The Anjuna Flea Market by Anjuna beach is a symbolic remnant of the days of the Hippies in North Goa. When they would sell everything they had to buy a ticket back home. Grown manifold now, it is no longer a flea market. But still, a colorful Indian Bazaar that comes up every Wednesday during the season i.e. Oct to April. It is a huge market and you can spend your whole day looking at things and buying some. My list of why you should go to the market.
Shopping at Anjuna Flea Market, Goa
Jazz up your wardrobe
If you have seen your friends wearing those funky T-shirts with some artwork designs on them or some Gods painted over them, ones that come in some unusual shapes and wondered where to pick them up. Well, this is one such place to buy funky T-shirts. The same is true for accessories. Be it jewelry, jackets, scarves, goggles, or bags. You can spend hours here looking for the right color, trying out various things. And chatting with the vendors in whichever tongue you choose. For the handmade, small designer stuff, go closer to the beach that was the original flea market. The traders from Gujarat and Bijapur in Karnataka now dominate the rest of the market.
Get some Body Art
You probably know that you can get a tattoo done in most markets in Goa. I discovered the hair art with a cheerful Sonia who was skillfully braiding the tiny braids for a customer as she chatted with me. It takes about 15-20 mins for her to braid your hair. And you can keep it that way as long as you want without the need to constantly comb your hair. She said in a day she could handle as many as 100 customers. Of course with from support of an assistant. At the very least you can get your hands temporarily painted with henna.
Hone your bargaining Skills
The most beautiful part of the market is the Tibetan market. Where the shops are on the floor with neatly decorated silverware, metal wares with red and blue ornamentation, and jewelry of all kinds. It is a sheer delight to walk through them. If you plan to buy something – expect to be shocked by the prices quoted. This is a perfect place to hone your bargaining skills. Quote, a price that you are willing to pay. Haggle and maybe settle down for a mid-way price point. And then decide what did you enjoy more. The item you bought or the bargain you managed to clinch.
Spot a Celebrity
Believe it or not, this market attracts many celebrities holidaying in Goa. The day I went, we spotted Sushmita Sen walking along with her daughters checking the stalls for accessories. My friend spotted her and I was not too sure. but then I heard whispers all around – Will she allow us to get clicked with her? Someone said – Oh, she is so arrogant! And then a trader said ‘Don’t let her gather crowd here, it would lead to chaos and potential loss’ – a true Baniya style wisdom.
Anjuna Flea market is not really a foodie’s place. But at the end of the market towards the beach are shacks where you get typical Goan shack food. There are few smaller stalls here and there. And a bar again towards the beach called Francis Bar. My recommendation is Maria Lobos for its colorful funky décor and a menu of juices, shakes, and Lassi to choose from. Yes, I had a lovely (and healthy) Avocado Lassi here.
For the Kitchen
Chocolate, Mango, Green Mango, Strawberry, Chocolate, Banana, Vanilla, Jasmine, Mint, pineapple, orange, and even a Goan tea are some of the tea variants that you can buy at Anjuna Flea Market. Obviously, tea is not grown anywhere here. And probably comes here from North East. But every time I pass one of these shops I find reading the names very amusing. Spices on display in piles with a spoon jetting out of them, for me, make a lovely frame for my camera but I see a lot of people buying them.
The tribal touch
You can pick up some tribal jewelry like the ones that are made of old coins. But it is the tribal women that you must sit and watch. In their elaborate dresses with mirrors, tattoos on skin, and beads in their hair. They are here to sell their products but look at them speaking 5-6 different languages fluently. I spoke to one of them and asked where did she pick up all these languages and she said – right here. My face must have carried a look of ‘How?’. And she said by observing people and then she pointed to her stomach implying the hunger can be the best teacher. Profound, touching, and inspiring…
Pick up some Music
Wherever you are in the market you can hear the techno/trans music playing and many shops selling CDs of the same genre of music. I am not sure if they are originals or pirated. But the guys would give you a small lesson in the music and musicians they sell. Towards the evening you can listen to some live music being played in some bars here. And as I always say – no recorded music can give you the energy of a live performance.
Visiting the market is an experience worth exploring at least once. Though this post is based on my two visits this year.
Recommend you to read the following Travel Blog posts on Places to Visit in Goa.