Goa was great

Goa was great. Eight of us went. We left late Wednesday night, Thursday was a holiday from work and Friday we took off. The ride down was a mix of fun and cold. We took off with an immediate stop for food, a detour around Swargate after an earlier incident. I’m detouring from my story just to relay the incident. Earlier in the day a bus driver went a little crazy. He crazily drove around for a half hour while police officers tried to stop the bus. He killed nine. It was devastating for the city. These things don’t really happen here.
After being on the road for a little longer, before officially exiting the city, we stopped for refreshments, put on a sweater and kept going; amusements and silliness was nonstop until we all sifted to random seats in the 12 seater bus to nap. It ended up being freezing. Before sleep arose, my friend, in order to get a rouse out of me decided to tell me he has so much respect for Mitt Romney. I nearly tore his head off. He defended his statement in that he was a rags to riches story, that he is a great guy with great ideals. I think the refreshments got to him a bit much and kept pushing the argument. At this point I didn’t really notice the cold, shouting back at him with ways in which I find Mitt Romney a pretty horrible human being, a pretty bad choice for the president of the United States. After the heated debate, we passed out and huddled together in order to avoid the freezing air being pumped into the van. The driver claimed that he would fall asleep if the window as open. We had many issues with the driver as the trip developed, but I think I’ll leave that until later. In Kolhapur he claimed that there were animals in the mountains and it could be dangerous. I’m a little bitter about the freezing and stopping issues. I might as well get into why we had issues with him. His first answer to everything was no. We brought an AV chord so we could play music – it’s a 10 hour drive, we wanted music. We weren’t allowed to plug it in. when we convinced him it wouldn’t break the car, he said he wouldn’t turn it on. He wouldn’t roll up his window – if you know you’re going to be on a long drive, shouldn’t he have slept the night before. He was very demanding and rude to us. On the other hand, throughout the first 2 days, we were not very nice to him; we didn’t give him advance warning when we’d be leaving, we didn’t ask him if he ate (it’s something nice to do that wasn’t required, but we should have). In general I have an issue with the way people speak to others here, especially service people; it’s almost as if they’re not worthy of general courtesies. Usually, when you order something you call the waiter (I think rudely – o waiter people shout) and say give me xyz. Anyway, we did the same with the driver. It was a constant issue of who’s being rude to who. After an outburst on his part on day 3, a few of us reached out to him a bit more. He was civil at times, but ended the trip on a bad note by being awful for the last few hours on the ride back.
Anyway, getting back to how Goa was great, we got there in the afternoon, dropped our stuff, put on swimsuits, and ran to get some food on the beach. While we waited, we took a swim. There weren’t words to describe the feeling of bliss. The food took forever, but it made swimming that much more enjoyable. We started the split of veg and non-veg food, we had drinks, we relaxed, we laughed. We laughed! I’m not sure if I’ve ever laughed as much with a group of people in such a short amount of time in my entire life. One friend of ours has a giggling problem; it’s not so much a problem per say, at least not to us. Once he starts, Gayatri starts and then we just laugh looking at them laughing. It’s a sight to be seen. Before you know it, 8 grown adults are cracking up at absolutely nothing. There’s no rhyme or reason. It’s just amazing.
After more beaching, swimming, laughing, we tidied up for the evening of folk music. Folk music ended up being classical Rajasthani music. It was beautiful. There was something like a small accordion but it was on the floor. Indian music embodies some of the most pure drawn out almost cries of love or distress or pain or life all in one. In the right situation (which wasn’t exactly at a restaurant with many friends) I might just cry at the beauty of the music. The restaurant was on one side of the road and the music with a small stage for the woman to dance was across on the other side. It was a small road. The food was beyond slow. Some foreigners even walked out in what looked like a rage at the speed. We held out and listening and chatted.
I could see stars. Each night we took a stroll on the beach, if only for a few minutes. The air was crisp. I don’t remember the last time I was on the beach and it was quiet and I felt so peaceful.
The plan was to wake up at 7:00 for the yoga session. It didn’t happen. Only one of us managed. But we did end up going to a hidden beach. It was a piece of paradise with lots of trash all over it. The water was a perfect mix between waves and calm, sunny but not scorching hot. It was beautiful. We were the only people on the beach for most of the day. We played sat, did fun headstands, played Frisbee in the water. I couldn’t imagine a better beach time. I made my friends clean up the beach, at least the part facing the water would be free of trash. We did that and then went to hang at an abandoned house. I guess the words were, I did a bad thing. We snooped in the windows, and then, we jumped in an open window. It was a beautiful, yet kind of creepy. We later learned after getting yelled at that a woman died in there. The pictures explain the serene abandonment of the house.
Only in India would I find myself stretched across my friends on an oversized hammock meditating with a friend; our breaths in perfect alignment. I’m not sure how long we were “under” but it felt good.
We tried the next resto-shack on the beach. We entertained ourselves with an unseen sunset (due to smog?) and cards. I tried explaining Rummy 500 (a slight variation to the regular rummy) but was quite unsuccessful. The hot chocolate was really yummy.
The rest of the night was spent watching a rock band at Art Escape (where we stayed, not sure I mentioned that before) and hanging out. It was peaceful and rock-ful.
Breakfast was accompanied by beach games on Saturday. I made pancakes, American style, using the kitchen. There were many helping hands, many inquisitive eyes. After eating, we played football (soccer) and ran in and out of the water. Rehan, a kid who lives in one of the shacks on the resort with his parents (age 10?) joined us. We buried Vineet in the sand and we were ridiculous. We shaped up for the Saturday night market and Rehan joined us. The Saturday Night Market has everyone from everywhere. I’m unsure how many languages I heard spoken. I’m not sure how many different kinds of faces I saw. It was like walking around the west village on a night where all the interesting people are out. I was amazed. We had some great ginger lemon tea, a vegan spinach burger, shopped (some more than others) and walked and gawked.
It got super late, we ventured back to the hotel with the intent to sleep, but ended up chucking channa (chick peas) in each others’ mouths and having hookah. In the morning we slowly resigned to leaving. With a last walk on the beach to check out diving clams, digging starfish, and feeling the water in our toes, we reluctantly ventured back into a van for however many hours.
It was a good vacation.Facebook album put together by Sagar: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150629577337437.442093.575192436&type=1

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