In Goa on a Wednesday? Anjuna is the place to be!
The fabled Wednesday spirit of Anjuna is neither here nor there, but the vibe has caught on – it is good and waiting to get better. The fifth weekly flea market of the season is polishing itself to welcome a blend of west and east.
“The flow of customers is still slow. People start coming in from 10 am, and as usual, we close by sunset. It’s been mainly Indians who have been visiting, with a few Britishers dropping by at sunset,” says Sanjay, as he shuts his tea and coffee shop.
“People have been saying that the season will be bad because of the war. I don’t know. I have been running my shop since the beginning, and business has always been good,” admits Sanjay, for whom the market is a melting point of personalities.
Anjuna, unlike other places in the northern coastal belt, wakes up to another heartbeat on Wednesdays with the flea market becoming arterial. Around the market, restaurants and water sports offer another form of entertainment, sampled by tourists from around the country.
There is no fixed price for the water sports activities in Anjuna, with operators charging anything between ₹ 1,000 to ₹ 2,500 for a boat ride.
“If you can wait for a while, and we get another customer, you can pay ₹ 1,000 for a ride,” offers a boat operator. “Operators are charging as per their whims,” says a disturbed Shiya as she tries to convince her friends to join her for a ride.
As people jostle to have a piece of the fun in Anjuna during the market, Rangeena sits with her trademark clothes around her, a pensive smile on her face. “I am from Assam, but happened to visit the flea market in January and decided to give it a try,” says the lady on whom hang flavours of her trade.
“I did sales worth ₹ 35,000 in the last market I attended. I had to pay ₹ 3,000 for the space and I think the days ahead seem encouraging,” comes the view from someone who is just testing the weekly markets in Goa.
The Sea Breeze Bar and Restaurant in the market sets the tone for the mood with foreigners and Indian clients enjoying a drink and meal as a live band keeps muscles activated.
“I have returned to Goa after many years and am happy to notice that the restaurant has not changed. The vibes are the same, the food is still good and the feeling is old,” says Barbara from the UK as she claps after the band takes a break.
As the sun begins to set, action shifts towards South Anjuna – the place where once Curlies set the tone for the rest of the night. The scene though is different with the restaurant still wearing bandages of the demolition carried out last season.
Despite the presence of water sports operators, and just Shiva Valley restaurant functional, the tone is subdued and really chilling with pleasant music wafting towards the waters. The rush or the craze to be in Curlies cannot be seen, the roads are quiet.
Apart from a few new faces, there isn’t much change in the wares sold at the flea market. At best, it can be described as old wine in a new bottle with fluctuating prices.
As the new season waits to bring in Christmas, locals are not too perturbed with the slow movement of foreign tourists.
“It’s been quite a few seasons that it is a majority of Indians who have been coming and they have not been bad,” says Anton whose restaurant is full.
What most Goans in the trade miss is the bond they created with foreigners in the past. It is an intrinsic social tale that can be stitched again, this time though, with different thread.