After not really being able to put my finger on whether or not Goa was what I was expecting, it was a treat to head into Margao one morning. There it was. Exactly what I imagined an Indian town to be like. Traffic everywhere, people everywhere, even crossing the road seemed impossibly daunting at times.
I haven’t mentioned Goan driving yet. It starts to make some kind of sense after you’ve been here a few days, but it is far from the British style. It makes Belgian driving look calm, and that’s saying something. Some rules of the road, as far as I could tell:
- If you see a gap, go – people will give way in good spirit
- If you’re behind someone and want to let them know you’re there, beep
- If you want to overtake, beep while doing so
- If you’re going round a blind bend, beep, especially if you are overtaking at the same time
- Flashing your lights means you are coming through, not that you are letting someone else through (this is the same in most countries except the UK, so may not be new information to many readers)
- When driving at night, dipping your headlights seems to confuse the other drivers, so perhaps leave them on and do a bit of beeping for good measure
Anyway, back to Margao. It’s certainly bustling. We were there primarily for the market, and we had a great time wandering around. Mum and I were interested in fabric shopping, but luckily everyone else was interested in gawking, so nobody was bored. This is a real local market, not a tourist market, but it’s still a treat for the senses, with food (including a whole stretch of ladies selling Goan sausages and a stall selling huge blocks of jaggery), homewares and fabric, amongst other things.
On another day we popped into Fabindia, a gorgeous shop on the outskirts of Margao, which is part of a chain selling luxurious clothes and homewares. It was a lot more expensive than most places we visited, but it was still reasonable for us when compared to UK prices.
After visiting Fabindia, my dad and step-mum took us for lunch at Tizumi, an absolutely superb pan-Asian restaurant. It took my about two seconds to be swayed from my holiday vegetarianism by bacon wrapped prawns in a yuzu glaze, which was a decision I didn’t regret. I washed it down with a delicate jasmine iced tea.
If you’re looking for something other than just a beach holiday in Goa, then I would recommend a trip to Margao. I’m looking forward to exploring the town more next time I’m in Goa. The churches, temples and municipal gardens have attracted my attention.
Are you a total beach bum on holiday or do you need to get out amongst the people?