Geo: 15.53, 73.75
My intention for this trip is less about travel and sightseeing and more about exploring and establishing my spiritual practice and creativity, nurturing my health and doing my writing - not just travel writing but also writing a book. It scares the crap out of me to put this out there but it is time for me to declare it. It's easy to keep it to myself, which allows me to do whatever I darn well feel like doing. And that usually means procrastinating on writing; being distracted, avoiding, dancing all around what I really want to do but, quite frankly, am afraid to do. So there you go. I am writing a creative nonfiction book!
I cannot speak for Jim but given the time, energy and money that went into his photography preparation for this trip, I suspect he wants to focus a lot of his energy on photography. So you have two professional procrastinators intentional on putting out a great blog and more. We shall see...
I am acclimatizing. I continue to have post concussion syndrome (PCS) after 6 years following a fall and have to be extra careful here in India. A few days ago, we went into
the main business part of the Calangute Beach area of Goa to get money and arrange train tickets south. Some of my PCS triggers are noise and too much stimulus (physical, mental, emotional) and therefore pacing is essential. I guess we figured, why not push all those buttons while still recovering from our journey over here?
The vehicles were everywhere! We had to walk on the edge of the road, with uneven terrain and obstacles such as shit, rebar and holes to navigate.Indian drivers use their horns to tell you they are coming, to demand that you get the *&%$ out of their way or to warn you of danger. Needless to say, the horns never stop. And buses are the ultimate bullies sounding their screeching, penetrating horns nonstop. We walked in the heat of the day, people everywhere (it was a holiday). We waited in a line-up to get money only to arrive at the front of the line just as the money in the machine had run out. After two hours of all this, we arrived back at our hotel and I crashed. That was a good lesson for me here in this stimulus-crazed country: I need to
find quiet spaces and minimize my time in the mayhem.
In Goa, we established a daily routine of heading to our favourite beach shack, Cafe del Mar, laying in a chaise longue under an umbrella and beach-bumming it for a few days. Our hotel had a pool so by late afternoon, I'd swim lengths as I let the cool water envelope me. Back to our beach shack for a seafood dinner by candlelight with Indian jazz music caressing the wind, a feed of delicious garlic naan while our toes nestled in the sand, and we are two happy travellers.
Something stopped me from swimming in the ocean, yes, all it took was that large snake, apparently stranded by the waves on the beach. Creeped out, I googled snakes in Goa only to find that although they tend not to bite, there are a number of species of snakes in these local waters. In fact, 23 species in total on land and in the water.
But how I love the hypnotic crash of waves and watching the frolicking, joyful play of posing Indians, throwing sand, whooping and yelping while taking selfies. A common beach past-time practice of these numerous Indian tourists is
sitting, lolling in sand in the crash zone of the waves - I imagine every fold and orifice in their bodies is infiltrated with sand. I watch a family playing with beach ball, the little guy seems to know the inherent danger of the surf as he runs into the water, curving away just as the wave crashes behind him, his bathing shorts wet and heavy, his bum crack peaking out.
Between the plethora of Indian and Russian tourists here, we are the only Canadians we have come across. This is a popular place especially at this time of year as many Goans celebrate Christmas and northerners seek the warm, yet not too hot temperatures of this region during the holidays. We head south to Varkala, Kerala soon on an 18-hour train trip which is where we will celebrate Christmas and the New Year.
To see more of Jim's photos and in higher resolution, visit his Flickr site.
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