Now it's time for a little bit of a break from the heavy-duty academic stuff I've been pretty busy with in the past two months!
The Dussehra holiday happened to fall on my birthday and us ACM students decided to go on an adventure to India's smallest state and probably the country's most exciting playground - Goa. It was a small Portuguese enclave until 1961 and even now the architecture, the food, and the atmosphere in general is, in a way, more "relaxed", or sussegad in the local version of Portuguese, than the neighboring industrial powers of Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Our hotel was at Colva beach, a popular destination among domestic tourists, and probably Russians to since I found signs written in Cyrillic! We went to a local restaurant that offered an amazing variety of seafood as well as, for the daring, drinks concocted with cashew or palm liquor.
The second day was a trip to a beach that was amazing beyond description. Palolem in South Goa - made famous by The Bourne Supremacy. It was just perfect - a bay where it is safe to swim for yards and yards away from the sands, a courteous crowd of young Western neo-hippies and adult Indians, and palm-covered, hilly islands on the fringes.
We went to a a Portuguese church in Old Goa the next day - apparently the largest in South Asia, and took a good break from the party-ridden beaches. The tomb of Saint Francis Xavier, the first Jesuit missionary in South and Southeast Asia, is nearby and filled with devout Catholic pilgrims from all over India.
The ride back was characterized with a bumpy ride through the scenic villages of Maharashtra. I'm still tired after being crammed into a car for 12 hours, but I'm definitely content!