I was near the end of the cup of salted cashews when I realized that they were not up-for-grabs, we had to order them. Their legitimate owner seemed to be focused on his black-jack game while my friends and I camouflaged ourselves into the colorful slot machines.
That was the story of my first time in a casino on the water — or any casino for that matter.
Goa, the land of illegal gambling! (for as long as you are on land). The Goans explored this caveat and built the most bedazzling, Bollywood-star-studded casinos on water.
That was already our day 3. The five of us — (Left to right in the picture) Sara, Srujan, myself, Havya, and Kalyan, have been having a ball on the most-coveted vacation of the Indian youth.
Legend has it that everyone with at least one friend plans a goa vacation and only less than 1% actually make it. (I made up the statistics, but the story remains true).
The poster at the entrance of the dock told us that I just missed a big Bollywood starlet’s performance by a day. It didn’t affect us much. On a small budget, our priorities were clear — We pay for the minimum chips to guarantee an entrance, play them, cut our losses, eat the free food, and leave.
We had arrived three days ago at the Goan airport in south goa and take a government-operated Taxi Cab service to Margao. The Goans were certain that they didn't want Uber and Ola (The local uber) cutting into their local taxi cab driver’s businesses.
We then went beach hopping on the western coast of India to our extremely memorable Om-Shanti resort on the patnem beach. By the time we got there frolicking on the beaches of Colva and Benaulim, we slurped ourselves full on cocktails and fresh coconuts.
A walk into the town was like being transported to a different age and place away from India around Goa. It was a milieu of European accents and palates with Indianness.
Until then, Sara, our Spanish companion had to carry her own food if she did not want to burn her tongue. Here, everything was Indian and everything was edible by people of all degrees of tongue-muscle-strengths.
The morning after our arrival, In what felt like a fatally fast cab ride, our scuba diving guide brought us, along with two Germans and a newly married Indian couple to the Murudeswara beach.
The great food, however, did not play along on this day. Delicious as they were, the deep-fried Flatbread called Puri caused the stragglers of the lot to have a hefty amount of seasickness on our way to the Scuba diving location.
I tried not to be terrified as I was strapped onto heavy oxygen tanks and pipes and asked to jump into the deeper part of the ocean. The rules did not change if I was a swimming novice.
Apart from that one moment, the experience of scuba diving in Goa is the easiest way to feel like Bear Grylls in Man vs. Wild — Surrounded by fish and coral, no medium to breathe, and cameras on. I am glad I scraped up the courage to do it.
That was a week in Goa. A week, which you can narrate to your grandkids when they ask you if you have been to places. It is absolutely worth it.
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