When Shruti first suggested going to Goa, I was hesitant. When I thought of Goa I thought of debauchery and Russians. If I wanted to go to a dirty, shitty beach I would just go to Hurghada or Sharm.
Despite my initial misgivings, I went along with the Goa idea and am glad I did. Yes, it's a beach paradise. But there's a lot of history, a lot of local culture. I would never have seen this part of India otherwise.
Goa is incredibly lush and green. Also humid- I stepped off the plane and my glasses fogged up. The population here is heavily Christian, leftover from the years as a Portuguese colony. In fact, the Portuguese were kicked out at least ten years after partition by the Indian army. Left behind is the religion, the food, the architecture, and the port wine.
We stayed at a bit of a nicer resort for the wedding, which I'm happy about after spending a few hours in Baga Beach, an area of Goa that lives up to the Russian stereotypes. Also whenever we left I got hollered at. Again, it's what I'm used to from Cairo. Although unfortunately Cairo conditioned me to tense up in expectation of physical harm to come.
Shruti was surprised about the attention we/I got. We were walking around a fort and these guys kept on following us and talking. She said she never understood harassment until she walked around with me. You're welcome, I guess. I told her its okay, that I'm pretty used to such attention and treatment because of Egypt. Except in Egypt the boys would have pushed us down the stairs or thrown garbage at us. At least Indian guys-knock on wood- haven't caused me physical harm. Yet.
She also said she didn't realize she lived in a country full of creepers until she traveled with me. There were stares--I was really one of the only white people I saw in Goa. It was offseason so those visiting were all Indian. There were a few families who asked to take a photo with me. Again, I don't really care. There were some people who ran up to me a took a photo and ran away. Perhaps a bit strange.
This morning a little girl walked up to our table at breakfast. We turned to her and tried talking to her, asking her name and everything. She just sat there, speechless, looking like she was about to say something but not quite able to spit it out. Her dad eventually came by and pulled her away.
"She was like, 'Ohmigod!'," said Shruti. "' My Barbie doll came to life!'"