Gotta Goa

India, Lost Girls RTW Adventure, Parties, Festivals & Events — By on December 29, 2006 at 7:51 pm

After spending nearly a week purging our bodies, minds and auras of all sorts of impurities at the Sivinanda Ashram in Southern India (who knew onions, sugar, alcohol, garlic and salt were so evil, anyway?) Jen and I decided that it was high time to roll away our yoga mats and start the inevitable and immensely enjoyable process of “retoxification.”

According to a long line of pleasure-seeking backpackers who’ve hit the hippy trail before us, there’s no place better to fall off the wagon than Goa, a sandy string of laid-back, choose-your-own-adventure beach villages, each with its own personality–and a cure for whatever you’re craving.

Interested in raving to endless trance anthems, hopping from club to club, then scarfing down a chicken tikka breakfast at 4:00am? Start and end your party in Baga Beach, home to a tightly packed row of waterfront bars, restaurants and open-air nightspots so slick, you’d swear you’re in L.A. instead of India.

Want to spark up a spliff and discuss why Bush sucks with the group of Israeli dudes staying in the bungalow next door? Drop your pack at Vagator, a sleepy cluster of restaurants and guesthouses overlooking two pebbly beaches patrolled by roaming herds of cattle.

Need to replenish your accessory collection, update your wardrobe and pick up a few cool holiday gifts for the folks back home, all for a few Jacksons? Swing by the charming little village of Anjuna, home to a massive day market (Wednesdays) and night market (Saturdays) featuring everything from ornate Tibetan chokers to brass statuettes of Hindu goddesses to silk saris in a rainbow of colors. Just be sure to bargain hard: pay over 1/3 of the original asking price and you’ve officially been had.

We spent nine days exploring these hotspots (and several others) with Sarah Bailey, our friend, former co-worker and fellow Lost Girl. As we watched the fluorescent citrus sunsets over the Arabian Sea, we sipped cheap cocktails and tried not to snort them through our nose as Sarah shared strange-but-true tales from her job as a safe sex campaign manager in nearby Chennai, India.

“It’s incredible how much misinformation the local health care workers have here,” she told us, shaking her head. “And these are the people who are supposed to be teaching the general public what’s up. Some of the men believe that if you masturbate too much you can die. They tell women if their husband dies, their bodies close up and they can never have sex again.”

Jen and I knew from reading through Maire Claire India and Elle India that there’s a ton of sexual misinformation brewing in the subcontinent (the reader letters depressed the hell out of us) but we couldn’t believe what we were hearing from our friend. But Sarah’s next story took the cake:

“After counciling a transexual man during the last couple of weeks, I learned that being gay is technically illegal in India,” she said. “But what constitutes gay is up for interpretation. If certain cops bust two men going at it, they won’t haul them to prison–so long as they recieve oral sex as a bribe. I’m not kidding!”

After spending four months in Chennai, Sarah had accrued enough anecdotes to keep us riveted (and completely baffled) through our second and third rounds of drinks. If we hadn’t heard the stories firsthand, we’d hardly believe ’em ourselves!

More to come from Goa…

PS: Check out more about our newest fave beach spot at: GoaBlog.org

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