furry beach ball-tummies? Found the meaning of life ages ago. And the middle aged couple smoking weed in the mornings while carting their baby around in a hemp sling are so far along in their journey to the Truth that they’re ready to impart their wisdom to others – and by others, I mean everyone they meet.
So even though the past couple of days of chilled-out bliss have been really nice, we’re moving north again for another stop in Goa before Mumbai – trying to squeeze in some more action in our last couple of weeks in India!
Aloo and aubergine,
P.S. On our first morning here we saw a chick determinedly meditating on the beach as two cows loudly humped a metre in front of her. It was hilarious.
P.P.S. Tried uploading photos but wifi is too crap, sozzz