Narrow, winding roads in Goa meander through the relatively cool winter greenery, with the peace frequently shattered by taxis and vehicles of tourists rushing around at break neck speed. The pace of life along the beaches of South Goa, however, continue to be completely different. The first sight of Arossim Beach as one approaches by the lane adjoining the Park Hyatt hotel is that of soft, whitish sand that feels crunchy below your feet.
Cattle graze peacefully just behind the beach, like they have been doing for decades.
The beach stretches away for kilometres towards the north and south, punctuated by beach shacks and occasional spots of water sports. It's time to take off your sandals, for the oh so wonderful feeling once again.
Endearing memories of South Goa, where the sand gently slopes into the waves that lap in and out casually, never seeming to be in a hurry. Well, this is during the 'season' because the sea changes as if by magic to an angry, gurgling grey mass during the monsoon months.
South Goa is ideal for long walks, often unhurried. Unless you have about 10 km to cover and get back for lunch or dinner, which is actually quite fun.
Yes, I agree, Arossim Beach is nice indeed, as this piece of beach graffiti states.
It's the end of the day for many communities, including the water sports crew. Time to rest against one of the boats.
The slanting rays of the Goan winter evening paint the beach with a golden hue.
A little girl walks away appearing quite satisfied with her work of art on the soft sand.
Come on, it's time to wind up, says this group, preparing to guide a boat in.
The beach shacks in Utorda are all warmly bathed by the rays of the setting sun, set to welcome guests many of whom may even hang around till midnight, listening to the sound of the waves in the cool Goan night.
The waves and even more little waves tirelessly wash up along the beach, just right to wet your toes in anticipation of dinner ahead.
Days and nights merge into the ones ahead, with the previous lingering on as a gentle memory. Like the solitary shell left behind by the gentle waves.
A few spots along the South Goa coast get slightly crowded, like Majorda and Colva. Large groups of domestic visitors are commonly sighted. Fortunately, the litter is nowhere near as bad as that left behind by the mobs that descend in Baga and Calangute in North Goa.
Proof that it is a winter morning is the bright blue sky with barely any clouds, and temperatures hovering between 25 to 30 C.
The long, unhurried strolls continue. The objective of the typical morning is to get to our targeted Magzika Beach Shack in Betalbatim. The walk from Pristine Resort in Arossim to Magzika Beach Shack is close to 5 km.
An extremely pleasant walk, stopping now and then to admire shells, and an occasional bird hopping around. We sighted several of these, the Western Reef Egret (Dark morph). Thanks to 'mfuwe' of the TripAdvisor forum for identifying the bird.
Young lads practice Soccer skills on the beach.
While the strides appear to be purposeful, a play of sun and shadow on the water, it's all part of a day at the office in South Goa, whistling and splashing along. Off for lunch at the beach shack!
Fishermen's boats have been parked in Betalbatim, with fishing nets and gear neatly coiled up, the nets having dried up since the previous evening. Ready for the next outing. We do need to thank the brave fishermen for providing us our fish that we gorge on, rated among the most dangerous jobs in the world.
How about a spot of Cricket? They may switch to Soccer quite easily, though. Yaay, the boys shrieked in glee!
So, here we are, Magzika Beach Shack in Betalbatim, run by young Prajoy Kalekar. Our base till late afternoon, researching the menu, talking to Prajoy and crew, deciding what is best to eat and drink that day.
The walks back late afternoon are quintessential South Goan, winter afternoon strolls. Five km, did you say? Did not feel like it, though.
Fishermen haul their catch in, which includes tons of fish and blobs of jelly like creatures.
The setting sun plays the old shadow game on the soft white sands of Arossim beach. It's time to head back to Pristine Resort to get ready for the evening. It's been a typically busy day doing this and that and nothing much.
An 8 km walk, for example, is a piece of cake, and doesn't take more than 2 hours, like this one north from Arossim to Cansaulim and back south to Utorda. Yours truly has recorded 20 km walks in the years gone by. Maybe next time?
Sunset is a busy time in Goa. More about that in my next post.
All the posts in this series: