My last day at Swan dawned. In the resort, I felt protected from all the chaos and the madness going on in the world. There wasn’t a television. The internet connection was bad, and with that I mean, terrible, so I barely bothered to use it. To post my blog on Beat The Retreat, it took me over two hours!
The first day I went to Ashwin Beach with two guests from the retreat. We sat underneath the umbrellas, drinking cold drinks and eating normal food. At the retreat, the doctor advised me to stop caffeine, white bread, raw tomatoes and anything very sweet. I’ve abstained from three of them. Guess which one I couldn’t give up? The answer might surprise you.
Answer at bottom of page.
I checked into The Banyan Soul guest house, and what a relief to have air-con because the day time temperature had begun to rise – 40 degrees in the afternoons.
Sharon, my friend from Bali came by on her motor scooter. I needed some cash, before I’d left NZ the Indian government had put a freeze on the rupee so it was impossible to buy any in Auckland or Bali. I’d managed to get a few rupees at Goa airport so Sharon suggested a trip to Calangute to the ATM, on the back of her scooter.
The only transportation in Anjuna is a scooter or walking, and that’s not a great idea in baking heat.
So, I thought, what the hell! I’m going to do it. You only live once! So, I threw caution to the wind.
Sharon, I’m putting this on record you’re a great driver, but it was the constant beeping of horns, and swerving from cars and other bikes that made it nerve racking. I clung onto the back as Sharon zipped away around holes in the road, cows, dogs and people. No problems getting my cash from the ATM, and we met a friend of Sharon’s who had an accident on his bike. Half the skin of his knee had been ripped off, and it looked a mess. I swallowed hard, and begun to have second thoughts. As we left the town, I saw a guy had fallen off his motorcycle and his face and leg covered in blood. I resolutely looked ahead and clung on tighter.
We arrived at the café. Just a shed by the beach, but you can get the most amazing thali’s there for 100 rupees =NZ $2.40. We sat munching away, and a woman Sharon knew joined us, while we were discussing bike accidents. She’d had a bad one last year. Someone was trying to tell me something! I decided short drives only, I think Sharon was a tad relieved. It can’t be much fun having a nervous passenger on the back.
The woman who joined us had lived in Anjuna for 19 years. She’d arrived from Canada and never gone home. Apparently, the original hippies (1960’s – 80’s) followed the trail to India, ripped up their passports and spent their lives partying on the beach. In those days drugs were freely available, and you could buy them openly in Anjuna market without fear of arrest by the cops.
Now the hippies of the 60’s and 70’s are aging. You can see them around Anjuna wearing ankle length boots and driving scooters. Their favourite hangout is the Mango Café. I’d eat my breakfast there and people watch.
One morning Rudi, who I guessed was in his late 60’s, with white hair half way down his back, and a dark leathery skin nearly fell over. He had a problem with his balance for the last year. If he lived in Europe he would be seen by a doctor, given medication and followed up, but it doesn’t happen in Goa. He said very little health care is available, and it’s not free to foreigners. He’s 53, and has lived in Goa since 1980, and he recalled the all-night parties, dancing naked on the beach under the moon, the drugs and the sex. Many of the long-term residents have untreated medical problems, probably caused by taking too many drugs, and it’s not unusual for them to die in their 50’s.
These people live in a kind of limbo land. They’re not Indian citizens, and yet, they don’t belong in the countries they left behind. I found Rudi’s story sad, but he didn’t seem to have any regrets.
You only have one life…..
Until next time when I’ll be telling you about my visit to Anjuna market and Yoga classes!
The answer is white bread, as Indian bakers don’t seem to bake brown bread!