Goa in four days

What happens when, three couples plan a four-day trip from Chennai to Goa. Great excitement follows. This post is about a short four day trip to Goa. The weather in March at Goa was pleasant, not very warm except for the afternoon Sun. The taxi desk at the Goa International Airport was too small to  handle so many passengers arriving. So we had to stand for quite some time in a long queue until we got our turn.

We were booked at Sterling Resorts – Club Estadia, which was located in a very quiet neighbourhood, unlike other resorts which are closer to the beaches. It was a family resort buzzing with kids and teenagers. The food was quite good, a notch above our expectations. I must mention the chef Jishnu at Sterling, who took good care of us, and literally obeyed to all the commands of our friend Kadir, who is an ex chef himself. Yes, he knew all the tricks of the trade and what to expect at this place, what to order, what to avoid….the list goes on.

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The Gang – Ravi, Kadir,Nimmi, Pallavi, Ram and Valli ( from left )
Our group was Kadir-Nimmy, Ravi-Pallavi and me Ram-Valli.  Kadir and Nimmy have travelled quite a lot, covered more than seventy countries and that always helps in switching plans, in case Plan A fails. It did. I will tell you about it a little later. Ravi is an auditor, a management guru, and was our GPS tracker. I am not an expert at that.

The Mall De Goa is a ten minute walk from Sterling and the place is known as Porvorim. We too were surprised to see a Mall in the beach paradise. Ravi managed to see a movie at the Mall, since he landed the previous day from Mumbai. We didn’t go there obviously, since we weren’t interested to see Malls.
Since we landed in the afternoon, we took a short nap and were fresh for the night. The famous “Saturday Night Market” at Arpora-Goa.

This place was filled with foreign tourists mostly Russians, a live band in place, switching singers by the hour, a whole row of eateries , from the humble samosa guy to the exotic german pretzels joint. The range of food offered in different restaurants here was almost inexhaustible.

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shops at the saturday night market

It’s an amazing sight to watch, because of the colour, the smell of barbecue, noise of constant chatter, clinking of beer bottles and an array of shops selling Indian handicrafts mostly to foreign tourists.

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A sitarist playing at the venue with tented stalls all around
I know these shops won’t interest Indian tourists, but it is a sight to watch. The splash of colour all around is so amazing that you could sit and watch each shop for a couple of minutes.

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The splash of colour in every pinch of masala powder
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We tried barbecued king fish and some vegetarian paneer fry. Since it was so crowded we had to pounce on the table as soon as a guest left. When the ladies felt comfortable, Kadir and me had gone to get the food from the stalls.

The next day we headed off to Candolim beach. It was clean but the sun was burning hot and so we didn’t try to get in.

Ravi’s friend had recommended a shack restaurant called “Calamari Bathe & Binge“. It was right on this beach. An intro to this shack restaurant.

Calamari opened in October 2003 as a joint venture between two high-school buddies – Verner Da Costa Frias and Reginaldo D’Souza. Each one brought their own skill set into the business and over the years it has grown to be one of the most frequented restaurants in Goa by domestic and international visitors and Bollywood celebrities.

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Calamari Bathe & Binge Shack Restaurant
Incidentally it was Kadir’s anniversary and we decided to freak out . Valli and Pallavi were vegetarians and they really missed out some fresh seafood. It was awesome.

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Pork ribs in barbecue sauce

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Kadir and Nimmy celebrating their anniversary

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Uttam setting up the table for a bottle of chilled Sula
Thank you Uttam for giving us some great and quick food.It’s mostly crowded especially on weekends and it is advisable to make a reservation and go to this place.The owners of this shack  kept us happy by not shouting at their staff. They were so cool and polite but made sure everything was in order and their silent managerial skills were so evident that it’s worth taking a leaf out of their book. I certainly did.

By the way, Sula wines are our favourite.

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The next day Nimmy’s student Chef who runs a restaurant called “Black Pepper“at the Mall De Goa, was kind enough to give us his Tata Safari for our drive to Palolem Beach. It was a two-hour drive through scenic and curvy roads. Kadir was on the wheel and we had some chilled Beer on our way. We landed at two pm, and headed straight to the restaurant called “Dropadi”.

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Dropadi Beach Shack Restaurant

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Live Crabs

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de-shelled crab
We had de-shelled crab and king fish again. You would be wondering whether we did any other activity other than eating. Of course we swam on the Palolem beach, photos of which I could not load here, since all of us were swimming.

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Palolem Beach – Kadir, Ram and Ravi
Our swim in this beach was such a refreshing experience. The sand was silky smooth with no pebbles, and the waves were so gentle that it appeared they were singing lullabies. We spent a full hour on the water. We had to thank God that Plan A failed. We were supposed to visit another place and skip swimming here. Unfortunately our Tata Safari wouldn’t start and luckily it was parked in front of a cafe called “Mika Mocha Cafe“. By sheer coincidence the owner was known to our student chef who gave us the car. So he telephoned and organised another cab for us to take us back to Arpora, a solid two-hour drive from Palolem. So we had the time to swim. We thanked God for giving us Plan B.

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posing with “Mika Mocha “staff
The guy on the extreme right was our saviour. He organised our cab, and helped us with a small room for us to change and to wash.

The next day was meant for a short cruise. Our cabbie from Sterling Resorts organised the tickets. If not, we all would have been standing in a mile long queue. On seeing the crowds waiting to board the ship, we nearly fainted.

There were two hundred people standing. Luckily the wait was not for long, and the staff let us in quickly. A one hour cruise. Nothing great to talk about, but enjoyed the beautiful sunset.

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That was Ravi and Pallavi posing for a perfect shot taken on a Canon S 95  camera.

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Cruise – Sunset
The deck was clean for a crowd of this magnitude with a restaurant, and live dance performances by goans. It was a bit crowded but not noisy.

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The Cruise – say cheese
The final day was spent in a relaxed way at the resort since we had to board a flight at three thirty late afternoon, so we had a take away breakfast of vada pav. It was quite filling. Then we tried a fish spa at the resort. They call it Dr Fish. Tickling to your bony edge, it was.

Finally it was time to bid goodbye, and we thanked Angela at the reception for her service. We arrived very early at the Goa International Airport. I was just thinking, that so much could be done on a four day trip to Goa. All you need is enthusiasm and some planning. When you have such good friends , it becomes a lot easier. We arrived at Chennai, at about seven and before we carried our luggage from the belt, we already started planning for our next trip.

I will let you know.

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