I woke up early the morning after the events of Curlie's only to discover that someone had put a jackhammer inside my head: the lack of drinking water or a full dinner the previous night resulted in a wicked hangover and, after the taxi ride from Anjuna down to Colva in southern Goa, a plastic bag full of vomit. (That was all well worth it though - Goa is one of the only places in India you can properly party so we didn't want to miss out.) Fortunately this left me feeling vastly better, and I was able to head straight to the beach with Ryan and Jobie after we checked into a hotel. Kevin, on the other hand, was incapacitated in bed for most of the day.
After two days in Anjuna we were ready to check out another part of the state, especially since the beach wasn't that great, and we had settled on Colva. The taxi driver insisted that we wouldn't like it there since it is mainly visited by domestic tourists and there is only Indian food to eat...but that was exactly what we wanted. What we didn't know was that apparently Friday is the day when every closeted guy in India heads to the beach. More on that in a minute.
|A much prettier beach than Anjuna. The sand was broiling.|
|cheeseburgers in paradise|
The guys then devised a game in which they got into the ocean, filled an empty beer can with water, and played 'keep away' with it. I played for a few minutes but they were way too intense, so eventually I wandered off. Plus, I didn't want to get tackled by a guy in boxers.
I saw Ryan talking to a young man so I sat down and chatted a bit. He was Muslim and had worked in construction in Dubai. I was getting a strange vibe from him so I decided to walk around. Later, Ryan told me that the guy asked straight-up if he wanted to have sex with him. Later, a couple of Indians told Ryan and Jobie that they were willing to do pretty much whatever they wanted, making it abundantly clear that this was a major day for gay cruising at Colva.
Not all of this blatant lust was homosexual though. At one point I was standing in the surf, contemplating life, when an Indian guy approached me with a question. Through his thick accent the only word I could make out was "lady", but after eight tries I finally understood the question: "Did you bring a lady?"
"Um no, I didn't bring a lady."
"Would you like an escort service?"
"Nope, I'm fine, thanks though."
He started to walk away, turned back around, and asked: "Are you a virgin? Or you ever fucked somebody?"
Taken aback, I replied with a curt, "Dude, that's pretty personal," and walked off. That was enough of the beach for me, at least for a few hours.
|you can go paragliding at Colva|
|the classic South Indian breakfast|
This sprawling mansion, built in the 17th century, is a stunning reminder of Goa's colonial past. Constructed on land originally granted by the King of Portugal, Braganza consists of the West Wing and the East Wing, both of which are still lived in by different sides of the same family.
She also explained that the family is now landless, thanks to a program of land reform enacted in the 1990's in which the Indian government took all of the property that had been collected by the Braganzas. Therefore, the main source of income for maintenance of the huge, luxuriant house is now donations from visitors. We gave a bit of money, but in all honesty it's tough to feel too much sympathy for this sob story. The mansion was built on the wealth generated from plantations, where Indian laborers were undoubtedly forced to work in the fields under a blazing tropical sun, while the family parlayed the favor of the Portuguese rulers into even more land and lived in the lap of luxury. I couldn't help but picture something similar to cotton plantations in the pre-Civil War American South, where landowners enjoyed the grandeur of huge mansions while slaves toiled in the fields.
Across the hall from the West Wing is the East Wing, still held by the Pereira-Braganza family. This half of the house is much more decrepit, but it still impressive, and you are allowed to take pictures to boot. There is a small chapel in one section that contains a fingernail of St. Francis Xavier, and more furniture and decorations from around the world abound.
|trying out an old-fashioned toilet|
We were flying back to Bangalore (airport visit #4!) and immediately catching a bus to Mysore from there. We were on our way to destination number three.