At least 12 years ago, when we visited Goa, locals seemed to be delighted when asked if we can take a photo.
Look at this one, we were walking by this lady's house and talking to each other about the beautiful statue on the yard and I wanted to take a photo of it. The lady of the house, who seems very proud of this statue rushed next to it to get to the photo as well :)
In Pomburpa village a local man showed us how they climb up to the betel nut trees with the help of a rope tied on their ankles.
Betel nuts are also used as a magical charm and amulet thought to protect against the evil eye and ward off demons. Indian cultures have the knowledge of traditional preperation methods for betel nut as a "high art" and specific variations of recipes are often passed on through generations as reveared knowledge.
The nuts of this tropical palm tree form the basis of the stimulant betel chew which has a reputation as a panacea and tonic throughout Asia.
Betel nut is also used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat headaches, stomach pains, venereal disease, fever, rheumatism and a number of other complaints.
Kathakali, which literally means "story dance" is a pantomimic dance drama, where the dancing and the acting are being blended together into an inseparatable form. It is a combination of facial expressions and body movements which brings out the thought and emotion of the character.
Kathakali originated in Kerala, South India over 500 years ago. Kathakali performs stories from the Hindu epics The Mahabharatha and the Ramayana.
Kathakali is predominantly a male art and the dancing is mostly of masculine type. The position taken by the actor is angular. He never stands erect while acting, his knees being spread out and his legs forming a rhombus, his hands bent at the elbow and his palms on his hips. (See the picture!) The outer feet are never flat on the ground and still the actor maintains a perfect balance.
The striking make-up and the costume are designed to transform the dancers both mentally and physically into the characters they are to portray. It takes between five to six hours (!!!) for a Kathakali dancer to complete the make-up and costume which heighten each character's personality and extend his / her movement.
Impressive to see! :)
Goan folkdances have a history of several hundred years. Many of them reflect the different lifestyles, cultures and aspirations of different origin, religions and castes of Goan society.
The Portuguese influence is strong, as you can guess from this picture where we are entertained on a cruise at River Mandovi.
The cuisine of Goa has an interesting mix of influences from all the cultures that it came into contact with. There are two separate traditions in cuisine influenced by the respective religions of Hinduism and Christianity. One of the most popular dishes, the pork Vindaloo is a result of this beautiful harmony. The Portuguese cooking has a strong and influence on Goan Cuisine and that should not be forgotten. Goan food is simple but one has to bear in mind that most, though not all of it, is chili hot, spicy, and pungent.
A typical Goan would prefer seafood to all other meats and would use a lot of coconut for cooking --we must be Goans in our souls because we use a lot of coconut in cooking at home ;) Beside coconut, rice and fish are the basic components of the typical Goan food platter. Delicacies made from these three items can be expected in nearly every Goan meal. Goans find truly world-class prawns, lobsters, crabs, and jumbo pomfrets along the coastline and use them to make a variety of soups, salads, pickles, curries, and fries. The famous red Goan chilies are also a must for most dishes, as is tamarind. Goa is not particularly known for its vegetarian dishes. While Hindus like lamb and chicken, Christians prefer pork. However, both prefer fish and seafood to any other meat.
Finally, don't miss the chance to sample some real Indian culture while you are in Calangute. The Ekrkar Art Gallery, in Gaura Vaddo, at the south end of town, hosts evenings of classical music and dance every Tuesday and complete with incense and evocative candlelight. The recitals, performed by students and teachers from Panjim's Kala Academy, are kept comfortably short for the benefit of Western visitors, and are preceded by a short introductory talk. Tickets are available in advance or at the door.
This grains are usually offered to you after lunch / dinner. They refresh your mouth and sort of clean it too. You have to chew them for a while, but don’t swallow them, throw them away after a while.
If you have to wait for a train at the station of any India’s big city, you won’t get bored if you like staring at the crowds, and following people’s activities. There’s always a rush and a push everywhere, people with huge parcels, bags, dressed in bright colours, families, groups… a colourful show.
A trip to the barbers for us fellows is another Goan experience. This is my experence. You walk in the shop sit down and the barber will put a towel round your face sometimes hot and give a quick rub, then he will open a fresh blade and put it into his cut throat razor and then procede to shave you, after he shaves you once he will then put some sort of oil on your face and then he starts to shave you again, when you think he has finished he will walk behind you and grab hold your head and wrench it from side to side until your neck makes a rather loud clicking sound (try to relax at this point) after that he will then start to pummel your head with the sides of his open hand, just when you though that was it he then produces a bottle of what I thought was after shave but when he rubbed it on my face it stung like it was acid, he then put on some sort of cream and gave it a good rubbing in. in a slight daze I gave him a $1 muttered thank-you and went outside and tried to come to terms with the heat being generated by my face, but after about 2 to 3 minutes my face felt really cool and In myself I felt absolutely relaxed, really clean and fresh, and to my supprise being really dark haired I never had any stubble for three days. If you deside to go and have a shave remember you can stop him at any time after he's shaved you, but I prefer to have the full works, try it you won't be dissapointed (LOL)
You may notice as you walk around the Goan streets the red stains on the ground, well this is due to the pan man (pan-wallah). basically pan is a substance sold all over Goa and all over India for that matter which is a concoction of betal nut, lime and spices which is wrapped up in an edible leaf and used as a digestive after meals and a mild stimulant. You put it in your mouth and suck and after a while YOU will spit, some are quite sweet and others can contain but not so much these days cocaine or opium. They tell me it can become addictive and make your teeth turn black and drop out, so I only tried it a couple of times (honest) and it was ok if you like that sort of thing. The thing to watch is the water that he washes the leaves in.
A lot of the more affulent Indians reglary go to Goa for a holiday just like in any other country that has a coastline with superb beaches. We met some people while we where staying at our hotel and had breakfast with them and before long they where genuinely friendly and asking us if we would like to come and stay with them in Bombay if we had a few days to spare.
goa is very easy going. the culture and the people are geared towards tourism. So in that its very different from the rest of india. They are more tolerant and accepting!
Be aware of the roudy india tourists. specially all male groups. don't get too friendly with them. We found out the hard way!
Over all Enjoy your trip to goa!!