We flew in to Goa's tropical airport in glorious sunshine and marvelled at the dramatic change in scenery, everywhere we looked was green, there were palm trees poking out from solid walls of green vegetation. We spent the first few days in a lively town called Calangute where there is a beautiful golden sandy beach but the waves were so strong we couldn't venture far in to the water. One by one our tour group departed, some were headed home and others like us were continuing their journeys. We spent a couple of days planning and booking the rest of our trip around India that would take us to the southern tip and up the west coast to finish with a very brief stop back in Delhi.
We felt we deserved a rest and travelled north for a few days to a place called Anjuna where some hippies from the sixties had never left. It wasn't the paradise we had expected, it was a small tourist village on a nice stretch of beach but being a couple of the few tourists there so early in the season we were constantly hassled by hawkers on the street, in the market and on the beach. We couldn't get any peace from calls of "Hey mister, look in my shop" or "Hey lady, where you from?" One girl sat with us on the beach for over an hour unable to take no for an answer.
As a surprise for Leanne's birthday I booked us in to a resort in Palolem in south Goa which we had been told by locals was the nicest area of Goa. The hotel was nestled in to a hillside a short walk from the beach and we stayed in a wooden cabin with a pool just outside, a complete contrast to the majority of hotels we had stayed in so far. The town was small and held just a few shops and restaurants which we exhausted within a few days, the beach was curved and the water was more welcoming for swimming, we spent the majority of our days here or by the hotel pool. On Leanne's 29th birthday we took a morning boat ride up the mouth of a river with a fisherman called Guru, we watched fishermen empty their catch and discard the scraps to eagerly waiting eagles and Leanne saw her first ever Kingfisher, she was having a good day! We then walked out across the sea at low tide to an island for an afternoon of sorting out my T-shirt tan. At night after a dinner of the biggest, freshest fish at a ridiculous cheap price we watched a parade of people make their way to the sea where fireworks are set off and sweets are given to bystanders. This is part of a week-long Hindu celebration called Ganesh Chaturthi which brings groups of people out in the streets dancing and culminates with the head of each family placing a statue of lord Ganesh in to the ocean, this went on all night as each family slowly made their way to the beach.
Our final night in Palolem was disturbed by a movie set descending in to our hotel, lighting rigs were set up throughout the day and when we returned from an afternoon at the beach there were people everywhere. We spoke to a waiter and found out that a scene for a Bollywood film was being shot there that night. I had heard that producers are always keen to have westerners in their movies as it is deemed good luck so after a quick shave and shower we slowly wandered out to dinner, it worked and we were asked to 'star' in a party scene where the main actors were to come in looking for a kidnapped girl. We were to be paid 600 Rupees each and would be fed and watered all night. We shot a couple of scenes of the movie called Thira through a rain storm and in between the showers got to know the producers who explained the plot of the movie to us and that it would be released November 2013. Due to the rainstorms we didn't get to bed until 3am with a wake up of 6am to catch a train to our next destination to explore the ruins of Hampi.