Beach, Rain, Spices, and a rub down
Once we got off the train from hell we were finally in the beautiful beach town of Goa, India.
We took a cab to Colva beach where we checked into La Ben Resort, a quiet little hotel only a block from the shore.
Goa is beautiful; a beautiful mix of lush green jungle and chill hippie beaches, it was a perfect place to wind down after the frantic collage of trash and traffic in Mumbai.
It was raining when we got in but luckily it didn't last long and we booked our first excursion to a tropical spice plantation.
We passed rice farmers and water buffalo during the scenic drive through dense jungle and finally we arrived at the Sahakari Spice Farm.
Surrounded by lush fauna and chirping birds, we were greeted with a lei around our necks, the traditional red dot on our foreheads, and some fresh lemongrass tea to warm us up.
We were taken on an informative hour long tour of the spice farm where we saw a variety of my favorite aromatic seasonings. They harvested everything from cloves, all spice, cinnamon, and cardamom, to curry, hot chilies, walnuts, fresh pineapples, bananas and more.
We learned how to pollinate vanilla and they introduced us to one of the world’s hottest chilies a pepper that is 2800 times hotter than the typical spicy pepper. They also taught us what ailments their herbs could heal and they had cures for everything from diabetes and psoriasis to acne and eczema.
We ended the tour with a complementary buffet featuring foods made with the all natural ingredients grown on the plantation.
It was fresh, pure, and delicious!
We came back to the hotel and walked around a little bit. Being monsoon season, it wasn't exactly beach, tanning weather but it was still nice to be in a chill atmosphere. We did a little shopping but not much was open.
After asking around about what was available for our entertainment we slowly found out that we had about a third of the amount of options we thought we had. Apparently when monsoon season comes around and all the tourists are gone places close up quickly.
There was one hotel nearby advertising ayurvedic massages and at 600 rupees for an hour, (which is about $12) I figured that would be a good way to spend my lazy afternoon. I went into a cute little hut that was set up next to the pool in the back of the hotel and was greeted by a man who would be my masseur. Although I normally prefer to have a female massaging me, I didn't really give it much of a thought because he was the only person available.
I walked in and the first thing I noticed was that, instead of having a base sheet that covered the massage table and another sheet for you to cover yourself with, there was only one sheet. He told me to disrobe and lie down and I promptly requested another sheet. Normally in a massage I only wear underwear and I don't ever feel uncomfortable because the masseuse will fold the top sheet down to view only the area that she is working on, so the client does not feel exposed and can maintain a degree of modesty. This was not the case here. I undressed and laid face down with the requested towel draped over me which he promptly removed leaving me vulnerable and leery. Although I was skeptical, I also had no concept of what Indian massage was like (something I probably should have looked up before volunteering) and I just told myself to relax. Then he reached for my underwear. "Leave them!" I exclaimed in an 'I mean business' tone that I knew he'd understand despite any language barrier. He was a little taken aback by this, as if he actually thought I was going to get butt naked and let him rub on me. I don't know how they do it in Goa, but I don't play that.
He explained that he was only pulling them down a bit so they didn’t get in the way. Now I’m not talking about some, end of the month, need to do laundry, type of granny panties, I was wearing a thong. How much of an obstacle can the little strings be!? Mama didn't raise no fool. But once again I tried to think logically, he seemed professional, this was one of the biggest hotels on the beach, and I was naive to Indian massage technique so maybe I was being paranoid. I literally was just walking back from the beach and saw the sign for massage and wandered in. I didn't even know what Ayurvedic massage was. Maybe Ayurvedic means 'buck-naked oil massage' and I was the ignorant one being too modest or maybe the post traumatic stress of my first out of country massage left me with myopia. In this situation you can only think positive.
So I let the massaging begin. I could tell he was trained (not like the sadistic Bolivian woman whose idea of a pressure point was jabbing my skin at random) but his style of massage had little focus on aching muscles and relieving tension and more on lengthy stokes and slathering of oils.
In one fluid motion he would rub from my neck to my thighs, resituating my underwear each time as if to let me know what an annoyance they were to his 'technique'. Not having a towel covering me made it very hard to relax and as he was massaging my legs and thighs I could just picture this pervert staring at my butt gyrating like a Jell-O mold.
When he told me it was time to flip over I almost laughed out loud. "Towel please" I requested. He handed me a towel and I flipped over leaving it strategically covering my lady parts and tucked behind my back for safe keeping. After I was situated he tugged on the towel gently to see if I would give it up which I did not. The towel was staying.
He massaged my neck and shoulders along with the top of my chest, each time getting a tad closer to the towel covered portion. After he was done groping the front of me, he asked me to sit up for my head massage. I sat up carefully and made sure the towel was still protecting my assets. I held my arms close to my sides, pinning the towel to my chest as he tilted my head to one side and started with a neck rub. As he applied pressure on my neck, he worked his was over my shoulder and tried to stretch my arm out horizontally. Unfortunately my arm was busy doing it's job keeping my towel in place so this did not work. I was on to him and his boobie-scoping scheme and it was not gonna work, not today, not on me. I stopped him, looked him in the eye and said "the towel stays" as took both ends and tied them behind my back with a nice firm tug.
Finally the massage "therapy" was over, I handed him the money, shot him an incredulous look, and walked sheepishly out of the hut. I walked back to the hotel shaking my head at the fact that I just paid an Indian man to molest me and quickly took a hot shower to wash off the nasty. I am 0 for 2 in the massage game.
At a loss for entertainment I decided to rest my head a minute and ended up sleeping from 5 pm till 8 the next morning. The jet lag was a pain but nothing that a good fifteen hours of sleep can't fix!