How I made an Omlete!

I love omelets. More than eating an omelet, I like cooking an omelet and having it with friends. The following story is part of my real world experiences from solo traveling in Goa. 

Sourcing the Ingredients

It was a fun evening and I was with a friend at Palolem beach floating in the water and kayaking towards the islands. After doing this for almost an hour I got hungry and it suddenly struck me that my hostel has a community kitchen which I can use to cook an omelet. It was like the universe was signaling me to have an amazing hand made omelet.

I like my omelets hot and spicy. I don’t use any masalas but only add a hint of green chili to spice things up. So, my friend and I started scouting for the raw materials I would need to make our omelet dreams come true. We found eggs, butter, cheese, and some maggie noodles to make eggies(maggie + eggs). The only major missing ingredient was the green chili. I couldn’t find any grocery stores closeby selling green chillies. 

Just as I was about to give up on finding green chillies and also fulfilling my desire for an omelet, I met Vijay, a guy who runs a kayaking business on the beach. When he saw us struggling, he came to our rescue. He went to a street shop, a small roadside business and managed to get some green chillies from the chef. I was ecstatic to see them. We thanked Vijay for the help and started dreaming about a perfect omelet as we walked towards our hostel.

Expect the Unexpected

South Goa has its own chill vibe. If north goa is that fun brother organizing rave parties and merging with bigger crowds, South goa is more about having spiritual awakenings and deep conversations with people. 

I was not yet feeling hungry when we reached the hostel. So, I put aside the eggs and noodles in the kitchen and asked the bartender to keep butter and cheese with green chili in the fridge so that they can stay fresh in the summer heat. 

With ingredients found and all night at our disposal it was time to relax again. We started chatting with a group of strangers sitting in the common area. After around two hours of chit-chat I thought of taking a break and went to take a bath. As I was going, the bartender asked when I was going to cook the eggs as he also wanted to have some. I asked him to stay patient and that I will make them once I have my bath. 

Some time later I went downstairs to cook eggs, but to my surprise the staff left the hostel around 10 PM and locked the door to the fridge. So, after all the hustling, I didn’t have green chili nor the butter to make my omelet.

I was so furious at the bartender for not keeping my things outside before he left. But another friend suggested that I can still get some chili at a place near the beach. This suggestion gave me a glimmer of hope and I started walking towards the beach.

Law of South Goa 

As I mentioned, South Goa has a very chill vibe because most businesses close very early in the night. I realized it when I started walking towards the beach. Not a single place was open but you can see a car or bike coming back from the beach and possibly heading homeward. Still adamant on making an omelet I didn’t give any heed to the closed shops and kept marching forward towards the beach.

I met a group of policemen trying to close all businesses as it was late and asking people to go home. I asked one of the police officers if any grocery shops in the direction of the beach would be open as I want to buy some green chillies. His confirmation that they closed all the shops shattered my dreams of having an omelet.

“Shit!!” I exclaimed, the profanity escaping my mouth before I knew what I was saying. Realizing my disappointment, the police officer told his constable something in Konkani which I could not understand a word of. The constable went away to talk to someone and meanwhile the police officer asked me “What are you guys having? Urak?”. Urak is a local beverage of Goa that people drink with lime and green chili. I said “No, we are having feni. But I want to make an omelet.” The constable came back with some green chili that he got from a small business owner who just closed the shop. Feeling grateful for meeting such amazing people from law enforcement, I started happily going back to the hostel with my phone in one pocket and green chillies in the other.

Celebrating your Brothers

As I was getting closer to the hostel, I still felt a tinge of anger towards the bartender. This adventure could have been avoided had he just removed the items from the fridge. While I walked venting my frustration of the bartender to myself,I saw the Palolem beach entry gate and it reminded me of the Art restaurant. Art is a place where you can be in the moment, have a chilled beer and enjoy some art and beautiful conversations with people. It was around midnight and I was not sure if they would be open. So, I pinged them on Instagram to check if they are still open. And I got a reply saying “Yes.”.

In hope of having some beer and an interesting conversation, I excitedly leapt toward the Art restaurant on the sandy beach of Palolem. Palolem beach was a sight to behold at night. With its shimmering waves, barely any lights, and twinkling stars, I realized it is really hard to find a place like this. I walked a little distance before I came across a group of people having beers at their beach side stay. I approached them to ask which direction the Art restaurant is in. Coincidentally, these people were also from my state and did not know anything about Art. As a fellow Gujarati in Goa, they asked me to have a beer with them. After having a beer and ranting about politics, they got eager to know why I was so excited about this Art restaurant and decided to help me find it.

Weird encounters

We finally reached the Art restaurant but it was closed. I checked my Instagram and messaged them “Hey, it looks closed. Are you sure it is open?” and I got a reply stating “Oh you mean Now? No we are not open right now. Sorry for that.” Condemning my tough luck, we started our journey back to California (the name of the beach side stay where my newly-met friends were staying). 

After dropping them off, I thought of taking an adventurous route. At Palolem beach there is a statue of Jesus Christ and just behind that a narrow alley. I had taken the same path one morning in the days before to reach the main road and thought to do the same now. I say adventurous, because the path is very narrow, and is completely devoid of light at night because only trees surround it. After walking for five minutes, I realized that it was really dark, And thought of navigating with my phone’s flashlight. As I was about to take my second turn of four to the main road, I saw a group of dogs lying between me and my destination.

I kept walking, ignoring the dogs. But as soon as I took my first step towards the group, they started barking at me. I thought they were just being territorial and will calm down once they know who the alpha is. So I took another step and they started barking more. One of them even tried to run towards me. To be safe, I took a small pebble from the road just to frighten them if needed, and kept walking towards the main road. I observed all other dogs from the group were barking at me but one. This guy was just flopping under a coconut tree like a fish out of water. It seemed to me as though the other dogs thought I had enchanted  him and were barking at me in protest. I left them be and kept walking towards the main road.

I reached the main road and I had another kilometer to cover before I reached my hostel. South Goa has lots of dogs. You will find stray dogs running at the beach and almost every house, shack, or building has their own dog whom they feed and take care of. In turn, the dogs protect their property from people who might harm it. As I was thinking about this and walking towards my hostel, I heard some rustle in the darkness and a dog from a house started barking at me. I ignored both and kept walking on the road. As I kept going and passed a house and yet another dog started barking at me. By the timeI reached the end of the road, a chorus of dogs from the last 10 houses were all just barking, sirening off in the night. They must have been provoked by something but I didn’t want to delay the omelet party any longer,so I continued my journey and reached my hostel a mere five minutes later.

Dogs of South Goa

My friend was still waiting for me to make him an omelet. I told him that I got the green chillis at last and told him the story of police officers, Art restaurant, and the dogs. My friend had been living in South Goa for almost 2 months now and he had heard some stories about why it is so different from North. So, he started telling me about this one story… about when a friend of his asked him to join a local ritual.

Culture of South Goa

Traditionally Hindus are cremated after their death but in Goa some tribes also prefer burying their dead. And the ritual was around remembering the dead and fulfilling any last wishes they had. As my friend reached the destination, he saw people perfuming their handkerchiefs, masks, and whatnot. My friend did not understand it but paid it no mind since he was discussing another party with his friend.

As the ritual was about to start everyone went inside and sat on the available benches. There was a priest sitting on the ground with two other people beside him. The things which come next might sound illogical to some readers but this is the story that my friend told.

As the ritual started the priest started chanting scripts from his book. The two people sitting behind him started slouching and fell back on the ground. After some time they started flopping around and started running amuck as if they were trying to find something. My friend, being a technical guy, talked to his friend about what a performance this has been. His friend tells him “Ssshhhh!!! Keep it quiet, the spirits have started coming in.” The two people running amuck found two graves and started digging them. As they reached a body, they took some of its flesh and started running around. My friend was frightened and clung to hope that he would come back alive after seeing people running around with severed feet in their hands. He was awestruck from this experience as he saw beheaded bodies and heads in a pile for the first time in his life.

“The omelet is ready!”, I shouted.

Omelet ready!

After a long day and multiple walks to the beach the omelet was finally ready. My friend and I sat with our beers and enjoyed the omelet in silence. As I was enjoying my creation, I wondered what if the dogs were also performing some ritual of their own? Maybe I was interrupting or insulting their ways. Was the dog flopping around possessed by an ancestral dead dog? Had I ruined their ritual? Or was it just inebriated from beers and partying?

We will never know. :)