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Beep Beep!

January 15, 2010

Goa is a place that you can really spend a while effortlessly.  After drifting away from the Trance parties and the tourist hotspots, I found it refreshing to enjoy some downtime.  Sitting on the beach, the waves crashing against the shores, you can stare into this endless infinity and daydream about anything that suits your fancy.  I couldn’t help but wonder to myself, how incredible it is that the ocean never stops.  Not even for a small break.  A constant flow of energy, like a massive organism.  I suppose in many ways, its awakening because just as we encounter hurdles in our own lives, we realize, that life won’t wait for us just because we want it to.

Sunset at Palolem

I have often wondered if a place like this could keep me here on a permanent basis.  Since I was a child, the beach waters have lured me like a moth to a flame.  Perhaps I get this from my grandfather who to this day has been swimming in Durban beach on nearly a daily basis.   Similarly, during my time in Goa, I have spent about 3-4 hours a day out in the water.  Not on the shore, but out there, just drifting with the waves and cooking under the sun.  I have the tan to prove it!

So, would it be possible if I lived here and had my morning shower in the beach everyday?  Could I actually become one of those perma-vacationers?  I would get my exercise from a run on the beach and not in a gym.  I would enjoy candlelight conversations in the evenings instead of TV.  Hmm!  Just the other day, I met a fellow from the US who was an antiques dealer back home.  Today, he is living in Goa with his wife and son in a beautiful Goan home.  He works as an interior designer on corporate projects, such as a new beach restaurant.  I’m not saying it isn’t hard, a business is a business, but think of how enjoyable his downtime is!  There are countless examples of this sort of lifestyle, but I often wonder if I could ever do away with my cityboy roots!  Well, time will tell!

One of my pet peeve’s is when you come back from vacation and people tell you things like, welcome back to reality or welcome back to the REAL world.  India is a living breathing world here.  Yes, it is not the world I grew up in, but there are real people here with real lives, and real lifestyles!  A friend once told me that there is only one reality and there are no dualities.  Its a thought provoking philosophy.   In any case, I think I am well on my way to discovering my inner-self more and more here.  I look at this journey to India as more than a vacation, but as a possible place that I could live and contribute here.  After all, this land played such a role in making me who I am today, why should I not give a little back?

Two Dolphins, Palolem Beach

I’ll see where my instincts take me.  Now, I have changed the scenery.  I am sitting and writing to you from a boat floating off the coast of Palolem beach.  The water is gently splashing against the starboard side of the boat.  The wooden boat, carved out of a mango tree, is a new experience entirely for me!  Just a few minutes ago I saw two dolphins playfully swiming about 10 feet from the boat.  It is the first time I have ever seen a dolphin in open water. Remarkable!  You can’t help but smile at the site of these creatures!  Now, its my favourite time of day; sunset.  The time when the sky changes into an oil painting.  Making myself comfortable on the boat, I sat there and enjoyed one of the most peaceful sunsets to date.  The boat gently swaying from side to side this is a moment I wish I could have shared.  If I stick my arm out towards the horizon, the sun is only one thumb width away from meeting the water.  How many places in this world can offer such natural marvels as India.  Each place I visit seems to yield its own unique flavour of beauty and culture!  Lucky me.

After an evening of dolphins and boating, I enjoyed a candlelit dinner on the beach and soaked in the ocean air.  Making my way back to my beachfront hut, I stopped for a snooze in a hammock.  I am not sure if it was the sounds of the waves, the swaying of the ocean, or the night sky above me, but I felt as though I was floating away.  Its quite easy to let yourself go when you’re relaxing in a meditative paradise!

The next morning, I made up my mind.  Today is the day I am going to ride a scooter.  Sure, I have never ridden a motorized 2 wheeler before, but you have to try everything once, right!  How hard could it be?  So I went to a few scooter shops and each one asked me about my prior riding experience.  This seemed to be an area of concern for the first 3 shops.  By the forth shop, I was convinced that I was going to spend a day at the beach and not riding.  So when they asked, “have you ridden a bike before?”  I replied, “yes!”  Of course I meant a bicycle!  A little white lie never hurt anyone!

I sat on the scooter with this childish smirk on my face as he showed me where the gas and brake was.  The engine started and with a jolt, I was off!  I headed north along Goa’s coast without a destination or care in mind.  I am pretty sure that I had a giant smile on my face throughout my entire 45 minute adventure.  The goan landscape was beautiful.  The road winded through farmers fields, waterways, bridges, dirt trails, churches, temples while the sun beamed down at high noon.  With each turn, I became more comfortable and more daring!

So what does it feel like riding a scooter for the first time?  Well, for starters – I had no Idea that these things could go past 50km/h!  Let me tell you, it is a rush hitting 80km/h on an open stretch of road.  You couldn’t slap the smile off my face!  Overtaking rickshaws, bikes, bicycles and maneuvering through people, cows, goats, and pigs – I felt alive!

Of course, having spent months in India, you do know that people here drive on the wrong side of the road.  By instinct alone, I kept veering to the right side of the road, until I remembered this minor rule!  The last leg of the trip was a windy dirt trail.  I’ve never heard of dirt scootering before, but I can distinctly recall being airborne twice!  What a feeling!  I finally arrived at my destination and parked beside a row of bikes.  I was a little sad to dismount the bike and experienced a little withdrawal as I walked away!  All that changed when I found myself on the most serene stretch of beach.  Cola beach is an upscale retreat tucked away behind a row of palm trees with only a handful of people.  There are few times in your life when you can just lose all your bearings and forget which spot on the map you’re in.  For me, I wasn’t in India, I wasn’t in goa, I was in paradise!  The water was clear, the drinks were cold, and it seemed like the perfect time for a walk.  I walked on the beach and found a fallen palm tree which i turned into a jungle gym!  There is nothing like exploring a paradise that you’ve never set foot in before without a person in sight!

The next day, I still had the scooter.  After my first day’s success, I felt like a pro!  I thought about changing my scooter for an Enfield, but now the scooter and I had history.  As I was heading out, I bumped into a man from Holland.  He was as aimless as me and so we decided to head off together and see where we wind up.  Its quite amazing how you can meet a complete stranger and then spend an entire day together like old friends.  This never fails to amuse me, no matter how many times it happens here.  The great part about meeting someone new is you can look at the world through a new set of eyes.  Bert, was particularly interested in birds which is a hobby that I have never understood.  When I came to India, I vowed to come with open eyes and try anything before judging it.  There I was pulled over on the side of the road with a set of binoculars, birdwatching.  I must admit, birds are quite marvelous animals.  I managed to catch a glance at an exotic King Fisher.  The only time I’ve ever seen such a beauty before was on the bottle of India’s most popular drink!

Back on the scooter, there was a moment when I caught myself laughing uncontrollably.  But in order to understand the humour, I’ll have to explain from the beginning.  As happy as I was driving along the road, I was waving and smiling at everyone that I drove past. Often they would wave back and say hello and other times they would run up to me and ask me questions.  One such time, I encountered a man and his little daughter.  He signaled to me that he was going in the same direction as me and asked if he could get a lift.  This was a REAL India experience.  I don’t think that I found it funny that he was sitting on my back, or that his daughter was standing in front of me.  What was hilarious to me was, I wondered if they would have asked me for a ride if they knew it was my first time riding a scooter!

Since I have come to India, I have developed a little bit of a Yes Man philosphy.  I find myself saying yes to all the things I would normally hesitate about and life has never been better!  I’m glad I said yes to this father and daughter because the ride to their village was one for the highlight reels.  As I rode through the country side, the girl was giggling the whole way as I laughed hysterically.  I thought it was adorable when she kept reaching to the handles to try steering.  Her father kept scolding her for this, so I let her honk the horn a few times as a consolation!  Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep-Beep… (Okay, it was more than a few!)

After another day of beaches and scootering, I returned to Palolem beach with a very hard decision to make….  To hammock or not to hammock?

Stay Tuned:  Rock Climbing in Ancient Hampi!

One Comment leave one →
  1. kishan permalink
    February 2, 2010 6:57 am

    i just finished reading The Alchemist and the story reminds me a lot about you guys rignt now. it’s about a young sheppard boy wandering around looking for his destiny and treasure. the book is almost as good as your posts! great to read your blogs…i’m living vicariously through you!

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