We went to Goa for the New Year.
‘Goa for New Year eh?’ you ask with a crinkled forehead. I say ‘Yes.’
We reached Goa on the 29 of December, 2015 and stayed on till Jan 2, 2016. We stayed in Central Goa, and stayed away from the crowded beaches. A relatively smaller and less crowded beach made us happy. For two days, we visited Bagmalo beach (around 4 kms from Dabolim Airport). We also visited South Goa briefly when we went for parasailing at Majorda beach.
We put up at an AirBnB villa(coming up is a separate post with complete reviews on the villa) near Dabolim airport. Bogmalo beach was just a 2 km drive from our place. It was a decent beach with a number of shacks, and we enjoyed the sea just as much as we would have on any other famous beach there. The kids loved to be splashed by the waves. We were a big group and there were four kids with us. For Ryan, it was a first time at the sea, and I wanted to capture his initial reaction on seeing the huge waves. His eyebrows went up, and seeing so much of water break at the shore, the first few minutes, he would run back as the waves approached. However, seeing us dipping our toes in the water and walking through it, he mustered more courage to get down and stand in the water. However, the receeding waves also took away the sand that he was standing on, and he ran back as soon as he felt the losing sand under his feet. A few more attempts with discovering the water and the sand, and there was no looking back for him. He almost started living in the waves.
We, adults, had a great time too. We let the waves carry us and hurl us on the shore only to fill us with salty sandy water that hurt the eyes. Nevertheless, there was no dearth of fun despite the eye-biting sea water. The beach was moderately clean. We also had a lot of fun making castles and volcanoes with the sand. What also enticed me was collecting sea-shells. It seemed an infectious habit that also passed on to the kids, inevitably. They seemed interested in collecting a variety of shells, domed, flat, white, brown, with ripples, without ripples, with corrugations and without, and any other type that caught attention. By the end of the trip, Ryan and I had a huge collection that added to the weight of my bag. We also used some of these shells for a homework project for Ryan in which we made a sailboat on the sea complete with sandy beach and shells.
The sand on this beach was sandy, grainy, and sticky. We did come back with loads of sand on us that took us a lot of effort to wash off.
The shacks on Bogmalo were good. We tried Joet’s, Stiff Waves, Sarita’s and another one whose name I didnt pay much attention to. The fish at Stiff Waves was amazing. So was the cheese pasta we ordered for the kids. The vegetable pulao (rice pilaf with veggies) at Sarita’s deserves a mention. (On a side note, Sarita’s also has a showering station; paid of course.) We loved Joet’s shack the most. We had an elaborate dinner there and was very happy to see the service and food classy. The kids loved the Calamari Rings as much as we did, and we had a whole set of chicken and vegetarian appetizers followed by a main course of cottage cheese curries, Chicken Xacuti, Chicken Cafreal, Naans (Indian flatbreads with garlic or butter) with a lot of soft drinks and some alcohol. All in all, if you are looking for good food at Bogmalo, Joet’s is a must visit.
Another beach that we went to was Majorda in South Goa. We went there to feel a new beach after splashing in Bogamalo for two days. We also wanted to try adventure sports. The closest beach that fit our bill was Majorda. The sand here was less sandy, less grainy and more white. Very white. A lot of tourists were spending time here. There were a few shacks that served up really good food, and the umbrellas for the sunbeds on this beach were made of thatch that looked naturally wonderful. The waves on this beach were smaller, more frequent and easy on us that particular day. Ryan had a lot of fun running into and away from the waves, and he hoped to increase the sand level in the sea by carrying loads of sand from the beach and dumping them in the water. Soon enough, he understood that his strategy wasn’t helping when he decided to lie down in the water and let the waves sweep over him.
What was interesting to note was that the kids loved to play in the sand. They played with their sand toys as soon as we reached the beach, before splashing into the water, after splashing into the water, before lunch, after lunch till the evening when it was almost getting dark. We actually had to convince them to get up and pack their sand toys. I had never seen Ryan so dedicated to one activity for so many hours at a stretch.
The food on this beach was good with a great deal of fresh fruit juice options. The names of the shacks were mostly in Russian, and Im no good at the language. It is also sad that I didnt make an effort to ask for the names. We had fried fish and char-grilled chicken along with a combination of rice and Indian lentils with a lot of juices for lunch. For dinner, we tried a different shack. Creamy spaghetti, American Chopsuey, pancakes with chocolate sauce, vegetarian sizzler and some drinks made our evening more delightful especially after an experience of Parasailing on the beach. (Read my post on Goa Travel: Parasailing at Goa).
It was the first of January, and the boys at the shacks were all overworked from the previous night. They had not slept in more than 24 hours, and the tiredness showed on them. Our vegetarian and non-vegetarian orders got mixed up, extra pancakes showed up on our table uninformed, juices were extra delayed, but we understood that the boys at the shacks were terribly tired.
One point to note on this beach is that the washrooms look flimsy and makeshift. I didnt spot one concrete bathroom. Most of these are one room wood chambers at a raised platform. To reach the washroom, you need to climb up sand bags piled up together as stairs.
As expected, Goa tanned us beyond recognition. Thats an exaggeration I suppose. Even in December and January, the sun was warm and sometimes scorching. Evenings, nights, and mornings were pleasant. Don’t forget your sunscreen if you are going there. And your bottle of water. It is ironical that the sea was dehydrating us.
Ok, lets not blame the sea. It was the sun actually.
Watch out for more posts on my Goa travel. They are coming up soon!