There was this strange thing in the khazi

MY ROUGH GUIDE

Best discovery

You don't expect to find many deserted beaches in Goa, but I stumbled across one a few years ago cycling north up the coast to the village of Arambol. I found myself at the end of a vast sweep of white sand backed by coconut palms. The beach below the high-tide line was hard enough to support the bike, so I pressed on for half an hour as far as a shack cafe, run by Claude. In the couple of hours I spent lounging on his deckchair, watching dolphins arc in the surf, the only passers-by were two fishermen. Mandrem beach is still a relative backwater, although last time I was there I ran into a Dutch couple who'd found it in the Rough Guide, which left me with mixed feelings.

BEST HOTEL

The Panjim Inn in Foutainhas is one of the few hotels to have preserved some old Portuguese charm. The rooms have shutters on the windows, carved wood furniture and tiled floors, and there's a relaxing veranda where you can gently sip Indian Scotch.

BIGGEST LET-DOWN

Hyped by the tourist office as one of south India's most colourful festivals, Goa's annual Carnival turned out to be a rather lame affair. The float procession was a lively enough spectacle, but the bus loads of drunk men hanging around in "I Love Goa" hats made it feel like a sad stag night.

BIGGEST BARGAIN

The local tipple is feni, a rocket-fuel concotion distilled from coconut sap or cashew juice. Mixed with lemonade or soda, it can be delicious, although the cause of monstrous hangovers. A bar-owner I once met in the feni-mad south flavours his with cumin and ginger, and sold me two large bottles for about pounds 1. My other big bargain was acquired at a spice plantation state. For 50p, I returned with enough cardamom, cumin, mace, chilli, fenugreek, coriander, and tumeric for a couple of years' worth of curries.

MOST USEFUL PHRASE

Since the Rough Guide to Goa was published, I've received several suggestions for Konkani phrases to add to the glossary, the majority insults to hurl at beach hawkers. My most useful phrase, though, has to be the Hindi for ''slow down'' (dhiri, dhiri), which helps in traffic. Having said that, I came unstuck once after yelling it at a rickshaw-wallah. "Dhiri?'' he replied, confusedly and left me five minutes later at a dusty patch of wasteland. Unbeknown to me, dhiri in Konkani means bullfighting, and he'd thought I wanted to see the big match.

FAVOURITE SOUVENIR

A cotton kurta (long Indian shirt) that I bought in Panjim's khadi shop. Khadi is the hand-spun cotton Ghandi encouraged Indians to wear during the independence struggle, and the government still runs shops to supply city dwellers. They're old-fashioned places, and the one in Panjim has dusty wooden shelves and a different assistant to fetch, carry, wrap and issue receipts for your goods.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

Near the village of Parvath in central Goa lies a hilltop Hindu temple called Shri Chandeshwar. Having bought the requisite flower and incense offering I started to walk around the shrine, but was stopped by a dour- faced, saffron-clad priest waving an oil lamp. I should, he said, be walking in the other direction, "same way as sun and moon''.

BIZARRE MEETING

Holed up 12 years ago in what was then a remote fishing settlement (and is now a holiday resort) I'd been struck by a dose of the local equivalent of Delhi Belly. After picking my way through the palm grove behind the house, I located the khazi - a hut with a hole opening on to the sand. Suddenly my motions were interrupted by a low grunt. I nearly leapt through the roof when a black hairy face appeared at the hole between my feet. I'd seen gangs of pigs rooting around the yard, but no one had thought to tell me that they doubled as waste disposal units.

David Abram is the author of 'The Rough Guide to Goa' (pounds 8.99). Keep up with the latest developments in travel by subscribing to the free newsletter 'Rough News' which is published three times a year by Rough Guides, 1 Mercer St, London, WC2H 9QJ. A free 'Rough Guide' goes to the first three new subscribers each week.

FACT FILE

l Mandrem beach lies some 12 miles north of the resorts of Calangute and Baga, and is reached via the ferry at Siolim. By public transport, head for Arambol and rent a cycle for the four-mile trip down the coast.

l A double room at the Panjim Inn (E-212, 31 Janeiro Rd, Fontainhas, Panjim; tel 0832/226523, fax 228136) costs around pounds 15 per night.

l Goa's carnival takes place in Panjim in late February - early March, while the biggest beach parties, around Anjuna in the north, usually happen on full-moon nights in Dec and Jan.

l Village-distilled feni can be bought in local bars for 10p a glass. Factory-made feni is available in towns. Tours of spice plantations are offered as excursions by most holiday companies.

l Goa's two largest markets are held at Anjuna on Wed, and Mapusa on Fri; the latter is more authentic.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
In too deep? Travel cover is among the benefits offered by packaged bank accounts

Claims firms blamed as complaints soar over packaged bank accounts

Many customers complained they were switched to the accounts without their knowledge

Finger on the interest rate trigger: the Bank of England

The best deals on personal loans: Peer-to-peer providers are more competitive for smaller sums

Meanwhile, high-street lenders continue to cherry-pick and be more competitive on larger loans

China stock collapse: Five things you need to know about 'Black Monday'

The market plummeted this week, losing all the gains made for the year

Which? warns sports fans about Rugby World Cup ticket scams

GetSporting.com offers deals that may be too good to be true

Could it be the time to focus on Japan? Some believe the country has no choice but to boost consumption and the economy will get back on track

Investors told to travel the world in the search for higher returns

Assets have risen in value across the board and volatility isn't going away. Rob Griffin asks where we should put our cash
As rising house prices push up demand for renting, so tenants are having to dig deeper than ever

Starter home initiative is urgently needed as rents go through the roof

Rents in England and Wales rose by 1.9 per cent in July to an average of £804

Peer-to-peer lending rates put Nisas to shame

The returns from P2P providers look more attractive than ever

Questions of Cash: Log-in problems turned eDreams booking into one-way ticket to nowhere

The company failed to provide our reader's flight ticket - or a refund

Hot property: business has been booming in estate agents this month, even though it’s the height of the summer holiday season

Heat rises for mortgage deals as UK homeowners sense a rate hike coming

The housing market should go quiet in August but instead people have been acting like cheap loans won't last. Do we really have to rush, asks Simon Read
Phones have now overtaken personal computers as the most used way of accessing the internet

Who you gonna call? The Complaints Busters

Unhappy customers have been given their own Ombudsman to help fight for them.

Undergraduates are being tempted with freebies by banks

Students should give freebies a wide berth and focus instead on cheap borrowing

An interest-free loan far outweighs the value of any of the bank's incentives

The Spanish carrier changed a reader's flight from Madrid – to a time before she was due to land

Questions of Cash: 'A connecting Vueling flight was cancelled and all my travel costs were left hanging in the air'

Our reader encountered problems when flying from London to Ibiza in May to take part in a charity ride

Complacency about rising rates could prove to be costly

Interest rates stay at 0.5% for now - but don't wait to get a better deal on your savings and mortgage

The years of ultra-low rates are coming to an end

The elderly are being targeted by fraudsters with postal scams such as fake prize draws

Fraudsters are bombarding older people with dangerous pension scams: here we reveal the warning signs

Many people are being repeatedly targeted by crooked schemes

Football and credit cards aren't always a good match

A football club-branded credit card could end up being a financial own goal

It may be a great talking point when you get your football club plastic out in front of your mates, but these deals aren't the best option for all fans

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

    £15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory