By Emily Winans, MBA 2012
After three busy weeks in Mumbai, we were eager to escape to Goa, which is about one hour south of Mumbai by plane. Our journey from the airport to our hotel felt more like a game of chicken than a ride in a taxi. As the car dashed in and out of oncoming traffic, the sun began to set. On the side of the road we could see many people walking in dressy western style clothing presumably on their way to mass for Good Friday. Five hundred years of Portuguese colonization greatly influenced the area, most notably in the strong Catholic convictions of many local residents. In Mumbai, I have grown accustomed to seeing Ganesha, a Hindu god, rest on the dashboards of many vehicles. In Goa, our driver opted for the Virgin Mary.
After an hour, we reached our hotel feeling drained and a little nauseous from the ride. Settling into our room, we came upon several discoveries including a toilet that flushed by turning a knob that controlled the main water flow and an air conditioner that worked all day except from 8-10 p.m. We finished the evening by enjoying some local seafood at a nearby restaurant and checking out the eclectic mix of tourists and locals.
Our first day was designated as our day at the beach and we quickly noticed the many differences from typical American beaches. First, there were the cows (yes, cows) walking around on the beach and napping in the shade. Along with the cows were many stray dogs strolling in the sand and even swimming in the ocean. We hoped our Western beach attire would be more of the norm in such a beach town, but unfortunately we still did not quite fit in.
Our second day was dedicated to sightseeing. Our first stop was the largest Cathedral in Asia located in Old Goa, where the Portuguese originally established a community. From there we visited a very large Hindu temple and finally landed at a spice plantation where we enjoyed a tour that was cooled by the shade of spice trees. Like most days in India thus far, our senses were overloaded. We enjoyed the aroma of cashew fruit, vanilla pods, a cinnamon tree, and nutmeg. Our tour guide unburied the bright yellow roots of turmeric and the tour ended with a man begrudgingly scaling a palm tree using only his hands, feet, and some rope. Our tour guide referred to him as the modern day Tarzan.
We were jolted back to the fast pace of Mumbai when we left our hotel at 4:45 a.m. on Monday. After what seemed to be the fastest car ride yet, our driver told us to “hurry and get out.” We were rather surprised at his response until we uncovered that he had understood our 6:50 flight as “six-fifteen” and did not want us to be late. Nonetheless, after a long relaxing weekend, we landed in Mumbai comforted by the sights and sounds of the city to which we have learned to call home.