By Luisa Marshall
ROCKIN’ SHOW IN GOA! My TINA Turner Tribute Family band was invited by India’s Apollo Hospital heiress Upasna Kamineni to perform as a surprise for her parents 30th Wedding Anniversary.
The executive director & executive vice chairperson of the 3rd largest private hospital chain in the world, Apollo Hospital, Shobana Kamineni and her husband Anil were blown away by our performance. My Tina Turner tribute show was a big surprise gift from Anil and Shobana’s daughter, Upasna, because Shobana is one of the biggest Tina Turner fans in India.
60 invited guests flew in from all over the world to celebrate at the famous Greek Restaurant Thalassa, known not only for its delicious food but also for its stunning view off a cliff overlooking the Vagator beach and Indian Ocean.
Among the special guests was Upasna’s husband, Bollywood megastar Ram Charan, whose surprising candid hospitality made our trip pretty cool.
With Greek food and wine overflowing, everyone had a blast! Unbelievably, the party simply rocked and rolled while the over enthusiastic guests danced and sang along to all the Tina Turner hits.
I spent time for some pictures and selfies with everybody after the show. The excitement was all over popular Thalassa Greek Restaurant. But sadly, the venue had to close and the party moved to the very posh Marbela Beach Resort.
Jet lagged and tired, we chose to chill and stayed for some wine with Thalassa’s owner Mariketty Grana. The next day we just had to come back and interview the successful and most interesting personality in Goa, Mariketty.
Mariketty is one hardworking woman. She started with just one grill selling kebabs on her own on the streets of Goa and now she is the proud owner of the famous Thalassa Greek Restaurant with over 40 employees.
I was so honoured for the rare opportunity to visit India’s richest state Goa.
In a short period of time, my family learned a lot about the country just by meeting and talking to new friends, cab drivers, waiters, hotel staff and, most especially, our patient tour guide and friend Deepak Sheshadri.
It was always an interesting and scary experience whenever we were travelling on the crazy and narrow roads of Goa –at least by Canadian standards — which had traffic moving on the left-hand side. I felt my blood pressure shooting up every time we were on the road because it felt like I’m on a big car chase scene ala Bourne Supremacy. Cabs seldom had seatbelts.
It was a crazy mix of vehicles, people on bikes, pedestrians on the very, very narrow roads — didn’t really see any sidewalks — lots of skinny stray dogs in the middle of the street, and not to forget the lean holy cows chillin’ and wandering wherever they please.
That weekend also held the biggest Harley Davidson Bike Convention just 3 minutes away from our 4-star beautiful boutique hotel Casa Anjuna.
The trip to the biggest Saturday Night Market in Arpora was interesting — noisy, colorful and crowded with mostly tourists enjoying the local band holding food and beer in hand. Walking around with flip flops for more than two hours was a bit much. But I was set to find something uniquely Goan to bring back for friends and family. After much bargaining and searching, we were happy to get some sparkly Goa pens.
Although we were aware of the dark side of Goa, we admired the music and football culture, pristine beaches, tasty food and carefree people.
Despite numerous itchy mosquito bites, terrifying cab rides; being overly cautious, fighting jet lag, annoying long flights and inconsistent Wifi access, we really appreciated being given the opportunity to visit Goa, India.
We admired the music and football culture, pristine beaches, tasty food and carefree people. Our Goa experience may not have been perfect but it was simply unforgettable!
For more about my journey in Goa click here to read more and see more pics! Mwah!