If you ever find yourself planning a vacation in Goa, it’s pretty easy to hire a local driver to get you around. For foreigners, the temptation is to just rent a car and save money, but hiring a car plus driver is actually pretty inexpensive – plus you get someone who can navigate the traffic and tell you what you’re seeing, and even give you additional suggestions. As far as the traffic goes, Goa is not that crowded, but anyone new to India is unlikely to be familiar with the informal “rules of the road” that govern road traffic in this country.
In our case, we found “Seby” and his little white sedan in a little snack shop. Sebby drove us all over Goa for a few days, and we wouldn’t have seen half the things we did without him. This in spite of the fact that, like many Goans, he had a rice paddy at a critical point in the production cycle. All over the rural parts of the state, we could see people at work on their rice paddies.
Everyone has a small plot of land, but not everyone has a harvester. Families work together to harvest everyone’s rice using a shared harvester.
The harvester separates the rice itself (with the hulls) from the grass/plant it grows on. The people collect the rice on tarps spread out on the ground, let it dry a bit, and then use a woven tool shaped like a dustpan to let the rice fall from above the head. The dry hulls blow away in the wind and the rice falls back to the tarp.
The rice is then packaged into large sacks and stored. Later, the rice gets boiled to fully remove the husks from the rice grain itself. For now, however, the main thing is to get the rice out of the fields and dried. All over the rural areas, we saw tarps spread out on the roads, with entire families on the task of getting the rice out of the paddies.
Seby also took us to an attraction called “Ancestral Goa” (ranked #116 out of 122 attractions in Goa!) which gets points for trying hard and for “kitsch factor.” I did a review on TripAdvisor here if you want to read more.
We had also hoped to see some wildlife in Goa; unfortunately, however, we only saw the small kind. Better luck next time, hopefully!