Archive for the 'India' Category

Festivities, poor poor feets, and feats of frustration

The Wandering Nerd December 26th, 2007

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Did you all get what you wanted for Christmas? Was it really what you wanted? This was the sunset I got on Christmas Eve. Not too shabby, eh? The Christmas party took a while to get going but turned into a lively little shindig. My Christmas funk made a bit of a return appearance, nothing majorly bad, just a general melancholy in the midst of all the revelry. *shrug* And someone stole my sandals from the Christmas party so I got to walk home barefooted. Not bad on the beach, kinda’ unpleasant on the rocky path to my abode. Clearly not the best Xmas Eve I’ve ever had, but - believe me - it was not the worst by a long shot. There was actually a lot of pleasantness in there at points.

My Christmas present turned out to be a whole afternoon of fighting, in no particular order, the Indian airline industry, the US Credit Card system, the Indian train system, and the Indian bus lines. That’s India - 3 USA - 1. India wins the most bloody frustrating award! Yay! Here’s to you India!

I sussed out a flight out of India on the 9th of January flying out of Chennai when my two main credit cards decided to be all sorts of flaky. When did all this ‘Verified by Visa’ shit start? That makes it really fun to try to use them when overseas. Clearly no one should be traveling outside of the US! Why would you want to do something all crazy like that?!?! Asshats.

So with a flight finally booked and my cards sorted, now I just need to get to Chennai by the 9th. Easy right? Nope, the trains are booked up through the 24th of January. The buses are an option, but not one I’m really reveling. Surprise of surprises, the place where I’m staying has worked a deal for me, it involves bribing a ticket official to get me on the train. India - 4! I’ve heard some people say that INDIA actually stands for “I’ll Never Do India Again.” While I’m not prepared to make a broad sweeping statement like that just yet, I’ve got my eye on it. I’m just going to keep a running tally of India’s silliness. So a vanishing phone, and my shoes going walkabout bring our India total up to 6.

I’ve been hanging out with some other Brits…y’know it just occurred to me I haven’t met an Aussie in over a week…heavens to mergatroid! So back to the Brits, they are fire performers. We caught another one of their shows last night and I snagged some photos for you general amusement.

My camera is holding up like a trooper, even though some sand has gotten in the motor and it grinds when opening and closing and the shutter also has sand in it - sand is a big theme down here - so even when fully powered off it still has a bit of the lens exposed. Like an ever unblinking eye! Or someone with major nerve damage to the muscles in their face. Either or.

false security has lulled the madness
of this world into a slumber
wake up, wake up
-powerman 5000

Now where exactly are my trunks? Dora the Explorer and sin wave moods

The Wandering Nerd December 24th, 2007

Goa time works differently than time in the rest of the world. It seems like I’ve only been here a couple of days but from the posts and the photos I know I’ve clearly been in India for over a week. It feels a lot like the cover of one of the Calvin and Hobbes anthologies called, ‘The days are just packed.’ and they’re both asleep under a tree. This really is a good vacation spot for all of it’s strange quirks. Palolem is much more of a relaxed environment from Anjuna.

I’d mentioned that my cell phone was dying, apparently it decided to crawl off and die alone. It has vanished. I’m not prepared to say it was stolen out of my room, but I’m not the kind of person who misplaces thing like that. Usually I do it much more gross fashion, never that simply. In any event, to further what I said before, assume now that I don’t have your number anymore, if at one point I did. It sucks too as the phone had a lot of random snapshots on it along with the contact information of about 6 years worth of people. *shrug* So it goes.

Tim and I walked out to “Monkey Island” on the north end of Palolem and went for a wee bit of a hike. I figured I would search for the Secret of Monkey Island, and go all Guybrush Threepwood. Turns out the only secret of the island is that, in point of fact, there are no monkeys. I was severely disappointed. Similar to my travels to the Virgin Islands.

I suppose I’d be remiss to not cover the whole Christmas thing. Historically I’m not a festive type. It’s just not a holiday that does much for me. My typical Christmas tradition for a long time had been to make some spagetti, get a fifth of Jack Daniels and watch movies about war. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

The best Christmas I’ve ever had involved a black Christmas tree with skull lights, strange ornaments, and a goth angel crowning it, it was ‘loverly’. So it’s safe to say I don’t fall in the normal category of festivities.

This year however, tonight I should say, the merry making involves a 12 hour rave on the beach. I decided that last year was to be my last Spagetti-Jack-Full Metal Jacket Christmas. I have to boast that I think the dichotomy is almost palpable.

I’m off my friends. Here’s to you all having a happy and safe Christmas, stay warm as you can, and pour a glass of eggnog for the old nerd. Suffering on the beaches of Goa.

but it’s just the price i pay
destiny is calling me
open up my eager eyes
cause i’m mr. brightside
-the killers

It rains here? A short swim becomes a long on, and dreams that don’t let

The Wandering Nerd December 21st, 2007

Having had such an interesting time in Anjuna, and out of prudence, I decided it was time to move on. No point in tempting fate too much…well more than I already did. I think it could be said I was playing Red Rover with Fate at one point in there, but that’s all behind us now. I went to a beach party the night before I left and played pool with a couple German guys - Gunter and Wulfgang, seriously German. Walking back the final time I was stopped yet again by the cops wanting to search me for weed. Different cops this time and I was alone this time so no accessory charges could be laid against me. But my nagging sense of self preservation kept me from antagonizing this cop.

It’s really pretty stupid. After the cops stop you on the beach, as you’re walking back along the corridor of shops, every second person comes up to you and offers to sell you weed, hash, and something called MDMA which to my mind is way too close to DRM so I have no intention of taking either of them. It’s also a fairly common thing for people to sell drugs to tourists and then go right to the cops to tip them off about the tourist having drugs. Said cop goes to ‘arrest’ the scared tourist, gets bribed, then gives a cut of the bribe to the dealer who sold the tourist the illegal drugs in the first place. Ah, the circle of life.

Pretty quickly it becomes tiresome and silly, hence why I moved to Palolem - and subsequently Colomb Beach. The southern part of Goa is much more relaxed in regard to everything from what I’ve seen. There are still a number of touts and panhandlers, and the initial price for everything is always three times what they’ll really let things go for, but the pressure isn’t near as high. People just wave from deeply shadowed shops, racks of colorful clothes and trinkets spilling out into the sunlight. Occasionally they’ll ask, you being their friend and all, if you would like to come into the shop. Much better than people grabbing your arm and trying to physically pull you into a stall in Anjuna.

High season is officially in here. The prices for rooms go up to about double or triple the normal rate. I got a cabana room right near Colomb Beach with Tim, a brit I met in Anjuna. The beach itself is a bit rocky and more of a lagoon, but it’s situated smack betwixt Palolem and Putnam. Only about a 5 minute walk to either of them, or just swim out and around some rocks and you’re there. The water is shallow, only about 1.5 meters deep out to about 100m from the shore. Even I can swim in that. Being salt water it’s exceptionally easy to float, and with the water temperature being very close to body temperature, I’ve been enjoying just kicking back and floating for a while with the sun shining down on me.

After 5 months of pretty peppy movement about the world I’m settling in here for a couple weeks and having a little mini vacation sort of thing. Doing some aikido and muay thai on the beach before I go for a 30 minute run or so, then diving into the ocean for an hour is really, really nice. Then spend the afternoon reading in the shade enjoying a cold beer, and rounding the day off nicely with a beach front dinner, finding some live music and meeting some new people.  The hardest things I have to deal with are sunburns and finding the right path home in the middle of the night.

I’ve been sort of late in getting my brief introductory Hindi Language, I’ll get to that in the next few days. On a technical side, I’m pretty sure my cell phone is dead. So if I’ve given you the travelling number, assume it no longer works. Also my camera is acting all squirrely, so fewer pictures. I know there’s a scratch on the lens, it shows up in some of the really light pictures, but now it’s periodically just taking pictures which are simply null. I’m going to try to fix it, if not… Well, I’m not sure where I can get one simply so I may have to start making drawings in MS Paint or something.

i know my answers often left you
feeling like you were hanging out to dry
i know my reasons
have left you wondering why
-xavier rudd

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