A Khola in Paradise
Nothing is quite as refreshing as a Khola. I’m not referring to a sugary drink but rather Kola Beach, an adjacent beach to the north of Agonda. After Saturday’s morning class, we headed to the beach and all loaded into one of the local fishing boats. One local manned the outboard engine from the back of the ship, resembling a large canoe, while another man in a polo shirt and some sexy black underwear briefs stood on the prow of the boat searching for dolphins. With hand signals he directed the boat away from the shore, eventually leading us into a pack of dolphins that were happy to surface nearby and put on a show for us. When we got close the rocks, a thin bright blue fish, about a foot and half long, shot out of the water with unbelievable propulsion and skipped for a solid 80 feet, amazingly hitting the water with its tail and getting airborne again immediately.
The only word I can think of to describe Khola beach is paradise. Palm trees surround a natural fresh water lagoon that cuts through the heart of the small beach. Campsites and bungaloes line the sides of the lagoon with hammocks interspersed amongst the palm trees. The water temperature of the lagoon is a couple degrees cooler than the ocean, perfect for combating the onslaught of the sun. We explored the lagoon, climbing onto rocks and getting a running start to flip and dive back into the water.
Deepak challenged us to a race, not much of a challenge considering Gabe was on the swim team and we both played water polo in college and Indians can’t swim well, most can’t swim at all. Watching Deepak’s confidence emanate with every desperate stroke was hysterical, especially when he emerged from the water looking like a sewer rat.
All that swimming got us parched so we gathered a group of people and lounged in one of the bars on the edge of the lagoon. Gabe and I chilled on some whiskey and cokes while the girls drank fresh coconut water straight from recently felled green coconuts. We all ordered food and shared stories listening to Katie’s awesome selection of music.
A good day can only be followed by a great night, so we gathered up supplies for a big bonfire on the beach. We picked up some mixers for libations, made some vodka melons, and constructed a fire. We got a bottle of cashew fenny, coconut fenny, Royal Stag whiskey, raspberry vodka, ginger lemongrass vodka, and two cases of beer for 1500 rupees, roughly $30.
We all drank as Jessica and Tara serenaded us with their guitar playing and singing. Drunkenly belting out “What’s Going On” and “Sweet Home Alabama”, we passed around the bottles and let the good vibes emanate. Once the booze was pretty much finished, we shot off some legit fireworks that we picked up in town. They didn’t launch into the air as anticipated but rather spun around and exploded about 10 feet in the air, making for an awesome close up view for those of us who weren’t running away in terror.
Properly intoxicated, we headed to Palolem Beach for the Silent Disco Party going on that night. At the silent disco, which is held outdoors, everyone pays for a set of special headphones that have three channels, which you use to toggle between the three dj’s spinning on the stage above. The red station played a more mainstream mix, the blue station a trancy slow paced vibe, and the green station a whirlwind of songs that often made you indulge in the urge to run and jump off the nearest object, irregardless of who was in your path of destruction.
When you take your headphones off and look around, it’s quite comical to see a bunch of people getting down to what appears to be pure silence. Seeing people hip thrust wildly and bob their heads to no apparent music is quite entertaining. As soon as you put the headphones back on however, it’s on like Donkey Kong. You immediately lose yourself in the music, dancing with strangers who are listening to the same station as you or a completely different station, making for some funny interactions.
Next to the elevated dj stage is a white screen behind which dancers groove to create a silhouette for everyone outside to see. At the urging of Tizzy and Michelle, not that it took more than a simple let’s go to convince us, we climbed up to the stage and started going wild in front of the screen, becoming shadows caught in the trance of the silent disco.
Over the next 5 hours, we never stopped dancing, jumping around and dancing like the goons we are. By the time we got back to Agonda Beach, the sun was coming up, capping one of the fullest and funnest days that I’ve ever had.