The dark side of Paradise. .
Trip Start Feb 19, 2006
90Trip End Oct 01, 2006
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It was the New year here in mapusa for the Hindis, so there were huge floats and statues in the "taxi stand" which is actually a huge parking lot by the marketplace and bus stop.
As we waited for our various business to be sorted out (businesses mostly close for a "siesta" from 2 until 4 every day) we shared cold beer, (orange soda for me) and good conversation.. Sylvia is an interesting person who has lived a life less ordinary.
They keep things delineated here in mapusa, insurance companies are all on the same block, travel agents another, photographic services also have their own area
People walk up and try to be friendly to you, only to then spring upon you their true intention: "please, come and look at my shop, sir, just look, no have to buy. . " The best thing to do is to be polite, and then go about your business, acting as if you do not hear their utterances of "friend! friend!"
Mango season is upon us, and the mangoes come in all types, some smaller, some larger, with different coloring. There is nothing on this earth quite like a real tree-ripened mango, the juice gets all over you if you are not careful. Also in the market there are fruits of every type and description, with so much bounty here in Goa, not too many starve. Pity that all of India can not follow that example.
Around 7:30 I headed down to town with my guitar, to a place called Loeki's, at which they have a sort of acoustic open mic night every twice a week. The other night, I came a little later, and so was not able to play, as they shut down any amplified music at 10
It was fun to watch the mad rush for the stage there, people almost literally pushing each other out of the way to have a turn to sing some "shanti, shanti, krishna, krisna" type of song, or "we all live in a universal love spirit world" tune. . The only thing that would have made it more honest is if the next player physically pushed the other off the stage and said "Get the fuck out of the way Brother! I have to sing my message of peace and Universal love!!" haha. .. Lots of good players, and some great music, but
so many talk the talk, and very few walk the walk. Wearing orange and spending time in some Ashram does not by necessity make one a better person, only being a good person makes you a good person. . .
Once again, not to talk down the wisdom of the ages, but, goddamn, the egos some of these people have.
In the end I got the shaft at playing, even though I came early, because I guess I don't have a lot of songs about some beautiful fantasy world that kids with trust funds get to live in in Goa, I have cut my teeth in a rough and anomalous life, and so perhaps a dose of true reality (and those are my pretty songs )is a bit much for the elitist "hippies" who prefer to live in some world in which talking about a great love for all people is enough
One of my favorite musicians here is a fellow who plays guitar and accordian, and whose girlfriend plays a most beautiful flute. Very nice music, and in the world style, including gypsy, latin, reggae, and others. He gave me his CD, which is a double CD, 160 minutes of music. All about marijuana. On the inside is a passage stating that in 1936 or something, the cotton industry made the weed illegal, and if it was legal, we could solve all the problems of the earth, make enough fuel for all vehicles, etc. . which, of course, is absolutely not true. . It could help some, but our friend might be a little disappointed to realize that the THC content of such hemp plants is not really enough to get him stoned. . .I was half tempted to call his bluff: "So, do you really want to save the world, or do you just want to get high?!?!" I think I know the answer, but getting stoned people to tell the truth is tough sometimes. .
Note: If you are a musician who comes here, be aware that there is the same tight clique system as there is in any music "scene" in the world, and you better not be good, or you will be held in contempt, as if the gift you give freely of your music has some attachment to outcome. So many "musicians" here have something to prove, and so get a little pushy. Most have failed in the Western world, and so such a small community as Arumbol makes them feel like some kind of rock star. . I have seen this same politics for twenty years, and it still looks the same in India. People, at least Westerners, are the same the world round. I have never seen an Indian behave in such a way.
As for myself I have two songs that people here love, one called F**k it, and another which is mostly finished, called "Bury me in Arambol." These songs becoming popular around here is much to the chagrin of the local "scenesters" as some of them have been here for twenty years and not had such a song. I am getting a little tired of people walking up to me in the street saying "f**k it!" but a little celebrity is a good thing, I guess. Just got to watch the ego, or I will become one of "them. . . "
It gets a little stranger as the crowds head for home, people tend to congregate in a certain bar on a certain night, and after a wonderful phone call home, I stopped into the Pirate's cove, which serves late on the beach, and there were a bunch playing guitar and singing songs. I asked to join, and they said, "here, play a song!" I started with 'bury me in arumbol" and that was negated, the aussie lifers next to me not wanting to be reminded of their eventual fate, I guess. . fair enough. "Welsh Michael" picked up my axe next, drunkenly playing along with his happy-drunk german friend, and I am definitely one who loves to listen as much as to play, I only play if asked. .
In any case Welsh Michael claimed that my "bury me" song was stolen from an american song called "bury me at wounded knee. . " Of course I had to laugh, I don't mind being accused of plagarism, but I laughingly told him that that is the title of a book, not a song, and perhaps he should even read that book, it is quite an important one. .
I had met this crowd before, and had some fun times with some of them, except for the Aussies, who seem to view anyone who does not stay the whole season with disdain, and Welsh Michael, who sometimes plays in Maggie's ensemble, and whom I have complimented upon many times.
One of the Indians requested that they let me play a song, and a german fellow as well, so I grudgingly took the guitar again. Welsh Michael has been on the piss for a number of days, you see, and was seeming a little contemptuous, if not a downright bastard. I launched into my hit "F**k it" and they stopped me again. . ."Indians do not like that word," they said. . And although this was the pirates' cove bar, at which the indians shout "Fuck It!" at me every day as I pass by, I complied, once again giving over my guitar to someone else to play.
A couple of young indian fellows played (of all things) one Pearl Jam, and one Stone Temple Pilots song each. . Reminded me of good old fashioned American Rock and roll. .
They got to play those songs, and though there were more requested from them, the guitars were snatched again by Welsh Michael, and his drunken friend for some more broken chords.
I don't mind listening at all and was having quite a good time for most of it, then when the guitar came around again I began playing one of my country songs, the Indians clapping along, and the drunken german happily trying to sing along.
It was then that this Welsh Michael and the Aussie Pricks started saying, "that is not country, that is shite. . " The song was Hank Williams for crying out loud!
That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me, I picked up my guitar, and told them that I had had enough, and turned to go home. .
As I was paying my bill, the Aussies told me that I had to "stay and share my music" and more amazingly, Welsh Michael said "can dish it, but can't eat it, huh?" I told him I had eaten enough, and had dished nothing, and I saw that this was the Welsh Michael show, and I know when to walk away.
I have lived an interesting and sometimes violent lifetime, and had I been in my 20's, I'd have belted him one. But after years of meditation and acceptance, I chose just to walk away from that bad vibration. I told them "Look, if you have an issue, we can talk about it tomorrow. . " To which Michael replied, "If you run away from us now, there will be no tomorrow!"
"I choose to walk away, I run from nothing," I retorted, and sure enough, there is a tomorrow.
So in the end, watch the musical egos here, there are many good people, but there are also a lot of bitter old sons-of-bitches. Welsh Michael and those Aussies are in their 50's, and should know better than to act like teenagers. I know when I am not liked, and do not mind, but don't pretend.
Perhaps the three of them should go to an Ashram somewhere and attain enlightment. Oops, too late, they already have!!
And so that is the account of my first altercation in paradise. I am a man, and know when to walk.