By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien. Click here for photos of there.
Hmm Goa. I found Goa to be a funny kind of place. It’s beautiful. Really beautiful. The sea is bath tub warm, the sand is golden and freckled with tiny multicoloured stones and the sounds of the waves is irregularly punctuated by the dull thud of falling coconuts, the curious result of barefoot locals shimmying up the curving palms to defuse the potential booby traps.
Yet, despite the delicious exoticism of the location, something feels like it just doesn’t quite fit. Something is strange. Toes in the delicately warm morning sand and happily ensconced in a beachside café, I sip my bucket-sized mug of milky tea (Tetley’s according to the label hanging limply over the side) and try to figure out what it is. Then it hits me – just about everybody around me is British. I’m on the Indian Costa del Sol! La Playa des Inglés in India! All day English breakfasts take pride of place on the menu, someone comes around offering the English newspapers to the early risers and various English accents (the pure Geordie accent of my Goan waiter is a thing of wonder!) rise and fall around me. Now that that momentary mystery has been solved, I’m happy to take on this curious sense of displacement within displacement and luxuriate in the temporary cultural familiarity…. and the abundance of Cadbury’s chocolate. I can’t deny though that I’m thrilled to see serene and pampered Indian cows basking in the sand, a sweet reminder of where I really am.
I’m happier still the next day when a wave of Indian tourists arrive. Fully-clothed and holding hands, families splash delightedly at the water’s edge. Groups of boys strike snapshot poses on the sand and racuous waist-deep games of water-polo begin. A balance is restored.
By day, feet in the water, we play fierce and hotly contested games of beach tennis until our arms ache and one of us declares defeat. We float in the Arabian Sea, get our first (painful!) taster of Ashtanga yoga and drink litres of watermelon juice and sparkling pineapple mint coolers. By night, we sit in deckchairs at Magic Trees’ outdoor cinema, a giant sheet strung between two palms, and watch Oscar short-listed films until late. It’s a lazy, beach lounging time! It’s simple and fun and I like it!
Sparkling Pineapple Mint Cooler
1 fresh pineapple, peeled and chopped (set aside a slice to garnish jug)
170 g (one small handful) fresh mint, washed
A few teaspoons of honey, to taste if desired
1 litre bottle of sparkling water
Crushed ice, to serve
1. Place pineapple, mint and honey in a food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Pass blended mixture through a strainer.
3. Pour into a chilled jug (or some tall glasses). Add crushed ice and sparkling water to top. Stir.
4. Garnish with mint or pineapple slices and serve immediately.
Watermelon, cucumber & mint cooler
Half of one small watermelon (1.5 kg), (seedless if possible)
Half a medium-sized cucumber (150 g), peeled and chopped
Handful of mint leaves, wahsed
Juice of 1 lime
200 ml water
1 tsp. honey, to taste (if watermelon isn’t ripe enough)
Crushed ice, to serve
1. Cut away watermelon rind and chop flesh into small cubes. Pick out any seeds. Peel and chop cucumber. Chill overnight.
2. Blend watermelon, cucumber, mint, lime juice and water until smooth.
3. Taste and decide whether it’s necessary to add honey. If yes, add and blend again.
4. Pour into chilled glassed and top with crushed ice.