Perfect Place to stay near Saturday Night Market, Arpora

Last weekend, I was at Arpora, in time to attend the last Saturday Night Bazaar of the season.

I found a the perfect place to stay. Called Maitri guest house, the rooms are well furnished, comfortable and spacious. The owners built it recently, and I doubt that you will find it on any of the booking websites. A sweet old lady holding her grandchild greeted me and showed the rooms. I liked what I saw and negotiated a Rs.300 decrease on the price of Rs. 2500, ending up paying Rs. 2200 (US$ 40). If you stay for longer than 1 night, you can bargain for a higher discount.

Relaxed ambiance

Relaxed ambiance

The place is located a 2 min bike ride away from the Arpora Saturday Night Bazaar, going towards the Baga bridge. You’ll see a sign on the road pointing you towards the right. I liked this place as it was at a convenient mid point between Baga and Anjuna, making it easy to travel either way.

Welcome to Maitri!

Welcome to Maitri!

It’s a great place, and relatively cheaper than others, being newly opened. Some renovation is still going on, and the entrance is undergoing work, but as you saw, the rooms are great.

Booking a place is really handy because then you can leave your bags and stuff in the room, and not worry about it when you travel or go to the beach. It is advisable to look after your belongings, as laptops, phones have been known to be taken from hotel rooms. This was more like an apartment, so no such worries here.

Call Sudesh (or Sudi as his friends call him) at +91 9822138002 to book a room at Maitri. Do tell him you got to know of the guesthouse through this and he’ll offer you a special discounted rate :). Alternatively, you can book your Goa holiday here.

After keeping my stuff at Maitri, I headed to the Bazaar down the road.

A Goan who I contacted on Couch Surfing advised me to carry some extra cash to buy stuff at the Bazaar. It turned out to be great advice (thanks, Kapil Biyani). Things were being given away at throw away prices as the people prepared to leave Goa for the season.

Vast variety of junk jewellery

Vast variety of junk jewellery

I picked up a couple of nice t-shirts (around Rs. 2000 or US$ 40), different tea flavors (mango, strawberry, coconut, Darjeeling, Kashmiri, rose and more for Rs. 500 or US$ 10), as well as a bag (Rs. 100 or US$ 2).

Tea, tea everywhere

Tea, tea everywhere

It was kind of sad to see the Saturday Night Bazaar so empty.

Where are the people?

Where are the people?

It’s usually brimming with people, excitement and energy. It wasn’t for a lack of spirit though, as you can see from watching this enthusiastic barman preparing me a Macky’s special (have it only if you like thick sweet syrupy liquor).

He knew all the words. He must have heard the song over a million times, and still he was relaxed and happy :).

The Saturday Night Bazaar closes from May-July for the summer and heavy monsoons. I was told by a shopkeeper that they would be back again in October.

Make sure to stop by the Saturday Night Bazaar when you are in Goa. It’s an experience not to be missed.

Goa Underground Trance with DJ Shine at Bubble Brunch

DJ Shine_6 April 2013

Music has been a long time coming, and finally, I bring to you a select delectable 20s of DJ Shine.

headbanging

Shake away!!! Courtesy tumblr.com

Enjoy, like and comment :)!

Uraak!!! Holi Goa @ the Soma Project, Ashwem Beach

Uraak in a chicken shaped pot!

Uraak in a chicken shaped pot!

Uraak!

No that is not the sad squawk of a dying bird, but one of the famed drinks in Goa, made from the distilled and fermented extracts of the cashew fruit. In a clear glass, it looks cloudy, quite similar to coconut milk, but is easily identifiable by its characteristic strong smell!

3 glasses and counting!

3 glasses and counting!

It was Holi and I was all alone.

The sea called to me, and I left home for the shores of Ashwem beach. Walking along the sandy coast, I heard loud music thumping from close by.

What was happening?

The Soma Project_Ashwem

The Soma Project_Ashwem

It was the Soma Project, a relaxed beachside resort and restaurant I had visited earlier. They play great electronic and trance music. I entered the Soma Project from the sea side, and was immediately greeted by a raucous bunch of guys. They were the staff, bartenders and waiters, who ran the place. They had arranged for the Uraak to be brought locally and were now enjoying the same. I was invited to partake.

So of course, I did.

Practical tip: It is generally advised not to buy Uraak from the highways while on the road. The product may be contaminated with other liquids and can be dangerous. Drink only with trusted people as far as possible.

I sat down with Hitesh, the marketing manager and André, the Russian. A big friendly happy go lucky fellow, it was André’s last day in India and he was wondering what all this commotion was about.

André and Moi!

André and Moi!

Maria, Moi and Hitesh

Maria, Moi and Hitesh

We had a few glasses of Uraak, then proceeded to dance on the floor, encouraged by the shouts of Hitesh, Rocky and others. Maria and a few other guests at the resort joined in the celebrations. We had a wonderful time dancing to trance songs interspersed with some Bollywood numbers!

All this Uraak was for free. Since it was Holi, they just wanted everybody to be happy and have fun.

I finally walked out after saying goodbye to André, Maria, Rocky and others.

I went to another restaurant called the Baba Huts to have some more food and rest while the Uraak wore off. After a scrumptious Chicken Sizzler and Cheese Toast, I settled down with a hot Ginger Lemon tea.

Sizzle awaaay!

Sizzle awaaay!

Hot Ginger Lemon Honey tea - my favourite :)!

Hot Ginger Lemon Honey tea – my favourite :)!

It was nice to see the sunshine on the sea, turning the water to gold. I spoke to a few people from the UK sitting in the restaurant, a girl named Scarlet and 2 other guys, Tom and Phil. Sipping my tea, I got know that they were in Goa on vacation. Scarlet actually worked for an Indian family based in the UK as governess for their children, and was on a break because of school holidays. Tom and the others were around my age (25-26) and just here to chill. It is quite nice to meet with other travelers and share stories. You always get to hear something new, and learn how others think from a different perspective.

Golden waters and the sea

Golden waters and the sea

The bill at Baba Huts came to Rs. 410 (around US$), which is pretty decent considering the quality and quantity of the dishes served. I recommend the place for a relaxed afternoon of swimming and soaking the sun, especially convenient if you are based in North Goa. You can easily move to Morjim, Mandrem and Arambol from the Ashwem beach.

Happy belated Holi to you all!

Have you ever celebrated Holi in India? What did you like best about it? What’s your craziest Holi story?

Share your stories in the comments below :)!