First Stop in
Goa - Panaji...
The director talking to the actors.
November 6, 2007
I arrived in Goa the other night. By the time my flight landed, it was pitch black so I couldn’t tell what this place actually
looked like. But I did feel a difference when I got off the plane – that difference was ‘humidity’.
Back in the day I hated humidity. Partly because my skin was a bit oilier and did I really need any extra shine to my face? And
then there was the hair factor – what could be less attractive than my hair frizzing out all over the place?
But these days I feel differently about humidity. I actually welcome it with open arms. Okay. Maybe that’s a bit excessive. But
in my older age, my skin has become far more dry than oily and the moisture in the air is what I need to give my face a certain
glow. Who needs all of those pricey skin products when you can get the same affect with a certain percentage of humidity in the
air? And as for the hair issue – God bless the Japanese chemicals in my hair that say ‘Bring on the humidity! We can take it!’
All of that being said about my new-found acceptance of humidity let me also state how funny it is that just a couple days ago I
was paying for the luxury of sweating away in a steam room. I had no idea that I was going to be getting free use of one upon
arriving here. And it is a big one. It is called ‘Goa’. Some how this steam room isn’t quite as enjoyable since I have to
experience it while being fully clothed. If one is to sweat profusely, it feels much better doing so while being naked and
wrapped in a towel. Anyway, noon I was back at my hotel taking another shower and having a clothing change.
I took a little walking tour – loosely based on the one advised by Lonely Planet. It was supposed to be entirely based on the LP
but when directions are left 100% up to me, a few wrong turns are bound to be made. But that’s okay. Sometimes the Jen-
Nathan-tries-to-follow-a-Lonely-Planet-map route can be more enjoyable.
This city is great. It’s got a Portuguese flavor from everything from the food to the style of buildings. The colors lining the
streets range from pastels to deep reds. Diwali is just around the corner and it seems like the building of big evil men is in the
works. And these evil men are going to be massive based on what I saw. Most weren’t past the newspaper-on-wires phase.
But one that I saw was basically completed. I don’t know my Hindu deities very well – but it looked like a God (who was pretty
small) lifting a huge man with a crazy looking face.
My next stop was heading up to a coral-colored Hindu temple. It was decked out with numerous marigold garlands. I’m not
sure if it’s always like this or if it’s because Diwali is around the corner. I also noticed a cow with the garlands around its neck.
Then I started noticing lots of crew around. And a video camera. I figured I had just stumbled across a filming of a commercial.
Pretty cool! But the best part was when I guess the cow tired of waiting around for its cue and began to run off. Then there
were three handlers who were running after the cow-in-wardrobe. I wasn’t the only one laughing – all of the crew was, too.
Since not too much was going on, I continued on my way to do more of my walking tour knowing I was going to be coming
across this temple again on my way down.
I passed several churches, mansions and simply beautiful landscaping. I couldn’t feel more comfortable out here. And the
people are so genuinely sweet – not ‘I just want a rupee’ sweet. This is the stuff that puts me in a good mood. After
meandering for a little while, it was time to pass through the Hindu temple again. But now things were looking more ‘official’. A
director (I think he was French), a guy taking stills, someone holding one of those ‘Scene 2, Take 5….Action’ thingies. I asked a
woman next to me if she knew what was being filmed. She said it was a movie. A movie! I was about to watch a scene from the
production of a Bollywood movie! There were just two main older actors in this scene. And it was just me and a bunch of
Indians standing around watching. I took pictures of these guys in hopes that somebody can tell me who they are at a later
And now I am going to take a moment to share my thoughts. Actors get amazing VIP status and it looks so glamorous. But
watching the filming of this, their jobs are anything but. I stood around for at least ten takes. During those ten takes, the
director yelled ‘cut’ before any dialogue had ever left anybody’s mouths. And they were in the sweltering sun. Sure, they had
their umbrella guys who came up to them in between takes to shade them from the sun and the girls that came up to them
with boxes of tissue to wipe the sweat from their faces and there was a guy holding a carton of cigarettes on hand when one of
the actors asked for a cigarette…but can you imagine how frustrating this must be? Actors aren’t lying in interviews when they
say it’s a whole bunch of standing around. I can now vouch for them. On the bright side, in between one of the takes I made
eye contact with one of the actors and smiled (it’s easy to do this when you have no idea who a person is – if this was someone
like Jon Stewart I would have been too much of a wimp to even do something as little as smile in fear that he would snub me
and not smile back and then I would be platonically rejected from the #1 person on my Top Ten list). But this actor totally
smiled back and winked at me. Now I just need to find out his name.
Oh. And if anybody was wondering about the cow, he was now tied up in the shade (I am guessing waiting for his scene?). I
would have loved to stick around to actually hear a line of dialogue but when the scene was cut yet again and the actors were
scarfing down sandwiches, I decided that was my cue to go. When it comes to Bollywood movies, I think I prefer to watch the
final product. (That being said, I would have no problem sitting around watching my fave Bollywood actors and actresses
standing around in between takes.)
This was the point when I needed to go back to my hotel for a clothing change. I then told the people working there about the
movie shoot that was taking place. I showed them my pics and they were able to tell me who one of the two actors was. Maybe
if I google his name with ‘movie’ and ‘Goa’ something will come up?
I decided to take advantage of being in a city with a movie cinema and saw a Bollywood flick during the peak ‘sweat’ hours.
Wise choice on my part – well, the sheltering myself from the heat, not my movie choice.
The movie let out in time to see the sunset from the river. How pleasant to not be walking around with the sun beating down
There was one problem I was encountering – I was feeling a mild migraine coming on. Normally it would have been just a
headache – but there was a nauseated sensation I was feeling. I needed just an hour or two of shut-eye coupled with some
Advil. I woke up still feeling ill but needing something to eat. Vegetable soup and chapatti did the trick and back to bed I went.
Needless to say, it was an early night.
But now I feel great this morning so it was all worth it. And I needed to feel great this morning as in an hour I am heading off to
a remote area in the hills of Goa for the next 3 days and 2 nights!
|A finished creation - this big man will
burn once Diwali begins..
Walking down the streets of Panaji.