Tuesday, 19 February 2008

**India** Part Four (you can't always get what you want)

This might be the penultimate episode of my travel journal. I'm going to keep it brief as it's the part of my trip where not a lot happened and it was almost a resting stage for what came next.
I flew to Goa to meet Colin who had rented an apartment there for three months. It meant I could rest a while in a home, not a hotel or guest house and explore Goa from there. 
It's so great to see an old friend when you are so far from home, especially when it is the culmination of months of planning and talking and 'see you in Goa'conversations. It was so nice to see his little sunburned smiley face at the airport! His apartment was great and spacious and I had a room with a bed and mosquito net and there was a huge balcony from which I could watch the world go by.
Every morning without fail the bread man (man on bike selling bread door to door) would parp his horn relentlessly outside our door. This was about 6am. It became annoying and then in the end just a joke, if I hadn't have laughed I may have stamped on his horn. The wheeziest loudest horn, like a clown would have in a circus. One morning I ran out furious about being woken up again and I asked him in sign language to shush. He just smiled at me and bibbed his stupid horat me in reply. 

Selling door to door in India is commonplace, vegetables, bread, milk, curd, buckets, you name it, they'll bring it. They all have their monotonous cry to herald their arrival and it becomes part of the huge tapestry of noise that begins at first light with howling dogs and ends around 2am with howling dogs. Colin spent a long time hatching a plan to wake every sleeping dog in the afternoons as revenge. Never come to India for peace and quiet. It's a continual barrage to your ears that I'll probably miss when I get home. Like the first time Meghan came home from university she couldn't sleep because it was too quiet.

Goa disappointed me because I realised I was about twenty years too late. It's now a massive tourist industry. It used to be a hippy paradise but is now a massive package holiday wheel of fortune and it's hard to find Goa's soul. I saw some hippies though! I called them the 'toolongs'. Looking vague and wrinkled (note to self..don't sunbathe, it's scary) and I saw some clear cases of mental derangement from too much sun, drugs or India or probably all three. I wanted to help one guy because I kept seeing him everywhere, sometimes miles from anywhere, with his rucksack and faraway eyes. He looked like driftwood and so far away, he must be missed or loved by somebody. Colin dissuaded me from being the world's social worker but I still think about that guy now. He looked too young and too alone. I hope he found his way home.
Beach life spirited me away again. We visited every beach in the North of Goa. Some were exquisite, one morning we spent watching whales and dolphins churning up the water. I started spending more and more time in the shade under a parasol drinking water. I was doing yoga every night on the balcony in preparation for my final Indian adventure. I knew I had to get serious as
I was on my way to Mysore. The centre of the world for Ashtanga yoga. It was not going to be a walk in the park and I didn't want to show myself up as an amateur. 5pm every night was Louise's yogurt time(as Colin named it). It became sacred and I became more serious about my reasons for wanting to study it further. I took up yoga more seriously after dabbling in it briefly and after my dad died it really helped me get my energy and strength back. I wanted to make yoga the final focus of my trip to acknowledge it's power and ability to change lives. Especially mine.
After 10 days in Goa I was ready to finally be properly really truly alone on my adventure in India.
I booked an overnight train to Bangalore. To continue onto Mysore somehow. No friends to meet me, no idea of what would await me when I got there. I was excited and scared and hopeful that my Indian knowledge would sustain me. I was about to enter my fourth state of India having already visited Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Goa. And the state of alone was calling me.
Karnataka and myself here I come.

More soon from the land of a thousand stories.
Love from she who is probably not leaving you on the edge of your seats

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