Don’t be surprised if you are walking down the streets of Baga and hear a voice cry out for you in an accent which is a mix of Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslett and Meryl Streep. Chances are that you will turn around and see a waif like urchin, straight out of Slumdog Millionaire.
Baga, at Goa is lined with little shops which sell clothes, shoes, spices, fake watches, overpriced artifacts and curios and what have you. The clothes are quite kitsch and trendy and don’t be surprised to find a Bob Marley tee shirt beside a Mahatma Gandhi one. The quality? Well if you are bothered about that then you shouldn’t shop from the streets in the first place.
These shops normally spring up during season (November to March) and are often manned by girls and women who speak in very exaggerated English accents which they have picked up from foreign tourists.
Bargaining is the norm here. But this year is exceptional. You can get some amazing deals thanks to the recession, terrorist threat and subsequent trickle of tourists. Usually one gives a counter offer of half the quoted price and settles somewhere in between. This year you will often be surprised to see that your first offer itself is taken up as the sellers are quite desperate.
Some of the prices that we saw after bargaining were:
- tee shirts – Rs 75 – 150
- skirts/ sarongs – Rs 100 – 200
- shorts- Rs 100 – Rs 150
- fake watches – Rs 200
- ‘pashmina’ shawls – Rs 100 (plain). Rs 175 (with designs)
- Water sports!: para sailing at Rs 300 after initial quotes of Rs 600
- Sling bags/ ‘jhollas’ – Rs 100
Rs 100 = 2 USD
Frankly I hate wasting time shopping during holidays. But there was no stopping Kainaz or my brother this year. In fact junior turned out to be quite a shopper as he darted from shop to shop. As for Kainaz, she headed for the shops like a homing pigeon. The way I would head to the nearerst prawn chilly joint I guess.
Though I must say that I was quite excited by some of the quaint Rajasthani tiles, lamps and hooks that we picked up for the house
- Hotel prices of the small guest houses had gone down too. Though the mid level places held their prices
- Food prices at restaurants remain constant though. I guess there are those who shop and those who don’t. But everyone eats!