. yet there are also strange contradictions (it is india, afterall, strange contradictions are mandatory) - one that has really struck me is that i swear almost everyone here smokes, young and old, and it seems like a bit out of step with what i think of as a hippie lifestyle. there is also the lack of dancing, not completely unexpected (goa is no longer the mecca of electronic music that it once was, though there is still quite a cool little scene here, but its end of season and hard to track down when you are just a newcomer...) - the governement recently passed a law forbidding music to be played outside after 10pm, so most of what does happen runs from sunset to 10. there are some beach bars that pay off the police (common practice in india) and stay open until about 1. we did manage to find a really wicked live trance set last week that felt really reminiscent of the early beginnings of pys and electronic music for which goa is famous, but since then have been less lucky.
there is also the ever-present india garbage, though at least its not too bad on the actual beach. but beside the washrooms of the place we are staying , there is a veritable garbage dump where chickens, the occaisonal wandering cow and a large pig much on food scraps and cardboard. ah india. we actually heard the other day that there is a new national law that everywhere in the country much have proper waste disposal (landfills) sorted out by the end of the month
. it truly is about time, the entire country is threatening to become one. on the trains none of the indian people we sit beside understand why we won't throw any garbage that will fit through the metal bars of the windows out. in Varanasi, we saw a woman empty an entire garbage can out her 3rd story window onto the ghat of the sacred Ganga river below. the mentality of just hucking whatever you no longer need anywhere that isn't inside your home is so prevalent here, it is really hard to understand. even in Dalhousie, which was by far the cleanest place we have been in india, all you had to do was look down the sides of slope beneath you to see a landslide of plastic and coloured wrappers.
but, back to the beach! we are staying in a bamboo beach hut that is oceanfront, the sea is about 100m from our front porch, and paying around $5/night... the water is a perfect temperature, refreshing enough but warm enough to stay in for hours (though this resulted in my shoulders getting a bit burnt the first few days...)
and then there is the jungle, a short hike along the coast (which is also lined with vendors just like the streets). there is a sweetwater lagoon that we opted out of swimming in, and from the laundry detergent residue we came across further upstream i was glad. we did indulge in a natural mudmask session though. Goa - for those times that you think, does my butt need a clay mud mask? and the answer must be yes. and the skies, which have recently started gathering some clouds, the first hints of monsoon season coming (one night it did actually rain a few heavy drops for about 10 minutes - the first of the year, very exciting!). they certainly make the sunsets spectacular though.
see why its been hard to leave?
sitting sipping a pineapple lassi, chai or even a freshly fallen coconut (feeling lucky it didn't hit you in the head) in the shade of palm trees, eating italian or mexican (occaisionally india but not goan - it is all fish and chicken), listening to the waves pounding the long shoreline, watching the resident buffalo-cows wander between the sunbathers scattered on the golden sand while a little way down the beach some young children play cricket... this has been life for gordon and i for the past week. i think come tomorrow, this will be the longest we have stayed in one place so far - time flies when you are in a little hippie town on the northern coast of goa. arambol is an interesting place - definitely lots of dreadlocked heads and cool old greying hippies who look like they may not have left since the 60's, the streets lined with india vendors eager to sell hippie bling to the russians, israelis and english who flood here from nov-feb (we are very near the end of season, humidity is rising, crouds and prices have dropped, and winds are hinting of monsoon to come), walking along the beach you are guaranteed to see people drumming, meditating, doing yoga or tai chi or pass a giant mandala in the sand about to be washed away with the incoming tide, all beckoning you to do whatever feels right in that moment without worry of being judged