Rs. 5 each, another three for pav (breadroll). Giddee up.

Mapusa market is a cool place. It’s a market for Goans, not for tourists, like the Saturday night market in Arpora or the Wednesday flea market in Anjuna. Prices at the market in Mapusa (which is inland) are more normalized and not influenced by the heavy tourist trade present throughout most of the sellers throughout coastal Goa.

I have been used to paying Rs. 20 for a large bottle of water: Mumbai, trains, Thivim Station, Arambol, etc. So I went up to a seller in Mapusa and asked for a bottle of water. I asked, “Price is Rs. 20?” and the guy said, “15.” I immediately thanked him for being honest and not simply agreeing with my price. It’s not the money of course, but the principle. The guy gave me a strong head-tilt of affirmation and then proceeded to go on a tirade about how local Goan sellers rip off tourists and the detriment it does to the local economy. His take on it is that if Goan sellers in the more heavily touristed area were more accurate with following market prices then Goa would be more prosperous and attract even more tourists than it already does. He also said that it’s not fair to charge Goans local prices and tourists inflated prices. I suppose I agree with that. I never got cheaper prices on my lobster just because I lived in Maine :/

(This literally happens all the time, by the way. Sometimes if I’m not sure what to pay I just wait for a local to buy something and watch the transaction. I then order and immediately pay. This is not the norm. Usually when you buy something, particularly food like a smoothie, cane juice, samosa, etc. you order, wait, eat, then pay. If I feel compelled to establish that I know what the real price on something is, I order and then immediately pay. Only one dude tried to protest and raise the price on me. To him I said “Maim isa kimata hai pata”, which translates loosely as “I know that this is the price”. Worked for me.

The guy I’m staying with, on the other hand, takes a more direct approach. He pretty much knows the going rate for most things. He goes up to street sellers and starts the barter. He’ll say (not ask), “20 rupees.” The seller will say, “No, no fifty rupees. Good deal.” Now normally it continues on like this and you end somewhere in the middle. This guy just puts a 20 rupee bill down, picks up whatever he’s buying, and walks off. I’ve seen him do this twice and neither seller said or did anything. They didn’t even look shocked or alarmed in any way.)

Did I eat a fried pepper? You’re goddam right I did. I’m not a big fan of cooked peppers but hey, when in Rome (or Mapusa, at it were).