Goa is many things to many people… hippies, beach shacks, posh hotels, bohemian getaway... but right now it was just one thing. Wet. Really, really, wet. I woke to relentless sheets of rain pounding down my first morning in Anjuna. Coming for 9 days during the August monsoon was not a good idea.
“Closed, closed, closed…” said the hostel owner as I named a few places nearby. Walking not an option, I reluctantly paid him to drive me to one of the few open cafés in Anjuna. After refueling, I took advantage of a break in the weather and walked the deserted streets to Little Vagator. Beautiful cliffs overlooked the ocean, with swaying palm trees guarding the coast. Starting at Thalassa restaurant, every place on the street was closed.
By late afternoon, I took refuge in a small hostel. As power crashed, there was nothing but darkness and more rain. When my phone died, so did hopes of booking an early flight home. Wet and dejected, the blow of failure was only cushioned by candlelight Goan prawn curry and local Kings beer.
NEVER GIVE UP
The next morning, the Biblical rains softened to a normal monsoon. A pattern emerged. When the rains eased, make the most of the moment and explore. Walking the quiet, windy roads, patches of town were still open.
One afternoon, I escaped a downpour by ducking into Sri, its small entrance adorned by plants and a statue. Inside was a cavernous tent with cots, tables, books and a prophetic Dali Lama quote titled, “Never Give Up”. The staff napped while two people played cards, surrounded by a few bottles of Kings and the remnants of lunch. They told me to grab beers from the fridge and join. They noted how they only come to Goa during the monsoon, so they can escape the tourists and have places like Sri all to themselves.
AN EASY FLOW
The remaining days, I fell into an easy flow of slow breakfasts and coffee while waiting for the rains to break. I would explore lush windy back streets by foot or nearby towns by bus. Evenings were spent with more prawn curry and Kings beer. I discovered restored Dutch bungalows and a former governor’s residence converted into a hotel. Small Catholic shrines watched over my evening walks. One day, I rented a scooter and relaxed at Curlie’s beach shack. The next day, after a few slow coffees and a book, I took the free yoga class with no one else joininig. Quiet, wet, monsoon Goa had slowly become heaven.