Eventless flight to Mumbai, and then I met Vaibhav, a CS who stayed with Lisa in Tokyo. We met in Bandra and headed to Juhu Beach where it was such a joy to see the sea, even though it was a bit murky and extremely scorching. There we had pau bhaji and bhel puri, the typical Mumbai street snacks.
Pau Bhaji is a vegetable paste, principal ingredients potatoes and tomatoes, cooked on a huge round hot plate, adding oil or ghee then you get bread also cooked on that hot plate, usually with ghee thrown on as well. Delicious. Bhel puri is with puffed rice, diced onion and tomatoes, round fried flour crisps, and usually a green chutney. Yum.
The beach is pretty interesting in India, with all sorts of vendors, scouts asking you to an extra in a Bollywood film, and many many people who want to take your photo so you can purchase it from them. It was Christmas Day, so a holiday for locals, and it was nice to see the beach full of families (many of them going into the sea fully dressed, oh India ; )
And then I went to get my flight to Goa, and as I got off the plane I met Faye, this strikingly beautiful Goan girl and she took me in her taxi to Panjim, where AJ picked me up and brought me to Vernon’s home. Vernon was an incredible host – he had gotten me a Christmas present under his tree! Crazy – a beautiful shirt with an Indian print. The first night we went into downtown Panjim for dinner, where I had an awesome mushroom masala. Goan food is great – the Portuguese influence is strong, the spices kick in, and they use coconut. What more could I ask for? So delicious freshly baked bread abounds, including whole wheat, so I was happy. Their bhaji (vegetables) include a large variety of beans. The first morning we had black-eyed peas cooked in a spicy sauce with grated coconut – bliss. Then we also had buns, basically a sweet, yellow deep-fried chapatti, also with bhaji, this time chickpeas in a sauce with a bit of coconut as well.
My first day in Goa I took the bus to Morjim Beach where I met this Russian guy (there are SO many Russians in Rajasthan) and we spent a few hours talking about ashrams and impressions of India – he had been there for a year now, but pretty much just ashram hopping. He was lovely. I then walked to Arambol Beach, so a steady 2.5 hours on the beach, but it was nice to walk without obstacles, and barefoot. Then I jumped on a bus back to Panjim.
The next day I spent in and around Panjim. I got my hair cut at Neomi’s, a fancy little place in Miramar, then walked all the way from the main bus station back home (maybe 1.5 to 2 hours if you walk continuously). Panjim is nice, there are a few streets with old Portuguese architecture, the vibe is relaxed, and all along the river there is a walkway – I always enjoy these places where you can just walk – some of my favorites are the boardwalk in Santa Monica and Venice, and of course, Rio de Janeiro – how many times have I walked from Posto 12 to 2? Ahh.
That afternoon I had a vegetarian thali at Vihar – it was ok.
That evening we went to Dona Paula for dinner, and it was ok.
But in the morning I was sick. Well, I wasn’t sure. I woke up early, since I had this trip to the south planned, to Palolem, and I vomited. No idea why. As far as I knew I had been eating very clean food in Goa. I thought, hm, maybe my body just needed to get this out and now itll be fine. So I got on the buses and was exhausted and sleeping most of the time. I arrived in Palolem, feeling totally ill, and decided that before I did anything like look for a room, I would first go to the beach, find an umbrella, and rest a bit and drink water.
This overweight Israeli woman noticed me immediately, told me to lie down and went and got me water. I was shifting in and out of consciousness for the next half hour, and then she told me I should rest in her room and after I felt better, figure out my next move. So, I stayed in the room for 5 hours, drifting in and out of awareness, and most of the time I was conscious I was sitting on the toilet or vomiting in it. Wonderful. No, horrible horrendous nightmare. This will come up again later, but it’s amazing, I think children, elderly, the sick, and the handicapped are the ones that are in touch with their vulnerable nature and have less barriers and are able to express what they really want and need. So, that day, I just wanted someone to take care of me and tell me it was going to be ok. Travelling alone and getting horribly sick sucks. No way around it.
Anyway I weighed my options and decided to head back to Panjim to stay with Vernon that night. I had wanted to stay a night in Palolem and have some beach time but actually it was a much smarter decision to spend that money on a taxi, and get in bed and take some medicine because it was very much needed.
The next day I still felt horrible, but Tamara was arriving so I went with her to Candolim. It is always so nice to see her. We spent the whole afternoon and evening sitting on the beach. I stayed there for 2 nights, just relaxing and doing some healing work. On the 31st, diarrhea started again. I was supposed to take an overnight train to get to Kerala to start my Yoga Teacher Training Course. I was devastated. My stomach was cramping, I felt so ill, and I was supposed to take an overnight train. I decided I still felt like I had to go to Kerala, even though I was already completely unsure as to whether I wanted to do the full month of teacher training with this woman that I had registered with. I chose this ashram in Kerala for a few reasons. I was drawn to the fact that it was a woman running the ashram/teaching the course. The small class sizes, maximum 5, were appealing. The location, a small village 17km from the train station inland in Kerala sounded wonderful. But most importantly, I felt like I had to go. It was meant to happen.
So I somehow managed to survive the ride to the train station, the train was delayed 3 hours, and I arrived at 3am in Kochin.