Sunday, 11 April 2010

Journal of India: Sunlight in Goa (Part 2)

Second entry on Goa, straight on from that monstrous first night.


I did wake up, and though I didn’t eat anything until nightfall, I found the strength to drag myself to the beach. There, I took unexpected pleasure in the local water rides – basically balloons on which you sit as a boat tugs you over the waves for two minutes. A modest roller-coaster on water. One of them was called ‘the banana boat’, and you’re supposed to let go of your grip when it capsizes on the waves, so as to enjoy a dive in the sea. I did this, and my head was slammed against the water with such violence that, when combined with the hangover, it gave me the most epic migraine you can imagine.

At night we went to a music bar called Curlie’s. The music was excellent – powerful techno/house stuff – but no-one was dancing. The only exception was this bald, bare-chested, heavily tattooed, Tibetan-looking guy who was obviously out of it like a balcony. When Ashwini started going frantic again because we didn’t have any weed, I asked the Tibetan and he duly supplied us with some hash. I talked Ashwini out of his suicidal aspirations (the guy wanted to smoke there and then, but we’d come on a rented bike, and I told him that riding back in the dark, without helmets, a double load, in unfamiliar roads and furthermore high was not my idea of how best to reach old age), then we went home and smoked: on the roof of our house and, later, on the beach, watching the stars. At my insistence, we sat on a sort of natural step made of sand, which the sea had sculpted as a natural confine between dry and wet land, and where, I declaimed, ‘no wave could surely reach us.’ When the first surge of water rocketed onto our ridge at forty miles an hour as we happened to be holding our necks craned backwards to look at Orion, I barely managed to leap away like a puma, but Ashwini was not quite so fortunate, and he ended up soaked. He was slightly incensed thereafter.

As in Mumbai, I was taken off-guard by how strong the stuff was. Maybe it was just a variety that my body is not accustomed to, but after two joints I couldn’t hold up a conversation with my partner. It felt as though every word he said to me came with a time-lag of twelve seconds.

The next day was much a repeat of the first, with air-borne parachutes taking the place of balloons to be tugged by boats. As the sun went down we smoked, and Ashwini wanted to go to Curlie’s. I was uncomfortable with the idea of riding on the newly-rented scooter when high (I even took it around a bit myself during that day, proving what I have always argued: that even though I don’t possess a licence, I am perfectly capable of driving), so I suggested we let our heads clear on the beach for half an hour. There, we took two beds and started ordering beers, and that was the end of it. By the end of the night we’d imbibed so many Kingfishers and played so many drinking games that A. started feeling ill, couldn’t eat the food he’d just ordered, and we went home, where we collapsed without even smoking the second joint. The next day I was kind of sick again, though not nearly as bad as two days previous.

My impression of Goa has little of original, if anything at all. It is a land of dirt tracks and low houses, heavily oriented towards the outsiders, full of palm-trees and sunlight, and with a robust sea, thick and Indian, giving away the Caribbean garbs for what they are: camouflage.

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