I've got a mosquito bite on my ass. I have furiously looped hair from the humidity. The further North we move, the less I have to deal with these maddening digs into my being. We're in Goa, once home to queer hippies and the "party scene", both of which have dwindled alongside people's disposable travel incomes. We were warned about colossal expenditures in Goa but we're finding no real challenge to our budgets, though we're a good 6 Km away from any beach. After house-boating, flopping aimlessly in the Arabian Sea, and having Indians gawk at us for daring to swim on the beaches, we're venturing back towards our original inclination. Mountains, waterfalls, and hot springs await us again.
It's also well beyond the period in which I was in awe of India. I'm far less impressed with the suspenseful ambiguity and much more peeved with staleness that was imminent on such a long, now monotone journey. I've become homesick but not in relation to a single place, rather I'm fixated on our move to Albuquerque and getting back more of my familiar experiences that I can't recreate here like beer, running, and gardening. I made the mistake of counting the days down last week, like an assembly line worker staring at a watch mid-shift. I've a bit over two weeks left. I look forward to seeing everyone and getting things done.
With that said, I feel as if I have grasped my Indian adventure by this point. I've grown to love a wonderful woman in the process of dealing with a three month assault on the senses and in the most peculiar, nonsensical landscape. I feel as if most people would have been at each others windpipes, but we just grew closer. We skipped working at the farm and paying more than our daily budget in addition to our free labor. Our trip to the Solan distillery was a no-go and our stay in the town soured our memories further. I never fully established a regimented exercise schedule; the stress of being present all the time leaves little room for the constant pull of the physical. But instead, I learned new ways to eat and have less reservation about social mores being dropped amongst strangers. I found that I'm more than capable of guidebook-less backpacking, working a really simple, dependable method to get around on my own terms. I bargain really well and balance my budget even in a place where frugality isn't essential. I chucked things rather than acquired, unlike the travelers we spotted weighing down their packs with extraneous chatchkis.
We're on our way to Hampi and Raipur. Our trains are booked and we just await seating arrangements. To venture more than a thousand miles, it cost us $18. I can't praise the train and bus systems more.; they're so effective once you know the system and how to ask strangers for advice on routes. I don't see myself returning to India again but I've closure on a mysterious location which I entered without assumptions and much knowledge. I regret nothing.
|Ever elusive since his presidency, Georgie now caters to tourist scum in Goa.|
|Meows heard deep in a brick pile. We meowed back and forth for 10 minutes.|
|My friend, the trash bin animal.|
|Frightening looking dolls; watch them scheme bloody murder.|
|Sunrise in Margao.|
|Who thought this would make for appealing advertising?|
|We just drank papaya lassies so we glow.|
|Spent mussels underwater in Kannur.|
|A tamer beachside than in Alleppey, Kannur.|
|There are 16 people looking at us, minimum.|
|There are a lot of churches in the South.|
|Sunset and catamarans in Alleppey.|
|Hammerhead and Tuna, snuggling to stay warm.|
|Communist rally rappers, dig it?|
|Communist rally parade; no one seemed to know why they were in line, waving flags.|
|A little AZ love for y'all in Alleppey.|
|Rice paddy technicolors, Kerala.|
|A fisherman's bounty, Kerala.|
|My sole shot of the houseboat we cruised on, Kerala.|
|Underwater and under the influence of diesel byproducts, Kerala.|
|Felix and Noga mumbling underwater, Kerala.|
|A grumpy navigator, Kerala.|
|Moving towards tourists in stride, Fortcochin.|