Agonda beach was exactly what we needed after six weeks of traveling through India. We started out booking four nights at The Secret Garden Coco Huts and ended up extending it to eight nights. We didn't want to leave! Well...until I did. But I'm skipping ahead again.
The Secret Garden was amazing. If you are going to Agonda Beach, look no further! We had a private hut, on stilts, over looking the Arabian sea. Still, I feel its necessary to clarify a few things. Many places on Agonda claim to be "resorts." Don't get your hopes up, most of these places are bare bones. Half the time, Brian and I were worried the whole thing was going to collapse even from a gentle sea breeze. It, in no way shape or form, would pass any sort of inspection in the States. I don’t even know how it was constructed to stay upright and withhold any weight. Half the time we were scared to make any sudden movements since we could feel the hut swaying beneath our feet. But really, it was incredible and at $22 a night, you couldn’t beat it! Also, like most of the accommodations on Agonda beach, it is only open during the high season (October 15 - May 15) and closed during monsoon season (and they are reconstructed every year!).
Every morning we would enjoy a delicious cup of chai on our front deck. I even joined Brian on a couple of his beach runs! And by join Brian, I mean I put on work out clothes and strolled along the beach as he ran five miles a day, lapping me several times. Afterwards we would cool off in the ocean before heading to the Hidden Garden restaurant (part of our hotel and our favorite restaurant on the beach) for breakfast and chai #2.
The main road in Agonda reminded us a lot of Tulum. It's just a single, dirt path with restaurants, stores, and hotels lining each side. We would explore the town, enjoy the beach, find a place for happy hour, and indulge in several sun downers. It was complete bliss. We even found a neighborhood bar that finally sold wine by the glass at a reasonable price (150 rupees). The guys who run it are from Nepal and every year, they come down during the high season and grace Agonda beach with their beautiful bar and delicious momos.
Our favorite evenings, however, were spent at The Hidden Garden restaurant watching the glorious sunsets every night with some of our close buddies. Even though a part of me knows that these glorious sunsets are a result of all the pollution in the air, you can't help but be in awe of it all. They were truly breathtaking.
Everything was perfect. I didn’t want to leave. I was already drawing up an image in my head of Brian and I opening our own beach front villa when out of nowhere, something changed. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I felt like an elephant (or cow rather) was standing on my chest, and I couldn’t breath. I kept trying to ignore it, blaming it on the pollution or all the curry I had been eating, but it wouldn’t go away. One morning, after Brian and I made the tough decision to skip out on Hampii once we realized it would take us over twenty two hours to get there and back by train (back to North Goa that is), I decided to go on another run with Brian hoping it would help clear my mind. Wrong (note: running will never help me with anything. Lesson learned).
As I was leisurely walking (walking, running...same same) in the sand avoiding the sunbathing cows on the beach, barely spotting Brian in the distance at his 6 minute mile pace, I spontaneously bursted into tears. Ugly cry tears. Snot all over my face tears. I didn’t even care if anyone saw me; there was no way to hide it. I was past the point of no return. As Brian approached, his face glistening in sweat, mine glistening in snot and tears, his smile quickly vanished once he realized I was Claire Danes crying in the middle of the beach.
All I could manage to get out was that I was ready to go home. I was tired and homesick. It was Thanksgiving and the thought of staying in Goa for another week and Mumbai for our final week was too much for me. To my surprise, Brian said he was ready too and rather than spend the extra week in Goa, we decided to hit fast-forward on everything and move up our "Christmas break." After a lot of research and failed phone calls with Delta (the WiFI really is crap in India you guys), we managed to change our ticket to come home six days earlier than planned, leaving us with a little over a week in India. I’ve never felt a weight lifted off my shoulders more than I did after we booked those tickets. I felt like a new person. I was once again eager to enjoy the rest of our time in India rather than just going through the motions. We had two more stops before heading home: a couple nights in North Goa just to check it out and lastly, Mumbai, our final stop!