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Goa Dave

INDIA | Saturday, 5 January 2013 | Views [1236]

So, in December 2012 I finished a contract in the UAE (the Emirates, for short) and made the plan (for reasons too long and boring to explain) to hang around in the emirates for a week while Luke and Owen finished their first week of paragliding courses in India. Then, go to India and join them for a week's paragliding. Then, go to Mumbai, when Owen would get on a plane home, and Luke and I would carry on to Goa for a few days over Xmas and then onto Hampi for New Year's and to wait for the next emirates contract.

As it turned out, Luke got the contract starting Jan 6th and I didn't, meaning I stayed in Hampi for another 2 months! Well, part of the reason for being there was in case one or both of us got messed around, so we made sure we were somewhere super-cheap, but also fun. Hampi ticks all the boxes! I had an awesome time!!

During this trip, I wrote two short stories, one in Goa and one in Hampi, both about two people I met. It's all true! So, without further ado:

Goa Dave

How to sum up Goa. Well, I could refer to one conversation I had with a guy called Dave. I’m guessing he was in his late 20′s and he’d been in Goa for a while. To be fair, he wasn’t a total crusty, only hints of it. Rather he struck me as someone who used to live a fairly straight-laced existence, probably the usual 9 to 5. There were only cursory nods towards hippydom, such as the slightly bizarre hat and loose-fitting shirt and trousers. Most strikingly though was that, although he could hold a normal conversation for brief periods, after a few minutes it seemed to become too much and you could be talking about the price of milk and you could see that he would be taking that simple concept and swirling it round in his mind, spiralling it down to ever-deeper levels of philosophy that only a drug-fuelled mind could.

He’d taken a tandem paragliding flight off the nearby hill and was saying, with quite some passion, that he was craving more and was thinking of taking some lessons. Me and Luke had completed some courses at an excellent school in Kamshet, not too far away and, as far as we could tell, was likely by far the best school to learn paragliding at in India and excellent value. We spent the next 15 minutes showing Dave photos and video and imparting everything we knew about the school to Dave. He appeared to be very excited about it and was seriously considering taking it further. The conversation came to a close when it reached a peak and I said, “Yeah, honestly Dave, I think if you’re going to do a paragliding course, you’d be crazy not to do it at this school. It’s the best value, it’s very safe and it’s an awesome place to be”.

The conversation paused and Dave suddenly became stock still as he considered the situation with a look of confused intensity. The neurons in the reasoning part of his brain were lighting up like a Christmas Tree, knowing that he really SHOULD go to Kamshet and take the paragliding course, but, like a Christmas Tree experiencing a rapid intermittent power cut, the lights were flashing brightly but only periodically and briefly. Meanwhile, the rest of his brain was a swirling vortex of drug-addled confusion. The maelstrom was sucking power from the Christmas Tree.

Deep down, Dave knew he should go and do the paragliding course in Kamshet. The deeply-buried Amygdala, the primitive reptilian part of his subconscious mind responsible for emotion – primitive though it may be, like your Mum doing the housework after the kids have made a mess, someone has to clear up the shit and keep the ship moving – the Amygdala knew it must do something and, mustering all of its primitive and simple power, was trying to steer this labouring ship towards the right objective.

I watched intently his furrowed brow and tense facial expression, his reddened eyes flicking around as his malfunctioning brain sent clashing signals around his cortex.

A few moments passed. I waited…

“I’m off to bed. Well, after a joint. I’ll see you guys tomorrow. You gonna be here? Same place?”

And off he went.

And so the rhythm of Goa carries on. Meditation on the beach, while 100′s of conventional Indian families and tourists stroll by – surely there’s a better place to do your meditation? I couldn’t help but think that it was some sort of ‘display’ of meditation and yoga. Maybe in their minds, by showing people that they could sit still for a long time despite throngs of tourists walking past them, these ‘lost souls’ would think about taking up meditation themselves? Or maybe they think that their ‘energy’ will rub off on these unenlightened people and bring good karma to their otherwise aimless existence. Or, for me, the most worrying possibility and perhaps the most likely, is that they just don’t feel at all strange or distracted meditating out in the open with lots of noise and people around them on a public beach. Maybe I could confront them and challenge them on their ‘lack of connection and engagement with people around them’. I’m sure they would horrified to hear something like that. That, or they would just think I’m lost and confused and calmly look back at me with sympathetic (but slightly reddened) eyes.

Today, Dave is on the beach biding his time, swinging his thin airy shirt around in a circle by his side as he walks along because it feels good and he’s a liberated person. Somewhere in his dulled mind he’s thinking that he should do something today, maybe some more of that strong acid that could o.d. a horse. That was the good shit. Or maybe he could try and shag that dreadlocked hippy-chick he saw earlier on who was foraging for pieces of coconut hair to make into a new braid. Apparently she was going to just bury it into her already birdnested set of dreadlocks and stray bundles of rebellious hairs. Her reddened and slightly wild eyes belied yet another mind on a sure path to ‘drug-assisted enlightenment’. Depsite all this, Dave felt strangely attracted to her. Just as he was thinking this, Dave tripped on a used fire-poi and landed face first in the damp sand. ‘Oooo, that kinda hurts, but it feels cool.’ And there Dave stayed for the rest of the afternoon, face down in the sand, until a strong feeling of hunger compelled him to trot happily off to the nearest cheap restaurant for some vegan and a joint.

Tags: arambol, backpacking, goa, hippies, hippy, india, travelling

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