You could hardly call ASWEM, the next settlement north of Morjim, a village, let alone a resort. Enforcement of the Coastal Protection Zone (CPZ) planning law by the local council has managed to hold at bay repeated attempts by developers to build behind the beach here, with the result that permanent structures are few and far between. However, the past few seasons have seen a belt of temporary hut camps and shacks spring up in the coconut mand backing the sand, and the place has started to feel quite crowded in December and January.

It’s a much more wholesome scene than that holding sway around the headland to the south, though. Clean-living thirty- and forty-something couples from northern Europe are the main demographic, increasing numbers of them with toddlers in tow, along with a sprinkling of old Goa hands who have outgrown, or given up on, Anjuna and Morjim.

Aside from the recent Russian invasion, the main catalyst for this sudden upsurge in Aswem’s popularity was the arrival a few years back of an incongruously chi-chi beach restaurant, La Plage, set up by a trio of French restaurateurs from Baga.

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