Sunday, January 18, 2009

No Shopping Syndrome

So did i tell you, i havent shopped in 2 months!!!! thats like committing a crime in women-dom! Can you believe it, i walked into Lifestyle today and didnt shop! :O... Well..hmph hmph.. i dont like not shopping..i mean come onnn... we are built to shop and this is the Sale season remember?? i have been trying to give my hubby dear, subtle hints of 'amazing sale' here and there..but all i hear is a 'grunt'! So i feel under-privilaged..and i feel blaah...coz i wanna go and do some good 'ol mind-numbing feeling happy shopping!! thats it! whaat? i am serious.. dont u get it? Shopping is a therapy..and a woman should always remain happy..and apart from other happiness sources such as - I wanna SHOP! 

Ok i think i am done with venting anger... coz i cant believe i cant shop ( i am trying to save money... hmph hmph!) So please dont tell me what you bought..coz frankly my dear.. i dont care! ;)

Its a Different World - The World of Goa - Day 3

2nd  January 2009 started early at 9 am. We dragged our groggy heads out of the bed and got ready to go to the beach!.. We had planned to go to Vagator and Small Vagator beaches, Chapora Fort and stop by at Candolim Beach on our way back.. We had hired a car for that day @ 1000/- per day. So we bundled up in our Alto and were off to Vagator. The routes in Goa are easy and we were there at Vagator within ½ hour. We were hungry and the grumblings in our tummy were stronger than the urge to settle on the beach… so we looked for a place.. We found nothing much at Vagator except for the beautiful view..

So we went to Small Vagator Beach also known as Ozrant Beach and found a lot of small shacks off the beach, up on the cliff. The route to the beach is a flight of steps down a cliff…shaded by palms. We first settled at this empty restaurant and ate to our heart’s content – pancakes, omlettes, English breakfast et al. We also found cute little shops and bought some shorts etc. Walked down the flight of stony-steps and landed at the beach. This Beach is extremely rocky, the sand is not as soft and clean as the one in Colva Beach… but nevertheless it was beautiful. 

The Little Vagator area is further divided into three parts: Italian beach, Tel Aviv beach and the main strip. The first two are named after the nationalities that pretty much occupy the sands there. The beach is pretty sparsely crowded and is quite a ‘hidden’ beach so as to say! It has about 10 shacks on the coast and is filled with mostly Westeners. We went to the far end of the Italian Beach and found 4 lovely sun beds to settle on. As I told earlier, when we reach a beach, we settle! :)… The men went into the waters and we ordered beer and breezers… After a while, S and I decided to walk down the length of the beach to the farthest end. This, my friend, was almost a nude beach… very very sexy ladies (can give anyone a run for their money) …very very sexy men… and we also found some famous faces amongst them… At the farthest end was the rock carving of Lord Shiva and the carvings of the Cobra created around 4 years ago. An unknown foreigner from the Hippie Era carved these. They were beautiful carvings.

Having done that and stared at the innumerable eye-candies, we moved towards Chapora Fort. It was about 4PM and we had decided to watch the sunset from the fort. The climb up Chapora is not so wow… it was difficult especially if ur wearing ‘chappals’! hmph.. Nevertheless we reached the top and made our way to the ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ point. There were a number of Saifs and Amirs and Akshayes that we saw posing.. We waited for them to get off and went ahead with our posings. That is when we discovered a small opening, which leads to outside the fort area and towards a section of the mountain that a few men were going to. We decided to trek it. The walk was beautiful.. the view on both sides was breathtaking – one side was the Large Vagator Beach and the other side was a section of Goa which looked like a fishermen’s colony. We went to the farthest end of the mountain, from where it was just the sea and the skies! Sigh.. Settled on a rock, we watched the sun go down.. another great sunset added to our memories!

We came back..tired… exhausted and satisfied with the day.. somewhat sad that it was going to be the last day!!!… We drove in silence to Candolim Beach… which we realized is SO not a night beach.. It looked dull… lonely and very very boring. So after having a drink or two at a shack.. we came back to the main roads. We were hungry… and decided to park the car and walk into any of the many restaurants. The way we saw it – the restaurant with the maximum number of people will be our choice. So we chose one and entered. Unfortunately it was all wrong – starting with the drinks which were delayed.. he gave us a wrong version of chicken Cafrael… and oh the food was pathetic..( I will not give you the name..coz frankly I don’t remember)! We came back home.. telling ourselves that its ok!!!

We were up the next morning quite early…coz we had a train to catch at 3pm. We decided that we will not waste the morning in our room and checked out at 10AM. We hired a car and went to Baga Beach. Some of us had to shop a bit for family back home and I wanted to take something that would remind me of Goa. We shopped a bit.. and saw this restaurant called – Electric Cats. They claim to have “The best cocktails in town” and even validate it with “Lonely Planet” says so! We decided; leaving Goa without cocktails would make the trip incomplete. So we settled. The owner-cum-bartender Mr. Ramesh was absolutely adorable. He helped us

choose cocktails, made us comfortable and even let us enter: behind the bar (pun unintended)! We intended tohave only 1 cocktail each but ended up having 2 each and a lot of yummy Goan food.. The Chicken Xacuti and the Pork Vindaloo were heavenly.. the afternoon sun and the cocktails made our last meal in Goa even more special. 2 hours later and wishing we had cancelled the train tickets, a little tispy us walked out of the restaurant and were on our way to the station – ofcourse wishing through the way – wishing the train leaves and we jump onto the nearest beach shack…! Sigh… but no.. the train had to wait.. coz we have to go back the paradise and finish what we had not completed in this trip. Us marketing guys called it the –
Recall Value

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It’s a Different World – The World Of Goa… Day II

Someone at work had told me about the picturesque and serene beaches of South Goa… Palolem, Varca, Benaulim and Colva to name a few.. We took the car with the driver (we wanted self-drive..unfortunately we didn’t get one..So we had to settle for a driver)…and drove to Dona Paula Beach.. 

Now I had read on the net that Dona Paula is the place for ‘water sports’!! What crap! It had nothing…! I had families walhing the promenade..there was no beach….what a dissapointment!.. We lost a bit of heart…had some lemonade..(hehehe) and started our journey to Palolem (a huge recommendation by a whole lot of people)… That’s when the driver broke the news to us – Palolem is 80 kms from Dona Paula! 

That was when we fell for the lure of the ocean and stopped at Colva…and may I say, that was the best decision we made. Soubhagya, when he had come to Goa earlier, had eaten at a place called ‘Kentuckee’ at Colva Beach..We were famished with all the travelling and no breakfast. So we decided to be wise and stopped at ‘Kentuckee’. It was a hot afternoon.. we were snappy and famished. We ordered Breezers, Feni and starters…ofcourse! We ate in silence till our bellies were full enough to start jabbering! J We enjoyed the afternoon sun, yearned for the beach and couldn’t wait to dig into the delicious foood…which when I call ‘delicious’ is actually ‘very very good’!! The chicken was succelent, the fish was very well cooked and the feni was Awesome! We finished our lunch by 3PM and hopped onto the Colva Beach.. it was quiet crowded..Mostly with the families and the kids and the so called ‘TT Golds/DMRs’ (our Pet Names for the pounchy leching uncles in dirty skin colour chaddis…yuck yuck!) We walked upto a Beach Shack on Colva which had 2 empty sunbeds and just when we were about to settle down, a very small man came running to us asking “yes… what do you want… 300/- per bed”. We said, “ok.. but can we have 2 chairs also please?” He refused point blank and said “No No…only 1 bed for 300/- and only 1 person per bed”.. Well WTF? I got a bit agitated... it was as if he was looking down upon us… and told him “can you please talk a bit politely and that there were some foreigners sitting nearby – 2 on one sunbed!!” His answer made us all fume – “Those are 15 days old…those are regulars…” We left but not before giving the man a good piece of our minds.

Without wanting to get insulted further, we walked towards the north… and spotted a few nice beach shacks with relatively fewer crowds a little up the beach. That is a little less famous – Betalbatim Beach. I must thank the ‘little rude man’ for leading us to that beach ....  

A beach shack called “Silver Spoons”! May I take the liberty to give it the Prestigeous Award of “The Best Beach Shack”. I approached 3 vacant sunbeds very cautiously… To my surprise, one of the shack boys came, smiled and asked me “how many of you ma’am? Please sit” (shell-shocked) I settled asked him to adjust 2 umbrellas towards us… and he asked me if I needed anything. I knew then, this is where I am going to be for the day! Done! 
The boys went into the sea for the ‘holy dip’ and I settled on the sun bed, with the sunrays trickling and gently warming my feet.. shut my eyes and drifted into a very beautiful slumber.. Listening to the waves and feeling the warm sun! Now this is what I call a LIFE and this is what I call LIVING!! Sigh…

We decided to watch the sunset from Betalbatim and Silver Spoons… The beach was ‘silver sands’ and the water was calm.. the horizon was beautiful. I ordered a Mojitos and settled on my sun bed to watch the sunset… and may I was the most beautiful sunset ever… It was the best Mojitos I have ever had… It was the best Evening I have ever had! Sigh..Again!

Now the sunset was done with and we saw the shack boys putting easy chairs and tables with candles at the edge of the waters… we got tempted…grabbed a set of 5 chairs and table and settled to have Dinner by the Beach. Maaan…who hasn’t dreamt of that? I did.. and it couldn’t have been better! There were waves crashing 20ft from our feet…there was a soft sea breeze blowing..the moon was shining down at us..Caribbean music was floating out of the shack.. now didn’t I say – It’s a Different World!??! The day got over with a beatiful Goan Dinner of Fresh Fish grilled to perfection… Chicken Xacutti and Rotis.. Perfect..i say! The best beginning to a very promising and positive New Years!!

Contd.. Next Post...

It’s a Different World – The World Of Goa…

We live in a world of cutthroat competition, maintaining real relationships, rising oil-prices, economic volatalities and routines. Every once in a while we like to take that much needed break… that much needed vacation…that much needed put-your-feet-up-and-do-nothing treats. And we do manage, we do manage to squeeze in a weekend getaway… a day-trip to the nearest tourist spot… a day of lounging at home and doing nothing. But there is nothing.. I feel that compares to a 3-day vacation in Goa! And before I start describing the most fulfilling, the most amazing vacation I have taken in recent times… I would recommend it to all!

Ah Goa… there are many ways to describe it – Sun, Sand, Surf, Parties, Beaches, Adventure Sports, the best sea-food, sunsets, sunrises etc etc etc. How I describe Goa – A Different World

I am what you call – an avid traveller… bitten by the travelling bug (I watch Travel&Living and take notes for God’s Sake)… and Goa to be ranks right up there with McLaudgunj, Sangla Valley and French Riviera (My top 3 destinations that I have visited and LOVED!)

So we made this plan for Goa almost overnight.. We wanted to do something worthwhile for New Years and being in Bangalore and looking at its so-called ‘nightlife’ we knew it wouldn’t be possible. So we thought of Goa. We booked bus tickets and return train tickets, we booked a very basic hotel (essentially to just sleep and get ready), I did the research (which I just love doing before travellling), took printouts of ‘must-visits’ and ‘must-eats’! We were very clear that we did not want a ‘tourist’ trip of seeing churches and spots... we knew we needed a Relaxed Vacation of Doing Nothings!

We were 5 of us (I was the only girl in the gang) – Arjun, Mukesh, Santhosh, Soubhagya and Moi.  A, S and I left from Bangalore on Dec 30th night by Poulo Travels – Semi sleeper for Goa. We were so excited that A was already in his so-called “Goa Baby, Gear”!!! It’s a different story that we froze to death in the bus; coz the man apparently ran out of blankets (grrr as well as brrr)… Nevertheless, we reached Goa on time at 10 AM, got off at Panaji, haggled with an auto guy and paid him 100/- to reach our hotel in Porvorim (8 kms from Calangute).

We entered our room and it had 4 beds and we came to know we would only get 1 room for 5 persons coz there were no more rooms in the hotel! Panic struck and we started making calls to other hotels. Unfortunately they were all booked (what else do you expect, it was Dec 31st).  So we decided to give in and adjust. The other 2 guys – M and S arrived from Mumbai in the next 2 hours and by then we had already changed into our beach wears, ready to hit the very very famous Baga Beach.

We bargained with the hotel guy – cum – Cab provider. We wanted to hire a car for the entire day and night, since we didn’t want to drive on New Year’s night, lest, some of us are too high (responsible citizens you see...we were!).  We got the car and we were on our way to Baga Beach, Baby! We landed on the beach and couldn’t contain our excitements… One thing that we observed was the fact that there were – so few people!! I mean we actually got 2 sun-umbrellas and 5 chairs at a shack… wow! J It didn’t take us more than a minute to order our first rounds of Beer and the Golden-fried Prawns and the chicken somethings… All we did for the next 15 mins was “Sigh…we are finally here... sigh… smile…sigh…we are finally here…sigh sigh…smile widely... smile at the neighbour next door…sighhh!”

We spotted the ‘temporary tattoo wala'. I called him, got a Sun designed on my shoulder… We spotted jet-skis... and all of us decided to go and try that out. I did! It was the best adreline rush you get, when you sit there, hold the handle and zoom your way into the sea… with splashing waves…and salty water… wohooo i say!! We were there for over 4 hours… the men had their ‘holy’ dip into the sea and came back satisfied! I was happy just listening to the waves crashing... the sun…the laughing happy people around… the beer and the food...It was almost magical and I said earlier –

It’s a Different World

We came back to our room by 7 PM, quickly got dressed. By then we knew we were going to a club called – Aquatica at Morjim Beach. We had a choice between that and Tito’s. But we were shocked to hear that Tito’s was charging 3000/- per couple – Only entry and 4000/- per stag – Only entry!  :O… What pissed us off about the place was when we called them from Bangalore, they told us that it was 1000/- per couple… We decided not to step into that place… B%$**y cheaters!!!

Well... it was Goa... the beaches...Therefore we even dressed for that... men in their three-fourths and light shirts and me in skirt and a top! Aquatica was quite far and in the interiors and we reached our destination by 10 PM. The entry was 1000/- couple and 1500/- stag…and let me tell you – it was The Party Of The Year! You will know why….

The party had 5 International DJs…the crowd consisted of Russians, P3s from Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore and the whos-who of the TV and modeling world and hold-on... they were dressed in their finest silks and dresses and heels! :O… And here we were in our three-fourths and skirts…. But then….its Goa... and you can be whatyou want to be! J

The party started around 11PM…and people kept trickling in till late. Very soon there were over 500 persons in the was jam-packed and I havent heard better Trance in my life.. We took our drinks..some snacks (all self-service) and settled… It was the best Party we have ever attended and it was one of the most memorable New Years of my life!! We came back to our room by 4AM and were snoring by 4:10AM. We were up at 8:30 AM and got ready to leave for South Goa Beaches.... post... 

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