Dear Goa Virgin,
If you want a crash course in excess, to suddenly give into that urge of living on the edge, for once to not do the right thing, fight the self destructive urge to fit in; then buy yourself a ticket to Goa. Because it's the best thing you can do for yourself. A word of warning though, Goa can be whatever you want it to be. If you want a peaceful trip to hippieville you'll get it between any stretch along the waterfront, if you want to be a beached whale then walk twenty steps left or right to hit the nearest beach and if you want to take a page out of Mick Jagger's life, then I suggest you make friends with Jose, yeah him, the one who lounges around heckling you for a taxi, enticing you with the promise of jumbo prawns, hard selling his wares. He's your go to guy if you want to binge on sex, drugs and euro trance. Go to him if you're a drama junkie. Just remember to leave common sense at the door.
But if your sense of adventure simply means feeling the wind in your hair, letting it dry your sea soaked clothes and allowing it to toss away your inner demons, then read on. If it means utter and complete abandon, then dive in head long into this thing called susegad. Ever felt that lightness of being after an endless exam, that relief after a sweaty job interview, that deep resonating feeling that it's going to be OK? That's Susegad... one big doobie. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Let the feeling wash over you.
For best results go with your girl friends, preferably the kind who respect your personal space and understand that you may not want to talk at times. The kinds who'll make grunting noises because they're too lazy to form sentences, the kind who'll let you snore like a drunken sailor and who'll unselfconsciously laugh that ugly ass belly laugh in public.
Also stay at a cheap and chic place because you'll want to save all your money for vagrancies involving all day every day happy hour cocktails and calamari. Just find yourself a bed on the beach and stick your stomach out in homage to the sun. That, and then just go window shopping. If you're lucky you'll be rewarded with a great view dotted with hot men.
Hire a bike or car and go find the quietest beach with the softest sand and just vegetate. Wear a bikini even if you're afraid to look at your body in the mirror. Learn to love your body; it's the only one you've got.
But whatever you do dear Goa virgin, do NOT go to Calangute beach. You'll be the object of a sexually repressed Indian male's lecherous attention. Don't get caught in the crossfire of his perversities. Or the nauseating sight of North Indian couples on their honeymoon. You'll be spared the searing image of the Indian man in full bathing glory and you won't have to see evidence of his happiness through his flimsy Rupa underwear. Trust me there are not enough drinks in the world to soften the blow.
Also steer away from the lane leading to Tito's and Mambo's, it's lined with garbage. Unless you miss the lyrical sounds of Yo Yo Honey Singh, unless you miss the feeling of it blaring in your ears and releasing from your nostrils. In which case by all means go to Mambo's. Comic relief is guaranteed. Maybe Vicky Makhija of the acid wash jeans and slicked hair will floor you with his swag.
The trick is to stay away from oft mentioned places. In my experience, the more a place is talked about, the touristy it lands up being. Create your own smorgasbord of Goa memories. Eat sea food by the kilo, drink King's beer by the liter, chat up the locals, ask around. Slap on the sunscreen for protection and open yourself up to anything that may capture your imagination.
These are some of my favourite memories in Goa. Feel free to use them as a reference point.
Leave the din of cheap music and trade it for the melancholically beautiful sounds of Fado at Casa Portuguesa. The dim flicker of candlelight on the tables under a canopy of trees makes it one of the most romantic places I've ever been to. The dark lanky, pony tailed Dom Francisco Sousa may even serenade you. Enjoy the languid atmosphere. Linger over your food and glass of the house port wine. Wear a flower in your hair, hitch up your skirt and dance.
Wednesday night and you should really be in Club Cubana tanking up on killer LITs strong enough to grow chest hair. Thanks to their free drinks for ladies on Wednesday nights policy. Just follow the strobe lights and you'll get there. Thankfully the place is full of beefy Russian bouncers who scare the bajeezes out of any man with hanky panky on his mind. We however had the hilarious company of a drunken Estonian who tried to convince us of his porn star status back home. Don't wear high heels; you don't want a twisted ankle on your walk of shame down the hill.
Come Saturday head to the Arpora night market. It's got the greatest collection of weirdoes, hippies, and social outcasts on display. Grab a Hungarian beef sandwich and take a seat in front of house to listen to some truly talented bands bring it down. Their eclectic sounds range from house, hip hop, reggae and fusion.
When you roll out of bed at noon, drive down to Lila Cafe and enjoy a brunch of smoked tuna steak. When the hangover is a little better after the binge, head to Ashwin beach for undisturbed R and R. Stick around till the sun oozes into the sea.
Upper House is where it's at for the best Goan food. Get there for the crab curry, chicken cafreal, vindaloo and calamari. Don't be afraid of using the formidable looking crab cutting implements. Don't be afraid of creating a mess while stuffing your face.
Get drunk and strike up a conversation with the guards at Kingfisher villa. I vaguely remember discussing Deepika Padukone's whereabouts and Siddharth Mallya's gay quotient. Oh well once a paparazzo always a paparazzo.
And if you follow the prophetic words of K$sha you're good to go-
Don't stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I'mma fight
'Til we see the sunlight
Tick tock, on the clock
But the party don't stop, no!