Most of us have that one friend who thinks of himself as a Goan, how he boasts of knowing the place inside out, the Goa he claims to have owned and devoured, how he drove on his rented Bullet under the influence of prohibited substances or the countless pints of beer he guzzled. But he never told you that there is a lot more to Goa than the fake tattoos, the sun-soaking firangs, uncles in soaked undies and the aunties in nighties. Not really the essential Goan experience.
I am no travel guru, I am just another guy who has an appetite for life, a culinary enthusiast and a whiner, who is typing this for your benefit while sitting at the workstation of his CMMI 5 level Multi National, risking it all, just for you! So, I will be your new best friend – I’ll show you the Goa which you’d love to see all over again. The Goa which has seen many a reigns come and go, to unravel the reason which makes it truly spectacular.
Goa, one of the colonies of the then Portuguese, is not really an architectural marvel which the Portuguese were known for, in fact Goa never got a chance to adjust itself with the way it grew as the tourist capital that it is today. The frequent jams are quite a site and as my father recalls from his hippie days, that Goa was fast losing its grace. And in the quest to experience the relaxed, the calm that Goa offers, we need to soak in the ‘Sussegado’ way of life, folks around here live by.
Now as I’d expect, you’d not have a friend who is a Goakar – a Goa local that is, so you are most likely to be a textbook definition of a tourist – arriving in Goa with a big group, with colleagues or college friends or perhaps for a re-union, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be alone. But even if you are, you are most likely to enjoy the most.
Waking up in Goa is an experience in itself, the fresh air does build up quite an appetite and a goan breakfast is never complete without its trademark bread. Portuguese descendants living in Goa are known for their baking skills and their breads are a must try. Most street hawkers would carry, what is commonly known as ‘Polli’, the bread which is served cold with tea or meats. The quintessential and humble Indian ‘Pao’ is yet another staple around these parts. For a man-breakfast, you can grab yourself some really inexpensive and flavoursome Chicken Xacuti, a delicately favoured coconut milk based gravy with tender chunks of chicken, served with the Goan Pao. Loosening your wallet by as less as 50 bucks! Just to get you going for the day.
They also serve some mean bhajjis and Pakoras to go along. Not necessarily a fine dining experience, but if you are in for something filling which is also cost effective, this small shop at the Saligao crossing is the best bet.
Image Credit : Flickr