Goa is the place that was gifted by nature with beautiful beaches, some sandy, some rocky and some at the cliff’s edge. Apart from that there are gorgeous rivers and mountains. Too add to that the Portuguese built some architectural pauses in the form of churches and forts for sealine protection. Then the Goan government encouraged sale of alcohol along the beaches by doling out permits. All this gave rise to a hippie culture making Goa the ‘vice’ capital, encouraging tourists to travel and indulge.
Over the years, during my annual pilgrimage to the state I have encountered various characters. Broadly I have been able to generalize them in the following categories.
- The Settlers
The famous white skins of Goa come under this tag. Goa is launchpad for these foreign tourists to see the country. They make short trips around and come back to base here. However, there are a few you would find sunbathing for the entire duration of stay. You can find them performing gigs, selling art work, singing dancing or just sitting at a watering hole.
- The Pilgrims
These would be people like us who go to Goa every year atleast once or twice for a couple of days or a week. Such people simple love Goa for the variety it provides. You could play the high stakes at casinos or drink cheap alcohol in your room. The possibilities are endless and that is the reason we go every year. Every year you can have a different plan and achieve the same end result of satisfaction. Goa becomes a shrine that you travel to for inner peace. Atleast that is what I feel
- The Beach Crawlers
This group is section of tourists that want to experience the maximum impact in one visit. One morning that would be at Baga, afternoon at Vagator and the night at Anjuna. They might even travel approx 150kms to south Goa on the next day just to jam pack the flavors of Goa. Even in terms of cuisines Goa has a range catering to all needs. So such people usually have their tongues wagging as there is always scope for more.
Goa has ample number of mopeds, bikes and cars on rent to aid such activity. Mopeds can be bargained for as cheap as Rs 250 a day in the off season. In a state where the roads are narrow and the public transport not so well developed, it works as a blessing.
- The Samplers
Usually the first timers would be called samplers. They play safe. Go to the most known places around Calangute and Baga and places like Tito’s, Club Cubana or shacks like Anthony’s. There is still a charm that attracts the first timers with enough of skin and booze available to drool at. These areas have enough indulgences depending on the depth of your pocket. Might be a cliche but even i recommend the same for first timers.
- The Squatters
There is a sense of heightened satisfaction in saying that we did not set foot outside a particular beach 3/4 days. Such is the magnetic pull of some beaches like Palolem and Arambol where there is a plethora or activity and enough options for food, drink and dance. The afternoons are spent lazing around and getting a tan while the settlers throng out in the open to entertain. We have spent a whole night singing with strangers around a campfire in Palolem in one of the most remarkable nights spent in Goa.
- The Adventurers
This part is something that Goa isn’t famous for except for the watersports. The parasailing, banana, jet ski is more of a joyride than an adventure or a sport. However, it is helpful in spending time and siping in some sea
Apart from this, there are hiking and mountaineering activities conducted in parts of Goa. River rafting is also catching up. Cycling and other such activities are slowly gathering pace within the ‘vice’ capital.
- The History Seekers
As I mentioned above, Portuguese left a rich architectural heritage in Goa and I must say the Goans have preserved it well. You can get a glimpse of the architecture in Madgaon, Panjim and Seolim predominantly where the local population is dominant. The tagging along with the religion sometimes adds sentimental value to these places.
It is here that Goa is celebrated at the time of the Goa carnival. The place comes alive and the experience is accentuated with the heritage in the background
- The Ravers
Needless to say and lesser the said is better. But ‘scoring’ is the easiest here and every few steps provisions are there. You just have to look at the right place and the right person. Enough said!
- The Disco Generation
These are the people who come to Goa just to party. Party through the night, sleep in the morning and then wake up in the afternoon as if they are suffering from jet lag. Goa has a platform for there people and are welcomed with open arms. Couples, stags, single, double, groups, everybody can find a spot, place and music of their liking. Once the official party is over, the beach is the destination to go. Beaches like Calangute and Baga stay lively till wee hours in the morning.
- The Drunkards
Every step you take in Goa, most people you meet will be drinking. It is almost shocking to meet a person who does not drink in Goa. The cheap and almost negligible taxes at which it is available makes the most sort after commodity in Goa. If you ask me everybody in Goa at one point or the other has been a part of this subset.
Whether you go to Goa once, or like a pilgrim you go every year. Goa will be with you for the rest of your life. You will become a part of the thousands indulging themselves and enjoying themselves. Would be interesting yo hear if you think there is any other possible category that I might have missed.