Friday, April 3, 2009

Goa Part 1 - Panjim

With my SIMT assignment in Sunil's capable hands Scott and I were off to Goa with another exchange student Jed (the Wharton guy :P).

We flew out on Kingfisher airlines which is renowned for the following:
- Insanely hot stewardesses
- Insanely awesome service
- Attention to detail
- Free portering
- Friendly workers
- GREAT food
- AND Low prices

How does a company offer the lowest costs AND the best service? It loses money. But until it does I suggest EVERYONE fly on this airline, it just rocks.

At the Hyderabad airport we introduced Jed to McDonald's India. A cute little dog kept creeping up to us looking for food, Jed finally took pity on it and gave him his McChicken.

Anyways after extracting some producer surplus and using the WORST toilet ever in the Goa airport we decided to go to Panjim. Now like my approach to projects, I usually like my trips mainly planned out, but I have to say it was really refreshing to land somewhere and not know where I was going or staying or what, just that I had a return ticket in 3 days.

We decided to get a hotel as a base of operations and went to one that was recommended in lonely planet. She was sold out but told us an AC room for one night would be 1200-1500 rupees. Jed is a born negotiator, and I can't wait to see him in the workplace when a deal is going down, but here it didn't serve him (or us well) :P. He told the woman he was quoted 400 rupees as fair price, his intention was to anchor himself but unfortunately the woman behind the counter suggested places that we could get for 500 rupees WITHOUT bartering - arghh.

--As an aside I need to do some conversions here 1200 rupees is $30, 400 is about $10 these are for a double and there is no extra tax or anything this is the FINAL price.--

So anyways she recommended the quality hotel (not to be confused AT ALL with Quality Inn, and really the biggest misnomer EVER)which was 450 RS a bigger misnomer than any before it. We had a huge bolt on our door and four beds in our rooms, with no AC a hole in the roof, and, shall we say 'rustic' shower and toilet. The beds were like bricks and mine had no blanket, but it did the job.

In seriousness we decided to take the room because:
A) It would be an adventure
B) They sold kingfisher (750 ml) out of their fridge for 40 RS (1$)
C) We had heavy suitcases and wanted to drop them off and explore
D) We all pledged to go much more upscale on Anjuna beach the next two nights

(Scott looks really happy with our choice :P)

After dumping our stuff we sought out to explore the city, we walked around the city and saw some of the sights. We took a lonely planet walking tour around our vicinity, the highlight of which was a really neat Hindu temple for Haruman the Moneky God. It was painted a really striking orange and had great views of the surroundings. We took a path different than the one recommended by walking tour (which basically just backtracked, which turned out much more pleasant).

After the tour we went to the waterfront to see if we could get a sunset cruise, but we had just missed it. The other cruises were dark cruises which would have been pretty lame we thought. We had a good laugh at a car rental named Joey's that had a picture of a Lambourgini Diablo on the sign and offering tata's and toyota's in front of it. There was also a place offering dolpin cruises, with a guarantee to see dolphin's. This is when we started saying everything came with a "Joey guarantee" using terrible Italian accidents - this lasted the entire trip.

The city itself was pretty similar to Cochi all around, but not as big, but with a much more developed waterfront for tourism (relatively speaking). While walking along we began to get solicitations from men for massages which are very popular here. Unfortunately they are only performed by men, Jed had got one in Kerala and said it was the gayest experience of his life.

(Latest in technology :P)

After walking along the water we meandered through the city as the sun set, coming across the church again at night which was cooly lit with some neon.

We chose an authenitc Goan Portugese restaurant for dinner that came highly recommended to grab some dinner. The food was very good - Jed and I shared a fish dish and a chicken dish, but we went with a cheap Indian wine to go with it which was just god-awfully the worst I had ever had (Grape Juice + Grain Alcohol + Liberal Serving of Sugar).

After dinner we went to a little bar down near the big church. We initially sat downstairs, but were told there was an AC section upstairs which turned out to be both gloriously cold and empty. After a few rounds of Kingfishers we stumbled back to our hotel ahead of our curfew of 11:00 and drank a bit more in our room, we had planned to play some cards but we were too drunk to get our crap together and we passed out sometime around 12:00.

After a quick hair wash in the shower (while someone else went to the bathroom just over the stall). We got our crap together and wandered the city to grab some breakfast and find a taxi to Old Goa and Anjuna. Wandering the streets at 8:30 we found nothing was opened but we did walk through a bollywood movie scene.

We also started negotiating with taxi drivers and we let Jed work his magic, working the price down from 1100 RS to 600 RS for a drive to old goa, a 2 hour wait (!) and THEN a drive to Anjuna beach. Oh and he would wait while we ate breakfast at Cafe Coffee Day. The CCD guys let us in befire official open and were pretty cool about getting us whatever we wanted even if they hadn't put it out yet. After two chocolate fudge muffins, a water and a lemon iced-tea I was good to go.

We said goodbye to Panjim and left with our driver to Old Goa.

No comments:

Post a Comment