post goa

I’ll try to keep this brief. This was my first vacation; it happened to be a paid vacation to Goa because the capoeira group in Mumbai opened up for India Fest, a gathering of different colleges from all over India to compete in dance, listens to music, and hang out at the beach. It was amazing, so much so even though I’m exhausted, need to do so much laundry, and should sleep early (I definitely will this time), I wanted to start the sharing process.
Before I get to Goa, I wanted to share a little politic talk. These are things that don’t affect us in the “Western” world. I didn’t have my computer with me so I decided to write while waiting for the train heading to Mumbai.
It’s much different hearing about global warming from the US, a country yet to be seriously affected, than in India, a country where there are articles, daily, about the different ways it is changing the way people conduct their every day lies. Today I read (over someone’s shoulder) that global warming is changing the rains – before it messed up onions – and now it has the potential to cause massive flooding in dammed areas. There is an article every day in the paper about water, weather, and what’s in store for the people of this country. We hear about things in the US, but I don’t think we really comprehend how much it’s already changing the world. This isn’t really true of the people who read this; I believe that all my friends are pretty much on the same page as me; we try to do whatever we can to reduce, reuse, recycle, reduce our carbon footprint, etc. I wonder if the recent snow storms across the country has changed anyone’s mind about our situation, especially policy makers who have the power to change the rules and regulations.
After politics, comes talk of my job. As I’ve mentioned before, we’re a very friendly office; we talk about our lives, our likes and dislikes, we spend lunch together almost every day. Friday I had a lovely talk with one of the social workers. We shared blog sites. His is in Marathi, which inhibits my ability to read it, but he was very interested in mine. The two of us often touch upon politics, social issues, global issues, etc, so I think he will be a very interesting addition to the readers. I’m interested in his response.
On my way to Mumbai, I didn’t meet anyone. I had a great ride of reading, writing, doodling, and thinking. I know this goes against my plan of action, but there wasn’t anyone who really spoke to me except for one woman who asked what was the stick in my hand. (I was carrying a berimbau (the instrument used in capoeira) on the train from a show I went to on Monday. I had a great soundtrack; it was a “movie moment” where I thought to myself, “I’m really living in India.” I have those moments every once in a while; they’re pretty interesting.
I met the capoeira group on Tuesday night, we were off to Goa on Wednesday afternoon. The ride was about 12 hours. The group is lively and talkative, so it passed quickly. We laughed, joked, made fun, played music; even though our seats were all spread out we remained cramped in one little section just fooling around. At almost every stop we got out to either play music or capoeira. We entertained many. On the way back someone from one of the stations went up to Baba to tell him he remembered us from the way there. We all (except one) fell asleep and almost missed our stop. This was only funny after we were all off the train and realized that it still wasn’t moving. We were put up in a interesting hotel, very resort like. We had one day to just spend at the beach, lounge around, have fun, and then one day to perform in the morning and watch two of our friends compete in the dance competition. There were also two capoeiristas from Russia and Ukraine. Dimitri trained with the group a couple years ago and was visiting Goa. It was great to have another cultural encounter.
Trips like this are also really good for solidifying (for lack of a better word) friendships. Going to Mumbai is very special for me. I’m not sure if everyone there realizes how much having them there has helped this transition to India. They provide familiarity, an outlet, relaxation, and fun. I’m not saying that I can’t find that here in Pune, but it just works really well wit them. Anyway, trips are even more special for me because I get to spend even more time with all of that goodness. We took 2 kids with us (without parents), they’re 12 and 13. They behaved amazingly. Of course I took on a mom or teacher role with them occasionally, but that was to be expected from me. A little cultural difference – I don’t think that would ever happen in the US.
Our show was fun. It was basically just playing capoeira like we always do. We opened the whole festival, which we took as an honor. There were some other amazing dance shows including bangra dancers from Delhi and a drumming group from Goa but originally the main guy is from South Africa. I took a chance to ask them if they knew of the group Drum Struck. This was an off Broadway show in 2005-6. I got to know some of the performers by chance. They not only knew the show but knew some of the performers as well. Small world. The organizers kept moving the dance show around so the second day was lost waiting for them to get their act together. Our friends came in third place, so it was worth the wait. We were also the loudest cheerers. A big surprise was that an American Indie-Rock band that I really like was there, The Rescues. The crowd was sparse, but when I heard the music I made my friend Priyanka run with me to hear them. It made me quite happy. I didn’t get to see much of Goa, we walked a little strip of our area, but we were too involved with the festivities and the beach to see much. Everything in South Goa (I’m not sure if it’s the same in North Goa) is in English and Russian. Apparently Goa is a huge Russian vacation spot, so much so that the first day we were there, my friends were some of the only Indians on the beach besides the folks who worked there. Everyone was white or red and kind of fat. It was a bit of a shock for me.
The train ride back, a little calmer, but not less fun, passed quickly as well. Before we knew it we were back in Mumbai. It was a great trip. This morning I went to Dharavi again, it was nice seeing the kids again, and then hopped directly on a train back to Pune. I’m exhausted and this is where I will sign off to get a quality sleep. Goodnight and happy Sunday night!

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