Things to do in Goa are a dime and a dozen. But has anyone told you what *not* to do in this state of beaches? Neshwin Almeida does.
Do not take a taxi: Taxis in Goa charge really high tariffs and do not follow meters or tariff cards. Avoid using a taxi unless it’s prepaid from the airport or the railway station. The best option is to rent a yellow number plate commercial bike or four-wheeler on a daily basis and fill fuel and roam around by yourself. If you’re alone and do not want to drive, another option is to avail of the Motorcycle Pilot service which is a bike taxi service. It’s cheap and more easily negotiable. The rickshaws in Goa too burn a hole in your pocket.
And, if you are from outside South Asia, yes we drive terribly in our country so do not abuse with filthy language cause you’ll get into a fight. Just smile and take the bad driving in your stride.
Do not spit: Along the roads, walls and religious places. Goa has the least sale of paan, gutka and chewable tobacco. The locals have a huge problem with the smell, especially in a local bus. If you’re chewing in a public place, you are sure to get the ire of the locals and may even get smacked. Spitting you red will get you even more in the red. So avoid chewing, spitting and smoking in public or risk getting fined! Also keep the urine in the restroom. Peeing in public will only end with a string of Konkani bad words.
Do your homework and get pronunciations correct: As a tourist, you’ll get fleeced the minute you get names of places and food items wrong. Calangute and not Ca-langutee, Dabolim and not DAM-BOL-IM, Chicken Xacutti and not X-a-cutti. It’s not about being the laughing stock, but the minute you get these pronunciations wrong, your branded a ‘bhingta’ (slang for non-Goan) and the taxi guy, the shack owner, the hotel desk, the water sports guy, the massage dude, everyone will start sounding over-priced.
Don’t stare at women: Europeans love to come here to get a tan so everyone’s out there in skimpy clothes. It’s not wrong to peek, but never stare. You’ll get into a brawl with some big Goan goons and a few injuries will hurt a lot on your trip. Same goes for night clubs. Do not touch or grind with a girl you don’t know. Do not photograph Goan girls or foreigners by posing with them.
Goa’s cheap for alcohol but we ain’t running out of it: The Rs 380-priced Old Monk in Mumbai is Rs 90 in Goa. But don’t get excited about the alcohol rates. Don’t drink and drive, don’t get rowdy after drinking especially at the shack or a night club and don’t yell after drinking unless you’re alone on the lonely side of the beach. Have a designated driver. Also, do not ask if there are strip clubs in Goa and do not go up to a DJ in a club and request for Bollywood music.
Do not litter: The reason you keep coming back to Goa is because of its charm, its white, sandy beaches and pristine waters. Use the bin for any kind of trash, especially bottles since glass pieces in the sand are very dangerous.
No ‘I Love Goa’ Ts: I know it’s cool to pick a souvenir from Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Cape Town or Jordan. But do not wear an ‘I Love Goa’ t-shirt. Goans hate it and will make fun of you. More importantly, it’s your banner to get fleeced again. Also, avoid your torn underwear and Robin Hood tights when you venture into a swimming pool, the sea or the river.
No need to sport gold: Come to Goa with the minimum in terms of clothes and especially in terms of gold. It’s difficult to take care of your valuables since the core of your trips is around water and swimming. Leave the gold, diamonds and other valuables back home. Also swim within the areas earmarked by the lifeguards. Goa beaches have got a lot of undercurrents and many tourists have lost their lives here.
Respect the church, temples and mosque: Goa has thousand-plus churches and temples with unique architecture because this place was ruled by the Kadamba’s, Portuguese, Spanish, Adil Shah and many more. For those who love architecture, this place has beautiful cathedrals and temples. But please dress decently when you are visiting these historical places; leave your shorts and skimpy skirts behind. Churches now provide shawls at the entrance.
Also keep your cameras inside and maintain silence while people are praying. Respect the fact that it’s a place of worship and avoid clicking pictures in front of the altar.
Most importantly, NO staying indoors: Avoid sleeping indoors. Make the most of Goa. Go out and have fun. Try new things in terms of seafood and pork but stay away from drugs.