26 hours on an Indian sleeper train later: Goa. (Okay, it took another day and a half driving from Bombay to Goa but still).
This was going to be our “real vacation”- what people probably think we’ve been doing this whole time. Sitting on the beach, sipping pina coladas, taking showers in the ocean, and making the most of happy hour with new couple friends.
News flash: we haven’t been doing that at all.
We get more and more giddy as chai shops turn to juice stands and yak wool shawls turn to sarongs. It takes everything I have not to turn off at one of the many emerging signs that say “beach –>”.
We decide to try Morjim. It’s a turtle beach, (really any beach will do at this point) and it’s sunny. Little do we know, and we soon figure out, that it’s all Russian. The receptionist asks if I’m Russian, and proceeds to ask if ginger Chris is Russian too. The signs are in Russian, the waiters speak Russian, and the food is Russian. Somehow, we pictured our beach vacation as a little more international so we hop on LG (with front and back breaks failing, shot shock absorbers, only one mirror, a bent handle bar, and a cracking rack), to head of to the next beach.
In Vagator, we find a nice place for cheap up a quaint alley. I’m feeling like a vampire having been covered with a helmet, motorcycle jacket, and combat boots for the better part of two months now, so my skin needs some serious vitamin D. I drop my bag, change into a swimsuit and a sarong, and push Chris to get to me a beach.
We drive by a Japanese restaurant called Sakana, and remind myself not to get too excited because all foreign Japanese restaurants are a disappointment (you know, having lived there and all). Then a Greek restaurant to which Chris had the same reaction (“It’s not going to be real feta cheese and pitas”) but my desire to pick up a cute coverup from the trendy boutique won over Chris’ indifference to the place.
The place is heaving and doesn’t match up to our ~relaxing~ week we had planned so we turn right around.
“Hi, is there something the matter?”
“No, we’re just going to come back when it isn’t so packed”
“Hahaha. This is as quiet as it gets.”
“Are you the owner?”
*Chris glares and nudges me because he hates when I tell people he’s Greek or speaks Greek because of the fact that he looks as non-Greek as it gets*
“Are you from Greece?”
“NO WAY That’s where Chris is from! We live there!”
The owner gives Chris a once over and smirks, talking extra fast in Greek to test him.
Not only did he pass the test with flying colors, she brings him to the kitchen to call her Greek chef and introduce us saying he speaks “better than the Greeks” (we know that). Turns out, if you run in the same circles and live on a small island, you essentially have all the same friends. Before you know it, she’s ordering us the Thalassa famous grilled orange martinis and a mezze and we’re gossiping about where the island’s at now. That was our holiday done, we were to spend every day in Thalassa to see Mariketti. Her cocktails are enormous and flavorful, plus her Greek food is better than we get in Corfu.
We got into a routine. We go to Mango Tree for breakfast where Chris would have a cappuccino and I would have a Bloody Mary, lunch on a beach bed at whatever beach we found with pina coladas, and dinner was at Thalassa with sunset views and martinis. It really isn’t bad here in Goa. Not one bit.
But we can’t really come all the way to Goa and only see one little part of it, can we? So we decide to head towards the south to Patnem, where Sue always goes. It’s very much a place to stay long-term, with lots of rentals with kitchens so that snowbirds can wait out the winters on a nice beach in India. Maybe I’ll retire there. There’s worse things in life.
We’re sitting at April 20 drinking strawberry daiquiris as per Sue’s suggestion, sitting at a table on the sand facing the water watching the sunset. There are couples taking a stroll hand in hand, pups playing in the last light, and it’s all like a scene from a movie until there’s a horrid shriek. Two tables down, a pretty tan girl is jumping out of her seat pointing at- none other than- a dolphin! He’s jumping through the waves, doing flips in the air and playing as if payed to entertain us.
We jolly on down to take advantage of all the happy hours available, and we find an open table next to a young couple our age. They, like us, are there to take full advantage of happy hour, and before you know it we’re tasting each other’s drinks, pulling up chairs at their table, and sprinting to the bar to get in another round before happy hour ends. It was a happy hour bar-crawl- so off to the next bar we went! Espresso martinis to long island iced teas, spilled drinks to blurred pictures.
Along rolls midnight, and Sadie and I think it’s a terrific idea to go for a midnight swim. “Apparently” there were glowing plankton in the sea, not that I believed her. “Shut up Sadie it’s just air bubbles”.
Everything around me is pitch black, and suddenly I realize it’s not air bubbles. It’s pixie dust coming out of my fingertips. When I twirl, it’s like the Cinderella scene where she transforms into her ball gown via fairy godmother magic dust. Every time I move, it’s such a strong blue light I think I can almost see my toes in the pitch black water. It’s easy to feel as though the light will guide you back to the shore if you swim just a little further. But it won’t. And the waves are getting pretty gnarly. It’s time to go.