World of India!: Travellerr : Ah, Goa...! e

World of India!

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Travellerr : Ah, Goa...!

I am just back from a three day trip to Goa. We timed it well by going just before the tourist season starts. So while we got offseason rates, we also managed to beat the rains by a whisker, although there were light showers, in spurts, on the first day of our visit. The rains ensured that the evergreen hue that Goa has, had turned into an even more brighter shade. The sight of swaying coconut palms, lush green paddy fields, amidst the hide and seek of sunshine and overcast skies, and of course, the surf and the sand...Ah, Goa!


We weren't in Goa for the sights though. Our sole purpose in traveling 1500 Kms, to & fro, was tracking down Goa's best eateries and checking out the various Goan delicacies. So for 3 days this was our schedule: Get up at 9:00 am and walk/jog along the Baga beach, which was completely deserted of Lamanis (local slang for firang tourists), come back to the hotel for a luxurious breakfast, a small siesta/book reading session/beer and we would be ready to hit for lunch, which meant that we would trudge around on our hired motorbike to wherever the chosen restaurant was located in North Goa. After the fingerlicking lunch we would come back to the hotel for another siesta to get our stomachs in shape for dinner. The whole routine would be interspersed with 3-4 beer pints for me and a couple of Bacardi shots for my wife. The only sight seeing we managed to do was to check out Fort Aguada (Check the lighthouse at Fort Aguada on the left), which was a stones throw from our Hotel and therefore mutually agreed to be visited upon, after much deliberation.

After two such trips we have become minor experts on where to eat in Goa . Here is a list of places you should eat at in Goa - Brittos (Baga), Souza Lobo (Calangute), Martins Corner (A shack in Caranzalem just outside Panjim), Hotel Venite (next to the Court building in Panjim) - housed in a 200 yr old building and has an eccentric kitsch interior with graffiti drawn by visitors and old, old furniture (See pics of interior in Venite on the left), Ronil's (Baga), O' Coqueiro- even Charles Sobharaj couldn't resist the temptation to go there after his escape from prison and the spot where he was handcuffed has been immortalized by his statue (Porvorim) and last but not the least- Mum's Kitchen (on the road to Miramar from Panjim), which is the one place where you can be sure of gettng the most authentic Goan food. Don't order Pomphret/Surmai in fish when in Goa, if you can help it. Try the local varieties- Isvon and Chonak. Make sure you try the stuffed Calamaries (Squid stuffed with Prawn and Goan masala), Prawn curry & rice, Sorpotel, Pork/Chicken Vindaloo.I can go on and on...

And do stay at 'The Cavala' (Pics below) - which is a small hotel in a Goan bungalow. The rooms face the lush paddy fields on one side and they also have pool facing rooms. This is where the swish set of Goa come to party on weekends.The best thing about the place is that it is small enough not to attract noisy big families and that it has character unlike most hotels.

Amidst our culinary orgies, I coudn't but help noticing that Goa is experiencing the same tensions many tourist places, the world over, are experiencing. The tension between the sweet smell of money that tourism brings and the trouble it creates for the local population is hardly unique to Goa and can be seen across the world- be it Bangkok,Amsterdam or Matheran.Tourism attracts the usual paraphernalia of prostitution, gambling, drugs, outsiders setting up businesses whose success creates pangs of jealousy amongst the locals and the worst of them all, pedophilia. I spotted rantings against tourism almost everyday in the local newspapers, but an Irish tourist, staying in Goa for the past 6 months, retorted fittingly in a letter to a local newspaper, when he asked whether the same antagonistic feelings were shared by people who depended on tourism for their survival. He also made an important point that for every bad tourist apple, there were ten good ones and therefore there was little point in generalizing the problem. What worries me most is that the tourist influx is leading to the bastardization of Goan cuisine and in many places the food is being retooled to cater to the taste of the tourists. Which means the unique spice, tang and heat in the food is being tempered. Mum's Kitchen (recommended above) has been set up by its owner to ensure that Goan cuisine is served at its most authentic and these traditional recipes are preserved.

Amen to that.


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September 29, 2006 6:32 AM

hi,
Nice blog.
I like your template can you tell me from where did you find it or if it is yours can I download it?
My blog is located at
http://4techies.blogspot.com

thanks,

Sid    



September 29, 2006 10:12 AM

Sid,

This template is available on Gecko& Fly website under the name "dotmatrix". You can download it from there. Then go template and replace the template pic in the top right hand corner with URL of your own uploaded pic on blogger.    



September 29, 2006 7:45 PM

That brings back very pleasent memories. I went there on my honeymoon in 1993 and four years back. The ferry experience in particular is something that I shall never forget.    



September 29, 2006 9:03 PM

hiren, we missed the ferry this time. next time maybe:)    



October 02, 2006 1:54 PM

Hi,

Nice blog!

Why don’t you consider writing about some of the new “India 2.0” sites that are creating a little buzz as well?

Eg: www.ilaaka.com

www.onyomo.com

Thanks!

Rajeev    



November 04, 2006 2:10 AM

The first four pics were lovely. I won't be surprised if you turn out to be a pro. Now, I plan to visi Goa after tourist season ends..    



November 04, 2006 11:04 AM

Thanks Goat. These pics were clicked using a nOKIA 3630 1.5 mp Ccamera! unfortunately it was stolen recently : (    



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