Palolem Paradise: Back to Basics

It was ten o’clock in the morning and already 27C. We clambered off the so called luxury sleeper bus bleary eyed and hungry. The only thing frequenting the hazy beach was the gaunt looking cows that had been grazing there the night before. Rob volunteered to trundle up the beach in the baking sun to look for a room whilst I sat in the shade and drank a banana lassi and a crepe. PERFECT! He returned sweaty and hot with news that he had found a little hut at a family homestay about half a kilometer up the beach. The hut was brilliant and just as I had expected. It was made of MDF and covered in plastic sheeting inside so that the rain wouldn’t come in. It consisted of a bed and a mosquito net, but for around five pounds a night it was everything we needed. We were greeted by what seemed to be the entire family whose hut was next to ours. After such a warm welcome we new we would be staying here for a lot longer than anticipated. After dumping our bags and taking a cold shower, which was a precariously balanced hose and a trickle of water we headed out.

We made our way to a quieter looking spot on the far side of the beach. The sand was scorching so I had to hop quickly from one foot to the other. We found sun loungers and relaxed amongst the many cows, dogs and extremely annoying hawkers. It was a beautiful day but just as you are about to nod off you hear:

“Hello sir, you want look at my shop? I give you good price” or as one little boy said, “Please come see my house I show you my family”

The first mistake I made was to look up and my second was to enter into conversation with this young boy, as all I wanted to do was sleep. We both agreed to go with him and visit his house.
He led us away from the beach and though the jungle. We passed tin houses and kids playing football with a scrunched plastic bottle. After five minutes we arrived in his little village. He pushed open a handmade door and inside was a tiny, dimly lit room the size of a small bathroom. His grandma greeted us in Hindi, her brown teeth on display as she smiled graciously. We sat on the cool stone floor in the stuffy room and drank sweet chai. After a few minutes, which seemed like hours as we were all trying to communicate without understanding a word the other was saying. Along came the dreaded:

“ So, Now you see my shop yes!?”

The entire content of their shop was laid out for us to view, covering our feet and legs. After seeing their house and drinking their tea I felt obliged so I bought two anklets a bracelet and a ring. All of which broke within the first week! Ah, the joys or being an Indian tourist.

C Ward

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