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

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.