दापोली (Dapoli)

The thunderous booms from fireworks being lit all across the city have mostly subsided and I can now hear myself think. Happy Diwali everyone! Earlier this week I packed my bag and went on my first AIIS overnight field trip. Our first stop was Dapoli, a small town on the Konkan Coast.

We arrived in Dapoli after a lovely (and long and bumpy) drive through the Western Ghats. Our hotel, the Sea Princess, was right by the beach. As soon as we dropped our bags in our rooms we headed out to the Arabian Sea. I know I was just on vacation on a beach in Goa, but it felt so good to walk around barefoot in the sand.

The water was calm, warm and felt delightful! As soon as the first wave hit my feet I began to look forward to an evening dip.

After a little walk on the beach, we headed into town to the fish market. Every evening the fishermen bring in their catch and auction it off. The beach was busy and colorful. Our assignment was to ask what the names of the fish were in Marathi. I have to admit, I was more caught up in the colors and the bustle than trying to remember how to pose questions in Marathi. The other AIIS students did most of the talking…
Here are some pictures from the evening:

In the distance you can see the larger deep sea fishing boats. The shore was lined with small row boats that transported the fish to the shore. Then these carts were loaded up and they would carry the fish to the shore.

There the fish were lined up and laid out for potential buyers to examine and bid on. 

The swordfish were huge! And heavy! And expensive! These gentlemen answered our questions, their faces letting us know that they had better things to do. Everyone on the beach was very busy and had only enough time to quickly say the name of whatever fish we were inquiring about before giving us a look of “quit bothering me, I’m working.”

Squid ink!

These men are asking about the price of the squid during the somewhat chaotic auction. At one point David turned to me and said “Don’t make any sudden hand motions. You may find yourself with a kilo of fish…”

This woman wanted to know why we were asking so many questions about the fish and how much it cost but that we were not at all interested in buying any from her. Good question!

The AIIS gang! Naz, Shantanu, David and Patrick.

This is where they kept the giant blocks of ice that they sold to people to keep their fish cool and fresh. This guy was chipping the huge block into smaller more manageable blocks. Then they ran those hunks through a machine that crushed and ground the ice up, bagged it, and hauled it off to sell it. After the fish market we returned to the hotel. I took one look at the inviting sea and the warm tones of pink that were settling into the sky as the sun set and grabbed my towel. It was so nice to be able to rock back and forth as the gentle waves brought in the tide—a great way to unwind! The next morning we got up early and made our way to Raigad Fort, where Shivaji was coronated. Hopefully I’ll be able to post about that soon.

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