Im sat in an internet cafe on Palolem beach, one of the most famous beachs in Goa, Indias tourist central. But its off season, almost everythings closed, the sun is shining and there are far less tourists than you might expect so its all good. Weve all met up again, Lauren and I are staying with a lovely local family, whove been really great to us. Its a bit off the beaten trail but still within spitting distance of the nearest beach, weve been told by the woman in the local shop were the first tourists ever to shop there. Its been great defying the Goan stereotype of all nght parties and westernised beach resorts and see the real, local side of things. Our room has no running water and only enough electricity to run two applicances at a time, we have to shower using buckets and collect water from a well ni the middle of the village. The children are fascinated by our electronics and have developed a slight obsession with playing mobile phone games. Tonight we are cooking an `english` meal for them to celebrate our last nigth staying before we head inland. I say `english` because tis limited by the food available at the local market and that they only have two hobs and no oven, so the best we can manage is Mothup Soup (the stuff we were taught to cook up north- actually tibetan!), with chips on the side and pancakes for pudding. Hopefully itll work out ok! If nothing else it wil make a good chage from the mum cooking every night (pretty much always fish curry as the dad is a fisherman). We all now have indian names (mine is Bhajat!) and get called by them around the village.
Weve been very lucky with out timing as the Ganesh festival is currently in full swnig- weve had a night of fireworks on the beach where the locals celebrate and put there idol statues in the sea. The party was so community based and atmospheric and everyone made us feel so at home. Weve also been taking round a series of `Pujas`, which are commnuity based offerings to the Ganesh statues before they are taken to the sea, and we are always treated as guests of honour.
During the day Lauren, Katie and I have taken to hiring mopeds and trying to find some deserted beaches. Today we hit gold, with a palm fringed beach about 100metres long on with gorgeous clear water, a little waterfall we used as a shower at one end and only us and the odd inidan fisherman on it. Absolute heaven! I still havent really recovered from the illness i picked up in Mumbai, but i feel totally accepted here and will be really sad to leave Goa tomorrow. Anyways, Im off for a bucket shower, followed by some much needed sleep and a bit of cookery for the family, love it! If only my stomach would settle and everything would be perfect. Miss you all, lots of love, J x