• This is India! 142

This is India! 142

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal of my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

What I was up to other than here:

  • Journey has been pretty nonstop lately. Finland, Bali, Slovenia… with stretches in Goa in between. But, tomorrow off again to Alanya, Turkey with Ben. We will be there on a trip with the tourism board to see the best of Alanya for 4 days. Then, Ben and I go onward to visit his dad in Austria (he lives in a cute village outside Vienna – I wrote about this here), then Ben and I are taking a vacation to Greece for a week before flying back to India. 
  • I asked on my “hippie in heels” Facebook page if people could give me tips on what books to read before I left for Slovenia. They were such good tips! I read The Nightingale and it was incredible! It actually touched on the round up of French Jews by the French police in Paris, which is what the book Sarah’s Key was about, which I read earlier this year. Then I read Sharp Objects, another mystery book by the author of Gone Girl and it was very good, highly recommend it. Next, I read Apple Tree Yard which was about a woman having an affair gone wrong. Now, I’m reading A Man Called Ove which everyone seemed to be raving about. 

Now your story,

Long time, no “this is India”! There are a couple reasons I don’t write these as much. One is that I don’t notice the litte funny things about India as much as I used to. As of May 5th, I’ve lived here for 4 years and been in India traveling since before that – so I’m kind of too used to things. Another reason is because usually when they do happen, it’s someone who I have become close to and I don’t feel right telling the stories in case it seems like I’m making fun of them. 

So, I’m just going to share what’s been going on and a few recent photos of Goa since we are off again. 

Goa Werkenntwen

This view is from Antares on the Vagator cliff, just next to Thalassa. It’s such a good sunset place. We take friends here for drinks when they come to visit. 

This not so photogenic food below is my favorite Indian meal from Gunpowder…. getting a curry takeaway and watching movies is what we do most nights that we stay in.Goa Werkenntwen

Goa Werkenntwen

This little pup is Chulo and he’s not this small anymore! My friend Jules found this guy on the road and picked him up. He came to lunch with us and she was debating what to do with him… 6 months later, he’s hers! It’s too hard in Goa not to pick up and keep strays. 

Goa Werkenntwendress is from Indian designer Mogra Designs

Ben’s coworkers came to stay for the weekend and I was asking them what they thought was funny about Goa. Bill shared a few pictures with me, that I’ll share with you!

This is how they dry out chilis all over India. They lay them out. This is a tiny batch, usually it takes up the whole driveway. I remember when we had our dog, Huck, and he used to run through them and piss off the Aunties so bad. It was funny but of course, naughty. Goa Werkenntwen

Look closely at the next shot….
Goa Werkenntwen

Goa Werkenntwen

Yes, that’s a dude climbing up the tree coconut tree to get down the ripe coconuts. You might have heard before that more people die each year from having a coconut fall on their head than by a shark attack (not sure if it’s true) but it is a real issue. I mean, every restauarnt that has coconut trees has to put nets up to catch them. 

Goa Werkenntwen

There is a pack of about 10 monkeys that love to hang out at our house and have since I lived here. My parents loved to watch them from our balcony when they had their morning coffee. They do come up really close to us, but they are always reaking havoc so you don’t want them to think it’s okay to come near your house. 

They did once go inside our neighbors house when they left their balcony door open, and you can imagine how that would go down.Goa Werkenntwen

Goa Werkenntwen

That is Bill and Andrew, two of Ben’s coworkers. Andrew has visited often, but it was Bill’s first time in India. We had a really fun weekend! 

Below, is a picture of our pool that the security guard took. I have been floating in the pool before when four have come for a drink. It’s crazy! I wish I knew how to tell a monkey not to drink chlorine haha.Goa Werkenntwen

Shanti and Kitkit cuddled up with me early morning before I left for Turkey. It’s like they know! Omni was there, too but I didn’t get a picture of him. If I move too much they wake up and want to go outside. 

I’m actually now writing this at the start of my journey to Turkey. When you have an early AM international flight from Mumbai, it’s tough because you can’t catch a flight from Goa that morning and get there in time, so you have to go the night before. It makes a long airport layover overnight from 12-5 am… not really enough time to go sleep somewhere. 

I have the same early AM Turkish Airlines flight out of Mumbai I took through Istanbul to Slovenia, but this time instead of flying to Mumbai the night before late, and waiting in the airport all night, we came at around 5 pm so we could stay at the JW Marriott next to the airport and wake up already here. It’s honestly so worth doing instead of starting off a journey already exhausted.

JW Marriott Sahar

If you book enough in advance, you can get rates as low as $150. I just mentally add this to my flight budget so I don’t feel so bad! If you have a travel buddy as well and are splitting the cost it’s even better. Then, since it’s next to the airport you don’t have to bother with traffic to a cheaper hotel further away. In Mumbai, you don’t find cheap airport hotels, anyway. I recenty stayed at a “cheap” one coming back from Slovenia which was still $120 per night (and I slept just 4.5 hours then headed back to the airport).

JW Marriott Sahar

JW Marriott Sahar

We ate at Romano, the Italian restaurant in the hotel. Everyone talks about it as the best restaurant in Mumbai and it is actually always listed in the top restaurants on TripAdvisor under basically every category. The restaurant is expensive compared to Goa standards, but all nice restaurants in Bombay are – it’s worth it. 

JW Marriott Sahar
JW Marriott Sahar

JW Marriott Sahar

After stuffing our faces with pork and lamb, pasts and risotto, we passed out! Journey to Alanya — here we go! 


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. south asian photo May 21, 2017 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel,

    Yes, the monkeys are very nice at a distance. I am back in the States now but for the last two months I was in India the monkeys did come in our house about once a week. We lived in a Haveli style house and one of the rooms was open completely with no screens or anything. The owner had agreed to put up screens, however, it was still not done as of when I left. If you want to see pictures of what happens when the monkeys get in your room, look here
    It is really gross because they use the bathroom everywhere.

    • Rachel Jones May 22, 2017 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      OMGsh that is crazy and gross lol thanks for sharing! How long are you in the US now? are you in texas?

  2. Allison @ Head Elsewhere May 22, 2017 at 3:22 am - Reply

    So many cute animals featured in this post, minus the monkeys! I had a monkey steal a bag from me in Brazil after raiding my friend’s grandmother’s patio :( Anyways, I hope you enjoyed Slovenia, it’s one of my favorite countries!

    • Rachel Jones May 22, 2017 at 2:16 pm - Reply

      haha silly monkeys! I did enjoy Slovenia, it was so beautiful :)

  3. Danielle Sowden May 22, 2017 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    Bura Bandar as i always say! When those pesky things come on my balcony i disappear! Like your neighbour, when i first moved to India they also decided to come and pay my house a visit, or in particular, the bunch of bananas sat on the kitchen top. It became a battle between me and them to salvage some of my ten bananas!

    Your right, after a while of living in India some of the things that seemed so extraordinary seem to phase you less. Seeing elephants run red lights no longer seems such a surprise! Thanks for all your posts, they were really helpful when i was planning my move out here.

    • Rachel Jones May 23, 2017 at 6:52 pm - Reply

      Oh no! I can’t imagine haha! and I’m glad my posts have been helpful to you. I figure people can read back through the old ones to see the stories from years ago :)

  4. Jess June 4, 2017 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    Headed here in September, can’t wait!

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