Landing at Daoblim Airport it feels like the ‘real’ India compared to the cosmopolitan feel of Bangalore, it’s all hot and humid, noisy and frantic, yet organised, hustle and bustle.
Landing later than sunset as a solo traveller I always take a taxi, so seated in my taxi I am grateful for air conditioning, one of life’s most underrated luxuries. I sit back and hope that my driver can drive without too many close shaves, by now an old pro at coping with the mad cap driving habits of the Indian, I can just relax (enjoy even?) and watch the world go by outside.
Roadside vendors, men on mopeds, cattle and other animals all vying for time and space, the first hour is pretty grim with deprived looking towns and villages, dust and smog, but then the roadside buildings start to give way to lush green vegetation, a blood orange setting sun, and a sense of calm.
For my 10 day stay and after much research I have chosen to stay in the town of Patnem, Palolem’s younger, quieter, sister. It’s dark by the time I arrive so I’m glad I pre-booked my bungalow. However, no amount of research told me the ‘road’ ends at a row of motorbikes and I must walk down the beach to my huts! ‘This is why you should have bought a backpack’ I scold myself, as with two wheelie cases and a yoga mat it’s a testing 100 metres until I arrive sweaty and silently swearing at the huts and get shown to my hut.
Way back in the depths of the tropical garden, it’s named Krishna, so hopefully this is a sign that it will be ok.
Basic but clean, with an antic bathroom (read hose for shower) I’m too tired to care, there is a mosquito net, a large double bed with clean sheets, so it is ‘fit for purpose’ until my darling friend arrives and we are going ‘upmarket’
Next morning, feeling refreshed I’m up with the birds and ready to have a beach stroll and take in the surroundings. There is something so wonderful about dawn, it used to be the time I was getting in feeling dazed and confused from a club or party, but now I love it for the time to feel alive and appreciate the world. A cooler temperature (around 24c) makes for a wonderful walk along the shore, my first toe dip into the Arabian sea, and a chance to view all the hut ‘resorts’ along the beach. I also check out the yoga shalas that are visible from the beach and, most importantly, hunt down the ‘Patnem Chai Shop’ that I had researched – 7rps chai – this is more like it!!! – Goa is super cheap for Western visitors, but much more expensive than Mysore for eating and drinking.
After breakfast at my huts own restaurant (average so nothing to write about here) I settle into the day on the beach, a sun lounger with shade and a nice swim the warm, but clean, sea.
As a beach lover it’s easy for me to while away hours and hours, reading, relaxing a people watching, and after 4.15am practice in Mysore this is exactly what I came here for!
There is a gentle breeze to help keep you cool in the scorching 36c that it climbs to that day. And I also manage to keep cool with my first alcoholic beverage of 35 days – an ice-cold kingfisher beer – boy did that taste divine 😉
After a sweltering walk I find a nice restaurant for lunch, ‘April 20’, where I have a delicious Dal Makhani, served in a small silver bucket, and a lime soda, and sit enjoying the breeze. It’s towards the north end of the beach which I have already decided is nicer and more chilled that the centre and southern parts.
Next day, I get up and practice in my room, shower and head up to my next resort, La La Land, where I excitedly wait the arrival of one of my closest and dearest friends who has taken a ‘spur of the moment’ flight to see me and take some time to chill and de-stress.The following week is spent in beach bungalow luxury, as our resort is brand new, and beautifully landscaped into the hill at Colomb Bay, a picturesque little fishing bay nestled between Patnem and Palolem.
We settle into our daily routine of morning yoga, breakfast; sun lounging (favourite lounge spot the uber friendly Salida del Sol) sunset watching, evening snacking and early night to repeat again the next day.
Patnem is the perfect place to relax, I hear that the North of Goa is now saturated with resorts so if you want to experience the Goa that was popular in the 60’s and 70’s this might just be the closest you can get whilst still having all the options for accommodation and food.