Saturday, 10 April 2010

Journal of India: Sunlight in Goa

Next stop after Mumbai were the beaches of Goa, which - I'd been told - were the best beaches within a thousand miles as well as a stoner's heaven. I'd planned it with Ashwini to get to this place during a weekend so he could join me for it, and we made this a proper time to relax. For once I didn't spend six hours a day roaming about, instead I just sat on the beach for three days straight, bathing, sunbathing, reading, getting massages, playing around and partying at night. I was so chilled for three days, in fact, that I didn't even update my journal - that's why the current entry was written in Jaipur.

It wasn't very culturally edifying, but it was probably the best three days of my three weeks in India (in fact I came back saying that next time I'd just spend all three weeks in Goa). I wrote two entries about Goa because I had to retrospectively sum up three full days, this is the first one, the next will be up tomorrow.

This is what a gas station looks like in Goa. Yeah, the bottles hold fuel.


So long without updating!

After an extensive walk through Mumbai, at a rate rather ponderous due to the fact that I was carrying my luggage on my back, and inclusive of a brief visit to the Bazaar (larger in its presentation but otherwise not very different from the other markets in India), I hopped on my train and headed to Goa. Or, Magdaon, as the station is called.

Goa is a tropical paradise. I felt as though I’d returned to the Caribbean, but with a more picturesque setting and a less crystalline sea. It was also full of Westerners – apparently February is a good time to visit Goa, just after the peak season of Dec/Jan. On the bus to Calangute Beach I met some tourists (Indians in this case, from Mumbai) and asked for their assistance in finding a place to sleep, seen how they were looking for one too. It turns out to be an easy task; a man is waiting for us practically the moment we step off the bus.

Once I have the place, I take a walk to learn how to orient myself. Then I purchase a swimming suit, get changed at home and plunge in the sea. It is lovely. At home, I wait for Ashwini as the evening deepens, reading. He arrives, and immediately gets into an argument with the owner because he deems the price is too high. We decide to stay there two nights (as I’ve already paid) rather than the full three.

Ashwini is very eager to get hold of some weed, but the stuff they try to sell us in town looks bad. He suggests that we get drunk instead, and I acquiesce – something I’d come to regret, later. We purchase a bottle of whisky (‘One hundred pipers’) and walk home. By the beach, where the view of the stars is grandiose and pristine, I tell him stuff about the constellations, though in this sky I can only find Orion. Cassiopeia and the Great Bear make but brief apparitions to the North.

We do get drunk that night, mixing the whisky with water. We walk back to town, meet some drunkards on the beach, chat for a bit, go home and get to sleep. What a hellish night that was. I slept three hours, then woke up in pangs of stomach pain, went to vomit, went back to bed, slept fitfully, woke up to vomit again, froze under the covers due to the air-conditioning, and repeatedly woke up again to take a shit – I had, at last, contracted a real diarrhoea. The next day, I felt like I didn’t even want to wake up.

Esoterically holding a silvered beer bottle with a rose coming out of it, and a candle. I'm sure there's some symbolic meaning to that.

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