X: North Goa

It seems the Siberian snap that has recently hit Europe (very Christmassy) has penetrated the subcontinent – here’s a report from the Times of India

Panaji – the mercury dropped to its lowest this season as meteorologists recorded a minimim temperature of 19.6 celsius on Sunday mornnig.

I must admit, I had to turn my fan down a couple of notches in the night to keep out this unwanted coolness.

So, me & Charlie are back on the road, bursting the Patnem pleasure-bubble in the process. I’d had a lovely last night as the with my adulterous lady friend, who’d popped back for more. I thought better of going to see her but she tracked me down & a lovely moonlight drive & walk along Turtle Beach ensued. But it was time to move on – Djing is actually (paid) work, & I’m really here to write a whole heap of sonnets. It was getting far too hard to concentrate down there, & on the bus ride north I felt my mind tuning back into the poesis of this mighty land, honing my penmanship, planning projects & organising notes. Its definitely time to stop pursuing pleasure & get on with the task in hand. I have worked out that if I write some sonnets in Orissa & fill in a few gaps elsewhere in India with wikipedia / lonely planet, I can finish my Indiad grand sequanza in a month or so; just in time to try & get it published up in Calcutta – India’s most artistic city. It has taken me 4 trips to the subcontinent to write this poem, after which I wanna see the rest of the world. Thus, fannying about getting laid & doing a job in Goa is definitely not on.

Back on the road our first port of call was Chapora – a narrow kind of Texas-style town with folk riding in on mopeds. It is mellowish by the day, but at night it comes into its own, with the bars knotty with half-cut travellers drinking beer & smoking chillumgees. The clientelle all seem to be something out of Camden – lots of neo-punks & tattooes. There are some major long-termers here, whom on asking where they’re from, despite their thick Austrian accent, reply ‘I am from nowhere’ – bloody hippies. The nicest part was the harbour, mellow with chilling fishermen & a few stray dogs, but pungent with the smell of fish. I meander’d to said harbour last night, & found myself confronted by about twenty multicolour’d fishing boats all flying the flag of India. There, I shook the hand of Raj, finding it as rough as treebark, & soon found the reason why – I helped him haul in a boat using thinish rope, which ripped my hands to shreds!

Its funny traveling with a fellow Lancashire lad. On several occasions Indians have interrupted our conversations with, ‘what language are you speaking.’ I generally communicate with Indians & internationalists with a sort of high-pitched pidgeon English, which I’ve perfected over the years. Charlie is getting irritated with it & telling me to speak ‘proper English, like.’ Still, he’s now in a great state of mind. Yesterday he went down to Anjuna beach, got offer’d drugs left, right & center, & even tried some free ketamine. His newfound opinion is that he’s not gonna pay those prices & ketamine’s proper dodgy anyway – mission accomplished! Now its time to start adventuring & I’ve got my eye on a random trek along the krishna river, like some madcap Victorian explorers in search of the Nile.

So, we’ve just reached Arambol. I was here nine years ago & it was a wee hippy shanty town. Since then its exploded in shops & restaurants. The quality of goods is great however, & there are a few places which specialise in sending your buys home via air & sea. The theme is generally arty throws & bedsheets. At first I was a bit miffed about it, but I’ve just spent sunset dancing with about a hundred folk to a load of bongo players on the beach, & even jammed along on this guy’s guitar – very good for the soul. We’ve got a well plush pad, perched between a tai-chi school & a yoga centre, for 6 quid a night between us. We can also cook, utilising our ever burgeoning culinary skills, & life is all good on the road.

14 / 12 / 10


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