It all started with a contest on Twitter by ABC Farms which I wasn’t even sure I’d win. But guess what, I did indeed win. The prize: a 3-day stay in Goa. WOOT! I was thrilled to the core. We were planning a December Goa trip anyway and then this came up. Talk about serendipity. So off we went, getting ready for the highlight trip of my year. I got the bookings done for the best possible dates in December and the excitement continued all the way to when travel actually began.
Since it was a last minute plan train bookings were out of the question. So we decided to take the bus from Pune to Goa. I was traveling long distance by bus for the first time and was a bit uncomfortable with the idea considering I suffer from motion-sickness. I can’t sit in a vehicle for that long. However, I was rather surprised to find myself sleeping comfortably throughout the trip. Perhaps my excitement overpowered my motion-sickness.
We arrived at the City of Beaches and it had a very warm welcome in store (pun intended). It was a really warm and sunny day. I was loving every bit of it after the chilling weather back in Pune. There was a feeling of crystal satisfaction when I reached the ABC Farms Resort, Goa. Umesh and I had doubts regarding the quality of the rooms and the place in general, especially after reading a few reviews and checking a few pictures on the web. However, for the very first time, we experienced an altogether different scene. We often book gorgeous places only to end up in a dingy variation of what we wanted. Here at ABC Farms Resort things were just the opposite. I wouldn’t say the rooms were on a par with any 3- or 4-star locations but for budget accommodations these were simply sensational.
Pardon me if I come across as a clean freak, but the sheets were fresh and neat in our rooms and so was the bathroom, and these made my day in their own right. There was a neat wardrobe and even a little balcony affording a good view. The room was equipped with a fridge as well. In my opinion, a fridge is an absolute must-have in any accommodation in Goa coz no one starts their day with tea in this gorgeous city. We all wake up to beer and sleep to vodka, whisky and rum not to forget some hot tequila shots.
Suffice to say ABC Farms set the mood for us to hit the beach for some booze and well deserved lazing around. We had our breakfast at the restaurant annex at the resort. They had some lip-smacking food. The warm nature of the restaurant owners transported us to the “Sussegaad” zone. [Note to the ignorant: Sussegaad is a concept often associated with Goa. Derived from the Portuguese word 'Sossegado', it is normally mistaken for the relaxed, laid-back attitude towards life that is said to have existed historically in Goa, a former Portuguese territory].
I love Goa, period. It’s the only destination in India that I want to holiday at year after year because, when all is said and done, it is the one city where boredom is extinct. The sun, the beaches and above all the merriment and love in the air pulls Goans, foreigners and Indians from other States alike deeper into that singular embrace this fabulous city offers.
The city is as historic as it is modern. Such a balance between antiquity and present day is rare in a location this ancient. After all Goa, known as Aparantha in the 3rd century, was mentioned by the Greek geographer Ptolemy himself. The 13th century Greeks referred to this gorgeous city as Nelkinda. Some other historical names for Goa are Sindapur, Sandabur, and Mahassapatam. As you can imagine, the city is as varied as the vast list of names associated with it, of which I’ve mentioned only a handful.
We headed to Anjuna to park ourselves in a nice beach shack which had an awesome restaurant to chill out in. The clime was, to state it just as I remember it, perfectly pleasant. The entry road had several stalls selling anything and everything from clothes, accessories, footwear, hats and caps to home décor stuff.
I made an immediate mental note to come to Goa again some day in future only this time to bring no bags at all. This way I can start shopping from scratch for both goodies and stay-at-Goa items. With a bit of bargaining, you can strike some pretty amazing deals here and take back that distinct shopper’s satisfaction you might have experienced sometime. I had never really bought hats. This gave me occasion to convince my hubby Umesh to buy me a nice one here in Goa. For just 100 bucks, let me say it was the ideal deal. I ended up purchasing one for Umesh too.
I was glad to meet a couple of friends at Anjuna and getting started on the planning phase of my journey inside Goa. One of the first topics up for discussion was where we should party at night. Goa has a rocking nightlife, the best in all of India, if you ask me. Obviously, one of the core decisions on this particular trip was to party hard. We had already covered the sightseeing part of things when last Umesh and I had been to Goa.
This time around, we visited the famous Copa Cabana (I was humming the song after the same name) and LPK (Love Passion Karma). The latter swept us off the floor in a lot more ways than one. Umesh usually needs to prime up with a few drinks before he hits the dance floor but the music at LPK Goa just coaxed us to dance the moment we entered. It was boogie time and we boogied! Awesome music, sensational vibe, excellent ambience, unforgettable feeling… The place is so breathtakingly beautiful on so many levels it promises and delivers a clubbing night that you’ll remember for ages. We sure won’t forget.
It’s common knowledge that booze in Goa is super cheap and super good. So how could I come here and not shop for some awesome liquor? My bar at home sure could use some stocking up, Goa style.
During our moving about, we chanced upon the Mapusa market, which is open every Friday near the Mapusa bus stop and has lots of attractive beautifully crafted jewelry on sale at incredible drop-down prices. The market was congested and quite crowded, which convinced us it was best to scoot through the few accessory stalls in the front area and move out in one piece. The inside zones of the Mapusa market sell fresh and affordable fruits, vegetables and fish.
I was starting to realize how extensive and diverse the market scene is in Goa. One more market I was excited about visiting was the Saturday night market. However, we were told that it had not started this season and an alternative flea market named Mackie’s Wednesday market was being held near Baga. The former had quite a fun vibe about it, so I felt I was missing out on something. Nonetheless, we clicked a few cool photos, grabbed some grub and beer, shopped and returned to the ABC Farms Resort.
While in Goa, we didn’t know what watches and clocks are, honest. We refrained from following normal schedules and don’t recall the last time we checked the time, even when we were sober
Here’s what our itinerary outlined… Wake up for lunch, roam around till early evenin’, sleep till dinner time and party till the wee hours of the mornin’. You can almost imagine a jazz tune accompanying that line. It was life the way it’s meant to be lived.
This is exactly what makes me want to go back to this wonderful city time and again. Before we knew it, something terrible happened. It was time to bid adieu to Goa and return home. With a heavy heart (no kidding), we said goodbye to what I have come to call the City of Destiny and promised that we’ll be back for more. One of my strongest memories of the place is the fun vibe.The beaches here instill a sense of freedom like nothing you’d have felt before.
The drive back to Pune wasn’t bad either. Most of the roads are well maintained. We reached at about 11pm, exhausted, worn out but still holding onto the fire Goa had sparked in our souls. I carried that fire of enthusiasm and freedom to other events that were waiting for me. I was soon to attend an awesome Christmas party, held at the luxurious Marriot Chakan. This was then followed by a trip to my hometown Lonavla and then a fantastic trip to the Andamans. A travelogue for the Andamans will be soon published on Lifestylerr so watch this space.
I’d like to close by saying something in keeping with the spirit of India’s beach and party destination.
"Goa tum Roma Udentichem ."
"Goa, you are the Rome of the East".
That’s me using Konkani, the language of Goans. It’s great to know a few phrases for when you visit the rural areas. No worries, Goa has plenty of English sounds to spruce up the city and make enjoying it easier for everyone who decides to give the City of Destiny a chance to wow them outta their minds.