Anjuna, Goa Tales #22–Vibes before the rains

It’s  that time of year again in Anjuna where the cicadas start their incessant high-pitched buzzing/hissing noise in the trees and it sounds like a symphony of vibrating alarms going off.  They’re calling to their lovers. . .or, potential lovers, anyway. . .or, for some of them, maybe just hoping another little cicada chick is listening somewhere in the jungle and will find them amongst the trees.

They only like certain trees so you can be walking down a quiet part of the road and then all of a sudden it’s as if you’ve entered a tunnel of sound.  The mating call engulfs you and all of your senses.  I never heard it at this volume other than in the rainforests of Costa Rica.

But their call is also a message to let us know the rains are coming.  The monsoon will be here soon enough.  Gasp!  The symphonic alarms remind us every day.

The plus side of that. . .MANGO SEASON!  Oh yeahhhhhh!  This is the time of year where all the locals who have trees in their yards start playing “pass the mango.”  What the heck does that mean, you ask?  Right.  That means there’s a strange obligatory act among neighbors and family members that everyone passes a parcel of  mangoes to another household.  We happen to be lucky because we know one of the old aunties in the village who happens to have one of the BEST tasting mango trees in the area and we get some of her very precious crop.  These are the kind of mangoes that make you almost shed tears while you taste their sweet, luscious, to-die-for flavor and you can’t get them at the markets or anywhere else.  You have to know this auntie and be part of her inner circle.

Just the other day, I was talking to an Austrian guy, Dominik, and telling him about these mangoes.  I said, “You’ve never tasted any mango this good in your life.  I swear.  It will almost make you cry.  It will be the best mango you’ve ever had.”  He looked at me, surprised, of course, and then Magic Man walked in the door with a whole bag of these special mangoes.  I cut the cheeks and handed one to Dominik.  He dug in with his spoon, put a scoop into his mouth, and then moaned.  His eyes closed.

“Oh my god,” he said. “This is so good.”

“It is?” I said.

“Yes.  This is best mango I’ve ever tasted.  Wow.”

Yeah.  So, there’s that.  One of my best friends in America who is also Indian never dared to eat a mango in the states.  He used to always say they were rubbish.  Now I totally understand why.  You really have no idea how bad something is until you taste how good it CAN be.  Whew.  The not knowing isn’t always bad, though.  I think that goes for random life stuff, too.  Isn’t there a famous story about someone eating an apple that changes them forever?!

Lately, even the peacocks have been more out and about.  They like to roam the fields at sunset. . .


It’s also been that time where the Cashew trees just produced their funny capsicum looking fruits.  They have the most unusual aroma.  To me, it smells of Feni, which is the local moonshine made from the fruit.  It is an acquired taste, but sometimes, the sunsets around here just aren’t right without a Feni cocktail in one hand.  Haha.  Good thing you can’t get drunk off the breeze. . .


A funny thing happened the other day.  Traffic stopped for “coconut maintenance.”  That means a guy climbs (sometimes barefoot) to the top of the coconut trees to whack them down before they accidentally fall on whatever is passing underneath. . . even the cows are spared. Thank god for the men who do this.  Woo!  You’d be surprised to see how high up they actually climb without any kind of gear.  It’s a wild sight.  (The below pic captures a coconut in flight in case you missed that big dot in the center!)



Our tiny village is quite hip these days with some yummy food carts and trucks.  Our favorite place to go is close to our house and they serve things like Pani Puri and Shev Puri.  I don’t know if I can explain them, so here’s some pics. . .

On the left, Pani Puri. . .it’s a crunchy-ish sphere that gets cracked open with a spoon and a spicy lentil soup thing gets poured inside.  You’re supposed to eat it like a shot.  On the right, Shev Puri, is the same crunchy-ish spheres with spicy soup and lentils inside but then it has onions, tomatoes, hard lentils, and some awesomely crunchy/spicy stick things on top.  The textural experience is the bomb dot com.  The flavor is also delish! Both are only 30 rupees!


Many of our friends in Anjuna and seasonal tourists started migrating to other places to avoid the monsoon and work on projects or life stuff elsewhere.  It’s the season of transition, of extra special cuddles, good times, and hopeful see-you-later’s.  Maybe that’s why the mangoes taste so good.  Their flavor carries us through to the next something in such a seductively sweet way.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there’s never a dull moment or person in Goa.  This place attracts the most technicolor folks from all around the world.  We’re just truly lucky that they come to our house sometimes.  Remember, people out there, it’s all about the little things. . .like shiny smiles, colorful clothes, good vibes, and dancing souls!  The love cup runneth over.  Wait, it’s a fountain and it never stops!!!

Okay, that’s it.  We’ve got heaps of magical things brewing behind the scenes right now and the winds of change are blowing. . .

I hope the winds of change and transition are blowing happily in your universe, too. . .wherever you are, near or far.  May you always be goan good!





Anjuna, Goa Tales #15–Monsoon 101: Pros and Cons

The monsoon season is finally here.  It’s wet, it’s unforgiving, and some days, I don’t think I’ll see a dry day ever again.  Heh.  It might sound funny to you, but I assure you your giggles are misconceived pleasantries, or my way with words is too good.

If we’re lucky, we get a day of sun, but mostly, it just rains all day long.  Just recently, we had two full weeks of nothing but rain.  I swear my anxiety grew with all the mold in my house. . .and on my precious clothes. . .and possibly in my brain, provoking some stir-crazy thoughts.  I just keep reminding myself to. . .be one with the mold, make friends with the mold, love the mold. . .because until the monsoon goes away, that green stuff that grows faster than I ever could imagine, is our seasonal best friend.  Loving the tropics.

Travelers beware: I wouldn’t recommend visiting Southern India June-September unless you want to play in the rain and make friends with mold, too.  If you’re looking for good places to visit, go to the North.  A lot of people spend this time in the Himalayas or places like Rajasthan and Varanasi.  Take my advice, dude.

For fun, I’ve been making a list of the good and the bad.  Since I don’t want to end this post with sarcastic complaints, I’ll start with the Cons first.

Monsoon Cons

  • Don’t do laundry!  Nothing dries–EVER!
    • I’ve dared to do laundry a few times and have only been tortured for DAYS as I pray the electricity won’t go out and my clothes can somehow dry underneath our exhausted fans. . .before the tenacious mold gets comfy again.
    • To counteract this issue: just wear the same thing over and over.
  • It’s all about the CROCS!
    • Now, I’ve never been a fan of the funny rubber shoes, but I have quickly figured out that in the monsoon season, these types of shoes are like gold.  They can get wet and they don’t slip.
  • Power cuts
    • Yep, that’s right, no electricity.  That means no fans, which really puts a “damper”on many things.  It goes out at least once a day and when you least expect it to.
  • Did I mention the MOLD?!
    • If it rains for days, you can actually stare at an object, and I swear, watch the mold grow right before your very own eyes.  Science geeks, you’d be in heaven, maybe.  For the rest of us, it’s a nightmare. . .especially for that sweet pair of suede boots. 20160625_110530
  • Flies
    • Huh? Flies? Yes.  I never thought flies would come around in such rainy weather, but they’re here in full force, and I think they all take refuge in our house.  They’re even the friendly kind that don’t mind walking on your face.  They, like the cows in India, have no shame.
  • Leaking windows
    • Yeahhhh. . . .this is a fun one that keeps us quite busy.  I’m officially a professional now at squeezing out towels.  We’ve even developed a super efficient system to squeeze out the most amount of water.

Monsoon Pros– YAY!

  • Mango season
    • If you’re a mango lover, you can’t beat the taste of this time of year.  Wow.  Mangoes never tasted sooooo good.  I’ve been baking, making smoothies, and eating as many as I can get my hands on.  20160627_161641
  • Everything is super GREEN and LUSH
    • In the other seasons, Anjuna is a red dirt dusty kind of place, but now, the jungle reigns.  Haha.  Dang, my puns are getting good.
    • I’ve been documenting the green growth on the field behind our house. . .
  • Clean Air
    • Along with the lushness that is happily invading our surroundings, all the rain makes the air so fresh and clean.  When it’s not monsoon, the roads get dusty and you can feel a difference in the air.
  • Cooler temperatures
    • Usually, it’s about 93 degrees every single day (or, 33/34 celsius).  Now, the average day time temperature is in the mid 80’s  (mid 20’s celsius), which is a nice break from the unrelenting heat.
  • Peacocks
    • Peacocks are always around in India–being the national bird and all–but right now, they are roaming around in herds and it’s amazing how high they can fly.  Did you know peacocks can fly?


  • Nap time
    • Orion and Shanti have no problem sleeping the rainy days away.  I’m trying to learn how they ignore the flies for a good nap, but most living things in India can sleep in any position, at any time, no matter what.  These two are no exception.
  • Frogs
    • At night, the frogs sing.  They have this interesting noise that sounds like a smattering of single claps.  It’s definitely a foreign frog song to me.
  • Ocean song
    • I can hear the roaring ocean as if it is right next to our house.  It’s pretty cool to hear the crashing waves all the time now, but when you get close to the waters’ edge, the sea looks like it’s in emotional turmoil–churning up the sea bed into a crazy mixture of unknown murkiness.  I managed to score this shot on a calm day.


After living a decade in Seattle, the “rainy” city, I have been officially schooled on what real rain can be like.  Some days it rains so hard here, there’s a wall of whiteness everywhere. . .almost fog ‘ish. . . but instead it’s like the rain drops fall down so hard and so fast they draw lines in the air.  Crazy stuff.

Other than that, the Chill Inn is pretty quiet in the off season.  There’s been a random trickle of lost travelers (who obviously didn’t realize it was the “OFF” season) and we’ve been having many communal dinners with people from all over the world.