Goa

We chatted away on the flight and before I knew it we were beginning our descent into Goa, Sheryl was her name, A born and bred Goan flying back home to her family after a business trip. She formed my first opinion of Goa and Goans, she was very warm and helpful and said to call her if I needed anything during my stay. It was an impulsive trip, somewhere I had never previously thought of going so I hadn’t really had time to do much research and I had no expectations. My parents told me to be careful (they went there when they were around my age) so I thought maybe it’s dangerous, “Goans are too lazy to steal” explained Sheryl, she explained life was very relaxed and to expect things to happen very slowly.

It was almost a two hour drive to the hostel, peak traffic time and still it seemed very calm. Apart from the constant beeping of horns which I’d grown accustomed to after 4 weeks in India, there wasn’t really much noise and for most of the drive we were surrounded by jungles. Buildings  were spread apart unlike anywhere I’d seen in India, usually buildings are literally on top of each other.  I took pictures of the beautiful coloured houses with the strong Portuguese influences clearly visible, Goa was a Portuguese colony for over four centuries. You could tell that Goans were more worldly then other Indians due to their various influences and Goa is a tourism hub so they’re a lot more liberal.

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The hostel was decent and people were friendly, my friend Shantel was staying there already, she helped me take my bags to the West Wing. Everyone was staring at us struggling to pull my 60kgs of luggage along the dirt road including the two English guys who arrived the same time as us and were also walking to the West Wing but none of them offered to help. “Chivalry is truly dead” said Shantel, “Excuse me can you help my friend?” she asked the guy showing us to our room, “I am too weak, I am a weak man”. Wow! men really are different here, is this even earth? Did he just say that? “Whatever, I am a strong woman” I thought to myself and pulled my suitcase with a bit more purpose… after about 5 seconds Shantel took over but between us we made it hahaha.

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We ran into the two English guys again, one of them looked really familiar, “Did you go to Graveney School by any chance?” unbelievably he did! What a small world, imagine running into someone who went to the same school as you in a Hostel in GOA!? His name was Guy and he was soon to become one of mine and Shantels beach buddies. I napped and when I woke up Shantel had gone for dinner so I went to the Night Market with some people I met at the Hostel. The market was AMAZING, SO CHEAP and sooooo much jewellery and clothes, most of the jewellery was silver, embellished with beautiful semi precious stones. I bought a “magic dress” which could be worn 7 different ways and some other bits and bobs but mostly I was just taking it all in and then I heard a voice behind me that was sooo distinct I turned around and screamed, “DIANEEEE!!” Diane was a lady I met at the retreat in Tamilnadu 550 miles away, as I said, Its a SMALL world! It was great seeing her, she told me to come and stay with her in the South of Goa as the beaches there were divine but sadly I didn’t get the time to explore that side of Goa.

 

On our way home we decided to go to Club Cubana known as “the club in the sky”, it was on top of a hill and kind of like a giant treehouse. You go up some stairs and on different levels you could get off and there was a pool on one level then one was a VIP area and there was another bar and dancefloor area. It was an interesting experience, there weren’t many locals there, mostly Russians and then a mixture of everyone else; Brits, Americans, Australians. It was fun being out with people I didn’t really know, we just chatted the whole night and got to know each other, Cristina was in Goa for a few months to try and finish writing her book, Alec was travelling the world while saving it by volunteering at every stop, Jaya and Jake were travelling around India and I just found everyone’s stories fascinating.

 

The next day I woke up and went for breakfast with Shantel and then we headed to Vagator beach with whoever else was awake – Simon, Guy, and the Sophies (Swedish BFF’s travelling together with the same name – they were actually adorable!) The beach has huge rocks on it and even in the sea so you have to be careful where you step but that was really the least of our worries. We got harrassed by cows – India really needs cow police because there are just as many cows as people and they need to be hoof-cuffed to trees for certain hours of the day so that humans can relax. But seriously this cow did not leave us alone for like 2 hours, we bought fruit from a lady on the beach and the cow just wouldn’t go away. We threw the mango skins really far away…like we actually walked for a good minute and then threw the skins but as soon as it finished it came back and would shake its horns at us (it was a bull) and tried to headbutt us or just stand over us while we sunbathed so I had a major fear of being trampled to death by a cow. Simon had a staring match with the cow but it wasn’t backing down. Moral of the story: DONT GO TO VAGATOR BEACH (unless you’re going swimming after clubbing or to watch sunrise coz then the cows are asleep)
 
Our beach group stuck so every morning we would go to the beach together with the addition of Tova and Tony, we found a beach called Morjim which was about 25 minutes by scooter, the drive was really scenic and the beach was quiet, clean and calm and didn’t have rocks or cows! Me and Shantel hired a scooter too…Guy gave me a quick lesson and I thought I could drive it but then when we set off I almost died four times in the space of about 30 seconds so I literally abandoned it on the side of the road and we hopped on the back with the boys haha. Even though Simon and Guy are good drivers and most of the time we were just driving through jungle roads where there weren’t many cars, in the town I found it scary so I don’t know what I was thinking trying to drive one lol. We got lost a few times but it kind of added to our adventure, one of the places we got lost in had so many cows in the road and people and cars and we were zig zagging in and out of them. They need a cow lane and a footpath…The cows just stop in the middle of the road or they just decide to change direction…its madness. Shantel learnt to ride the scooter after a few days but I spent most of my time praying or not breathing on the back so I stuck with the guys (sorry Shan hahaha). We had two nights out in Baga which is where the majority of the clubs are and one in Anjuna.

 

Food in Goa was amazing, seafood is so fresh and so cheap and sooooo yummy, I had my best meal at a restaurant called Sri in Anjuna – if you ever go there you have to try the fish! Thalassa was also in Anjuna, an outdoor Greek restaurant that overlooked the beach. The ambience was serene and we went there twice and watched the sunset while we dined. There’s lots of great beach shacks that have good food and generally you can’t go wrong with seafood. I tried a local curry called Xacuti and I couldn’t eat it…it basically tastes like curry powder and water so I would steer clear lol, Goan fish curry was amazing though.

Most people in Goa come just to party and chill on the beach, I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed in my life, it was like living in slow motion, you never need to be somewhere or rush for anything. I wanted to explore Old Goa and so did Felix and Malik so I skipped the beach that day and we went exploring. To be honest there wasn’t much to see but the 3 churches we saw were really amazing and we rode the bus there which was interesting. The bus conductor suddenly jumped of the bus and started fighting with this guy in the street so we had to wait until he finished so we could go. I really wanted to go to a floating Casino as Sheryl highly recommended it and they looked amazing but I just didn’t get the time even though we extended our stay. I managed to get us free tickets to the David Guetta concert so we stayed another day – it was fun and the Goan crowd were so enthusiastic. I loved every minute of being in Goa, definitely one of the funnest weeks of my life! I would highly recommend a trip to Goa and the Asterix Hostel!

 

There are many more stories but what happens in Goa stays in Goa :p

 

Kisses,

 

Zohra x

 

Himalayan Rock Salt

 

I just had a bath in Himalayan Rock Salt and I feel great so I thought I’d share my knowledge of it with you. My mum has always been interested in alternative therapies and she used to tell me to bathe in salt even when I was little. She told me it draws out negativity and salt is also known to heal as it is often used in hospitals to clean cuts.

Himalayan salt is the best salt to use in a salt bath because it contains 84 vital nutrients. I dissolve 1-2 cups in my bath, apparantly your supposed to try and keep your bath close to body temperature to feel maximum benefits. I use it just to relax and detox but is also known to improve circulation, hydrate your skin increase moisture retention, promote cellular regeneration, detoxify the skin and help heal dry or irritated skin. It can also reduce inflammation of the muscles and joints and help relax them. I have been using it more regularly recently as I had a compressed nerve in my left shoulder so I would just wet my shoulder and stick it on there for about 15 minutes and it has helped with pain relief.

It is usually found in health food shops and quite pricey but I found it for really cheap in a shop called Tiger 🙂 It was only £1 for a bag which is enough for about two baths. Rock salt is a cheaper alternative and is readily available. You can use these salts for cooking as well!

I’ll leave you with some more benefits:

  • re-mineralising the body with 84 minerals and trace elements that are essential to good health
  • it assists in the cellular absorption of minerals
  • it replenishes the body’s electrolytes and balances the body’s pH
  • it brings about significant improvements in the respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems
  • it improves the connective tissue in the organs

 

Diary Extract – 6/9/11

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As I lay there, the world felt as though it stood still but only the ebb and flow off the tide remained. I lay on the shoreline with the waves lapping against my feet and my head resting on my sand pillow. I breathed in sync with the waves and as I looked out to see it seemed neverending. Expecatations, goals and deadlines filled my head.

Its always good to set yourself goals and ambitions but not depend on them to the point where you feel like you’re drowning because they’re unaccomplished. To ask and know you will receive is the way it should be but I’ll be the first to say its not an easy thing to do. You must always ask what you want with your whole heart and believe you will get it, if there are doubts you have to ask again with full faith. As I looked up at the clear blue sky I whispered to Allah, “You know what I want and I know you will only give me what’s good for me.” with that came so much release. Every time I exhaled I released my negativity, I felt each wave touch me and carry my worries millions of miles away with it.

Sometimes we get impatient but we have to remember that once we’ve put our dreams, wishes and desires out there, they will be answered if they’re meant for us. If not, we have to put faith in God or the Universe or whatever Ultimate Power you believe in to guide us to our chosen path.

As I lay there I realised just how much I love the ocean, the sound of the waves splashing and somersaulting. I grabbed handfuls of sand and squeezed it out of my hands like clay. The waves raced to fill the holes I’d made and I lay there smiling, because I could 🙂