Posted by: dreymer | December 2, 2006

Goa: The Other Itsy Bitsy Details

Here are some small mentions about our trip to Goa.

Homecooked food delivered to you

During one of those lazy, hot afternoons we decided to have take-aways from Dom’s Restaurant and Bar. This little brick and mortar shack is about 30 footsteps (for a shorty like me) away from the villa. They have Goan food and also a limited breakfast menu of sandwiches, fried eggs and stuff. Food is made to order and the best part is that they deliver your hot, fresh food right to your doorstep. We would just leave the dishes in the sink and Reema will clean and return them to the restaurant for us.

We had beef and chicken curry, stir-fried juicy and fat calamari. On the side, deep fried or baked papads (aka pappadams) — mmm, our TV lunch. We highly recommend this place if you want some home-cooked meals.

Tourist trap

When planning for this trip, I was extra careful on tourist traps. Nobody likes their vacation to be spoilt by ruthless counterfeiters, pick pockets and basically those who were out there to con tourists.

After our lunch at Palms and Sands, we walked along the street and noticed a guy on a motorcycle stalled at the side. As we passed by, he introduced himself and the hotel he was working for. The hotel was having a special “promotion/contest”. He asked if we wanted to try our luck on a lucky draw. In his hands were several cards with preforated lines on the sides. “Sure, why not..” and each of us picked a card. I stripped open the card and guess what I won! A tee-shirt! Haa.. the guy on the bike said that that’s like the minimum you can win from the draw. Meanie opened his and guess what he won!

THE TOP PRIZE, BABY.

It was either:

  •  a) Enfield Bullet
  •  b) Free accomodation for Goa or Bali or Thailand
  •  c) I-pod
  •  d) 200 Pounds cash

At the bottom of the card, we had to scratch off a silver paste to reveal which item we’ve won. We couldn’t scratch it yet until we were at the head office.

The motorcyclist was extremely elated. We could see the joy in his eyes.

“Because you won the grand prize, sir… I win Rs2000! But now you must follow me back to the hotel to claim your prize. It’s about 20 mins away and we’ll get the taxi for you, free of charge,” he said, hardly able to catch his breath in this hot 32’c weather. What a great actor.

“OK.. we’ll go.”

My eyes nearly popped out. A typical skeptic, I whispered to Meanie, “Are you sure? Are you sure they aren’t gonna rob us  or something?!”

“No, don’t worry. We’ll just go.”

The entire journey from Candolim to the resort, I knew I read somewhere about this time-sharing scheme that have been going around for some time. Yes, now I remember that they’ll make you stay for an hour and listen to their sales talk. Oh well, there was no way of sliding the taxi door open and escaping from the moving car without any bruises, scratches or a broken fingernail.

Just as I suspected, we had to fill up a form and wait for our guide, Santiago to bring us around. Santiago was a local – tall, well spoken and couldn’t shut up. Being in this travel/tourism line, he has been to many places. We played along like interested potential buyers and asked excellent questions. Well, since we were there, might as well make the best out of it. Like when we were at the rooftop, Meanie – a true opportunist whispered to me, “quick.. take a few shots. Nice view.” And it was.

Watch the video. You can listen to Santiago’s sales talk.

Then it was time for the kill when he led us to the ‘slaughter house’. There were at least 30 small round tables and seated were tourists just like us! Every table had a representative aka butcher — all out to attempt to squeeze us dry.

“So guys.. what do you do?”

“I’m a planner.” “I’m a researcher.”

“Mmm.. oh no. I’m dealing with professionals.”

Santiago knew we weren’t easy targets and changed his marketing tactics. He continued to ask where we are from. Between both Meanie and I, we mentioned four different places. Santiago was trying hard to relate each of his “travel” stories to all four countries. He wasted ALOT of time there.

It was just so natural for us bullshit our way through. In one year, we said that we’ve travelled to Cyprus, Prague and France with unbelievable budgets! Santiago nearly fainted. We were his big catch! He needed us!

But as soon as one hour was up, we told him we had to go. We were fair, weren’t we? They needed one hour, we gave them an hour but in the end, he did not attempt to pitch even at the very last minute. Oh well, he failed and we got a free taxi ride to Baga 🙂 Guess who won instead?

Yes, they were friendly and non-pushy but if you had that one hour to spare (like us), it wasn’t such a bad thing. But do be wary when you are approached by a stranger who tells you that you’ve won the grand prize. Remember that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Free taxi ride, yes.. not lunch 🙂

Because we had to go off, we were not entitled to the prize unless we meet up with Santiago the next day. Yah right. So we scratched the card out of curiosity and as predicted, we’ve won a free night stay at their hotel in GOA!

Shopping

I wasn’t in the mood to shop. Can you believe that? Really. REALLY.

The only thing I got for myself was a silver elephant bracelet. I love this. I bargained and got this at RM 30 (less than US$10).

Things that you would like to get as souvenirs are bags, necklaces/earrings, Kashmir shawls and paper marche trinklet boxes. Prices vary and it’s entirely up to you on how you bargain.

to be continued… leaving Goa… the final chapter.

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Responses

  1. I can’t believe that those time share / travel club / con people found you in Goa. They’re everywhere! I ‘kena’ before in Singapore… Sigh. A real time waster. I guess we have to remind ourselves all the time that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, eh?

  2. Of course! But it’s all cool. I mean, when I think back.. I actually love about how silly we were/they were. It’s just one of those travel tales you’d want to remember 🙂


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