How it feels to be the local insider!
It’s that time of the year when Goans are the most sought after, for their advice on what to do and where to go, in Goa. Cafe speaks to Goans who have had this experience
As the tourism season kicks in and the shacks, hotels and other tourist venues gear up for the inflow of tourists, it is assumed that every Goan is also aware of what is happening, to the last minute detail. This is the time when Goans,even those who are not connected to the tourism industry, are inundated with calls and requests from long lost friends and relatives, twice removed. This could be a call asking for recommendations (since every Goan enjoys partying), or a demand for passes or ‘free entry’ into a popular night club/ event, or the spare bed in your house, to crash on. They will also call to confirm the rates of alcohol and which is the best place they can pick it up from. This is probably the only time these long lost friends or relatives choose to speak to. Commonly mistaken for walking encyclopaedias, Goans being a friendly hospitable lot try their best to help the travellers, and many a time, they do not mind reaching out to family or friends they are more than happy to see. And perhaps, if it was a one off odd request, it would have been okay, but the frequency of such queries can be compared to the opening of the flood gates. There are hundreds of requests, from acquaintances, people using references of acquaintances, or people you may have met once. “At first it used to be calls on your landline. So if you are having dinner and you get a call, you have to stop what you’re doing and hope it’s something important that is inconveniencing you, only to hear someone introducing themselves to you and asking for the number of the popular resort that’s located at the other end of Goa,” says Reynold Fernandes, a seafarer from Margao. “ Nowadays though, you will find yourself getting randomly tagged on Facebook on someone’s status about their Goa plan, or you get a nice message on Whatsapp that begins with them asking you about your health and life and before making your their makeshift travel agent,“ says Cheryl Rodrigues, an interior decorator from Porvorim. Locals also talk about how it gets difficult to make plans to meet up with these friends/family who have come down and are staying at faraway places like Palolem or Morjim and you are put in a spot where you don’t want to come across as rude but cannot meet them. And at times, it is difficult to match the mood, given that these guests are on a holiday and the Goans are still in ‘work mode’. Recently, there was a campaign done in the metros where Goans living in other parts of India were asked about the most frequently asked questions and the results indicated that there is this image that those who live in Goa party every day, know everything there is to know about the bar and can tell you about the most exotic/popular/remote places in Goa. “It can be quite amusing when they call you and they will tell you who they have met and assume you may know that person. Goa is not as small as they think it is,” adds Rishabh Lotlikar, a marketing executive from Panjim. Rishabh adds that nowadays, with a lot of travel and booking websites, it should be easier to get information and check out reviews, but people prefer personal recommendations. “While this is quite common and one usually has a list of recommendations to give to anyone who calls, sometimes there can be issues when a friend uses your recommendations and then there is some conflict between that friend and the thing/person/ place you’ve recommended and you are left with egg on your face,” cautions Canacona based Pooja Dessai, who works in the hospitality industry. For those who stay in popular tourist areas, they usually receive these queries more often. “If I had a penny for every time I got a call, asking where they can hire a car or book a taxi, I would probably be able to open my own vehicle rental business,” quips Henry De Souza, a senior citizen from Calangute.
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