Booze and drugs and rock and roll.
Trip Start Feb 19, 2006
90Trip End Oct 01, 2006
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Fortunately with my connections here in Arumbol, an insurance man is coming out tomorrow to inspect the bike and take care of the insurance, which is damn near impossible for a foreigner to get.
The international drivers permit I had to forge myself, downloading an application form on the web, and then blanking out "application" on it, and filling it in. In Mapusa they have many stamp makers who will make a "seal" to put on the two sides, then laminate it, and off you go. The traffic police are the only ones who can give you a hard time, and the more papers you hand them, the less chance that they will ask for a handout, though even if all is in order, still you may have to pay some
Things take time here in India, I have been off and on this beach for a month now, and I'm getting a little itchy to get the heck out of here for a couple of months and see where the road leads me.
It also does not help things that one can not avoid staying up until 4 am every night, there is always something going on, and everyone in this town knows me now, so I have to bring the guitar and entertain with good old fashioned American classic rock hits. These songs are played to the joy of people who love to dance, and to the chagrin of the local "jam band" showoffs who play 20 minute songs that clear the room. One of them, and Italian guitarist became annoyed at me for playing some steve miller that had a gaggle of girls dancing around me. "Hunh! Dees space cowboy, eet ees crap! Why you play dees?" I said hey, it made the people happy, so what if it is a corny old song. . Guess he was pissed that I stole his 'thunder", but the owner told him that "Josh will be the music director tonight, so if you want to play you will do what he plays. . ."
Quite an honor, and I'm sure Francisco will get over the fact that perhaps people do not necessarily want to hear musical masturbation for 30 minutes straight, they want to sing along to songs they know and to dance
I debuted a new song last night, called "bury me in Arumbol," and by the end the whole crowd was singing the chorus. . Also my sarcastic song " But Fuck It" has become already a local favorite. . Ain't easy being a rock star, I guess, but perhaps I have made a mark here, so it is time to move on.
I have also acquired (in addition to "arumbolitis") the cold virus that everyone seems to have. A trip to the druggist will sort that out, though, they have pills of which one takes two, and the cold goes away. Might have something to do with the fact that they are probably loaded with coedine. .
They always say one should write what one knows. Of the very limited knowledge of things I have, one of the strong ones is knowing my alcohol. So for those that may travel to goa, or to India, I will give you the Low Down, as it were.
Of the beer, Fosters, Arlem, Haywards, Kingfisher, all of these are full of glycerin, which not only makes you regular, it changes the taste of the beer and will give you a full-on headache.
1. Order a large kingfisher, fosters, arlem, etc. and a bottle of water, and a glass.
2. fill the glass about 3/4 full with water.
3. carefully holding your finger over the beer bottle top (do not use thumb, or you will make a mess) submerge the bottle neck in the water and remove the finger. .
4. watch the glycerin run out into the water. It is heavier than the beer, and you can see the oily substance running down into the glass. You may have to empty some of the water out if the glass gets too full.
5. When most of the glycerin has drained out of the bottle (usually about 15 to 20% of the volume) reach down with your finger again and cover the top of the bottle, carefully and slowly righting the bottle.
6. Enjoy a glycerin-free beer, and a headache-free morning.
Step 7: (optional) fuck all that hassle and just order a King's, which does not contain the evil glycerin.
The whiskey, brandy, gin, vodka, and all others that are made here in India are nothing more than cheap grain spirits full of hangover-causing esters, with some small percentage of whiskey or brandy or whichever flavor they want to call it. . There are a few exceptions.
Old monk Rum is quite decent, as they do grow a lot of sugar cane and can do a decent rum.
There is a scotch whiskey as well, called McDowell's #1, and also it has a high percentage of the real thing in it and less of the poison spirits. The advert even says it all: "Now Made with more Real Whiskey!!" Apparently the maker of this is a semi-westernized Indian, who also owns Spice Air, a local carrier, and is some kind of parliament member in Karnatka. Whether this qualifies him or not, his Macdowell's is not too bad of a drink.
Many people drink the Honeybee "brandy" mixed with coca-cola, but in a side-by side test with the whiskeys, I found Honeybee to be just the same as the rest, about 20% really shite brandy, and the rest some kind of bad spirits, probably made from the cashew fruit, maybe a sort of de-flavored fenney
Fenney itself is not a bad drink at all if it is done right. I always know, even at night, when I am getting close to my street, because the smell of fermenting cashew apples is so strong there. Literally everyone and his brother makes fenney, and they all want you to try it, almost a competition. Some of it can be very smooth and clean without a lot of impurities, but there is some really bad stuff out there as well.
A good fenney will give you no real hangover, but you may be still half in the bag in the morning. Fenney is also commonly made from coconut, and sometimes from other fruit such as mangoes, whatever is in season.
Try fenney, but listen to the locals, they say "fenney, just a little, no a lot. . "
Good sound advice.
People for whom pills are their bag would like it here, there is a counter with a green cross that says "chemist" on one corner here, and in places like Anjuna and Mapusa they are everywhere. Valium 10 mg are 30 Rs (about 75 cents) for a rack of 10. So if the crows and pigs in the morning are depriving you of sleep, these may help. Also available: Clononpin, Atavan, Flexoral, morphine, coedine, demerol, percocet, methamphetamine and just about any other drug you could think of. Viagra runs about 30 RS a pill if that is what you are into, and even Ketamine in liquid form can be bought over the counter. To process "special K" one must only leave the liquid out in a flat container, and let it evaporate and crystalize, to be taken in the normal fashion.
These are all legal drugs here, and do not require any kind of doctor's approval, only to walk up to the counter and tell the man what you desire.
Be careful, many prescription drugs are addictive, and you do not want to go through withdrawal if you overdo it for too long.
Hashish, known as "charras" is offered everywhere, for the low price of about 50 rupees a gram. The quality varies, some is squishier than others, and also some is almost "blonde" which (though heck, I'd never try that stuff, you all know) is what used to be the good stuff back in the days when I "never did any of that stuff. . ." Charras is mixed with tobacco and rolled into a "spliff," a sort of cigarette with a little rolled piece of cardboard at the end for a filter, and is smoked everywhere. Bars and restaurants, on the beach, on the street. You are offered it all the time, and it does produce a mild and mellow high, not intense and paranoia producing like the high-octane marijuana known in the states.
Indian marijuana is absolute crap, improperly cured, and reminscent of what we used to call "sea weed" which was reefer that had washed up in bales on the beach in florida and then sold again as such. Best not to worry about the indian reefer, and just do the Charras route, much nicer, and better on the lungs. Charras and weed are kind of "quasi-legal, though technically illegal, not even a policeman will bat an eye at you for smoking it.
For the more hardcore types there is MDMA, very cheap and used widely at raves. Apparently it makes you love everything and everyone. Of course until you wake up after three days with the worst hangover imaginable.
Liquid LSD is also plentiful, though I truly believe that after one is 30 or so, this is not a good thing to try--it tends to open doors that should remain shut. . .
And of course there is India's legal drug, betel nut, which is sold in packets like candy, and is sometimes rolled into a palm leaf for chewing. It is very popular among the lower classes, and the telltale signs of Betel addiction are orange (and many times missing) teeth. The effect of Betel nut is quite mild, a slight stimulation not unlike snuff or chewing tobacco. Why someone would want to turn their whole smile orange for such a low return is beyond me, but it is a traditional way of passing the time, and many of the workers chew it, perhaps for the stimulating effect of it, as they haul heavy, cinderblock size solid rocks to building sites and such.
If you are one to party, you can certainly do all of that you want here, but the best rule is moderation, and to give yourself a chance to enjoy the mornings free from hangover, as the mornings are the best time to swim and possibly surf.
Also more importantly, DO NOT DRIVE AFTER DRINKING Actually do not drive under the influence of anything around here, one needs to be extremely sharp to avoid being killed on these roads. Indians as a rule do not get into too many accidents, it is mostly westerners who get injured or killed, as they do not understand the rules of the road and/or are drinking or other. In addition DO NOT DRIVE AT NIGHT. the cows start to come out about dusk, and are unpredictable in their actions, and also that goes for the drivers as well. Headlights are out of half of the vehicles, and they do not give you much room. Also there are hidden hazards, such as potholes and sandy patches that will cause you to crash. BE SAFE.
Tomorrow it is off to the chaos of Mapusa to get my license sorted out, and set myself up for the long ride to come.
FOR AUDIO CLIPS of my indian experience, as well as some of my own music, go to www.joshbloomer.com
hit on the tab that says "music" and scroll down to the bottom. there are sounds of mumbai, native singers, and soon a clip of Rocinante running. . .