I grew out of computer games at quite a young age – Final fantasy was too much effort, resident evil was terrifying and the sims is like watching Eastenders without the suspense of not knowing what’s going to happen. I have nothing against computer games, I just prefer life… Although now I think of it, I did like my Comadore 64.
But there is one game I’ve always liked. Grand Theft Auto. For anyone who doesn’t know, Grand Theft Auto is a bit like real life… only cooler, faster, more violent and with more swearing.
For the last week Gemma and I have been relaxing on Palolem beach in Goa. The water is warm and inviting, the people are laid back and the food more often than not is freshly caught. It’s paradise.
However, the bodyboarding, sunbathing and early morning yoga had left us in need of some excitement again. Every day we’re offered a moped, an offer we’ve repeatedly turned down because, more than anything, neither of us can drive a moped.
Yesterday we decided to take the plunge.
I don’t know if you’ve ever driven in India, hell I don’t even know if you’ve been to India… but it is here, in India, that Grand Theft Auto comes to life.
We walked up to the lady who rents the mopeds, knocked her to the ground whilst saying a clever but horrifically violent quip about it not being her day, jumped on the bike and drove off shooting pedestrians with an AK… Sort of.
Ok, so really we just politely asked how much it is to rent the bike, thanked her, paid and promised to be back by 7pm. But at only 300 rupees it was practically a steal, I guess it wasn’t her ****ing day.
We’d been set our mission by our boss/the man in the travel agent. We needed to get to the delightfully ****ing picturesque Sahakari Spice Farm. Easy, you might think, this must be level one, but although we were still learning the controls, this felt like the end of the game.
To get to Sahakari Spice Farm from Palolem you have to drive 60km up narrow mountain roads with blind corners but no rules as to which side of the road lorries might drive. After a few close shaves and some mother****ing whimpering we made it though this death trap. However, this was nothing compared to Margao city.
The traffic in Margao is thick and seemingly lawless. We used the horn more than the steering and found that quite frankly, to survive, you need to drive like a madman. Any timid new driver feelings went straight out the window and we were soaring past, between and around the traffic. Welcome to the jungle, this was the real Grand Theft Auto.
We made it to the spice farm and were rewarded with spice related facts such as ‘a banana tree isn’t technically a tree, it’s a grass’ and ‘five spice can be grown on one plant’. This was our $10,000, or extra health, or whatever else you might win in the game. We’d gained knowledge. And if knowledge truly is power, then we’d need it for the ride back.
Much to the satisfaction of the other gang members (the lady who rented us the bike and her daughter) we made it back within our 7pm mission timer. We both jumped from the bike which crashed against a wall shattering a window and killing several pedestrians. Any that tried to get away, we shot.
Hmm… These lies might be becoming a bit see through now. Ok, so we thanked the moped lady and strolled down the beach to find food.
We’d tasted the gamers life and, as we stretched our toes in the sand and sipped on our mother****ing cocktails, we realised how great real life can be. I think we’ll stick to that in future.