After 10 hours travel we arrive at Mapusa station at around 7pm, the sun is setting in the distance and the taxi drivers are out of their vehicles sweet talking travellers. I tag along in the back of a beaten up Rickshaw with Sohgaku the Japanese guy and Yingying the Chinese girl from the carriage. We arrive at lonely planets recommended guest house moments before my stomach decides to pack it’s bags and leave in both directions.
By morning the Indian welcome is over and I’m back on my feet again. I walk the beach town streets and instantly feel out of place with my western styled mountain climbing moon boots so I decide it’s time for an Indian makeover. I hire a motorbike for around 4 dollars and cruise on down towards Anjuna beach. Along the way there are numerous beach shacks with ladies trying to pull customers in with all sorts of expressions and various dance moves. “Hey you come look at my shop! No buy, only look!”.
As I bounce along the winding dirt road I see a young Indian girl come out of her beach shack and attempt to bring me in. She is much less forceful and more authentic with her request than the rest. I decide to stop and ask her if she can help me with some local fashion advice. Her eyes light up. “Yes sir, this is just the place!”.
It’s early morning and Jottie happily hums a few songs as she selects clothes and asks me various fashion related questions. I can’t help but feel comfortable and cared for in her tranquil presence. She brings out a decent selection of around 8 shirts and I choose a few. I proceed to ask if she’d like to play a price-game, she curiously asks for more information. I tell her that I don’t like to haggle and I much prefer to play a game of rock, paper, scissors to decide who’s price to go for. “If I win I get my price, if you win you get your price” I say with a smile.
She agrees and we battle it out, thumbs and positivity flying in all directions. I win and she jumps back and exclaims “Nooooo, you try to kill me!?”.
I couldn’t help but laugh. She then swiftly pulls a few more clothes off the racks saying, “This one here is perfect for your sister, she will look Indian like you!”.
I thank her for her efforts and tell her i’ll be back to say hello again later. I pay her around $7 (5€) for two shirts and a pair of long easy-breezy pants and jump back on my bike with a smile, I confidently stall the bike a few times before cranking the accelerator and burning away, both of us laughing.
I later learned that she was only 15 years old and worked 12 hours a day alone in the store then went home to live with the owner of the shop because her family lived in a different town. She wasn’t going to school anymore and needed to work at this job to help support her family!