In May, the GOA Tourist Board, in collaboration with the Indian Embassy in Zagreb, organized an event where 2 trips to GOA were donated as part of the India / GOA promotion. With a combination of happy circumstances or the will of God, I was one of the winners of a trip to the GIMT – Goa International Travel March 2019. from 23rd to 26th 10.2019. (I left the day before and returned the day after)
I heard the rumors of resentment in the air: “Why does happiness always go to the rich?”, “He put glue on his business card so it sticks to the fingers during the pulling!” They call him Joe Glue!”,”He knows all the tricks. We had no chance. “,” There is no justice for the poor… “.
Special thanks to Željka Mandurić from the Tal Aviation Group who, as co-organizer of the GOA event, invited me to this gathering. If it wasn’t for Željka, I wouldn’t have seen India 🙂
I didn’t pay attention to evil languages. Happily, I came to a Sunday family lunch and told the householders: “I finally got something, and it isn’t a flu. I’m traveling to India. “
The parents could not hide their delight. Father: “Everything is dirty there. That’s exactly what you have in our neighborhood! “, Mother:” How much will it cost? Is there any sense for you to go that far for just 4 days? What will you do there? Don’t get accustomed to that Yoga. I raised you in the Christian spirit! “, Grandma:” You will pick up some disease. You will bring us the plague! “, Bro:” You will get diarrhea. Everyone gets diarrhea in India. ”
The Adams family is like a nice cup of tea compared with mine. They went no further than their street, but they know all about the exotic travels and dangers that lurk on them. I sang to myself, “Nothing is going to ruin me this day …”
The life of a blogger can be glamorous: hotels, restaurants, travel… but I headed to India with a stomach cramp. Namely, I ate expired yogurt and a second class banana from my local store. I know that they always poison me in that store but I can’t resist their cheap prices. I felt the need right on Franjo Tudjman (Name of our national airport and our first Croatian president). At first, my conscience was a bit like, “You are not a patriot, if you shit here.” I was arguing with myself. “Well, isn’t this the Altar of the Homeland!?” Desires are one thing, and needs are something entirely else. In the end, I shit on Franjo Tudjman. “If I needed to shit, it would be better if it happened on home ground, than in visits.”
The second winner of the award was Damjana Domanovac, the organizer of the PLACE2GO International Tourism Fair and the owner of the magazine of the same name. Turns out we were traveling the same day and returning the same day and not only that, but sitting next to each other on the plane. We went to GOA with Qatar airways via Doha. If I count waiting in Doha for 4 hours, then she enjoyed spending over 15 hours talking to the smartest, most successful, most beautiful and generally the coolest blogger and photographer in the Europe and beyond. She absorbed my every word, and I could see in her eyes that she was thinking, “Why it is me who has the honor to run into such an interesting and humble man?” At one point, she seemed to show signs of disgust and to be ridiculed, but I attributed it to the altitude sickness and fear of flying.
We landed in GOA’s capital, Panaji at 2am. Damjana wanted to change dollars into rupees at the airport, but I stopped her in the last minute when I saw that they were offering only 6000 rupees for $ 100, and the fair exchange rate was at least 7000 rupees. However, I grew up in Croatian Bronx. I can fool you on the course, but you can’t fool me. My friend Hashim would say, “It’s not faiiirrr.” We headed to Double Tree by Hilton Goa – Panaji Hotel. Unfortunately, they do not have a currency exchange at the hotel, but it didn’t matter to us at the time, because we were so torn off the road that we just wanted the key to the room so we can fall asleep.
The next day we had a gathering with reporters and representatives of travel agencies from around the world at 6pm so I spent my leisure time, which was unfortunately rainy, by the brutal infinity pool overlooking the Mondavi River. I enjoyed the natural beauty of GOA.
Wherever I travel, I always run into someone from Serbia. Hello to Tijana Maljković:)
At half past seven we had the official GITM 2019. gathering.
I was successful in establishing the first Indian Freemasonry Youth Club:)
Welcome cocktails, rich cultural and artistic program, presentation of GOA as a great tourist destination where everyone will find something for themselves regardless of purchasing power and preferences and after all, a great dinner. GOA was popularized by hippies in the late 1960s. They knew how to spend everything they had, so they founded the Flea Market at GOA where they would sell their goods to raise money for a return plane ticket. The market still exists today and is a famous attraction in GOA, but due to the bad weather we were not able to visit it. Too bad, because I had a full suitcase of exclusive Balkan’s merchandise.
A colleague of mine was impressed with how much data I could remember. She was ashamed she wasn’t equally smart. She had to write everything down. I would take a look every once in a while, but just to make sure she didn’t forget something.
A man gets tired from all the worry for others. It was a difficult day so soon after coming back to hotel, we had our earned rest.
The second day, after business meetings with hotel representatives, together we went to lunch at a newly opened restaurant, The Awadh House. Cows slowed us down a bit on the road. I can imagine the misunderstandings happening in their traffic. “Move, cow!”, “Who are you calling a cow?? You cow!,“ I wasn’t telling to you, but to a cow! ”…
Restaurant’s interior was Art Deco and Indo Persian style, but this is more like the info important for the ever increasing number of hipsters in this world.
The best food I have ever tried. The courses just kept on coming, and we were eating like sindicat representatives on an excursion.
You can call me Joe Maharadja:)
There was too much food. Here are a couple of photos. A picture says a thousand words: You eat, it burns, you shit, it burns:) Special thanks to Rupanjana for helpping me with the food names:)
Murgh Angara Kabab – boneless chicken fried on charcoal in a pot
Gosht Matka Biryani – rice and lamb cooked with aromatic herbs in a ceramic bowl.
I cannot describe to you how kind they were and how well they hosted us. The prices at the restaurant are ridiculously cheap. From a few bucks to $ 10 per meal. The quality of the food is, without false pretenses, the same as at the Michelin-starred restaurant level.
We part with our hosts, and although the plan was to go sightseeing the old GOA, we decided to go back to the hotel because we wanted to rest before going out for dinner and hanging out at the Deltin Royale CASINO.
Daman, Goa and Sikkim are the only states from 29 states in India where gambling is legalized. Earlier, when gambling was not legal in India, casino owners found a way to circumvent the law and moved casinos to the sea and rivers, because in legal terms gambling was not allowed only “on land”.
Any form of gambling / betting / lottery is illegal in India. The main reason for banning gambling is the greed of the idea overnight becoming rich without work. The lottery was not initially banned in India, and many families failed by investing not only their money, but also the one borrowed with high interest rates. The losses led to suicides, which is why governments in India banned all forms of lottery. The Indians should take a leaf from the Mahabharata where Yuthister lost his empire and family members to gambling. However, greed overcomes healthy advice, resulting in complete destruction of people and society.
I wish that someone forbids our Government to gamble with our cash and borrow on our behalf 🙂
Our CASINO was also on the ship. I’ve been to the casino several times (and lost my fare share), so I decided to just enjoy my meal and drinks. I immediately changed the dollars there because the exchange rate was about 70 rupees for one dollar, which is more than fair, according to Hashim 🙂
Damjana told me that she was going to the Planet Hollywood Goa hotel on the last day and that we would meet at the airport. What a betrayal, we sat together in good and evil. Judah is a saint to her. She left me alone in a distant world. She said to me, “Fight for yourself. Get the job done.” Damjana is for me what Yoko Ono is for the Beatles.
Our people say, “All evil is for someone’s sake,” and in the end it turned out to be just that. At the casino I met Anirudh Kandpal from The Postcard Hotels. He showed me some promo videos and when he found out that I was a photographer and a member of Freemasonry youth, he immediately suggested that I come to one of their Goa hotels last day. I chose Southern Gou and their The Postcard Cuelim Hotel.
He gave me an offer I could not refuse🙂
On the third day we had a bunch of meetings again. The plan was to visit cultural sites, first of all the churches because Goa was a Portuguese colony. I prayed to God for it to rain. I couldn’t wait to leave Croatia, which is obsessed with churches, and now they want to take me on sightseeing – the churches. God answered my prayers and the rain started. The monsoon breeze blew away what little hair I had left on my head, but the better sex wasn’t luckier, either.
We had to change our plan so the decision fell to go to lunch at Bambolim Beach Resort.. A 3 star resort that you can afford as well. Joke aside, GOA is a really convenient destination 🙂
Although the first scenes didn’t look promising, we soon realized that things weren’t as scary as they looked. This was just a scene before arriving at the resort 🙂
They prepared seafood and falafel. Grilled fish was amazing. The weather soon cleared, and when I saw beautiful Russian Olga, the gentleman in me woke up. I am not some fast click photographer. So, lady…
After Olga, everybody wanted a photo:)
Guys held it against me that I’ve stolen all the woman, and added it’s not good for my work because I focus only on one part of the market.
I was trying to explain to them that this was the only segment I was interested in 🙂
They broaden the story, the gay readers want to see and male faces. I immediately asked: “Is here any gay to take photo of?” Everyone was silent. I changed my approach and went to colleague from Canada. “Let me take one picture of you, as well. For Instagram – for free.” Adrian, if you are reading this, sorry. This is work. More clicks, more money:)
We were supposed to go on a boat trip, but unfortunately we had to cancel it because of bad weather. They told us that they did not remember the last time it had been so rainy this time of year. At least it wasn’t cold. The temperature was constantly between 25 and 28 degrees. Otherwise, the summer lasts from March to May and then the temperatures are between 25 and 39 degrees. They have winter from November to February with temperatures from 15 to 25 degrees, and the monsoon season, ie the rainy season, lasts from June to September.
We returned to the hotel, and while the others were sleeping, Katie and I did a gym training and a photo session in the pool.
In the evening we headed downtown Panaji for dinner at the Panjim Inn restaurant, which is also a small hotel. A taxi from the hotel cost us about $ 11, which is not some money when it is divided among four people.
I was impressed by the painting exhibition in the restaurant/hotel more than food. Some sort of Indian naive with erotic elements:)
It is very usual and normal that next to a beautiful house stands a poor one. The rich and the poor living next to each other. Brotherhood and unity Indian style.
The last day I checked out from Hilton and waited for the driver who was sent to take me to Postcard Cuelim hotel in south Goa which was about an hour drive from Panaji. It was like a cherry on the top.
I couldn’t believe it when we came to the door of the 350-year-old residence, which has now turned into a luxury boutique hotel. I felt like Kim Kardashian when she saw how much money she made after her first video.
I immediately asked the hostess Mouwana when will the breakfast be served, and she said, “There is no breakfast, lunch and dinner at this hotel.” I was in shock. I know I have to go to diet, but this was too much even for me. Mouwana: “Don’t worry about anything. We do not want to limit guests with meals schedule. You are here to relax. Whenever you’re hungry, the chef will prepare food for you. ”If this is not the definition of paradise, then I don’t know what is. I turned my hands to heaven and thanked the Creator that my friends were not so fortunate to enjoy such abundance. I also thanked for the first sunny day since I came to GOA.
I threw myself on breakfast like the Church on charity. Chorizo was just perfect. You have to try it.
Mouwana walked me through the hotel, which exudes history. It is as if someone has brought you back to the past, but not the one you experience when you rent an student apartment, but a beautiful, luxurious, tycoon… Picture says a thousand words 🙂
Depending on the time of the year, an overnight stay here is around 350 USD which is not much for us Freemasons, but for some cashiers from local store, it is an unattainable dream. For all you get, the price is a trifle. A dream place.
I asked Mouwana to take me to a 30km long sandy beach just ten minutes from the hotel. Being in India and not tasting the magic of the Arabian sea (I thought I swimmed in Indian ocean. Tnx Rupanjana for explanation) is like vacationing watching National Geographic. You see everything, but you are not there.
Beautiful sandy beaches, warm sea…indescribable experience. Paradise for surfers like me. (Just fooling around I’m a surfer, but it sounds cool).
To avoid everything being so luxurious, a small fishing village on the coast took care of it.
I threw myself heroically into the sea, but at that moment the Indian Mitch Buchannon ran out to the beach and warned me on mother tongue Swahili that I need to go immediately out because I could drown due to the monsoon waves. All these days it was stormy and the Arabian sea was not safe for a carefree swim.
On my way back to the hotel, I saw a patriotic sign. Apparently, among Indian fisherman, there are Croatian football team lovers. Anywhere you go, chessboard follows.
I got many messages from other bloggers: “Look how we’re enjoying on spice plantation”.
I replied: “That is fun for the poor. Look at this”.
It was time for lunch. They always serve some fish with sides, pickled peppers, chicken, rice, curry, vegetables … huge amounts of food. I gained 4 pounds in India. Top cousine. I fell in love with this place.
In my family, no meal can pass without religious motives / crucifixes on the wall. It was similar here. I looked at the wall, and there was a huge sacral mosaic. St. Xavier by A&T Cuncha Mosaics. The image weighs over 50 kilos. According to Catholic legend / fairy tale, missionary, Vol. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) traveled between Ambon Island and Seram on his evangelical mission (euphemism for forced baptism for me). He flew into a storm, and to calm the sea, he threw his cross into the stirring waves. The ship eventually sailed into port, and from the sea crab appeard and returned the crucifix to Francis Xavier.
Nice story, but the problem is there are people who believe it is the truth:)
Afterwards, I played billiards a little more, had dinner, meditated, and thought about the meaning of life. I know many will say now that the GOA is not the real India, but I think it is. GOA is all you want it to be. If you want an experience of dirty India, poverty, disorganization you will get it, if you want beautiful nature, luxury, amazing beaches, golf, phenomenal food, adventure, wonderful people, you will get this, if you want to experience crazy parties, you will be on the right place, if you just want to escape from everyday life and enjoy in exotic destination in your peace without spending too much, you get it as well. The thing is, just like in life: If you are looking for negativity, you will be drawn to it and find it. If you are looking for a positive, you will be drawn to it and enjoy the best time in your life. I know that 4 days is not enough to meet GOA, let alone India, but better 4 days in GOA than 4 days at the employment office. I saw everything, and again I saw nothing. I just scratched under the surface of GOA and can’t wait to come back again. I got used to GOA as our goverment did on a national budget.
In the end, I can say that I was truly enlightened in India. I realized that happiness is not in owning and possessing. The luck is to have and know that others don’t – Joe Baba
I’m waiting for the comments now – Did he really say that in the end? He’s an idiot! Are you sure he’s kidding? This is not funny. Damn materialist. There is not even a S of spirituality in him! How he does not fear of the God!? Karma will take revenge on him!… He is the Messiah. We follow Dear Leader Joe….
In deep thoughts, the sound of the car interrupted me. The driver came to pick me up and drive to the airport just 15 minutes away. I immediately met Damjana there and thanked her for leaving me in such abundance. Sometimes children need to be abandoned to get back on track.
PS: I also want to thank Anja Zambelli for making me the best business cards in the world. I was a total hit in India. People from all over the world approached me and just said, “Everyone is talking about your business card. ”, The next reaction was: “I’m not poor, I’m not poor 🙂 ”
Big thanks, of course, to our hosts (GIMT 2019, Dobule Tree by Hilton Goa Panaji, The Awadh House, Bambolim Beach Resort, The Postcard Cuelim), and especially Caroline Diani who organized this whole trip for us. Unfortunately, she could not influence the weather, but she did her best to make us feel like kings these few days. I have met wonderful people from all over the world. I apologize immediately for not being able to mention them all, but I said nicely the first day, “Only those who pay will be in this article:)”
Author: Josip Novosel aka Dear Leader Joe aka Joe Maharadja aka Vin Diesel for poor people, a corresponding member of the “Yoga will make God hate you” magazine, a friend to the wealthy, a tycoon and a Gastro Snob, but above all a human.