Tara Goodrum

I like words & snacks.

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morjim
 

While traveling in India, you quickly learn that when excitement arises about a new location, you have at least one more adventure — detour, delay, close call — before you arrive. Such was the case with Morjim. After 13 hours on the train, we exited at Thivim. The heat was fierce and encouraged the hundreds in need of a lift to swarm the taxi stand. Beach, beach, beach, I kept saying to myself. I’d been dreaming of submerging in the sea for months.

Hopping in a taxi was the last step. We’d be there in no time. But instead of the leisurely, coastal cruise I was hoping for, we went to the rodeo. We spent the entire journey being bucked left and right, up and down. Our driver was a livid bull, and he had no remorse. I pressed one hand to the ceiling and placed the other under my bum, hoping both would serve as a cushions each time I collided with the inside of the car. Beach, beach, beach. Please don’t crash. Beach, beach, beach.

Morjim, as it turns out, is an Indian version of Ibiza. (Dear guide book, we think you missed something.) As my post-taxi jello legs carried me down the path to our beach hut, EDM pulsed. I was restless from the train journey and frazzled from the taxi rodeo, but as I looked around, I became perpetually more confused. Village Susegat is a beautiful property. The path is lined with palm trees, tasteful beach huts, and sun chairs that were made for napping. Half relaxation station, half disco rave. Just get me to that beach, beach, beach.

The fog followed us from Mumbai, casting the same grey shadow across the shores. It matched the sand, the water being a slightly darker, murkier shade. Were we in the Upside Down?

“Beer?” The question couldn’t have come at a better time. “YES,” I answered before he’d even finished speaking. The man grinned and returned with two King’s, Goa’s finest brew. After two sips, he returned. “More beer?” I laughed, thinking he was kidding, but then I looked around. Our fellow beachgoers were guzzling beer like there was no tomorrow, and that’s when I heard it again: untz untz untz. This was going to be interesting.

After a few sun-induced cat naps, a dip in the swampy sea, and a stroll in the sand with some cows, we cleaned ourselves up and ventured to dinner. “Where are you going?” Our friend was back. “Dinner,” we said politely. “Where? I can cook you anything. What do you want?” We both muttered whatever we could muster, and slowly walked away. “What time will you be back?” His words followed us down the path, and made us both shudder. “Big party here tonight!”

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As directional efficiency isn’t a skill Dom or I possess, we ended up taking the “scenic” route to Sublime. A few questionable pathways, a stroll passed pastel-colored homes that looked like they belonged in a Wes Anderson film, and a sighting of a wild pig later, and we’d made it. Then we realized that the restaurant was basically next door, and that it would’ve taken us five minutes to walk there from the beach. Fortunately, the cocktail list was there to commiserate us.

Sublime was hands down the best part of Morjim. From the cocktail menu — we sampled most of it and can assure you it’s excellent — to the locally sourced, organic ingredients to the color scheme and lighting, it was perfection. Even the box they deliver the bill in is beautiful. The food was equally as delightful as the drinks, the mushroom dumplings being particularly memorable. We also snacked on calamari donuts — calamari rings that were coated in a full inch of batter — and the sea bass, one of their signature mains. It was so tasty that we returned the next day for a grilled veggie sandwich and goat cheese salad. Though we’d been cautioned not to eat salads — or meat, raw veggies, ice cubes, street food, or anything, really — Sublime was one of those places you knew you could trust. It we hadn’t felt the need to at least try somewhere else, we would have returned for the breakfast burrito and fried ice cream — and yes, the rest of the cocktail menu.

Sticking to our ‘find the best place to eat and drink’ and ‘hide from the rave’ routine, we headed to Jardin d’Ulysse to top off our visit with some live music. A French guitarist serenaded us while we dug into spinach and paneer momos (Nepalese dumplings) and piña coladas. Then Gilbert, the restaurant owner, unexpectedly joined our table and told us his life story. His ancestors had owned the land and left it to him. The restaurant was busy every night. He pointed at a few tables, sharing snippets about all of his guests, and even trying to play matchmaker with rowdy Americans celebrating a birthday. “Those are the owners of Village Susegat,” he said, pointing to an elderly couple tucked into one of the back corners. “They sold the property awhile back,” he said. It suddenly became clear why it felt like something was missing in our little Morjim home. Apparently the soul of the place had left with the sale. We stayed for hours, helping the guitarist pick his songs, chatting and drinking with Gilbert, and getting intimately acquainted with the local mosquitos. It was a great night in an odd little slice of Goa.

“Stay as long as you like,” the manager offered, as we stood there, backpacks strapped, shoes on, eager to go. “Beer?” Our friend offered us once again. We both smiled and declined, yet again. Neither of us turned around as we drove away.

  Photos by Dom Goodrum. See more at  somewherebetweenindiaandjapan.com .

Photos by Dom Goodrum. See more at somewherebetweenindiaandjapan.com.