3 weeks into our trip, and we've decided to quit India for awhile. We've been to 7 different places (Mumbai, Nasik, Aurangabad, Pune, Panjim, and Anjuna) and 8 different hotels, and until the last two places and hotels we had the same opinion everywhere: this is not a very fun vacation.
Some of the reasons why I detailed below. Suffice it to say that both of us were having to work very hard to enjoy ourselves, and we weren't very successful. We had a long talk and both admitted we were trying to make it work, which is kind of the opposite of a vacation, so we decided to pick up and go somewhere else instead. We thought about flying back to the States and renting a shack on the beach somewhere; we thought about going to Samoa or the Maldives; we even considered going to Israel. In the end, we settled on the short trip to Sri Lanka.
Of course, by the time we had made this decision, we found a place where we actually enjoyed ourselves a bit. There are some downsides to being here in Goa: there are a lot of aged white hippies all around, the power goes out all the time, it is hot and humid constantly. But it is much more relaxed, less conservative, and the people are more used to seeing white women, so not as many stare at Nora and for not as long. It's the little things that really add up. There are even more white people in Anjuna than Panjim, and the dress is even more relaxed (first place people regularly wear shorts), but most of those white people seem to either be 70 year old burned out hippies or young 20-somethings with a chip on their shoulder, out to prove how cool they are. Still, aside from a very frustrating driver yesterday who refused to take us where we wanted to go, we mostly like it here. It's the most relaxation we've had so far, at any rate.
Beginning to have a good time once you've decided to give up: This is how things usually go in our world, but we're making the best of it. This guest house is well shaded by trees, and there's a pleasant breeze blowing, which also helps keep the mosquitoes away. There are lots of places to sit outside and watch the sunburned tourists zip by on scooters. We've got a mini-fridge in our room now, and it's filled with beer and white white and cheese and other snacks. In fact, that sounds like a good idea right now...