Fun Way to Get Around Goa – The Dashing Pilots

If you are alone, and have just gotten off at the Panjim bus stand, and are wondering how to get around Goa, have no fear.

The dashing pilots are there.

Hello from Mr. Pilot!

Hello from Mr. Pilot!

No, the pilots do not have ANYTHING to do with airplanes or any other aviation related machinery. Proudly astride yellow colored motorbikes, these gentlemen will carry you swiftly to your destination. This gentleman happily posed for me at Panjim bus stand.

In Goa, the yellow color on the bike’s (or scooter’s or moped’s) number plate signifies that the bike (or scooter or moped) is for tourists. You’ll see this on bikes for rent, for example, as you can see on this lovely bike (my only long term relationship in Goa). She’s an Avenger and a lady, and if I ride her again, we’ll have to think of a name.

My lady in red

My lady in red

So back to the pilots. They can take you from Panjim to anywhere close by, like Dona Paula, Miramar, Candolim, Calangute (highlighted in blue in the map below). These are the popular areas, so I would recommend renting your own bike from here, if you want to go further to other places like Baga, Anjuna.

Place around Panjim highlighted in blue

Place around Panjim highlighted in blue

The pilots are pretty decent for the distances to the blue highlighted places. Any further and it becomes cost prohibitive/expensive. They should ideally charge around Rs. 100-110 (US$ 2-3) for distances upto 10km, which is more reasonable than auto-rickshaws in Goa, who charge Rs. 60-70 for 3-4km! My friend from Goa say Panjim to Mapusa (12km) is typically Rs.100(US$2), and a return journey (Panjim-Mapusa-Panjim) would be around Rs. 150.

However, its not recommended to go piloting, if you are carrying a lot of luggage (2-3 heavy bags). It’s cool if you have just your back pack and 1-2 light bags. 

Enjoy your pilot experience when you come to Goa, its one of those typical Goan things. It’s a fun way to get around Goa.

And here’s a sweet goodbye from our dashing pilot at Panjim.

Goodbye from Mr. Pilot

Goodbye from Mr. Pilot

Goan Flavour Journey – Recommended Blogs

It’s been 3 months since I wrote the first post (about Sweet Water and Tandoori Shark) on Goan Flavour. Has so much time passed already!?

Time flows eternal.

Time flows eternal.

It’s been an interesting journey. I was pretty enthusiastic about posting about Goa in the initial days, putting up pretty much everything I thought of, without really thinking how useful it is for the reader.

Goa oh Goa!

Goa oh Goa!

Hopefully I’ve learned from my lessons and the later blogs are more in tune with helping newcomers discover Goa, and old timers rediscover it :).

On a different note, these three months have led to the discovery of many interesting blogs on WordPress. It is quite awe-inspiring to read these stories, posted by some very talented people. It has forced me to think harder, and write better posts.

One of the bloggers, Les 3 Elephants, who has an amazing story by the way (read about it here), was kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster blog award.  

Inspiration!

Inspiration!

While I won’t be writing for it, I will be recommending some of the very inspiring bloggers, who’s posts are a pleasure to read. Fun, quirky and often deep, they enrich everyday life and make you think about life beyond your own world.

Here they are (in no particular order), and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do :):

  1. Fabulous 50’s  – Great posts by a “fifty-ish” baby boomer who puts many young people to shame with her vibrant energy
  2. Dreaming in Arabic – All about adventures in the UAE. Compelling and well written posts with nice photos.
  3. The Open Suitcase – Quirky, fun posts about travel with family
  4. Not in India – A nice blog with gentle, relaxing posts, quotes, thoughts and much more
  5. PS Love Charli – A very nice blog about fashion, health and celebrities
  6. AvecVeritas – Another well written blog about make up and beauty. Great to suggest to all your female friends!
  7. MissAdventure – Follow the adventures of Jessica as she travels and writes about teaching abroad in China, Thailand and more
  8. The High Heel Gourmet – I love this blog for its wonderful pictures of authentic Thai and Asian fusion food. You can see that Miranti really puts a lot of effort in writing detailed recipes designed to make you drool.
  9. Simple Tom – I enjoy Tom’s blog for his high impact visuals and informative videos. His posts are simple, not too long, but they leave you inspired and thinking of a better way to live :).
  10. CristianMihai – This is one of the latest discoveries. A writer from Romania, Cristian has great short stories, essays and more about the craft of writing, its struggles and joys. 
  11. Wanderful World – Adventures of an arm chair traveller!
  12. TheVintagePostcard – She has some of the best photograph galleries about travels around the world and a most beautiful website layout.
  13. EricJohnBaker – Another nice blog about writing. Eric is also a talented musician and just posted a great song in the genre of Progressive Post-Punk Arena Pop. Check it out the video here. The band’s called Full Blown Cranium and the albums called Cacophony of Weirdos. Just hearing the name, you know you want to listen to it :)!
  14. Chronicles of Wanderlust – As they say, two travelers discovering the world and capturing their journey with nice posts and photos. They just covered Victoria and are having a contest giving away Maple Cream Cookies, amongst other prizes :). Check it out right away!

I do apologize for my brief introductions above; they do not to do justice to the depth and breadth of topics covered by them.They cover travel, living, fashion, food, inspiration and much much more :).

 I invite you to explore and enjoy these blogs.

Relaxed Goa

Relaxed Goa

 

And do come back to Goan Flavour, for fun, food and relaxation.

Update:

I’m shifting goanflavour from WordPress to be hosted on Hostgator.com. So during the transfer process, it’s possible that some pictures/links may no longer work. If you find any link not working or post not displaying, please let me know, and I’ll fix it right away.

The decision to shift was prompted by a wish to have greater control on the website and I’m it will work out better for you:)! 

30 Helpful Konkani Phrases to Use In Goa

When you do land up in idyllic Goa, chances are that you are going to run into the locals. And luckily for you, 90-95% of Goans can communicate in English and understand it quite reasonably.

Locally, Goans speak Konkani. It is very different from Hindi, the national language of India. Konkani is not exactly a dialect, not exactly a language; it doesn’t have a script. Like most Indian languages, it comes from Sanskrit.

It’s an exciting experience to try and learn a few words of the local language, especially if you get stuck in a far away village area (bound to happen when you adventurously bike around and run out of petrol). People will appreciate the effort, and look at you in a different way, because you’re not just another hippy tourist or city slicker.

Lots of Goans are expert bargainers in Russian, especially at the Saturday Night Markets. It’s not uncommon to see the locals call out to tourists in Russian. It might be fun to learn a few Russian words as well (I have, and its a great conversation starter. For about 2 sentences. And then its smile and wave, like the penguins in Madagascar).

"Only Rs. 200, Harashou?"

“Only Rs. 200, Harashou?”

The below given list of 30 fun and helpful English-to-Konkani phrases has been compiled for your viewing pleasure and designed to endear you to the locals.  Sure to be a big help when you want to give your stomach a rest from extra spicy food (no.9), hail a taxi (no. 27), or just tell people that you LOVE Goa (no. 28). Not to forget the most important sentence to learn in any new language, – “Where’s the toilet?” at no. 12.

You’ll get the hang of the correct pronunciation and accent, especially when you practice with Goans at the shops, cafés, restaurants and the beaches.

No. Type English Konkani
1 Greetings! How are you? Tum kosso assai?
2 What is your name? Tuchem naum kitay?
3 My name is Julie Majay nau Julie
4 Where do you come from? Tu koyee-sau yet-ai?
5 Thank you Deu borem korum
6 Sorry Maaf kor
7 Yes/No Hoee/Na
8 In Restaurants and Hotels I am hungry Maka bhook lagleah
9 I do not want it spicy Maka tik naka
10 Water Oodok
11 Can I have the bill please? Matshem bill hadshi?
12 Where is the toilet? Sundas khuim assa?
13 Can you help me? Maka modot korshi?
14 Do you have a room/house to rent? Tu jay shee room/ghor asa?
15 I’d like a room for the night. Maka eke ratik room zai.
16 What is the charge per night? Eke ratik kitle poishe?
17 Can I park here? Hanga gaadi dovrunk zata?
18 Shopping How much? Kitlay?
19 Too expensive! Ekdtom ma-araog!
20 I don’t want it Maka naka tem
21 Travel Does this bus go to (Panjim)? Ee bus (Panjim) voi-ta?
22 How much to (Baga) (Baga)vossoonk kitlay pot-ollay?
23 Does this bus go to (Anjuna/Baga/Candolim)? Ee (Anjuna/Baga/Candolim) bus?
24 Drive more slowly! Sossegarde solay!
25 Turn left/right Dai-an/ Ooj-an wot
26 Where is the (Police Station)? (Police Station) khuim assa?
27 Can you get me a taxi? Maka ek taxi haadshi?
28 Fun phrases I love Goa Maka Goeya boray lakta!
29 I speak a little Konkani Aoo thodee Konkani ooloyta
30 Food is good Jevon borem

You are sure to see the Goans smile as you stumble,err, I mean, maneuver your way through the Konkani words. You may even get a discount while shopping or negotiating for a room/beach shack :). You can definitely sing along to the Konkani radio songs, much to the delight of your driver (even if you do not understand a single word).

Have fun, go a little crazy! You’re in Goa!

Karvanda in the Goan Summer – Juicy Berries of Joy

If you happen to be passing by the Panjim bus stand (or any market) while visiting Goa, then head over to the friendly old ladies selling fresh fruits. They have a large basket in front of them with the juiciest mangoes and the delicious local fruit known as Karvanda, or Carissa Spinarum as per Wiki.

Ladies in the market

Ladies at Panjim bus stop

For just Rs. 20 (around US$ .40, yes, just 40 cents), they hand over a generous helping of the ripe little berries of joy, neatly packaged in newspaper. Then you can eat until your mouth’s stained purple and black. There’s momentary burst of sweetness as the berry is crushed, and then you can savor the flavor.

This took me back to my childhood days spent at my grandparents place in the country, where all of us cousins used to run wild across the farms, climb trees, pluck and eat fruits, and generally raise all manner of hell in that special way that only small children can.

Blowing bubbles in the trees

Blowing bubbles in the trees

Fun, carefree days.

Back to Karvanda. They are really good for hot summer days, and if you are in Goa, its much better and healthier to have these rather than grab a cold juice/cold soda full of sugar.

A few days later after this Panjim trip, I walked over the hill near our project office and found wild Karvanda growing right off the edge. Wonderful :)!

Karvanda and the Sea

Karvanda and the Sea

I took a few nice shots with the beach in the background. Karvanda and the sea. Someone could shoot a movie or write a book about it.

Pink and slowly ripening

Pink and slowly ripening

A senior colleague told me that when the Karvanda berries become really black and ripe, it means that rain is going soon. I was enthralled by this bit of information linking the small pink fruit to the weather, marveling at the mysterious ways the natural world works.

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.

Walk away with the magic of Goa

“I’ve been giving it out
But it’s not coming back to me, baby!”

I’ve been humming the words of this song by Above and Beyond featuring Zoe Johnston. For better effects, click here, and listen to this song while reading this post.

It perfectly sums up my feeling at efforts of promoting this blog and the results :)!

However, never fear. I am an eternal optmist :). To be fair, it has just been two months and I’ve got lots to learn about posting great content.

So I’ve been working on some very cool items for all the visitors to this site. Here they are:

  1. Goa News – Will be covering more about whats happening here, how it is going to affect tourists coming in and opinions on the same.
  2. Goa Getaways – This explains the milestone countdown to your right. It’s gonna cover interview of people who
  3. GGC – Goa Getaway Calculator. Under development. A fun Excel tool to calculate the budget for your Goa trip.
  4. Goa Videos – Of the beaches, Restaurants and parties in Goa
  5. Hotel/Restaurant/Food Reviews – Will continue in ever snazzier forms!

Other than these, I’d love to hear more from you about what you’d like covered on this blog. People Power!

With fellow travelers at Saturday Night Bazaar, Goa

With fellow travelers at Saturday Night Bazaar, Goa

I love meeting new people and hearing their travel stories! And am happy to help out with any Goa related info – whether it’s a hotel, restaurant or beach, let me know and I’ll check it out for you! Or at the very least point you in the right direction.

Goa magic.

Goa magic.

You come to this blog, you gotta walk away informed, entertained and with a little bit of Goa with you :).

Susegad! – About Goa and its flavours

Susegad!

That apparently does not mean good sausage, as I thought when I first came about it.

Derived from the Portuguese word ‘sossegado’, it is understood to mean a state of relaxed contentment which is often attributed to this beautiful land of coconuts, cashew trees and beaches.

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Lazy Sunday at Candolim beach

It has been nearly a month since the inception of this blog and I have not yet introduced you to the amazing state of Goa. It is my humble privilege to bring the best of this coastal area to your attention.

In ancient times, this place was called Govarashtra, which is a Sanskrit word for “Nation of Cowherds”.  It was ruled by emperor Ashoka as part of the Maurya empire in the 3rd century BC. It came under Portugese rule in 1510 and finally became a part of India in 1961.

This is a short version, and glosses over much of the history of wars, conflicts that inevitably happened here.

Today, Goa is known as a destination for fun and relaxation. Around 2 million people visit Goa every year, drawn by its laid back pace. Most Indians consider it a party destination, ideal for weekend getaways from Mumbai, Delhi and other metros. Foreigners consider it a backpacker destination which is easy on the pocket.

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FTV party at Candolim beach, Dec 30, 2012. Entry US$ 40 and unlimited beer.

Goa is one of the smallest states in India, with a population of only around 1.2 million people. The infrastructure and quality of life are rated as one of the best in all of India. Konkani is the local language, however almost everybody understands English. Important signboards are also in English, and it is very easy and cheap to rent a bike/car/jeep and roam around. A decent bike will cost like US$5 (INR 270) per day to rent. And you can negotiate for a cheaper rate if you are hiring it for a longer period.

May is the hottest month, with temperature reaching a peak of 35 °C (95 °F). You can see more weather related info on links given at the bottom of this post.

So nearly 500,000 party goers descend on Goa every year, with the top markets being UK, Russia, Germany, Finland and France. I had a little fun with the latest available figures given on the Goa tourism website (www.goatourism.gov.in/statistics) and put them down for you over here.

Top 5 nations of partying tourists coming to Goa and the total tourist arrivals in Goa from 2006-11:

Goa partygoers 2010-11

Nations partying through 2010-11

Visitors to Goa from 2006-11

Visitors to Goa from 2006-11

Kidding about the partying, many people come for yoga, relaxation and meditation as well. In fact there’s a great place called Yogamagic which I can’t wait to check out. It is an eco retreat offering yoga packages and healthy food. Check out their website here.

Goa is easy to get to from Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore. I had no problems booking a flight here from Delhi, and nowadays you can get air tickets really cheap, there are a lot of promotional offers going on. Check them out here.

I will be going to Bangalore this weekend from Goa via bus, so will let you know how the connectivity and service works out. As per redbus.in (online bus booking service), the fares as of March 2013 are around US$10-15 (INR 500-900) for a one way trip. A guy’s gotta rest from all the partying!!!

This blog is under constant evolution, and I am going to keep adding useful updates about everything Goan.

Do let me know if you have any questions regarding stay, travel, and I will do my best to assist you as per my personal knowledge and experience.

Some useful Goa links:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/goa

http://www.goatourism.gov.in/

http://www.goatourism.gov.in/statistics