I cannot begin to express my excitement as I start writing this blog reminiscing a great long weekend spent together by the Trip Tap Toe team. It had been long since the guys at Trip Tap Toe ( myself included 😉 took a break as a team. So, this summer worked out super fine for us as our management team decided to blow off some team together by inviting us to Goa after a busy financial year, arguably the best place to do so in the entire country!!
However, it was a work-cum play-thing for the management team as the company was part of the annual Goafest, a corporate event that offers awards to various media agencies of India for achievements in variegated fields such as marketing, content, advertising and so on. The Goafest has been going on for years now and Trip Tap Toe has been religiously taking care of travel and accommodation for its various guests. 2018 marked the 11th year in a row for Trip Tap Toe as travel partners, the first being in 2008!
Having said that, the management team decided to roll off for 3 full days and invited the rest of the team to enjoy some time off together. Thrilled at the invitation, we were stoked when we were informed that the whole team’s accommodation had been booked at Cidade De Goa, a stunning five star resort in Panjim, Goa. “There’s no better place than Goa to headstart your year and so we invited our team to be a part of the fun before they prepare themselves to break some bones during the coming year.” chuckles our Company CEO.
All euphoric in our blood, our team lands in Goa in the evening and without delay, we head off to our prebooked resort in Vainguinim beach, Panjim, the capital of Goa where our leading team awaited us (they arrived a day early to set things on the roll for the event). Once here, we were absolutely entranced by the Cidade de Goa property and observed indeed there was no better way to let the vacay mode kick in here than elsewhere. It was the most ideal place to be and we could already sense that this holiday is going to be fantabulous. The whole team greeted and caught up with each other as we stepped in their sea view suite and everyone including our bosses seemed to be jovial and in a loungy mode, a rare sight that was in stark contrast to the everyday office ambience :-P.
Since we had reached late in the evening, we decided to change and unwind in the property premises for the rest of the day. So, we put on our Goan attire, let the air kick in through our body and got ready to muse around. There was no hushing or pushing around each other, so each of us felt free to do whatever they liked. While a couple of us went to the poolside and played around, I decided to take my book and curl up on the sun deck and get lost in Murakami’s weirdly innocent world of Norwegian Wood.
By the time I was through almost a hundred pages, it was already time for dinner and so, the team met at Laranza, the multi-cuisine buffet restaurant at Cidade, famous for its Goan seafood specialties. After a long connecting flight via Bombay, a rich dinner seemed the best thing to look forward to at that time.
Post dinner, we all decided to head out to the property’s private beach with our beers in hand and spend some time tuning ourselves to the sound of the waves and giggle away for a couple of hours. Here’s a moment we captured!
Day 2 began with an early breakfast that we devoured at Laranza. From pork sausages and pancakes to puri sabzis and fried cheese omlette, we tried something of each! Reckoning that we had a long day ahead, we satiated ourselves to the world’s end. Post that, two of us from the team decided to hire a scooty and go hit one of the beaches in North Goa.Since we both were technically first timers here, hence, we were longing for some thrill and decided to try water sports. None of the rest seemed as appealing as parasailing, the thought of shooting high up above in the middle of the sea was something that pumped our adrenaline! So, yeah, we couldn’t wait. Here’s a sneak peek!
The only regret that we had was we thought it would last for 5 to 10 minutes but our adventure was over within 2 minutes. We were only left craving for more! We almost felt sea sick as we were in a large group and by the time each one of us were done, it was past one hour in the middle of the sea.
Finally out of the boat, so ravenous we were, we immediately headed off to one of the beach shacks and ordered some lunch. While it took some decent 15 minutes to appear on own table, we clicked some pictures and played around at the beach. We then, enjoyed some good old fried prawns, chicken wings and tuna fish in garlic butter sauce and chips. Yum!
Later, we went junk shopping on our way back and eventually left the beach to fend to the wanderers. Hopping back on the scooty, we had our eyes set on our officially first night in Goa as we rode back to our resort B-).
As exhausted as we were from all that water fun and our back and forth scooty ride, we quickly freshened up, changed and headed for dinner downstairs where the rest of the team was waiting for us. Our bosses had a great night planned for us apparently ;-). We were six of us and so we booked an SUV and without wasting another minute left for Anjuna beach in North Goa to enjoy a moonlit night on the beach.
All of us went singing with our lungs popping out of the car. After an hour long drive (that didn’t seem like an hour of course :-P), all 6 happy faces landed merrily on the beach and picked a shack right on the shore under the moonlight where the glowing lights seemed to dance like fireflies across the entire beach making the whole place look so enigmatic. Here’s a picture!
P: S: Its better to roam in a group in Goa as travelling alone could cost you a fortune and possibly cripple you by the end of your holiday!
We felt we were being transported to another world. Apparently, this was the real Goa everyone seemed to be raving about. So, we got down to business and gulped a few drinks coupled with few shots to blend into the ubiquitous atmosphere and stimulate ourselves enough to sway to the moonlight music effortlessly.
Looking away to the the distant horizon, the seamless pitch black sea seemed to call out to us and so, after a while, we got up from the shack all loosen up and went for a stroll and headed closer to where the crowd was roaring.
The night seemed young in Goa and everyone seemed to be happy in their own skin. So, we moved and shaked and smoked some dupi and swayed to the beats as long as we could remember. In between, we spotted a guy carrying Japanese lanterns, so we got hold of a couple of those and lit them and set it off into the moonlit sky celebrating our time together and anticipating secretly in our hearts for more such trips to come our way.
After a long night, finally, we retreated in high spirits and sang our hearts out again all our way back until we reached the resort. Drunk and exhausted, we called it a day and drifted into dreamless sleep.
Day 3 began on a lazy mode as we really had nothing specific planned for today. Last night seemed to make the morning slow and hazy for all of us, so it seemed quite natural that we woke up for breakfast (you don’t get to eat lavish everyday you see :-O ) and then immediately without a further word drifted back to our respective rooms to catch up on our lost sleep. After all, we had to recharge our half dead bodies by sundown.
However, it turns out me and another guy from the team metamorphised into these bravehearts that we decided to go for water sports again in the afternoon (although we did sleep for two hours post breakfast) but, as I said, the previous day experience failed to silence our appetite. So, we got all sporty and dressed ready to take on the waves once again.
Our boss helped us with his reference in Aquasail Water Sports at Grand Hyatt and helped us enjoy the activities for less than half the price ! Initially, we had kayaking on our mind, but then it was about to get dark soon and as the sea turns bold after sundown, so we figured kayaking wouldn’t be a smooth sail for us. The guys at Aquasail advised us to go for catamaran sailing as the time was just perfect for the ride! The staff led us straight to the dock and we were impressed to find the boat already unanchored waiting for us to get onboard. We changed quickly and wore our sports gear and hopped on board with full thrill!
You can see what it’s like in the video. While my team mate was swaying in mid air occasionally splashing across the waves, I was asked to steer the boat in the right direction and keep it sailing (that made me feel like the captain! ) For first timers like us, it was a lot of fun riding a boat so far away from the shore into the depth of the sea.
Our guide was from Kenya and was super friendly, helpful and alert, not letting us for a moment feel that anything could go wrong in his presence. Apparently, he was heading next to Hong Kong after being done with Goa. After a fully drenched experience in the sea, we strolled for a while at the Grand Hyatt lawns and then went on a scooty ride looking for a steaming cup of tea. As we were scurrying back to the hotel, we were already anticipating what was next on our itinerary!
Day 3 Sundown
The sun had set in by the time we reached the hotel and our moods had lit up with excitement. Tonight, we are up for another eventful night! We checked out from Cidade De Goa today and headed out towards Candolim where our boss had booked a villa, just a stone’s throw away from the beach. After a 45 minute drive, we reached the villa, changed into a fresh pair of clothes and headed to one of the streetside bars where we poured in some fresh beer into our tummies and enjoyed some Bollywood live music ( a drastic leap from Goa trance!).
We spotted a funny super high on nerves guy dressed like a clown from a Freaky Friday movie who was jiving like crazy, and for a moment we felt as if we were back in one of Delhi’s mainstream pubs. He kinda made our night, and after getting inspired by him, we finally pushed off at midnight to Vagator, the craziest beach in entire Goa!
The atmosphere seemed to change all of a sudden and we were back swirling in the Goan psychedelic air. Vagator was simply ecstatic! No one seemed to bother about anything but only focused on having a great time. Getting intoxicated in Goa is a feeling you won’t experience anywhere else in India. All you need to do is set your soul free and go places, and with the right company your experience simply heightens!
All in all, Goa with Trip Tap Toe could not get more luxurious yet quirky and very original! We had a taste of everything- luxury, authenticity and of course, sun, sand , leisure and endless fun! With a team like ours, we realised every place could turn into Goa wherever we set our foot on!
Here’s me signing off !
Seeking adventures & more with Trip Tap Toe! B-) B-)