So far I haven’t written much about cows on this trip, mainly because there haven’t been many cows around. Delhi’s government officials hired cow catchers to remove stray cows stray cows (the traffic jams the cows created were costing the city too much money) and Amritsar was equally cow free. But on the beautiful beaches of Goa the cows line up to watch the sunset with the tourists.
The state of Goa, on the southwest coast of India, is famous for its perfect sand beaches and a beach party scene that attracts plenty of Europeans who want to indulge in a lot of sand, sunshine, and drugs. I joined friends at Agonda beach, a small but beautiful beach that attracts the laid back traveler that isn’t interested in the party scene. I am one of those laid back travelers and I loved Agonda. There wasn’t much to do, but just hang out on the beach, go out on a boat to spot dolphins, and eat some amazing fresh seafood.
Last year, when I was here researching cows in India several people informed me about the intelligence of Indian cows. I did see some amazing things last year, but the cows in Goa convinced me that Indian cattle have an undeniable intelligence. Each day around four o’clock a group of cows makes its way to the beach. As the sun drops toward the horizon the cows settle into a nice spot on the beach, chew their cud and watch the sun set. Twenty minutes after the sun has set, as the tourists are leaving the beach, the cows make their way back to wherever they came from. Every day I spent in Goa I saw the cows perform the same ritual. The cows seemed to enjoy the sunset as much as anyone else on the beach. Those are some smart cows.
Stray dogs are even more common than cows and there were several of them on the beach offering up flea ridden bellies to scratch. Other than wanting their bellies scratched the stray dogs were fairly benign. The cows were the real beggars. The cows knew where the best places to beg were and would make the rounds. While I was having a snack with Silke and Natalie, a bull walked in between our beach chairs and gave me a firm nudge – a forceful request for me to fork over some of my veg fried rice. Instead of sharing we moved inside and enjoyed the novelty of cows on the beach from a distance.
Other than being harassed by cows, Agonda Beach is one of India’s most relaxing spots.