Anjuna flea market on wednesdays in Goa is a very interesting place to be. Apart from the many bizarre things you can buy, it’s also a great place to see people of various kinds congregate. From wise little Englishwomen to freckled German hippies, they’re all here.
The flea market extends right up to the beach and there’s a beach shack here, which must be cuter when it isn’t packed. On wednesdays, it is. So people end up sharing their space with stray dogs, and if they’re (un)luckier, with other people.
So Ads and I ended up sharing our table with an English hippy and his lady friend of indeterminate European origin. They tried their best to look like they couldn’t see us, after having taken half our table, might I add. We, unabashed Indians that we are, stared with frank curiosity.
Said Englishman was eagerly trying to impress his lady — in a stiff upper lippy sort of way. Yes, the legendary stiffness was intact under the the rather unkempt hippy beard.
‘I like some lime in my beer,’ he said.
‘Pardon me? Lime in your beard?’ She looked baffled.
‘No. No. In my beer. Beeer.’
‘Oh. That’s nice.’ She turned to look benovelently at the stray dog trying to lick mussels off our plate.
‘I learnt it in Mexico. When I was there.’
‘Oh.’ She was not finding mexican beery exploits fascinating or impressive.
‘It’s a local custom.’
I was beginning to feel sorry for him.
The beer came. By this time, the Englishman was beginning to look desperate. He cast about for the next line of conversation. He apparently could not think of one.
‘So why don’t you try some?’
By now, we were hoping she would just be impressed by her well-travelled young friend, dammit.
‘Lime in your beer…’
‘Uh. No thanks.’
I couldn’t handle it anymore. I took a wedge of lime, gave him a meaningful look and stuffed it into my pint bottle. I took a sip, nodded enthusiastically and told Ads that it was fantastic. The Englishman pretended he had not seen me. So much for good deeds!
But I do really like lime in my beer and rarely drink it any other way now.
It’s a bit of a mystery how a wedge of lime became standard equipment with Mexican beer. I’ve read that it’s a Mexican tradition originating in the need to clean dust off – or keep flies out – of the mouth of the can. I’ve also read that it started as a marketing gimmick, and only tourists in Mexico drink their beer with lime.