November 2, 2009:
Goa - tropical beaches, coconut palms, bright flowers, narrow winding lanes, characteristic architecture with modern buildings interspersed with colonial cottages with their shingled tiles, the spicy aromas of Goan cooking as in the prawn curry and rice, the rava-fried kingfish, the papad rolls stuffed with a spicy prawn mixture, the spicy Goan sausage sauteed in spicier oil; the brightly colored jewel-toned houses of the like that I’ve never seen before – bright magenta, shocking pink, emerald green, saffron, bright purple, turquoise, sapphire blue, ruby red, sunset yellow, and even a deep crimson; the numerous, mostly white, churches with beautiful architecture dating back to colonial and Portuguese influences; the numerous Hindu temples. The colors of the flowers are equally brilliant: Hibiscus in reds, pinks and yellows; the Sandwich Island Creeper with its bunches of small delicate pink blossoms spreading so wildly that it creates a thick canopy completely covering fences, hedges, trees and bushes; the Frangipani shrubs with their lightly fragrant white and yellow flowers as well as those with red flowers; the Morning Glory with its pale purple/mauve bell-like flowers creeping along stone walls and wooden fences; the trees with the bright orange flowers whose names I do not know, or the plants with long red blooms that look like cats tails; the Helicopia with its large flowers in a remarkable orange and yellow and white inflorescence; the dozens of varieties of palms, the drumstick trees, the cashew trees, the mango trees, and the hundreds of thousands of coconut palms that grow like wild grass. The vegetation is amazing and the colors are brilliantly blinding.
Goan music has a catchy beat, and the whole atmosphere of Goa is colorful yet slow, laid-back and calm, even more so than Bali I thought – a slower pace, a deeper breath, a calmer life. The Catholic texture of Goa is very much evident in the names of people and shops and streets and in the churches; the native fishing community of Goa is concentrated on the coastal areas where you can spot numerous fishing wharfs harboring fishing boats with colorful fishing nets. The people are friendly and welcoming.
The Goan shacks, or roadside eateries are simple restaurants with thatched roofs covered with dried fronds from the coconut palms, an outdoor feel to the patio-like lay out of the eating space – open sides but with a covered top. Right above the front entrance of one of the shacks, below the large blue sign displaying the varieties of available sea food, was a bold yellow placard with large red lettering in English that read : Atithi Devo Bhavah (a guest is none other but a form of god).
That's Goa in a nutshell...