Nina took the flight better than I expected and few movies later we arrived in Mumbai. One useful tip is not to ever leave the airport to get to a domestic airport. You can’t get back in and the shuttle bus takes you through the airport. You realize just how big it is, with shacks appearing up next to the airport. This is it!
Once we stepped out the Goan airport, I felt I was in India. Our tired driver waited for us, probably all night. He took us through the winding roads to Patnam and only on one occasion did a bus nearly hit us, right at the bend he pretty much occupied both lanes. He carried on honking the horn, only losing his temper on ocassion.
We checked into Casa Fiesta and our little green beach shack looking out at the sea. There we met Ashish just waking up to a slow Goan morning. We started chatting about India and ashrams. He told us about Rishikesh and how one simply falls into meditation from the energy left behind from centuries of others meditating. He told us about Auroville, where he worked as a gardner together with the community. The place is a beatiful eco village started by a french lady and he spoke about Dalai Lama refuge and this February it will be the Lama’s birthday. Apparently, he will retire soon and the next Lama could be a woman or even from the west. He pretty much confirmed the places we dotted on our map, which is great to know.
Patnam beach is dotted with little beach shacks which during the day serve fresh fruit juices in the lounge beds to help beat the heat. We visit a place calles ‘Home’, a place which serves tasty fresh salads, surrounded by palms.
When the dark arrives, the whole place is lit up. Even the trees are wrapped up in colourful lights, tables extended to the beach and candle lights glistening everywhere. Chefs stand outside with fires ready to grill your fish or make you a roti in a tandoori. We head over to April 20, a restaurant playing chilled Indian music and an intimate loud atmosphere. We order 3 things – goan fish curry and rest veg dishes. Cold beer soon arrives. We ended up eating here almost every night apart from the night we went to Bhakti Kutir, a beautiful place with a courtyard where the ceiling is formed of old parashoots. This was also our first Tuk tuk ride.
I realised something then, these dogs are in a paradise.
My trip to Canacona to help repair 2 laptops for Mahesh from Casa Fiesta resulted in us carrying a big block of ice back on a scooter. I’ve carried rolled grass, soil bags and other things but never a large block of ice. Still, riding through the back roads was pretty safe, hardly any cars. Only, I was without a helmet. Which is pretty much how everyone rides.
My further interesting conversations were with Ashish again. He use to be an anlyst (like my bro) until he had a car accident. Hitting him as he was walking. It took him a while to recover and he was paralysed and he eventually lost his job which was very stressfull for him. He now works where he can but he’s at peace. He says that when you’re exhausted from work, you don’t care where you sleep. You just fall asleep. So he feels at this point in life he’s rich, as his needs are smaller. I think its about understanding what you really need in life to feel rich. Certainly, materialistic things will keep you happy for the moment but not for life. I do feel there needs to be a balance. We agreed that you cannot just escape today’s world, which is very much materialistic but a balance is good. What do you really need?
We also spoke about various religions in India and some extremeties. Without going into too much detail he told me about one state in India where people were opressed and rebelling. The state of Punjab, with Sikh majority wanted seperation from India. The clever PM at that time started offering business incentives and made education free to everyone. Within only 8 years, the situation changed…it gave people new focus and hope. Now it’s one of the richest states in India. We agreed that education is key to resolving opression. Obviously, its not the only factor but first and foremost it will empower people to make their own decisions.
- Chilli, rock and lime dangling in front of each place is to ward off evil spirits. Such as thieves.
- The moon looks like upsidedown D as we’re near the equater.
- Namaste, the indian hello can be interpreted as ‘I recognise the soul within you’
- Pharsee believe when they pass away their body should be eaten by a vulture which helps to take them to the next place.
- You can book train journeys using Cleatrip app but you must register with Indian railways.
- To avoid 6% bank fee charge every time you withdraw money, get a prepaid card such as FairFx.
- Dont leave without charcoal tablets and apple cider vinegar which should help with food poisoning. Apple cider you need a little with water, but it has to be from ‘mother’, cold extracted to start the enzyme process and preserve the nutrients. Others swear by it.
- You can make cheap international calls with Skype if you buy credits. I had to call my bank in UK but its cheap.
- With overfishing in India, try to avoid fish or eat mackarel and calamari. Veg dishes are so good you dont need meat and less likely you will end up with food poisoning.
- Tandoori oven originated from Afghanistan, then into Pakistan and then into India.
- The sacred Fig tree (the Bodhi) is the only tree that breaths, it takes in oxygen like us.It is the tree Siddhartha meditated and achieved enlightenment under. Also, Bodhi is the name of my dearest friend’s newborn son.
- Ruman Mahishi is a guru from Thiruvannahmalli. Every day, a cow travelled 20km to listen to him and other animals too. After he passed away, the cow continued to come to the place every day until she also passed away
To look at our pictures, click here
Lastly, I want to thank the staff at Casa Fiesta (Ashish, Thakur, Mahesh, Harish and others) for a great time at Patnam.
Thanks for reading