Agonda, Goa

Agonda Village, South Goa

Up early with the sun I hotfooted it from Palolem, taking a 12 pence bus from the nearby hub of Chaudi bus terminal (which confusingly was also known simultaneously by the names Kadamba and Cancolim) back towards the coast to Agonda beach, and strolled along the beach road until I reached a place called Madhu’s beach huts.
Madhu’s offered simple but sturdy beach huts literally right on the beach, surrounded by sand. The huts had big, comfy double beds, mosquitos nets, concrete floors, tiled bathrooms, a balcony to sit on outside and your very own sun lounger. Even better, it had a free, reliable high-speed internet connection, a rarity for rural India. Out of season I managed to appear disinterested enough to bargain the owner down to 400 rupees a night. I was completely set up for the next five days to do a little bit of web design work and a lot of nothing.
Agonda was a magical place and was exactly what I was looking for. Out of season, the normally quiet, beautiful beach was all but deserted. There was not a single tout to hassle you to buy things; just a few locals from the village going about their business and a handful of other tourists like me incredulous that they had stumbled upon paradise.
The joy of Agonda was that whilst it had a dozen or so little co-co hut resorts like Madhu’s stretched along its length each with restaurants and had certainly been “discovered” by budget tourists for a while, it was still a functioning community. The residents were full of waves and smiles as I passed on my morning walks to the local general store for the purchase of the daily few litres of water I would later be sweating out profusely in the heat. Kids played along the road, people drew water from the local well, and I even experienced a little community festival held outside the local church. Agonda was at that rare balance point between which the place had enough of a tourist infrastructure to support the needs of budget tourists like myself (and to supplement the wealth of the village) whilst still being able to retain its feel as a community. With a bit of luck it will stay like that; apparently a year or so back a company started proceedings to build a huge five-star resort on Agonda beach, but faced a fierce campaign of opposition from the locals, which included the daubing on a wall of the chilling graffiti “WE WILL KILL YOUR TOURISTS”. Thankfully the project has been abandoned for now.
Agonda’s vibe perfectly fitted the “survival techniques” I had purposefully decided to follow in India. The first deliberate decision I made was to eat only vegetarian food. Whilst there are plenty of meat dishes available throughout India, particularly in Goa where seafood is a staple part of the diet, my decision to go veggie was admittedly a practical one rather than one borne out of the welfare of cuddly animals. I knew that cleanliness of food and its areas of preparation were issues to be aware of in India, and the addition of meat brought in a whole wealth of additional complications. Here in the sticks powercuts were common, and could last for hours at a time. Give me the veggie curry any day over the chicken curry whose meat has been happily thawing in the fridge whilst the eleccy was out. Thankfully here, as in Anjuna before it, the restaurants had a wealth of veggie options.
Secondly, I had decided to take India at a steady pace without rushing anywhere. I wouldn’t be rushing to “tick the boxes” of the tourist sites, or planning tight transfers if I could help it, but rather looking just a few days ahead at a time and getting to railway stations and airports with plenty of time to spare. Here in Agonda my chosen steady pace was taken to the extreme.
You couldn’t rush here if you tried.