Saturday, September 1, 2012

Monsoon Season in Goa

I made it to Goa! I think it was a close call though. I had a car arranged to pick me up from where I was staying in Mysore at 7am on Friday the 31st of August, a full moon which meant I had no yoga practice that day. Actually a "blue moon" because it was the 3rd 'moon' of the month (full, new, full). Maybe it was the full moon that was influencing the escapades of the day! 7:15am, no car. Me? Admittedly nervous. I sent an email to Krishna Murthy, who I arranged the car with. He is the one I arranged a car from the airport to Mysore when I first arrived, and that was on time and no problem. Should I have emailed a day before as a reminder? Probably. 7:20am, I call him. Twice. It's 'busy'. 7:30am, I walk up the street to his office and start banging on the locked gate. A guy pokes his head out of the upstairs window "He's not here yet". Argh! Me? Panicked! I have a flight to catch. Luckily I left myself extra time for this whole getting to the airport trip. I found the usual riskshaw drivers at the top of the street by the shala and tell them what has happened. "No car is coming?" No! No car is coming!! They made a few phone calls to their friends, one of whom was able to come in his car and drive me. I ended up paying a little more than what I had arranged previously, but that's ok. And of course (of course!) the two rickshaw dudes (Appu and some other one) wanted payment for their help, which I suppose is fair. Of course what I offered them wasn't enough. But that's too bad, they should have stated before they helped how much they wanted. But as usual, they didn't.

On my way to the airport, finally. The driver was young, and kept turning his head back to look at my legs. Which had pants on, but only 3/4. So apparently the lower half of my calf was very distracting to him. That, plus his tendency to be on his phone while driving, caused him to crash right into the back of a motor bike. Luckily we weren't going too fast. My head jerked in a mini whiplash action (not too bad, it's fine now) and caused both bike riders to pop right up off the bike. Thankfully they landed back on the bike and not in the street. They were not impressed. Neither was I. My driver threw up his arms like "what the hell!" but it was no use, it was so obviously his fault!! They got out and looked, and he just bent their license plate. Thank god, I didn't have time for anything more!! They gave him dirty looks and we were all on our way again.

At the airport, I check in, and my luggage to be checked was 9kg overweight. 29kg. I was SURE last time it was well underweight. But maybe there was less in it and also maybe for an international flight the weight limit is higher. This was just a 1 hour domestic flight. "OK, how much do I owe you?" I was not about to argue or repack. It was $40. Fine. Let's get on with this!!

The flight was on time, full, but ok. Then came landing time. And an announcement. "We cannot land because the rain is too heavy and the visibility is very bad. We'll be up here in a holding pattern until it's safe to land." The feeling in the cabin was getting more and more impatient. Feet were tapping, voices were growing louder, babies were crying. I was just trying to relax and thought, well, eventually we'll run out of gas and HAVE to land, so we won't be up here forever!! And of course, eventually we landed. YAY! People clapped.

The shuttle for my *fancy* hotel was waiting for me and a few others. It was raining hard and we had to walk all the way to the shuttle (poor me). The drive was amazing (despite how freaking fast and crazy the driver was driving). I felt like we were going through a jungle, well, I guess maybe we were. Beautiful scenery. And then we arrived. Through a locked security gate. To get into the resort I had to walk through a security detector and have my bags scanned and checked. What the heck!? I guess I'm safe in here!!

After checking in (sitting comfortably on a couch), with drinks and hot towels, I was walked to my room with a host. We walked, and walked, and walked, cobblestones, over bridges, seemingly through a little resort village, by pools, to my "court" #2. Upstairs to my "room" which is more like a ... hut? Dwelling? I'm not sure what it is. There are four units in the one building I'm staying in, and it's beeee-eautiful! It's really possibly the nicest place I have ever stayed. Big, stylish, clean, open, new but old (does that make sense?), private balcony, every amenity, smells good... I'm happy here :) The only thing I don't like, is the big screen TV, it should go away. As should all clocks. I hid both of them out of sight. The next 4 days for me, no clocks, no time, nowhere to be, nothing to do, etc etc. I unpacked and headed into the rainfall shower. It was heaven after such a crazy day.

I went for a little walk on the beach around 630pm when the rain stopped. It was super wavy and the ocean was dark grey/brown from the monsoon. Still the beach and ocean were amazing. It wasn't the white sand and turquoise water like in the pictures but I love the ocean in any form. There were local fishermen pulling their nets out of the water. They caught fish, crabs, lots of poor little starfish, and a stingray! I watched the guy break off the poison part of the tail and throw the fish in the bag. (Video link below) I asked if he ate stingray, he said yes, very delicious actually! I had prawn curry and goan rice for dinner, in one of the resort restaurants, it was recommended as their specialty. I also tried a glass of Indian made sauvignon blanc, and it was surprisingly very good! Dinner only cost me $50! Haha. The waiter was very nice and gave me a big list of things to do off of the resort if I wanted to, as well as a place to go for cheap local dosas (I asked for this suggestion!). The chef was also present and made sure I enjoyed it. I really really did.

I slept like a baby. A baby in a 5 star resort. I woke up to roaring rain again. I made a cup of tea, had some fruit that was left in a basket in my room, and slowly let myself wake up. Around 730am the sun poked out. Hallelujah!! I knew it would likely not last so I grabbed a book and a bikini and headed for the pool. I laid out so towels on a lawnchair and ordered a banana smoothie and a chai. I read a chapter of "guruji" then it started to sprinkle. Surprise surprise! I put my belongings under cover and jumped into the hot tub. Mmmm bubbles! Then I went for a little swim in the pool, then back to the hot tub to warm up. After half an hour, the light rain stopped and the sun broke through again. I got another 2 hours in the sun. I had had enough so started to walk toward the beach for a little stroll before coming back to my room. RAIN! Pouring rain! Haha, I knew it was coming. I walked back to my room, getting soaking wet, but it was fun. Some kids were in the pool LOVING it. There's a water slide built into some rocks and they were having the time of their lives. Back to my rainfall shower and then the internet (now!). Later on... Some lunch. If I don't come home, I'll be here. In my hut. I think I might just stay :)

The hotel grounds apres rain

 The beach

 The hotel grounds

 The hotel grounds at night, under the full Blue Moon

 Prawn Curry - YUM!

 Morning at the pool

 Pretty things

PS... A friend of mine shared with me this fun iPhone app that makes these photo-collages. I'm obsessed!!

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