I don't know if hedonism is the right word for it but life in Goa is pretty good. Goa on the southwest coast of India was a haven for hippies in the 70's and has left the area with a flavor of western hippie meets traditional India. I've sat in nearly the same place to watch the sunset the past 4 days in a row at a nice beachfront cafe called Curlies. It's located at the far south end of the beach in Anjuna separated from the other beaches by two large rock outcroppings. Local traditionally dressed women peddle fresh coconuts, pineapple and watermelon hacking them open infront of you with a machete to enjoy. Old tattooed, sun streaked and sometimes thonged (not sandals) hippies (mostly old men) wander leisurely down the beach during the day and sometimes join in on a game of paddleball or frisbee. One pair stuck their frisbee on the roof a local bar shack today as my friend and I dwelled over the fact that the olds here are more young in mind than most.
It's not all good though, there are subtle signs of your location in a developing country. Young children occasionally come by to sell bracelets or beg. Packs of stray dogs roam and claim part of the beach from other dogs and on the road you dodge religiously entitled cows strolling freely. As 5 o'clock rolls around, ambient/chill music with Indian flair provides for a backdrop as people wonder in to sit and watch the sunset. Depending on the night, the music escalates as people trickle in for an evening beachfront rave party lasting until the next morning if you wish.
In a day here, I might spend $25 including hostel next to the beach, a scooter, incredible food, and drinks at night. The weather stays between 65 and 80 F day and night. The past two days were spent between a beach restaurant with wifi about 20 feet from the water and a health food cafe up the street run by a hippy Israeli couple. The cafe, Artjuna, might just be my favorite cafe in the entire world but I'll post some more on that later. So for less than the cost of a decent dinner in the states, you can live at the beach with perfect weather, have transportation, 3 restaurant meals a day, nighttime drinks and parties on the beach.
Here are some costs for perspective:
- Scooter $4 a day
- Nights stay $7
- Incredible breakfast of poached eggs focacia toasted whole wheat tuna tahini hummus and cucumber salad and coffee $4
- Beard trim and exfoliating facial massage $3
- 30 minute massage on the beach $5
- Fresh coconut off the tree and hacked open with a machete to drink the water and eat the meat $.50
- 32 oz cold beer on the beach $1.50
- Typical Indian curry/briyani on the beach $3
Lastly, I'm thinking on how we look at quality of life in the US and on lifestyle design. I've picked up a couple of projects doing software work over the net in the last couple of months earning American wages. Where international financiers chase exchange rate discrepancies to make money from arbitrage, it's tempting to stay longer for the purchasing power and resultant lifestyle arbritrage of earning american wages and staying in paradise.