We left for Goa on the 7th morning on Kingfisher airlines. We flew out of the brand new delhi airport, which was beautiful. It just so happened that the day before, we actually had lunch with the guy that actually designed the airport. Dad said we were going to have lunch with a couple of his old friends, so we went to this delicious Chinese restaurant called Monk. When I asked his friend how he spent his time, he said that he designed airports and apparently owned a giant corporation called interarch buildings. (www.interarchbuildings.com).
Anyhow, we hopped on the plane and I was extremely impressed with kingfisher airlines. The airline, Kingfisher, which also makes the beer we have been drinking all trip is owned by this boss named Vijay Malyaa. All the airhostesses of the airline wore striking red outfits, were intelligent and attractive, and provided great service. Best of all was that they provided delicious meals on all of the flights, regardless of distance. We took 2 flights on the way, as we had a connecting one in Bangalore and were given dank meals on both despite extremely short distances. The only strange thing was that during the stopover between our connecting flight, they make you stay on the airplane for “security reasons”. As a result, we had to sit on the plane for a total of 6 hours.
I fell in love with the state about the second we walked off the plane. The weather was 80 and sunny with palm trees everywhere, and after dealing with cold weather in DC and Delhi, it felt amazing. It was about an hour drive along the gorgeous coast to our hotel. The state has a very tropical feel to it, and instantly reminded me of the Caribbean. All of the houses and buildings are fun to look at, as they are all striking bright colors such as yellow, blue, orange and purple. I was actually gifted a book called Houses of Goa, that highlights all the beautiful houses in the state so look forward to that being on the coffee table in my soon to be house next year haha
We were staying at the Marriott Resort in Miramar, and it was amazing. As you enter, you see that the lobby is a beautiful veranda overlooking the Miramar Bay. As I’m writing this, we’re actually sitting on that veranda dolphin watching listening to Buena Vista Social Club, and I’m wondering if life could possibly get better than this. After hanging out and exploring the hotel for a little, we went to the executive lounge for evening drinks. Renu aunty’s dad had a connection with a gentleman named Mr.Raiker who owned all the Marriotts in Goa or something to that extent, and as a result we received the royal treatment. We were allowed to have drinks for free every evening in the executive lounge, so Osker and I were sure to take full advantage of that. After a few drinks, we headed out to the beach to grab dinner. We ate at this restaurant named Brittos, that was on the beach and I had a delicious Goan Fish Curry with a kingfisher on the side. The décor was cool, and it was a good first day in Goa.
The second morning, we woke up to terrific weather and had a great breakfast buffet provided by the hotel. Had some delicious dosa and idli sambar, the freshest orange juice ever, and pineapple dipped in mango yogurt. Yum. The driver got to the hotel at 11, and then we were off to explore Goa. First, we went to the St.Frances Church joant, which is one of the areas top attractions. Goa is an extremely Christian state, and was actually colonized by the Portuguese way back when Vasco De Gama stumbled upon it. St.Frances’ remains are actually supposed to be still buried in the cathedral, and apparently he has an immortal body, which has somehow managed to last a gazillion years.
After checking out the cathedral, this cool religious building across the street, and a sweet fort we went to the Taj Hotel for lunch. The Taj was terrific. First off, the resort was beautiful, and we ate at a great open-air restaurant that was over looking the Arabian Sea which was incredible. To only add to the perfection provided by the views and weather, my dad informed someone that he used to work at the Taj and owned restaurants in DC, and then the royal treatment began. The executive chef of the restaurant came out to greet us, and actually ordered the best items on the menu and personally prepared them for us to ensure we had a great visit. There truly is nothing like Indian hospitality.
After our outstanding meal and experience at the Taj, we headed back to the Marriott Resort for a while. We hung out, enjoyed the sunset, and met some terrific and interesting people. We met this group of four American men from Virginia who were sitting next to us, and looked extremely worn, exhausted, and to be frank somewhat dirty. We asked them where they were coming from, and they told us they were participating in the Rickshaw Run, and had just driven for 12 hours in an auto rickshaw, which is why they looked so beat. Also ran into a group of 3 americans from Minnesota, who were also competing in the race and were just a couple years older than myself. The Rickshaw run is one of the coolest ideas and events I have ever heard of. The way it works is that 60 teams of individuals are selected to participate in this event, and are given Rickshaws to travel from the North of India near Rajasthan, all the way down to the south. They are given no directions, rules or anything of that nature, with their only instructions being that they were to try and end up in the destination city in 15 days. Absolutely ridiculous, It sounds like an incredible experience. It is put on by a website called www.theadventurist.com so check it out. If anyone is interested I would love to try and do one the events at some point in the near future, so let me know! All the people we met seemed cool, and we ended up spending much more time with them the next day.
After a few drinks at the executive lounge, as became our evening routine, we decided to go to this event called the Saturday Night Bazaar, which only occurs once a week on Saturdays. It was one of the wildest market places I’ve been to, and was quite an experience. The bazaar was only open from around 11pm to 2am, but there were what felt to be a million vendors littered all over the place. The strangest part was how many Europeans, Russians, and freaky looking people were in the marketplace, and they heavily outnumbered the Indians present. We were told the Russian Mafia has a very strong presence in Goa, and it showed throughout the trip as we saw signs in the language and Russians pretty much everywhere we went. After aimlessly wandering about the maze of shops for a while, I ended up buying 3 cool elephant tapestries for about 600 rupees or 12 American dollars. We went back to the hotel, and all crashed pretty soon thereafter.
Saturday Night Bazaar
The next morning, woke up to the shining sun and perfect temperatures once more. Our room had a small balcony, so jammed to some slightly stoopid for a while out there before getting the day started. Started off with another giant breakfast consisting of omelets, dosas, and super fresh pineapple juice. Instead of going out again, we decided to just spend the day relaxing in the resort.
After getting in a quick run on the treadmill, my first in months, I headed back up and convinced oz to go swimming, which turned out to be a great idea. The pool was super refreshing. Almost as refreshing as the tasty treats the bartender began pouring us as soon as we got in the pool. We had margaritas to start, and then spent the rest of the afternoon inhaling a healthy dose of magnificent mojitos and devouring some terrific chicken tikka and our first burgers in a while. Listening to the thievery corporation playing on the poolside speakers, overlooking the ocean with drink in hand was magical.
Poolside Bar 🙂
After the pool, we went back to our rooms and showered. Showering at the Marriott felt so good, and was the first one I actually enjoyed since arriving in India. Same thing goes for sleep. We came back out to the lobby, and ran into our new friends from Virginia we had met the evening before. We all started talking, and ended up in a giant circle engaged in discussion as they recapped their stories about the rickshaw race so far and we began to familiarize ourselves with one another. 3 of the 4 gentleman we met worked at an interesting and successful financial company called Dorsey, Wright & Associates. The CEO of the company, Tom Dorsey, was among the group with us and had apparently written many books and had a very unique take on how to analyze stock market trends using the basics of supply and demand. Apparently he also used to hold the world dead weight lifting records for the 55 yr old age group. Safe to say him and his bud Skip, who played O-Line at VMI, were big dudes. Mr.Dorsey was very engaging and intelligent, and he seemed very excited about my Quest teams Open Education idea after I brought it up (www.openmyedu.com, still a work in progress but it’s gonna be sweet). Per usual, we watched the sun set at around 6 or so, and then headed over to the executive lounger for drinks again, moving our new friends and conversations along with us.
After watching some of the India-South Africa cricket match and a round of drinks, we all went downstairs for dinner outside. There were a total of 9 of us at the table and we had a great meal. After dinner, and a few more drinks we all sat around for a while having spirited discussions spanning all sorts of topics, and thoroughly enjoyed one another’s company. As it began to get late, we said our goodbyes and wished them the best of the luck on the rest of their journey as everyone headed to bed. Everyone except for me and one pratrick Reynolds that is..
For me and prem, the party had just begun. We changed into pants and headed over to the casino as you only had to be 18 to get in. Cover charge was 500 rupees but drinks were all inclusive so we more than made our money back. After checking out the Casino, we wound up at the blackjack table. It was no ordinary blackjack table, as it was all electronic and your cards were shown to you on a screen located in front of you instead of playing with physical cards. Although I found it strange the system grew on me, and it was done in an attempt to get around the Goan law stating that you cannot play card games on land, which is a main reason why there are all the floating casinos. Osker and I started out a little rocky, but then after putting down about a grand each we stayed on the table with that money for over 2 hours till the end of the night. We had a copious amount of rum & cokes, kingfishers, and masala peanuts. We were up the whole time, till the end that is. The road from three grand to no grand was a quick one, and I’m going to say the booze might have helped me loose. After I ran out of chips, Osker still had some left and after convincing him to play the hand he said screw it and went all in. He won the hand, and then went all in once more and won again. All in all he ended up winning 4700 rupees, and we both had an awesome time. Naturally, after osker’s successful evening we had to do something so after the casino closed we headed back downstairs for celebratory drinks. We made friends with some of the younger employees, lounged outside, took in the ocean, sang some ridiculous songs and then finally called it a night around 4am.
We ran into one of our new friends the next morning haha
The next morning, after another outstanding breakfast and jamming to some tunes with Dave Uncle and the gang in the lobby, it was sadly time to say adios to Goa. Osker and Co. had their flight before us so had to say goodbye to them. Was really very glad that they were there with us throughout our time in Delhi, Agra and Goa and believe they were all a huge part of why this has been such an incredible trip for me so far!
After they left, we went to visit one of dads friends who just happened to be the former chief minister of Goa for 20 years or so (similar to governor), the current speaker of the house, and the unofficial “King of Goa” (Yes, He actually has royal bloodlines). Him and his wife were both very humble and welcoming individuals, and I was glad to have met them. He told me that he was currently building a brand new campus for his Institute of Management in Goa, which was one of the top 20 in all of India. It is a graduate program, and he said that after graduating I should look into attending the university. I hadn’t considered grad school too seriously to this point, but the opportunity to study management at a top university in Goa sounds quite tempting so may be something to consider in the future.
This trip I have realized what a ridiculous number of connections my dad. We had our flight at 5pm, and we did not leave this gentleman’s house till about 3:50pm and the airport was about 45 minutes away so we were pretty concerned about catching our flight, but he told us not to worry about it. After we left for the airport, dad realized that he had forgotten his cell phone at the house but if we turned around there was no way we were going to make the flight. We called him to ask what we should do, and he just had one of his drivers come to the airport to drop it off like it was no big deal. After dealing with some traffic we finally arrived at the airport around 4:35. As the car pulls up, there is an air hostess from Kingfisher airlines, dressed head to toe in her bright red outfit, standing outside waiting for us with both of our boarding passes in hand before we’ve entered the airport. We skip all the lines, get ushered through security and end up on sitting on the plane with 10 minutes to spare. It was really cool experience and it showed me how powerful the gentleman I had just met really was.
Goa instantly became my favorite place in India, and I fell in love with pretty much everything about it. I would highly recommend taking a visit whenever you get a chance, and I would like to get back there as soon as I can. I’ll upload pics sometime tomorrow.
My trip to Spain is coming up soon, really soon, like less than a week and I can’t wait. I am growing increasingly worried about my Spanish as I haven’t practiced in so long, and I’m almost positive I will start combining Hindi and Spanish for a good couple weeks over there haha.
We arrived in Bombay last night, and I have been having a great time so far! I’ll post an update on what we have been up to soon