oa is quickly becoming a serious rival to Thailand for Europeans seeking an exotic holiday. And no wonder. Goa offers everything that Thailand does the people are friendly, the food is excellent and warm weather is guaranteed and it's a shorter flight from Finland. India's wealthiest area, Goa still bears the influence of its former colonial ruler, Portugal. The Portuguese ruled most of modern-day Goa from the days of explorer Vasco da Gama in the late 1400s until less than 50 years ago. Goa did not become part of the young Indian republic until 1961. Brightly painted colonial houses bring to mind southern European architecture, and Christian traditions live on at many Catholic churches in the area. Grand old palaces have been restored to their former glory, and the gardens are meticulously tended. Indeed, Goa is considered to be India's most European state. Located on India's west coast, embraced by the Arabian Sea, Goa is bordered to the north by Maharashtra and in the east and Karnataka State in the south. Amid the swirl of lefthand-drive traffic, rickshaws whiz past Vespas, as packed buses hurtle along the bumpy roads. Elephants, stray dogs, goats and holy cows wander across the streets. Goa has much to offer those who enjoy a lively pace. LUXURY IN A BAMBOO HUT Ku Morjim blends subtly into the seaside coconut palm grove. The structure, cobbled 22 BLUE WINGS SEPTEMBER 2008 G together out of bamboo and coconut palm leaves is hard to make out through the tops of the palm trees. The building is made up of low, screen-like walls; the rest is open space under the heavens. A French-Spanish couple that owns this luxurious bed and breakfast, Christian and Maria, lived in many places around the world before coming to Goa. After spending a cold winter together in Spain, they decided to move to Goa. They had both visited before and loved the climate. Even in winter, daytime temperatures can rise to over 30º degrees Celsius. Christian and Maria decided to design and build themselves a home. They wanted to have a few adjoining rooms which they could rent out. Those rental rooms seem to be in constant use, giving Ku Morjim an international atmosphere. The pair have adopted the Buddhist philosophy, which is strongly present in their creation. The place has a calm, serene air. Indian classical music plays quietly, mingling with the whoosh of the waves. According to Buddhist philosophy, everything is ephemeral and in a constant state of flux. Maria and Christian have internalised these notions. Christian notes that the type of architecture they chose is easily malleable. All elements of the building are numbered and can be moved around at any time. Food is one of the couple's passions, and one in which they won't settle for mediocrity. Maria, the head chef, has a relaxed yet pedantic approach to preparing food. TOP LEFT AND RIGHT: Ku Morjim has many Indian assistants in the kitchen. Fresh produce is brought in directly from Christian and Maria's own garden. OPPOSITE PAGE: Ku Morjim's only hinged door opens from the garden onto a unique pool.
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