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Be aware of local customs/traditions
The one dodgy experience was when we took a ferry as foot passengers across the estuary to the capital city. Although tourists can walk around Candolim/Calangute dressed as they would in a European resort, as soon as you leave the ill-defined confines of that liberal region, you can get yourself into a bit of bother as we found out.
My girlfriend of the time was dressed in a pair of cut-off shorts and a vest top and that was wholly inappropriate. I'm ashamed to admit that we'd both forgotten to respect the local customs of covering up, and it was blatantly obvious that the entire boat thought she was the whore of Babylon. We both felt like idiots for doing it, and it also attracted the wrong type of attention from the wrong sort of men.
when in Goa youll find a mixture of indian ( a hole in the floor ) and continental( proper sit down ) toilets always carry tissue paper in ur bum bag because most just have a tap where to wash with ur hand instead in wipe and then wash ur hand
Just an update. A English woman who visited Goa last year recently died of rabies. I presumed she had somehow got bitten by a wild dog. Turns out it was by a puppy...on a leash, with locals she had befriended. The puppy just nicked her, whilst being stroked...she did not even give it a second thought. Six months later...rabies! This is not to frighten anyone...but do be very careful!
There are arguments for and against taking Malaria Tablets when you visit Goa:
Yes, they have many side effects.
Yes, they are annoying in that you have to take them at set times and with food so you don't feel queasy but is it really worth risking your health for just to avoid these few ailments.
Some people will say don't bother but my view is why risk it.
There are alot of Mosquito's around at dusk so make sure you spay on lots of repellant too!
If you are unfortunate enough to develop malaria, the side effects you may have had from the tablets will seem like nothing!
please have vaccination for Japanese Encephalitis, if you are staying at/near areas of rice paddy fields (wet fields,during growing season), also if staying with local families who rear free range pigs!
definately a must if visiting during raining / monsoon season.
During the day the dogs in Goa generally sleep as its so hot. So they are active more in the evenings.
If you are walking at night in the less developed areas...or even the backstreets of Baga, Candolim etc...you'll find that as you reach each new property...or area...the local dogs will bark at you. Some may even be aggressive towards you. 'In general' these dogs are harmless...they are just defending their patch...and will soon leave you alone. If you get a few that keep following you...just pitch, or pretend to pitch a stone towards them...your arm action normally makes them run off.
The photo is of 'Nelly' who is the leader of the Arpora pack...
Goa is a relatively safe place to visit...as long as you have your wits about you...so if you are careless with your belongings...they might go missing! But generally people are friendly and welcoming.
Be cautious & Alert at Rave parties!
When at crowded rave parties, be cautious of the people around you. Never keep your carry bag in this Position as shown in the Image. There are chances that some jerks may, without your knowledge, slip in a few grams of drugs into your bag while youre busy dancing & enjoying the music and unfortunately if youre caught by a Cop, youve had it and you are in Serious trouble! You cant even prove your innocence as drug laws are very strict in Goa. Also beware of these mad 'Junkies and Freaks' as they might prick you with a Needle/Syringe which all of them would have shared for intake of Hard drugs.
Always carry the bag with you and never leave it unattended as chances of theaft is very high.
Secondly keep checking your pockets regularly and avoid keeping heavy cash in the pockets.
Hampi by Coach
When we went to Hampi we took the overnight sleeper bus which we booked with West coast Travels near St Antony`s church Calangute.The journey to Hampi wa an experience as your sleeping compartment was just big enough for two people to lie next to each other, (shoulders touching) and not quite long enough for someone at 5ft 6ins to lie straight.The journey back we thought it was dangerous. The driver and his mate made detours to pick people up for extra money (backsheesh) and in the end we had 57 people on board, some even had a portable market stall complete with all their wares. The bus was licenced for 26 people only! When we arrived back in Panjim we were 4 hours late and very relieved that we were in Panjim alive and well. Bye the way the driver and his mate actually got off the bus and had a fist fight over a bottle of water in the middle of the night. I am used to travelling 2nd or even 3rd class in some countries (India included) but I will not travell with theese people again
- Budget Travel
train doors and hanging out
please remember that konkan railway has doors which are not secured. that means they can be opened and you can stand in the door and watch the train whiz.
however this is highly dangerous and the train moves at great speeds =100kmph and there will be lurches and vibration movement which can result in a person losing grip on the door handle and result in fatal accident.
sudden entry into tunnels will make your ears pop and the change in pressure to lose your balance. KR trains are not HST(High speed trains)yet and are not pressurised.
allow train to stop completely before entraining and same while boarding. dont get hassled by all the rush around you the konkan railway ticket collectors will guide you properly.
when you approach your destination station be ready with your luggage to entrain as at some stations the train will halt only for 2 minutes.
the whole route is so scenic that you will be tempted to get down at a station to see the surrounding views however keep a watch on train warning horn blast, which indicates that train is about to move.
A GENERAL WARNING!
While buying eatables like biscuits, chips & other FMCG eatables and juices or while buying medicnes check for the expiry date. In some eatables like biscuits, only the manufacture date is given and it would be mentioned best before. Some shops esp in the coastal village side keep stocks of these goods beyond the expiry date. In city side you would get a genuine stuff.
Also while buying mineral water, check for any dirt particles as sometimes they fill in tap water and seal it in such a way that it looks like a new one.
serious faux pas
DO NOT eat with your left hand. It's the "toilet hand". Greet, pay and most of all eat with you RIGHT hand.
DO NOT use drugs. Quite politically correct considering we're talking about Goa, BUT possesion of drugs can give you 10 years in the Aguada prison.
DO NOT sit under palm trees. Lovely shade, yes, coconut in the head, no. A surprising number of people die every year from falling coconuts.
DO NOT forget to bargain. If it doesn't have a price tag on it, it's negotiable. They usually start of at three times the price. Except for the Tibet people, much nicer people to make business with.
DO NOT make best friends with any of the 100 000 stray dogs in Goa. They look cute, but they can carry a lot of diseases.
Unfortunately Goa has a major problem with rubbish and great big piles of it is often found along the side of the road, being spread about further by rummaging cows.
If you can, refill your water bottles with filtered water and avoid bying anything in a plastic container.
General warnings and tips
Visit in November - Jan. We went in Feb and it was a bit too hot at 35 degrees. Not too bad in the shade during the day - but at night time at the end of a fortnight - it was sweltering.
We took Malaria tablets - but apparently (the reps all say) nobody takes them in Goa - so we opted for tonic water instead - it has a similar effect - but non of the tablet side effects like a bad stomach or headaches.
Take a spare suitcase for souvenirs - some insect repellant and some high factor sun cream. There weren't too many insects around though - but its peace of mind.
Watch out for high prices in the posh shops, or people trying to sell you stuff you dont want or cant fit in your case. The vast majority of people are really friendly - but a simple No Thanks works in Goa if you arent interested.
Watch out for the guys that run off with your suitcases at the airport. They are legit - but will need a tip. They ask for an English pound each - but you may find this is a lot compared to the cost of living and for a service you didnt ask for!
Watch out for the overcrowded markets like Anjuna - take a money belt and secure valuables. A guy tried to pick something out of my ear at one point for a tip - if this happens - just walk away. Anjuna was a bit too much for me - I looked too much like a tourist. Avoid looking at any stall you arent interested in - if you look - people expect you to buy.
Take it easy on the food front as much as you can - and drink tonnes of water even if you arent thirsty. We made the mistake of eating loads of Indian food and walking miles in the day time heat. This - along with malaria tablets can lead to stomach aches etc.
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