Goa (Part I: The Unseen)

  “The landmark created by nature!” A very apt tagline chosen by Goa Tourism Corporation. When in Goa you feel like being in Nature’s arms with rivers surrounded by beautiful red soiled mountains covered by the sheath of green trees and soft golden sand complimenting the breathe taking coastlines. It is a pleasure for the eye and the soul.  Hence I take pride in saying that I have my roots in this beautiful state. During my recent visit to Goa, thanks to my cousin and tour guide Siddhesh, I was lucky to experience some of Goa’s wonders which tourists are sure to miss. Contrary to popular choice, I preferred going beyond beaches, booze and sea food and yet had a blast. From rarely-visited-almost-haunting Churches to local ‘Cafreal’ Chicken specialty joints, I had the time of my life clicking these places and tasting local cuisine.

'You might be new, you might be old
But when i'll paint you, you'll glitter like gold!'

A beautiful Sunset can be witnessed from more places than just the beach!
I'd call Ponda a city of mountains! The red dot on left hand side is the rising moon.
  In a span of 6 days I and my cousin traveled more than 400 km within Goa. On the very first day we went on a little road trip on a narrow road running through a mountain amidst the morning fog. Breaking the morning silence was the struggling sound of the active engine which was trying to carry a 150kg load against a pretty steep gradient. After an initial climb it gave up and then one of us had to get down so that the other could take the bike to the top. Apart from this entire hustle bustle there wasn't a single sound, just green trees and thick fog which made me think whether this is what heaven felt like. Also probably the fog played a key role for me to come to that conclusion. On another occasion we were to go to Madgoan and took a shortcut. The road was lonely and it was almost sunset. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit scared at that time. But the thrill to be riding on such a road suppressed my fear and the cool breeze calmed my nerves. Anyways point to be noted here is that Goa provides you with many such great roads. So are you ready to give up a day on the beach, hire a bike and explore? Petrol in Goa is cheaper too!

Imagine a bike ride through this!
Up above the world so high
Hiding behind the curtain, tell me why?

  Some additional info about Goa’s streets – they are very narrow and at times have an open drainage running alongside. Avoid running your bikes into those. In the interiors of the state, cattle are in abundance and cows and buffalos often find home in middle of the street. They enjoy dropping cakes as a souvenir for passersby. A good point about driving in Goa is the absence of traffic signals. Absolutely none! (Except there was one installed in Panaji but isn’t functional most of the times).

I just loved this picture. It shows nice flow, dynamics
and supports my statement of cattle intruding human space!

Frames, barriers and distances! Aren't all man made?

Another useful and fun mode of transport is the Ferry boat.
 Best part is that it is free for people and 2 wheelers.

  I being a Goan non vegetarian, sea food isn’t a new thing for me; in fact it a part of my staple diet. But apart from this Goa offers an array of foods to tickle your taste buds. The first egg that it hatched for me was the authentic Italian Pizza at a local restaurant ‘Da Tita’ near Verna founded by an Italian who recently passed away. They offered handmade thin crust Italian pizzas made in a coal-wood oven which is a rare privilege these days unless you shell big bucks and the price was half of what we pay here in Pune. How I wish I lived near that restaurant! Another day I went to this remote place in Madgoan and had something called ‘Cafreal’ Chicken Pav, something I never would’ve known of if it weren’t for my cousin. It was kind of a chicken burger but with thick gravy instead of a patty. And on yet another occasion I had Cafreal chicken which originated from the Portuguese colonies in the African continent and introduced into the Goan cuisine by the Portuguese. I also had fried squids for the very first time thanks to my cousin and Anton, a friend of his. Apart of all these main dishes, Goans feast on a lot of bread. They have several types of bread – regular bread, pav, poli, uunde, kakan etc. And I just loved each of them. They differ in size, shape, taste and texture, and taste and smell best when they are just out of the oven!  In this process, the foodie in me didn't not allow the photographer in me to click pictures.

Below are some other pictures clicked during this journey:

Hide and Clap!
Some places in Goa can be really scary. 

(The image is highly pixelated because of cameras limitations.)

The women of the Christian community are usually seen adorning such a dress.
Again i liked this image for its dynamics! Just loved the effect.

Not much of a bird watcher but did spot a few!
Jungle Babbler (Left top), Cattle Egret (Right)
Black headed Night Heron (Left Bottom)

Beautiful isn't it? Trees, paddy fields, buffalos and birds living in perfect harmony!

Funny story! You can't be a part of the above said harmony.
Turns out buffalos get really agitated by unknown intruders.
Trust me, I could see death in those agitated eyes! I literally ran off with in a few seconds.

Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H50 prosumer camera.