Goa normally is associated with fun, frolic, lazy, hazy and other synonyms. But vasco is not so. This, now, is a regular city. The heart of the city is bustling with activity. A walk through the fish market in the night will pop your eyes out with the variety. There is a sad side to all this. As a tourist you dont get to see hotels providing you with that same variety of fish food that is caught. All the good/best ones make it out of Goa. The ordinary ones are left. In one of the best hotels also the fish food fare is quite ordinary and well known and one more common thing is the cost, it is no way competitive.
The heart of the city is flush with veg and non-veg hotels doling out the same usual stuff common across India. My gripe whenever I go is that the local cuisine is not doled out in the city areas. Unless you know where to eat local fare, you will be provided with the standard Indian food. How can we be a roman in Rome, If you are not treated so? I believe a foreign traveller who is travalling across our country would know all our standard fare by-heart. If the numer of languages baffle everybody the real local cuisine is going blow their taste buds out.
The closest beach is Baina. It is a nice beach, a quite one. Not much of commercial activities around it. If you want to spend a quite evening I would recommned it wholesomely. The next closest one is the Bogmallo beach. Here I observed plenty of commercial activities and a lot number of tourists both foreign and local. Though the population on the beach is no way comparable to the ones in the other sides of Goa. The best thing is there are lots of shacks lined along the beach for you to have a drink until the sun goes down and a few hours more. If you want that to continue then your best bet would be Bagamallo resort right at the beach. The huge walls along the resort is a big turn off for me. But it succeds where the shacks fail, a comfy bed for the night. By now you know what to do to get the better of both the worlds.
To start with I am not a fan of goan cuisine. So, I limited myself to less adventorous food. Anantasram was the first pit stop. It was suggested by a friend. Turns out this place is exactly how I wished it would be. A large open area and two comfort levels of AC areas. The open large area is best in the evenings and for the afternoons....Yes, you guesed it right. It offers all the usual Indian fare with a bit of continental and chinese. Major issues with these mid-tiers is the limitation in the brands of beer. They normally stock two to three brands utmost. If your want to have variety the best bet would be the retail shops spread across the city, ofcourse your hotel where you are staying should allow it. I would always like to keep my drinks and food away from my hotel room so as to have a neat comfy space to sleep onto. Coming back to Anantasram, they have a good selection of cocktails, All well known, standard ones. I had a pina colada. It was the most "classic" pina colada I had to date. They strictly stuck to the book. Then it was the turn of Feni, the local drink. I tried a cocktail based on it and it was different and fresh. It tasted cashew all the way. Two more lemons did not douse the cashew in it. Feni is also supposed to be made from pine, but it was in short supply across the city, the option was always cashew feni. The fish fingers were one of the lonest ones I had and were tasty.
The next stop on an other day was spice chariot. Ordered a fenny based drink and fish fry. Again un-succesfully tried to dilute the cashew flavor. For the next drink, I asked the bar tender to "Surprise me". I was offered "Sex on the beach". The drink was vodka based with fresh lime and peppermint flavors garnished with tulsi leaves. The drink was very refreshing and succesfuly removed the ramaining feni flavors.
The roads are decent. Public transport is through private vehicles. Good enough, sufficient and frequent. Be careful during lunch time. Better have a looong lunch or you will be stranded for want of transportation. And again normally lunch at any hotel ends around 3 - 4 pm and they shut down until evening.
The next day was a veg day, vasco fails you totally. Majority of the south indian restaurants are run by north indians who dont know anything about the sambars. So, you are warned.
And while in vasco, it is by default to visit panjim and Margao. Have a visit and you will not be dissappointed. They are much more commercial in their approaches and is what people think of when they think of Goa. Just opposite to the railway station, the dead end on that road, the Goan government runs buses regularly, every 10 minutes i believe towards Margao and Panjim. The cool thing about these buses are they are non-stop. Thet start at vasco and stop at margao or panjim, whichever you had chosen. It takes around 45 minutes and more in the evenings. There are a few A/C buses also.