Friday, November 21, 2008

"I got stuck in paradise; I'm free in my head..."

Post by: Beth

*NOTE: multiple posts today... make sure you scroll down past the first post to get caught up!

Goa might well be the most relaxing place I've ever vacationed. There's a very strong emphasis on service in this beach town, and the attitude towards customers seems to be "Don't move.. We'll come to you." From little shops and stalls built in the sand, to beach shacks that bring your food as you lounge in chairs on the water's edge, you can pretty much get anything you want without stepping away from the sand.

This is one of the shops that is built on the beach. We bought some thin blankets to lay on our sunbeds and some towels from these women. It's not a "fixed price" store... There are no prices on anything, and the whole idea is to bargain with them until a price point is reached. The price scale for fabric goods in India is WAY lower than in America, and most shop clerks know that American tourists/visitors are used to paying a much higher price for these items. Because of this, Kristen and I are absolute magnets for shop clerks, peddlers, and store owners. To them, white skin equates with a high profit margin, so they can't wait to show foreigners their products in hopes of making a sale. This turns into a fun game for Raja and Beej, who enjoy the challenge of the bargaining process.

There are many girls and ladies that walk up and down the beaches offering you different amenities. Some offer massages, others manicures and pedicures. Their prices (after the bargaining) are unheard of by American standards, so it's a great way to take advantage of these fun experiences. These two women in the pictures above (look how beautiful they are.. they're stunning in person!) were so sweet and fun to talk to... The girl in the yellow is 17, and the girl in the pink is 21. They walk up and down the beaches all day offering manicures and pedicures. The quality of their trade skills was questionable, but the experience was really fun. As Beej said... "They're beautiful girls and very nice... but they really shouldn't be 'in manicure.' " ;)

The picture above is from one of our dinners on the beach. Beej and Kristen have been coming to Goa for a while, so they have favorite beach shacks picked out. The above waiters are from a shack called "Lucky Star" and their food is REALLY good. Mostly serving traditional Goan and Indian food, there's a huge menu, and they have yummy chicken korma, lucky for me!! We usually got to dinner around 6pm and stayed a long time to watch the sunset bring evening.

Above, here's a view of our table during one of our lunches at a beach shack.

This was printed in one of our menus when we were ordering lunch one day. It totally goes with the Goan attitude of "Whatever... whenever... no big deal." They are flat out telling you that this is going to take a while. When eating at these beach shacks, the food always takes a REALLY long time to arrive. None of the visitors really care, because you're just sitting on the beach relaxing, with nothing else to do. Beej and Kristen had given us a heads up about the wait for food, and we all finally asked one of the shack owners for the reason behind the typical wait at these beach shacks. It turns out that since they're built in the sand, they don't have any cold storage supplies, like fridges or freezers. Which means that every menu, no matter how extensive, offers only food that can be cooked fresh, rather than thawing or warming up preserved and frozen goods. It made sense after hearing this... It explains why you may wait a while for food, but once you get it, it's so yummy and fresh-tasting and hot!

And of course, most of our days were spent lying on sunbeds or playing near the water. We brought books, magazines, cards, ipod docking stations... whatever we wanted to do that day to fill up our days of relaxation. Such a fun time to be able to just hang out with friends and talk all day, play cards, listen to music on the beach... It's definitely one of the most laid-back, low stress vacations I've been on. Truly feels like a paradise... :)

1 comment:

Rhonda Walker said...

Yeah I am so glad you posted something. Everyone has been asking me when you were going to post again. Thanks I enjoyed the pics. Britni Hadder told me to tell you today that it was time to blog again. =) Guess you read her mind. See ya Sunday! love you