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November 29th 2009
Published: November 29th 2009
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block prints in Gujaratblock prints in Gujaratblock prints in Gujarat

Hand made block prints
Another week went by in Goa. It's funny how we do nothing and yet it seems like the days are just passing by... Must be because I am having fun. I really am. This year is very different because I stay close to the beach and the yoga shala, so there are also many other yogis in the area and it is a lot of fun to be part of a small community of people with similar focus, interests, etc. The days start with the yoga practice, then a big breakfast, and after that I either stay home, read and relax or I go to the beach, and almost every time, there is other yoga people there and we chat for a while, have a chai at our favorite beach shacks, or we sometimes all go to another area, a restaurant, a market, etc. In the late afternoon, we all end up on the beach to watch the sunset, play with the dogs, and once it is dark we go for fresh lime soda at the shack, enjoy the evening breeze and eventually retire to our own places and the whole thing starts over again the next day. People come here
block printsblock printsblock prints

The block is made with teak wood (don't know how to spell teak!)
for 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 months, 3 months... Many times at our table there are people from 3 or 4 different continents, people speak different languages together, so it is almost like traveling while traveling... And the most interesting thing is to find out that more than half these people have just given up a job, are in the process of moving to a new area or new country, or thinking about a big career change. And we are all very crazy about our yoga practice, we all injured ourselves before by pushing too hard, and we all love our teachers Rolf and Marci!

And sometimes there are some small changes in the routine. The other afternoon, after a nice swim in the ocean, I sat on the beach with the other yogis and we watched a group of maybe 30-35 local people pull a huge net out of the water. It took well over an hour to get it out. 30 to 35 people with probably 200 ravens and 20 dogs watching the whole thing and stealing a few fish once in a while. They were catching little fish, looked like herring, but thousands of them. Then

weaving old style in Gujurat
they split the harvest between all the families and everybody, including the lifeguards left with a bag full of fish. It took about 15 men to carry the net with a system of poles. They obviously knew what they were doing. It is really sad I didn't have my camera because it was a sight, with the sunset in the background. Apparently they do that once a month. I'll try to catch the next one!

I am also making new friends in my guest house... For 4-5 nights, I had company in my bed... Dozens of little ants would come and visit me many times during the night. Not that I was eating in my bed, I just don't know why they were coming but it was not very pleasant. Even when they were not there I started feeling their bites but it was in my head. Except it is hard to sleep then. I didn't want to spray some really bad stuff to kill them, so I tried something else... I rubbed Tiger balm on the legs of the bed... It worked like magic! No more ants in my bed! But this morning as I was sweeping the
spinning whool spinning whool spinning whool

things you can do with an old bicycle wheel!
floor, I dislodged a huge cockroach from under my back pack. Not sure Tiger Balm will help much with that one!

And the other night when I walked back home in the dark a big critter crossed the trail in front of me... I told my Australian friend: "hum, I wonder what that was"... He said (very subtly) "Something that rimes with CAT". I couldn't stop laughing... He didn't want to frighten me probably by saying what it really was!!! No, as we said, it wasn't a BAT! It was a huge RAT!!!!!!!!

But who cares, life is too good to worry about rats, bats, ants or whatever. The climate is great, the ocean wonderful, locals so friendly, and the food absolutely delicious. I keep enjoying the markets, and the simplicity of life here.

So good that it is easy to forget that India is a poor country and that while we are enjoying the good old life here, locals are working hard to cater to the growing population of tourists in the area. Nice villages are partly destroyed to build new tourists condos. Some streets of Goa look more like Varadero than India, and you can
Gujurati shawlsGujurati shawlsGujurati shawls

A man making a nice shawl in Bhujodi (Gujarat)
just imagine what the locals can think of our behavior by the way a lot of Westerners dress and party...

I just started reading a fantastic book called "The Age of Kali". This book talks about areas of India that are extremely poor, about the war and corruption, about the misery and the difficulties of a huge proportion of the population of this complex country. It is so hard to understand how things work here, so easy to be blinded too, and just take it as a holiday place and shield ourselves from reality. India is everything, it is a rich and poor country, it is a beautiful and ugly one, it is a sincere and corrupted one, it is the modern world clashing with the most ancient one. Maybe this is why it is so fascinating, to be able to be living in the modern world but witnessing how things were a thousand years ago.

Anyhow, enough rambling for now, I will now try to put a few pictures on the web... Some are from our weekend adventure in Arambol where we spent time on the beach, then went to the "mud bath" place, a little river

where they make beautiful shawls
where we find yellow clay that we cover ourselves with and let dry. Once you wash it off, your skin gets really soft and it is one of the things one the "to do list" around here. Only sad thing about it, the trail to get there is not the best when you wear sandals and yesterday I slipped and landed on a rock with my left knee... Not very good now, I will have to limit my yoga practice for some time... But the trip was great, even though it is a long drive back with a lot of slaloming between cows, buffaloes and other vehicles! Same old, same old!

Additional photos below
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mud bathmud bath
mud bath

what yogis do when they are not doing yoga!
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breakfast in Goa

Chilling out in a lovely restaurant in Anjuna

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