Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Own Paradise

I spent the past five weeks in Anjuna, Goa, India.  This little beach village has a special place in my heart because I was born there (actually in a hospital nearby, but that is another story).  Anjuna is a very well known little village if you are in the right circles.  Basically it is the center of the hippie enclave in India for the last 30-40 years (I realize that is a massive generalization, so don't take it too literally).  Some people might say that Baga (just over the hill) is, but I was raised in Anjuna so I'm biased toward this side of the hill. 

Thirty years ago it had not roads, no electricity, and no rules.  Now, things have changed, but there is still only one road, and no rules. 
This is the little steeple on the hill.
My trip to Anjuna was two-fold. One, I wanted to visit my sister, brother, and friends in Goa.  Two, I needed to do my research for my Master's thesis which is an oral history of the expatriates in Goa.  I got both my goals done.  Eighteen people sat with me and told me about their experiences living in Goa, and my big sister and little brother were great friends.

There is something very special about Anjuna.  At this time of year the weather is perfect.  It is sunny and warm, and the ocean gets warmer every day.

Life is slower and more relaxed in Anjuna.  For example, a perfect day in Anjuna started with an early swim and tanning session on the beach.  If you get to the beach before eleven you will find only locals.  I loved to sit and watch the local expat kids swim, play racket ball, and generally have a wonderful time on the beach.
This is the chai shop where I usually had a chair on the beach.
By one o'clock it is time for a little lunch at Joe's.  Joe Banana's is the best lunch and breakfast place in South Anjuna.  It is also the center of the social scene.  I always see people I know.  They have the restaurant set up with several big tables, so every one can sit and talk. 
Outside Joe's.
These days a veg thali is the best option.  Lots of veggies, rice and my favorite, chapaties (flat wheat rounds).
Veg Thali
It is very common and totally acceptable to just stop in to your friends house for a visit.  This is one part of Goa I love.  You don't have to make plans and schedules, you just walk over and visit a friend.  As things do, this is changing a little.  With cell phones, people tend to call ahead, but overall, things are still pretty relaxed.
I love the little walking (or motorbike) paths all over the village.
The other nice aspect of visiting friends is that you don't have to actually go on any road to do this.  You can just walk down the little coconut tree lined paths.  Everything in South Anjuna is walking distance.  There is nothing better than walking to the beach let me tell you.
Path to the beach.
Path to visit a friend.
Sunset is another moment to return to the beach.  I have tons of pictures of the sunsets because I watched them every day.  As the winter progresses, the sunsets get clearer.  Again, I often run into friends and acquaintances, and can enjoy and good chai before dinner. 

So for a quiet person like me, this was my life.  There are many options if you are more of a party goer or like to drink at night, but I preferred to be home by sunset and only went out to the raves when my brother was playing.  He is a great DJ. 

I'm not sure if I described Anjuna well, but in many ways it is a difficult place to describe.  I will leave you with this: Anjuna has it's own special magic.  As a woman, Mariposa, put it to me in an interview, "Goa is a different paradise for each person."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Make me smile and leave a comment!

Blog Design by A Mommy's Blog Design (© Copyright 2011)