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Saturday night bazaars

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One of the few genuinely positive improvements to the north Goa resort strip over the past decade has been the Saturday Night Bazaar, held on a plot inland at Arpora, midway between Baga and Anjuna. Originally the brainchild of an expat German called Ingo, it’s run with great efficiency and a sense of fun that’s palpably lacking these days from the Anjuna Flea Market. The balmy evening temperatures and pretty lights are also a lot more conducive to relaxed browsing than the broiling heat of mid-afternoon on Anjuna beach.

Although far more commercial than its predecessor in Anjuna, many old Goa hands regard this as far truer to the original spirit of the flea market. A significant proportion of the stalls are taken up by foreigners selling their own stuff, from reproduction Indian pop art to antique photos, the latest trance party wear, hand-polished coconut shell art and techno DJ demos. There’s also a mouthwatering array of ethnic food concessions to choose from and a stage featuring live music from around 7pm until midnight, when the market winds up. Admission is free.

A competitor in much the same mould – Mackie’s – has opened nearby, closer to Baga by the riverside. Spurned by the expatriate designers and stallholders, this one is not quite as lively as its rival, though in recent years has made an effort to close the gap, with better live acts and more foreign stallholders.

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