(The courtyard. Raj, the young owner of Blue Corner, has a total of 10 huts arranged around a rectangular space of sand, where he has started to grow some palms. Blue Corner has only been around for 3 years.)
Our days have finally slowed down after the initial sightseeing, and it has taken a full day to get used to actually relaxing on the beach. It is not hard doing, as you might imagine. Apart from the beauty of the beach and the Arabian Sea, both of which extend endlessly in front of the Blue Corner, there are a definitely a few problematic things. Firstly, the 30 or so "beach girls" from Karnataka who come spend 8 months in Goa (away from their home villages) in order to make some money by selling sarongs, cheap jewelry, and other nick-nacks to tourists like ourselves. Most of these girls have heart wrenching stories that they readily share in order to get you to buy something. It's hard to negotiate one's buying... I have felt very bad for refusing to buy from a girl named Anita, who is the only source of income for the family of 3 younger brothers and two parents (according to Anita as well as some of the other girls- who are all from the same village- there is no work in their village in Karnataka.) At the same time, I can't help but wonder about their stories and not imagine that they have carefully tailored their saleswoman personas according to what they have learnt to work with the Western tourist.
David and I have discussed the question of somehow "giving back" to India after our trip, and it seems like the most practical way of doing so is to do a little research and find a good organization that works on a local level for change. We are particularly interested in anything that deals with women, children, and education - whether it's regarding health, economics, the arts, or anything else. If you have any suggestions, we look forward to your thoughts.
Another, smaller, issue here in Benaulim is the food, which has proven pretty heavy (LOTS of coconut milk) and not so easily digestable. David and I have already caught ourselves longing for salads...it's too early in the trip to do so!
Although I am enjoying the relaxed pace of staying by the beach, as well as the clean ocean air (what a relief after the incredibly polluted Mumbai!) I am already looking forward to our next travels. We are planning to move up to Northern Goa in the next couple of days, where we should find a younger crowd of tourists, as well as raves, chill out music, and general partying... we'll see how that goes! After that, we will be moving to the region of Karnataka.