In February 2009 I was happy to escape the European winter for a trip to a country that is so much unlike anything else I have seen before - India!
Slow traveling with a couple of friends, from Kerala via Karnataka towards Goa. Traveling India is something you'd either love or hate, according to an old travelers saying. For me, it was like flowing in the middle of the river of live, even though I wasn't sure I would enjoy traveling in company rather than traveling on my own beforehand. On the trip, everything developed pretty much automatically in the best possible way - an experience that I haven't had that much before and which still keeps me going the right way if I focus on happiness rather than on worries. We met the right people at the right time in the right places, even though (or especially because) we did not even try to plan to much before. Let's just say, it has changed my life in a nice and chanti way. As for some of the less known places we've visited, I hope they can keep their original and friendly spirit and abstain from building up ugly hotels for mass tourism.
Om nama shiva ya :-)
- Category: India 2009
One week in the heat of Hampi, and it is time to head for the beaches again. Goa is our destination, we'd like to party and dance over there even though we've heard few good recommendations during our journey. The hippies are all gone, and Goa's former spirit is dead - spoiled by mass tourism everyone would tell us. Beach parties are closed by midnight. Nevertheless, Maik, Urs and me go for it. Our French friends decide to stay in Hampi for a little longer.
We reach Arambol after another long bus ride early in the morning. We stroll around, have some breakfast and look out for possible accommodations. Even the smallest primitive huts have utopic prices compared to what they offer, that's what we find. However, we spend the daytime relaxing on a less frequented neighboring beach, swimming in a small sweat water lake for a change. A bracelet seller gives us a hint for a small hike into the woods behind the lake, a holy man would sit there on the river. We decide to go for it and walk up the narrow foot path. We find the Baba man talking to some tourists, and move on, further up the small river in the thick and vivid primeval forest. Sudden screams from underneath a nearby giant tree on a hill - Ahooooo, ahoooo. The sound of drums. We check it out - there is a bunch of Babas and young white tourists sitting around a blossom bedecked circle. Even the big trees surrounding the place are decorated with hand made flower bracelets. There is still some place to sit, and a welcoming gesture of the oldest of the Baba's makes us joining the group. The people just sit around, play passed around instruments together, and smoke and drink passed around coffee. No one would really talk, but talking isn't necessary here. The drums do the talking, and the giant trees around us.
Later that afternoon, me and my friends leave Arambol, heading for Anjuna, another famous beach area of Goa. Its gonna be our last chapter of this journey, and the three of us spoil ourselves renting an entire neat house in town, not far away from the beach. We visit the market, a vast collection of carpet sellers, cloth, jewelry and spice shops. Some of the shops would play Indian mantra chants, holy songs for enlightenment. Colors, sounds and smells of India concentrated... Maik and Urs would buy themselves djembees, and we spend the following days and nights playing together in front of our house or on the beach. Once, a few Indian tourists joined us during a session on the beach, and ask us for the drums. After we handed them the instruments, they'd start playing very complex and beautiful rhythms together, claiming they did not play before. It seems they'd have music in their blood...
If we didn't play the drums, we were on the beach for swimming or dancing. Even though there was barely a 10 minute piece on the beach without someone trying to sell us the 5th shirt or the 10th bracelet, lets just say our time in Goa was great, great due to the friends and the drums :-)