Alibaug announces itself with alacrity, boastful of the good that can come from being a popular tourist destination barely an hour from Mumbai. Restaurants abound, exploiting the absence of popular fast-food joints from the mainland. There's always a steady stream of vehicles which amps up the noise. However, once one starts making way from the city-centre of sorts to the Nagaon beach, the place peels away its urbane exterior. The habitation becomes sparse, network connectivity gets erratic, roads - rickety and pockmarked - taper and are flanked by holiday homes on either side, indication enough that one has arrived where they had set out for, away from all that consumes them Monday to Friday.
We had cashed in on the deals floated on Airbnb and booked ourselves the Fanta-sea villa for Rs 6000 per night, the wordplay hinting at the beach's closeness from the place. Indeed, the Nagaon beach was a 15-minute walk away with farm villas on either side shaded by a cooling canopy of coconut trees.