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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Goin' Goan

My first domestic trip in India was to Goa this week, commonly referred to as the Hawaii of India. I was pumped however I seemed to forget that I am in INDIA! We are fortunate here in Bangalore that we have a brand new beautiful airport, Goa on the other hand has something resembling a large garage built 30 years ago. Ok, not terrible, I carried my luggage onboard and was able to pop off the double propeller plane and get to my car in about 5 minutes. The hotel sent a slick gray SUV to whisk me away down the usual bumpy unpaved road. Difference number 1 between Goa and Hawaii - US infrastructure providing good roads, stop lights and trash removal. As we coast down the road curving around the bay the typical make shift homes and "hotels" which are really local restaurants dot the rolling hills. Difference number 2: nothing familiar, Hawaii has the benefit of money - chain restaurants, stores, strip malls along the mountainous landscape. I am beginning to think that Goa is really the Jamaica of India (which I quite like too, however that would have set my expectations better). Arriving at our hotel, Taj Vivanta - which I was pretty happy with but my colleagues felt that this was low end for the Taj Hotel chain. Next our hotel was city center about 3km from the beach, my only view of the beach was from the roof top bar. The bay looked great, I was sure I would take a walk to the beach, however after about an hour at the roof top for our welcome dinner my hair had doubled its volume from the humidity and I was on the verge of heat exhaustion. Yes, lifting my hand to my mouth for gin & tonics does wear you out in 100% humidity and 33 degrees celcius. I never made it to the beach, the braver more senior crew from work walked down and stayed through the night. Goa has fabulous shacks on the beach that you stay late and do it up. Goa also bucks the India norm in that alcohol is cheap and other decadent past times are enjoyed openly. Next time I go, i will get to the beach and take advantage of the 7 bottle export option and stock the bar for my visitors.

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