yes, i’m going to Goa. that part of India where all the people go for a good beach and everything else cheap. well, i want to test it to its limits and really just try to survive under a measly budget of AED1000.00. i get all excited about the fact that i’m just going to bring that amount of money and i’ll be in another country, i can’t even fathom the idea of bringing that amount back home in the philippines and surviving 2 days in it. so well, this is me, being a “responsible and cheap” traveler. i’m not even going to bring my credit cards with me as they’re evil. I’ll just bring the cold cash in my fanny pack. yes, i rock with my fanny pack. LOL.
a friend of mine is going to live in India for 6 months and his first stop was Goa, so receiving an invite from him to visit him there is an opportunity that’s a bit too hard to resist. the fact of the matter is, we’ve had this plan of traveling together for a long time now but with my “corporate” life and his “nomad” life, it’s only now that finally our schedules fit and the place that he’s inviting me to is not too far from dubai (it’s a 4hr flight). so yeah! i’m all go to goa (well ok, i get free accommodation so why the hell not???)
for your information, filipinos get a visa upon arrival to India but only to certain major airports: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. i could have easily taken a staff ticket going to Delhi and then purchase a local flight to Goa but i’m not really big on connecting flights. first because i hate plane rides (yeah! that’s a big irony! i’m a traveler who hates plane rides) and would love to just get it over with in one flight rather than going to one airport just to connect to another flight going to your final destination and second, i don’t want to waste my time since i only get 4 days of vacation anyway. so i got an indian visa last week and purchased an air arabia flight which operates direct from sharjah to goa (and just after purchasing it, i found out that we do get a staff ticket from that particular airline to which we’ll just have to pay for the taxes…. i wanted to kill myself then…)
the indian visa application is quite easy and convenient. that’s a statement coming from someone who hates applying for a visa – yeah i know, i hate so many travel-related things, but i don’t have any choice anyway – i’m holding a maroon-colored, third-world country passport. the requirements for UAE residents are as follows:
1. original passport (duh?)
2. copy of your passport
3. copy of your resident visa
4. at least 2 blank pages on your passport
5. ticket confirmation
6. hotel confirmation
7. 4pcs of passport-size photo
8. AED240 visa fee (crap!!!!)
i went to karama post office last Monday and headed straight to the indian visa application counter. i was there around 7pm (the center closes at 8pm) and there were not much people waiting but still, the process took about an hour to finish. make sure though that when the typist asks you for your address, give them the address where you want the passport to be delivered. i made a mistake of giving them my home address so when they called 2 days after and told me that the delivery guy was standing outside my flat and asking where the hell i was, i had to tell them to deliver it to my office instead. i got hold of it on the third day after i’ve applied for it. so yeah! it’s fast and convenient as they deliver the passport with your visa in it to you.
so now, i’m all go to Goa. i leave on an air arabia flight which departs at 2310hrs and arrive in Goa at 3am, Saturday. i have my handcarry weekend bag all packed up, the nomad friend was a bit too worried that i might bring a huge suitcase for a weekend and kept reminding me to go light. well dear friend, i’m the laziest person on earth and i always travel with just one handcarry bag anywhere i go no matter how long i’ll be staying there. i never check-in my luggage, i have this weird OC feeling that my bag may be tagged to a different destination and i really don’t want to ruin my vacation because i had no clean undies to change to. so i always go light and handcarry it all. i usually refrain myself from traveling on a cold weather (although it will be a lot cheaper since it’ll be a lean season) plainly because i have no patience walking around with a huge suitcase with all the winter clothes packed inside it. which reminds me, i’m also not a “travel in fashion” kind of gal. i’m a “travel with passion” kind of person. it’s always good to have a local person as your tour guide who knows a lot about the place your going to and tells you the story behind those walls. i travel because i want to see the places which i only see in history books or magazines. i usually get a chuckle whenever i see people traveling in high-heeled boots wearing faux-fur coats eating instant noodles in the middle of the colosseum in rome. one, they look so fake; two, they don’t travel for the sake of exploring the place. they travel so they can put their photos wearing this horrific ensemble with the colosseum of rome as their background on facebook and three, i bet that these kinds of people are a pain the ass to be with when traveling. i, on the other hand, finds all my korean/thai/chinese dresses handy when traveling because they’re all so light and i can just roll everything and fill up the little corners of my bag.
having said that, now inside my weekender bag for goa are the following:
2 pcs of shorts
4 pcs of swimsuits
2 cover-up dress (to put over my swimsuit)
8 undies (yes, i’m kind of an OC about undies i know)
3 tank tops
cellphone and camera chargers
and my traveling kit which consists of all those miniature bathroom things i stole from the hotels i previously stayed in: mini soap, mini shampoo, mini toothbrush with its mini toothpaste, mini lotion and a shaving kit. the only thing not mini inside that kit is my sunblock lotion (with SPF30). i’m planning to be as dark as your grandmother’s hardwood flooring when i come back from Goa so yes, there will be a lot of sun exposure while there.
am i excited? you bet i am! specially with this surviving goa under USD300 challenge in my mind.