I’m sitting in a wicker chair with my toes in the sand under the shade of a palm tree watching the locals pull in the day’s catch with a huge fishing net. This is a group effort, and the crabs, fish and prawns are distributed so everyone gets their fair share. If you have seen ”Endless Summer”, it’s exactly like the scene in Ghana (or is it Senegal?)–only the villagers in this case are Indian–some with Portuguese ancestry.

Already knowing I’m in India, there is only one place I could be–Palolem, Goa. It’s technically India, but the 450-year Portuguese rule ended in 1961. It’s nice to see signs and names in Portuguese, and there are even some soccer fans here, though cricket is still the overwhelmingly favorite past time (even on the beach).

Northern Goa, known for its party scene, is popular with fresh out of the army 22 y/o Israeli hippies looking for a kickin’ rave party and some e to go with it. I chose Palolem in the south to avoid the aforementioned headache, and it is decidedly much more laid back with a perfect mix of locals, foreign backpackers and Indians tourists. Brits and Aussies flock here in droves during peak season (December-March), but this is the very last week for tourists before everything closes in preparation for the monsoon. At the moment, I am the only American in Palolem.

Interesting observation:
Even though it isn’t inappropriate for foreigners to wear bikinis in Goa, I did not see a single Indian woman on the beach donning anything less than a salwar kameez.

Random fact:
More people in India die each year from falling coconuts than snake bites.