As I write this it is 10:51PM in India, back home it would be 12:21pm. I have just made me a cup of coffee and I am settling in to ensure I capture what we are experiencing before it slips away into my subconscious. We landed in Goa around 4pm yesterday ignorant to the fact that it is the party place of India for New Years Eve celebrations.
Our ride from the airport to where we were staying took about two hours, during this time our friendly guide from Goa caught us up on some of the history of his home town. He was young and spunky, he even had a freaking rat tail, so epic right? He went on to tell us that the largest majority of people in Goa were in fact Christians because the Portuguese ruled Goa, invading in 1510 and establishing in 1560. According to some sources online it said their rule continued for about 450 years! Our guide was Christian himself and I found it fascinating how prideful he was to share his religious affiliation. He excitedly explain that we would see how alive their religion was by all the lights that are hung for Christmas and in particular big stars are hung from many places in honor of Jesus and his birthday. Wow right!?
As the sun set he pointed out all the houses that were lit and had mangers built in their yards, windows and even in rivers! Of course you can imagine this was not what I expected AT ALL lol. He went on to point out every church and chapel and informed us that we could tell the difference between Christian and Hindus homes by whether they hung a star or a lantern from their home. He went on to say Goa is where many from other places in India come to drink and eat in way that is not so acceptable in other parts of India. He mentioned as a Goan and Christian he drank alcohol and ate cow meat and spoke terrible Hindi because Goans speak Konkani which is a mix of Hindi and Portuguese and they did not find cows as holy like Hindus do.
While our super groovy guide continued we all stared in horror at the millions of cars and motor bikes that seemed to swerve from lane to lane with no hesitation but a shit load of honking. I wish some one could have captured our bug eyed faces as we held on for dear life as our guide kept repeating "oh no worries". There are not words for me to describe the amount of traffic and swerving that was going down. The closer we got to Mandrem beach the narrower the roads got and the more traffic and squeezing there was.
OH also there are not addresses here like house numbers soooo our guide had to call the man who arranged our living situation and set up a meeting place so we could follow him to where we were staying. It was like the wild fucking west Goa style finding our way to our house. My advice NEVER arrive on New Years Eve in Goa, Ever Ever Ever. Epic wrong move logistically. With six of us traveling we were staying in two separate places, first two were dropped off and the four of us remaining continued in the shit show of traffic. Oh the honking and the unpredictable motor bikes that began to congest the streets. As we arrive at our house we created a terrible traffic jam with our big ass bus/van as we all panicked to get our luggage unloaded with ALLLLLLL the HONKING. bahahahahahhahaha. oh man. Pure panic. But we made it, our kind friend ushered us in our home and began to rattle off all the need to knows about the house. Everything was a blur at this point.
My dear friend arrived that we came to India to be with and we decided to all drop our bags and fill our bellies with some food, which meant we were getting back in a car and heading in the wild west of Goa on New Years Eve after 48 hours of travel. Here we are eating our first meal at Forgotten Lands.
Now I must say as we headed home in the chaos and back roads of Goa we all were feeling the drain of the journey, we needed rest the problem was now we were 10 hours ahead of our normal time back home. What was midnight here our bodies felt was noon.
Eventually we dosed off among the fire works, honking and the celebrating folks walking by in this new place we would call home for the next 75 days. I squeezed my son tight and prayed for the energy and perseverance needed to forge ahead in the unknown with the protection of the divine forces that lead us here.
We finally awake around 10am surprisingly alive and invigorated by the sunlight. I jumped up and immediately looked out the window almost as if i needed to see the streets of India again to remind me of where i really was. Fuck we made it, we are in motha fucking India. I throw the curtains open and immediately headed to the kitchen to figure out how to use a hot plate for some coffee. I brought coffee from home because with trips like this you need something that reminds you of your roots. As the aroma of my coffee filled this home I threw the front door open and pulled the kitchen chairs out on the front porch because how else is a girl gonna get to know the streets of Goa.
Our house is located right on a main street that is littered with shops of all sorts, I do not know much about this place but it seems I am on the strip of a happening part of town. I plopped myself down with my coffee and dragged my son out to sit with me. Here is the real after photo of traveling across the world in two days to find yourself on a porch in Goa!
Across the street from us is a shop with hanging dresses and hippy purses; Next to it a house similar to ours with a man sitting outside on the phone chit chatting excitedly with his hands waving about. ahhhh the motor bikes and honking... this is home for now. Eccentric people of all colors and cultures pass by, this seems to be such an eclectic place to be.
We decide we must brave the wild west again to find food, exchange dollars for rupees and explore this town we are living in. We began with brunch at a place called Karma Kitchen "where food is therapy" literally two doors down from us. As soon as we walked in everything changed, it was the exact place we needed to go to ground and center. We were greeted by the owner, his name was Sammy. He had dreads and a big ass smile with a warm hand shake and sparkling eyes.
We had delicious dish called Saag Panner with homemade lemonade and waffles with a strawberry dipping sauce for the kids.
This place was in fact medicine for our travelers exhaustion. It was beautiful, open setting with fresh air flowing and soft tapestries waved in the breeze.
Everything was perfect, it brought us right back to where we needed to be. Our next adventure was to find an ATM to get some rupees, it turns out you can not bring rupees into India so when you come know that the rate of exchange you get from USD to INR varies depending on what place you go to. This has been an ultimate pain in the ass next to the wild west traffic.
We asked Sammy where was the closest ATM and he smiled and said "right across the street but most likely its not working and neither is my credit card machine BUT no worries, we are all one and we can collect on your tab later if you do not have rupees, welcome home this is India". Sammy was the man and we were so grateful for him. The ATM was in fact not working so we found a exchange place right next to it with all the varying cost and rates and fees of course but fuck it what can do right?! Rupees now on board!
As we walked down the streets random dogs followed with wagging tails, motor bikes busied the streets and I continuously snapped "tight and to the right" to my son as vehicles came by on this narrow street active with people, shops and cafe's. We met an amazing dress maker next who also has a massage place down the street and does henna. Her eyes were warm and deep she radiated genuine beauty and love. We chit chatted and quickly realized we all were gonna be good friends, she grabbed our hands after a deep conversation and said "Women are powerful and we are strong together, now lets try on some dresses." She was our next angel in grounding us here in the magic of India.
Later in the evening we all decided to meet at a place called "Lazy Dog" that is an Eco spa and resort we had heard about numerous times. It was wild to enter Goa in the night and then see it in the day. Lazy Dog was another gem tuck away behind the hustle and bustle of the streets and shops. As soon as we turned on the street we knew we had entered a different energy.
The entry was lined with luscious plants, the sun was beginning to set in the distance we could see the ocean and a row of huts.
As we turned the corner we saw beautiful bungalows that lined the beach as well as a pool that kids splashed around in, we chose to sit pool side for a while as we ate and the kids played.
The food was great but the scenery was the magic here. We ended our evening with a walk on the beach as we headed back to our homes for the evening. It is now 1 am and me and the kids are still wide awake and all is well, soon we will adjust i am sure. For now ill put some lavender in the diffuser and count sheep for a while. Blessing and love to you all from India.