Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Saturday Night Market, Goa, India, January 23, 2011

Last night we went to see what all the fuss was about. Everyone talks about the Saturday Night Market; and, with good reason. Our taxi driver told us that over 15,000 people show up every Saturday night during the high tourist season. Many of them travel 2 hours or more from South Goa. It is a veritable flood of people coming and going out the many gates available for entry or exit.

We had no idea what to expect. We donned some festive clothing since tourists in this area are fond of dressing up a bit for evening meals and activities. What we encountered was so not the India we had been seeing for three weeks!

About 15 years ago an English tourist who stayed here for the winter months decided to start the market. In the American world, we might call it a gigantic flea market, but it was so much more. It was well organized, had plenty of bathrooms scattered around, bars, food from every country imaginable and stalls after stalls of everything and anything. About the only thing missing were kitchen items.

Many of the vendors were westerners who come to Goa just to work the market. They were selling jewelry, western clothes, Indian collectibles and some very unusual stuff! One Aussie had a stall that sold the big music pipes used by Aborigines. The local craftsman also had stalls and some vendors selling cottage industry crafts. The Indian products represented every area and tribe of India. It truly was amazing.

We arrived early in the evening, around 6:15 M. By 8:30 PM the place was so packed you could barely move around the aisle ways and the food lines were 20 people deep. As we were leaving, Devika commented that she was so amazed anything like this could be done in India. It was much too organized, very clean and well done for Indians to have put it together. That is when we found out it is actually owned and run by the Englishman! It beat the Dilli Haart market for sheer size and cleanliness and the entertainment.

They have live music playing all night and the beer flows freely. So, the longer you stay, the drunker you become and the more you end up buying. The music featured is predominately western rock, pop and jazz (which was what was playing while we were there). There were vendors selling all different genre of music, much of it Indian. Many Indian tourists were more interested in the stalls selling western items and the western tourists gravitating towards the Indian craftsmen.
It was a very pleasant experience and something that should not be missed by any tourist to the area.

Our evening ended on a slightly scary note for two puny women afraid of cockroaches. We discovered one in our small kitchenette when we arrived home. Anyone observing us would have been laughing their fannies off. Just locating it after it scampered off from our first encounter and then deciding who was going to be brave enough to kill it caused quite a bit of frantic energy to be produced. I found it, Devika killed it and neither one of us wanted to scoop it into the trash. So we covered it nicely with a piece of paper and left it on the kitchen floor to be dealt with by the house help. Before going to bed, we secured the door to the kitchenette telling ourselves it would keep other cockroaches from invading our sleeping area. I never got used to cockroaches in Kenya and apparently I am holding true to my pattern!

Today is a lazy beach day and then tomorrow we head back to Mumbai. We have promised ourselves pedicures . All the hiking around has taken a toll on our feet.

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