On Sunday I left the routine of Bangalore behind. I was more upset by it than I thought I ever would be. I guess in the seven weeks I had been there I had got used to the place. It also was the place I got to know India in a way I know I will probably never see again. It’s just not possible as a tourist.
So now that’s what I am, a tourist. And what better place to start being a tourist than Goa? It is a relatively small state of India on the coast, and as far as I can tell it solely survives on the tourism trade. I have stayed in Anjuna in the north, one of the many small towns dotted all along the coast, since Sunday and leave for Delhi tomorrow. I initially envisioned Anjuna to be a quiet beach town away from the hustle and bustle of India, but then one day while I was in Bangalore someone mentioned how people are always trying to sell stuff on the beach. It dawned on me, nothing in India is quiet and relaxed. So I then came here fearing the worst. What I got was somewhere in between. It is a small town and because of that it is very quiet, but there is still the madness one comes to expect from India.
I have spent my five days here relaxing, eating, reading, and walking. It’s too hot, for me at least, to just sit on the beach, so I’ve done a bit of walking up and down the beach, but certainly haven’t spent all day every day there. Though this seems to be what a lot of the people do here. I would say more than 50 percent of the people staying here are white and 50 percent of those white people are Russian (even the signs here are written in English and Russian). Like I say, this place survives off the tourism trade. Every building is either accommodation, a restaurant or a shop.
For me the impression I will take from this place comes from the stall owners. They are everywhere; as you walk along the path to the beach and even on the beach. And then if that wasn’t enough there are people constantly trying to sell their goods to you as you sit on the beach. Even if you have a book in front of you and blatantly ignore them this doesn’t deter them. But what I have found entertaining is how they approach you.
“Yes darling, you want to see my shop? Come see my shop.”
“Ah darling, come see my shop, just look, very cheap.”
There seems to be a script, of which there are about three variants and all begin with darling. But the funniest thing is when you ask how much something is.
“For you, I give you good price.”
“Yes, but how much is it?”
“Very good price.”
“I know, but how much exactly?”
“You want three? I give you very good price.”
“No I would just like to know the price of one.”
“How about a small one, and a big one, very cheap.”
This can go on for a while. I really can’t wait to get back to New Zealand and look at a price tag, know how much I would pay for it, and think about it, without some woman telling me how cheap everything is and trying to sell me every other item in her shop too.
So, off to Delhi tomorrow. Bring it on.