A bit to long of a gap between entries, however the last few weeks have been…shall we say interesting. Sadly we encountered the dreaded Dehli Belly (Ecoli for me though) and it took us down. Scary being that we where in very rural India (Palolem, GOA) where hospitals are close but empty with only a few nurse and staff to give attention to those in need. Not to mention they look and feel as if we stepped into the sixties. The experience was very enlightening; I felt the caring these folks gave even through the language barrier, the doctor coming quickly from the village and the rush into the “Casualty Room” with various young nurses running around taking my vitals. In the end everything worked out leaving me with yet another “India Badge”. The medical folks where impressive but what really stood out was the locals, although we have a good sense of what to do in situations like this, the how was a big question mark. The locals really stepped in and helped guide us, driving us to the “preferred” hospital and offering such an open hand. This I will never forget. My girl was my savior, without her I
They are everywhere just empty!
would have made it of course, but much worse for wear. India has a way of getting you to love her and take you down at the same time.
Leaving GOA felt good, being that we spent more time there then we had intended and our journey took us back to Mumbai. As the wheels left the ground I looked back on the weeks spent in this region, looking out the window spotting the bridge that lead us to Baga, and the beaches that we enjoyed so much sun and sand. This area of India is beautiful, the Arabian Sea being so clean and the waves crashing beautifully. I can see the resort areas where tourist flock and the many villages just behind that support them. Burning fires marking the most popular spots. Riding on the open road through the many villages was such an experience; we expertly flowed in and out of traffic just like the locals, giving rides when asked. The locals being our GPS, being a quick stop next to someone The mix of new and old evident, but over crowded by the poverty that exists all around you. Coming here I was never
Cinnamon Tree (Bark)
Spice plantation in GOA
sure what to expect, being the GOA region, and knowing how popular it was with the foreigners Russians, French and English alike, surprisingly a very low number of them where around in comparison to the locals. I realized very quickly that the locals are the tourist in this country, and like North America are the bread and butter for many locals. In one of my many chats with the resort owners and staff I learned that the poverty in India is almost ignored by most folks in the middle and upper classes. Preferring to pretend it does not exist although being so blatantly evident. I find it very hard to ignore a 1 billion person problem, but I also don’t live in this world.
We took some time to visit a spice plantation, which at first I was flagging as a standard tourist tour, expecting not much more then a few visual aids and various ways to take your rupees. However, what an experience, in those two hours I learned so much about the many things we take for granted. The plantation was huge, with its own village to support the many needs of this community. They set aside
a couple acres of land to provide us visitors with a view into how the many spices, fruits and delicacies are grown, harvested and consumed. Cinnamon is actually bark of a tree? Peppercorns grow in bunches high up? “Monkey Men” climb one tree, clear it of the coconuts and jump from tree to tree for hours never touching the ground. Such uses for banana leaves, for plates, beedies (India mini cigarettes), and various wrapping and cooking delights. Near the entrance was this elephant that I will never forget. He was my first elephant up that close and free of enclosures and trainers, shaded with pink and grey skin and eyes that looked at the world with such care. For a few rupees you could have him bath you with water from his trunk. Rae spent sometimes explaining the pains these animals go through in this area of the world, used and abused to pulling in a dollar or two. A beautiful creature, one I will see again on this trip.
I have not made my mind up about India yet, but I already love these people. I find such warming smiles, head wagging and the desire to please is
The resort directions literally said follow the signs....
not what you see from the outside. Shamefully my past experience has been very similar to what the rest of my world has spoken about; many assumptions, stereo types and lack of understanding. Santosh and the many people around me today have completely changed my view and I need to thank them for showing me a world that will never forget.
P.S Credit needs to be given to my girl Rae for many of the pictures here, she has an eye for fantastic shots and even while taking care of my sickly self was able to adventure out and snap some great scenes
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