Goa: Living with locals
January 1, 1970
by Fe Canas
How to get around in Goa
Goa is the smallest Indian State. Living here is just laid-back, that even on Sundays or holidays, the shops and market in Margao are close. At around 1:30pm-4:00pm that is lunch time or siesta for the shop owners, which means that the shops are close too during those times. I live in Velim, a village, around 45 minutes by bus, or 20-30 minutes by scooter to Margao. Margao is the second largest City in the State of Goa. Almost, or not, all the locals here own a scooter, which will definitely just take you anywhere you want to go. Taking a public bus is totally just fine and safe, but there are certain timings so you can catch it on time. A Filipina neighbor’s village around 2 minutes from my place, has 2 buses that go to Margao in the morning and 2 buses again coming back to her place in the evening. So, she really has to urge herself to learn to ride a scooter. At anytime she wants to go out, she can go by herself.
This is my new scooter which my husband bought for me last November 2015, so I can just go around in the village or nearby shops or places that I would want to go to. Obviously in one of my fave colors. The scooter has been registered under his name, so as not to spend more money on registration. I am an OCI card holder, but that will require me more papers and more amount of money to pay for a vehicle registration. Then, I told him to decide and put it better on his name.
Konkani: Goa’s dialect
Goa’s dialect is Konkani. But after living for a year now in Goa, I still don’t have the urge to learn the language, as most of the locals around or even our neighbors can speak English. So, I didn’t really feel the need of learning the language. As I have met a Singaporean living here too, she also had the same opinion. Although, there are neighbors who are urging me to learn because they prefer to speak Konkani rather than English. It’s as if I’m learning hangul (Korean language), because of learning to write the Konkani characters. When we go for a Sunday mass in our village, all the mass timings are said in Konkani only, no mass is ever said in English, unless maybe if I would have gone to Margao. I am learning simple words for now, which i can use to give short answers when conversing. Some Konkani words are actually coming from Portuguese, since Goa was under Portuguese rule for 450 years. Words like balde(bucket), lapis (pencil), sal/sala(living room), mis/misa(holy mass) to name a few, we say it the same in Filipino, which came from being ruled during the Spanish era in the Philippines.
First trip to Goa
The first time I came to Goa, was on 2009. Truly, I was culture-shock! Most of the time with the way they drive here, it was just crazy. And the shops at why they are close too long for lunch. I kept asking or complaining that one to my husband. There were no shopping centers at that time. Well, at least now, Caculo Mall is there in Panjim and Mall de Goa in Porvorim. But then, Goa reminds me of my hometown in Cebu, when it use to be so laid-back and you can only see sugarcane, corn, banana plantations around. It reminds me of my childhood years when I was growing up in Cebu. Aside from that, I was really shocked at how locals don’t care about garbage disposal here. As one of my husband’s cousin told me, that they don’t care about the disposing any kind of garbage outside, as long as they can keep their homes clean.
Picnic sites at South Goa
This is a popular place for a picnic along Canaguinim beach, South Goa. This was last year around December when my sister in law came for a holiday from Dubai. As we were looking for a spot to put our things down and settle down for a place to seat, I was having second thoughts on really having a picnic here or going somewhere else. We were carrying food, and so I thought I would like somewhere else where garbage disposal is managed a bit. Proper garbage disposal, shouldn’t be something bad to talk about. Instead, it should be something locals have to be more aware of and be more educated with, on how to care for the environment. In this way, they would be able to invite more tourists to come and see that cleanliness has improved.
This was a much better place to have a picnic. There were garbage bins around to keep our trash. As what my husband said, they keep these trash bins around this area since this is touristy compared to the previous spot we’ve been.
My mother in law marinated these chicken overnight with some plain yogurt and ready mix marinate seasoning.
This small boat, we made into our buffet table. We had vegetable salad and another dish of chicken which was made with some curry. Some Filipino dishes, we like it with coconut milk, but Indians even used it more. If they can use it daily, yes they will. My mother in law, stocks home grounded coconut flesh in the freezer and mixes it with vegetables or other types of chicken dish. I still have a lot to discover about Indian food and cooking. As long as it is not too spicy for me, then I’m willing to eat it. If it’s too much, then I get hiccups.
Cows are a common sight to see
Even cows are so laid-back in Goa! This was also during my first holiday. This is a very common sight here. This cow happened to be alone, but for most of the time when I see them, they come in a herd. Well, it’s almost always my husband who tells me whenever I ask why is it like this here in India. And so, I ask him why the owners aren’t keeping these cows? or does somebody really own these cows? When they just like to lounge on the side of the road, or in the middle? He told me that nobody can hurt the cows because they are gods to the Hindus. But aren’t they suppose to keep them away from the roads so as to prevent accidents or the cows get into an accident? I really pity once I and my sister in law saw a cow on the side of the road which was bruised badly, somebody must have bumped into it. Just the other day, I saw another cow that was bruised on the rear side.
While Goa, is like my hometown from 30 years ago, where people grow their own food like corn and rice. I still miss Cebu even that it has evolved into an urban jungle, shopping centers popping everywhere, new condominiums rising, and traffic is getting congested.
There’s no place like home, but there’s also no place like Goa — quaint and charmed with all it’s old fashioned buildings and Portuguese style houses, like this chapel on the hill.