Easy-going Goans

If there's anything that sums up the Goan attitude to life, it's sussegado, which means "take it easy." Even with the tourist influx exceeding the local population, the massive star resorts, and the party scene, there's a certain peace in Goa that is unlikely to ever be disturbed, because it comes from within. A part of this mood of daylong siesta can be attributed to a widespread love of excellent food and local alcohol—Goa brews its own feni, a potent and inexpensive concoction distilled from palm sap or cashew-fruit juice. If you're looking to imbibe the true spirit of Goa, try the coconut-palm feni—it smells less pungent than the cashew variety and goes down a little bit easier. You can buy the alcohol from just about anywhere in Goa (but make sure it's bottled properly) and down it with classic tender coconut water. A morning in the waves, tiger prawns at a seaside shack, and a couple of fenis, and you will come to discover why people come back to Goa year after year to rejuvenate, even as they complain about how crowded and dirty it’s getting. A week in the company of Goans, with their mellow attitude toward life and their legendary warmth—despite the heavy toll that tourism takes on their home state—and you may find yourself, for better or for worse, more than a little intoxicated by the Goan way.

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