My thoughts on experiences this far…
Wednesday October 1st 2014

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Living your life in Goa

A few weeks ago I got a request from a visitor to the blog for recent experiences with Goa and for an update on my furniture survey in particular. I obliged him with answers to his specific questions by email and am now sharing some of those details for other newbies to Goa.

Furniture shopping

Since my detailed post on the subject last year, I’ve used Fab India some more and separately got a cupboard and divan made by a carpenter’s crew. If anyone is looking for a carpenter in North Goa who refuses to budge from his quotes but delivers on time, just post a request for details.

Fab India’s small to mid-sized table options are delightful and worth grabbing.  But their big items (cupboard, beds) tend to be prohibitively priced and quite Divantypical of their signature design style. For large items, I’d recommend exploring CMM for its hardwood furniture or hiring a carpenter. Both would cost about the same.

On our recent visit, we discovered a problem with earlier-bought pieces from Fab India. They were all mold-ridden due to Goa’s moisture laden air. Carpenters on hand helpfully informed us that some rubbing and a coat of polish would cure the pieces of its mold for times to come, so we got all the old and newly picked up Fab India pieces polished by a polisher from the carpenter’s team.  We’d have to wait for another round of Monsoons to see if they remain that way. Incidentally, two folding chairs from Cottage Emporium in Gurgaon didn’t catch any mold so Cottage wins over Fab India in that area.

Cooking gas cylinders and stoves

We went through the regular process of hunting down a cooking gas agency close at hand, submitting our address proof, and paying the required money to pick up a stove+cylinder kit. All of that took 2 working days. Not bad for Goa. What is worrying, however, is the process of refilling a gas cylinder that we’re still to experience but have heard long stories about.  Refills are booked by payment in advance (so with a visit to the supplier) and then waiting outside on the road for a delivery vehicle on a particular day of the week when it covers that geographic area. On one of those days, one can see several red cylinders lined up outside houses to swap empty with the filled. Quite involved, we Delhites would say.

Among appliances available off-the-shelf, we learnt about induction cookers offering some reliable functionality–it’s just that I wasn’t too happy depending entirely on electrical appliances in a place I can’t plan for a power backup.  Also, I believe that induction cookers get too hot for Indian cooking which often requires adjusting of flame. But the more adventurous ones can check out this option.

Electricity and panchayat enrollment

We found the Electricity office in Porvorim (got to it with the help of a local electrician) better organized and more efficient than those seen in Gurgaon. Its officers opened registers and got up from their seats without asking for extra favours and gave details on how we should get our name in their records or make advance payment of monthly bills. They accepted hurriedly written applications on plain paper that I’m always mindful of carrying, and on the last visit we were relieved to find our names on bills lying in our mailbox.

The Panchayat office in our area was also better than the Tehsil of Gurgaon. It was tiny with 2 even-tinier rooms and 2 computers lying firmly switched off.  I noticed though that waiting patiently for one’s turn, smiling every now and then, and submitting the basic background documents with a handwritten application helped us in achieving everything we wanted to accomplish there.

Car rental options

Before each visit to Goa,  we generally make some enquiries about the most economical car rental option and from Rs1,000/day of early days, we’ve now found people offering their small cars for Rs500/day. We’re always on the lookout for better priced options so if anyone has leads, please share them. For those who ride 2-wheelers and only need to do short rides, I’m told that 2-wheelers are available at Rs100/day.

There is much to share on food discoveries of Goa so I’d do a separate note on the subject when feeling adequately inspired.  Meanwhile, if any soul wants any specific information on leads given here, just leave a request as a comment.

And, if you’ve your own Goa based experience to share, I’d be interested in your thoughts or the link to your post.

8 Comments for “Living your life in Goa”

  • Sudha malik says:

    Hi Jyothi,
    I have found your site very useful for life in goa.
    Just read about induction cooker in one of your posts..I have been using an induction cooker for the last 1year in my home in Delhi ,now have one I goa too. Most induction cookers have temperature adjustments and work very well for Indian cooking too. My maid in Delhi prefers it as in the heat of summer you can keep the fan on in the kitchen.

    Regarding furniture I need some guidance in goa where can I get a decent four poster bed.(I tried origins and they said they are sold out for the season!)
    Any ideas pl let me know. We have a small flat in succoro ,not far from Porvorim and the highway to Bombay .

    • Jyoti says:

      Hi Sudha,
      Thanks for this tip on induction cookers. I’ll look at them with an open mind from now on. I do have a gas stove+cylinder in the flat but there may be a time when refilling it would become a challenge…
      Four-poster bed! If you want to save yourself time, I’d suggest exploring online furniture sites. I’ve written about my own experience of online shopping at http://www.jyotibhargava.com/. Plus, I find http://www.induscraft.com/bedroom-furniture-beds-c-2_6.html as an online furniture place patronized by junglee.com. If you do want to brave the offline lanes of Goa instead, your best bet would be the so-called antique shops along side roads and one in the Mapusa tehsil building.
      All the best, and do let me know how it goes…cheers, Jyoti

  • jen says:

    I would like to make my address proof but the problem is that I stay with my mom and her name is different on the electricity bill and different on my birth certificate .please tell me what to do

    • Jyoti says:

      Sorry, Jane. No idea on this. Our property documents had helped us in getting our name onto electricity office records and get a cooking gas connection.

  • Girish says:

    Hello Jyoti,

    My wife Miliana found your blog while looking for sources to furnish our new 2 bhk apartment in south goa.

    As I read some of your posts I gather that you are also not fully settled in Goa but move back and forth between Gurgaon and Goa? Though I am from Delhi but currently we are living outside India. We are actively looking for a local property management company who might provide us some onsite realty services to maintain our apartment. Would you happen to know one or recommend? Those I contacted so far are only providing such services in North and not in South.

    Are you also renting your place while you are not in Goa? In your experience it is advisable to rent your place via a property management company?

    Finally I am planning my 1st trip after making this purchase, would 2 weeks be enough to buy basic stuff and get it delivered and installed (assuming I go for WYSIWYG approach)?

    regards
    Girish

    • Jyoti says:

      Hi Girish,
      Welcome to Goa and to a few months of turmoil while you spend days hunting for things for your place ;)

      Since my 2 posts on furniture options, I haven’t got to know much else. Two weeks is plenty of time if you’re buying WYSIWYG stuff. We got our place painted in 10 days and picked up the bulk of things then. First check out CMM in Merces, Fabindia in Panjim and Origins also in Panjim. Then see what you MUST get tailor-made. Ask around for carpenters in South Goa for the man I hired is also in North. I’ve meant to check out a small furniture store called Fusion Access in Panjim so you may want to include it in your scan. What else? A realty management company…the only one I know is following me on Twitter but on a quick look, I didn’t locate it. I haven’t used them and only know them from Twitter. No, we don’t rent out our place. We remained confused about the prudence of this option and then figured that our apartment association dissuades owners from doing so. Newer apartment complexes, however, have a more open approach on the issue. And yes, I’m also a part-time dweller of Goa for now.
      It’d be good to get inputs/see a post from you on your survey of services in South.
      Write and ask any more questions when you get stuck and I’d tell what I know :)
      All the best, Jyoti

  • FPB says:

    Hi Joyti

    Very informative post. Thanks for that.

    Would it be possible to ask about the carpenter you mentioned. Exactly how good was his finished product? Keeping in mind the high cost of imported modular kitchens in Goa we were hoping to get one made to order locally, but the quality of work would have to be on par with the finishing of commercially available items.

    Would you recommend going this route?
    Thanks.

    • jyoti says:

      Hi FPB…I’d rate the carpenter 6/10. The divan in the post was made by his team and he made us a laminate layered almirah too. None of the two items cost less than readymade particleboard furniture we saw at CMM. Besides, it was a bother to insist on certain kind of handles or tie and coat rails inside the cupboars. The guy left the top of the cupboard totally unfinished–his point was, who’d see it that high! He barely put a piano hinge on the openable inside flap of the divan… So my point in general is that if you like the look of a readymade piece, just negotiate and go for it. But if you’re keen to have hardy wood to fit an odd niche and need an extra drawer here or a ceramic tile there, and are willing to take minor unpleasant surprises, go for the carpenter’s option :) The man who made this divan is Arvind +919422387253


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