Before I left for my recent trip to Goa I envisioned long lazy days of lounging around in the sun, shopping for cute bohemian dresses, eating good food at beach-side shacks, and watching glorious sunsets over the Arabian sea: for the first 7 days of the trip that’s exactly what I got.
Expecting a Diwali-rush on Goa accommodation we had booked a guesthouse in Anjuna for our first 3 nights, but upon arrival realised that the beach was a 20 minute walk down tiny rural lanes pockmarked with potholes that became treacherous at night. The road from town to beach also turned out to be a frustrating gauntlet of competitive street sellers all vying aggressively for our business–something we tired of after only a few walks to the beach.
We decided to trade the cheap guesthouse room for a seafront cabin complete with our own sun loungers, and a wonderful few days of sunbathing, swimming and hanging out in the beach bars ensued.
The beach, despite not yet being in full season, grew busier everyday as more tourists–both Indian and foreign–flooded in. Whilst the foreigners baked their pasty, sun-starved skin in the sweltering Goan heat, locals frolicked fully-clothed in the frothy waves, cows lazily sauntered along the beaches, and construction workers scaled flimsy bamboo scaffolding in an attempt to prepare new beach huts for the oncoming high season.
We even squeezed in a sunset or two.
And then the rains came
It started slowly with a short shower one night. The next shower a few days later was longer. Then rain fell solidly for 3 days.
Surely rain in paradise is a depressing thing?
It seems that many people thought so. The beaches became deserted, blue tarpaulin covers blinded shop fronts, and the bars emptied.
So much the better for those of us that stayed.
Little did I know at the time that a tropical storm was gathering off the west coast of India. Although it was nowhere near Goa, the winds pushed storm clouds our way. The skies grew dark, the clouds hanging heavy with rain. Lightning flashed across the sky.
Most impressively, the swollen tide rose pushing ever nearer to the beach huts and bars. Instead of lying in our cabin at night listening to the gentle kiss of waves on the shore, a roaring crescendo of waves crashed thunderously against rock and over the small wall that offered our only protection from the heaving swell beyond.
Even though the night-time sea was daunting (particularly when the waves started to come inside our favourite beach bar) the stormy skies of the daytime were particularly photogenic, and the perfect subject to get creative on instagram.