05 April 2008

Goa, where life is colourful - Day 3 & 4

Very paiseh that im not done with India posts yet after 3 long months. Eeeekkkk. But like Caryn says better late than never.
Continuation of our Indian saga...

There is more to Goa than sun, sand and psychedelia.
.25, 26 Dec 2007.

When the eat-drink-party pattern wears thin, we decided to dig deep into Goa's roots and tour the famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites that we've read about.
Panaji - Capital of Goa
We started out early in the morning, chauffered by Sunil .. the best driver we've had in Goa .., towards Panaji (Panjim) which means "the land that does not flood". He parked by one of the streets and told us to go explore this small yet charming city on foot.

Panjim is nestled on the left banks of River Mandovi. My instant take to this place is to the buildings, that still bears and reminds people of its Portuguese heritage. It has come a long way from being a small time fishing village to becoming one of the most influential city in Goa.
.Sit at your own risk.

Churches are one of Goa's most important institutions. They are the legacy of Goa's history, the legacy of Portuguese colonization. Almost all of them has a tale behind it.

We covered St. Catherine's Cathedral. The largest church in Asia. If you only have time for one church, this is the church you should visit. The Convent and Church of St. Monica, The Church of St.Francis Assisi, The Basilica of Bom Jesus. The most memorable church for me mainly because we paid a tour guide to show us around. He had a genius bank of memory and to me sounded just like a playback machine. In here lies the body of Saint Francis Xavier who was deemed the greatest missionary since the time of the Apostles, highly admired and respected in Goa for his work during the plague epidemic period.

Fighting the sun that seriously wants to melt us away, I think i just about had enough of churches.

We spent the night cruising the Mandovi river. The entire upper deck is lined with plastic chairs facing a stage with entertainment that hands-down trumped the city view.
All i can say is "gimmmmmeee some of those dancing cells!!"

.Check out the girl in a white dress. Ohmy...

We've been trying to get our hands on some Goan chillout music. We've looked everywhere and end up spending our money on anything and everything except Goan music cds; the most outrageous being a baby and 2 adult hammocks. "Buy laaaa, it's so cheap $20 only, where to find in Brunei???" "Buy la..buy la" ended up in us paying 160USD for excess baggage. =_=!
.See the culprit calling out to us?. Got ourselves some beauuuUUutiful Goan lanterns.

Some kind soul finally told us that the one and only place you can find Goan music is in Anjuna flea market, that is only held once a week - on the Wednesday we're leaving. Gahhhh. We cut Sunil a deal to drive us to Anjuna and back then to the airport for half the price (sounds blardy good), BUT in return we have to make several stops at souvenir shops (where we have to literally PRETEND, after 10 stops, to be interested in their carpets, tea, paintings, whatever, for at least 15mins so our driver can accumulate points in exchange for a stereo, new tires, fan, or money). Be prepared for this when you tour India. All taxi drivers will insist on taking you to souvenir shops. If you're running on a super tight schedule, give them a firm NO.

Anjuna beach is what some calls the “hippie beach”.Hundreds of tourists flock here in their braided hair-dos and pierced body parts.

.*Gasp* Antonio Banderas??. The fortunate and the not-so-fortunate.
.OMG, is that Mao Tze Dong?.

You can get anything from a second-hand paperback to a haircut, from jewellery to carvings, T-shirts, sarongs or bags, beaded tops and almost anything else you can think of. One important mantra - No discount, no buy!

Thinking i'm about to leave Goa with the best of memories, little did i know disaster no.1 was abound when i stepped into the departure terminal. It was chaotic. The scanning and check-in area seemed as if it was strategically placed (one left, one right) to confuse passengers. Assholes cutting queues with compelling reasons; "I'm in a hurry", are we not all in a hurry?? The most obnoxious staff; forgotten that all our hand luggages had to be tagged, we were stopped by an officer before boarding the plane. We ran to the baggage screening area, heaving for tags only to be answered by a disinterested face with a "it's not my duty". WTH? Why are you here in uniform then?? The tags were just an arm away from him.

We were really frustrated... but looking back we're so glad we've seen Goa. The allure of this little state is that it remains quite distinct from the rest of India and is small enough to be grasped and explored in a way that other Indian states are not.

.Next flight out: New Delhi.


Z.M said...

I heard they got awesome parties in Goa.. Issit true?

Lee on April 18, 2008 at 10:40 AM said...

Hi Z.M, to certain extent they do, great music, great locations (usually by the beach or on top of cliffs) and a good mixture of crowd. However, I've heard most of their parties involved alot of drug abuse, so that's something to watch out for.

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