Mike and I have been on the road now for 7 days. Again, I am reminded how Mysore, well really Gokulam is like no other place I’ve been in India. It’s like Intro to India. Don’t get me wrong it is and will always been dear to my heart and it certainly is India, but if you’ve been there and only there I think you are missing the big picture.
We started as many journeys begin with a really long and beautiful but bumpy car ride. Exactly and approximately 8 hours. When you are on the road you eat lunch where the driver decides to eat lunch. Lunch usually is one thing, this time it happened to be Thali at a less than clean establishment. A world far from Green Leaf.
Arriving in Hospet it felt like these people had not seen a white person ever. The excitement and curiosity always thrills me. People will pinch your cheeks and tell you how beautiful you are. Everyone wants to know your name and give you a proper hand shake. When the cameras come out it gets wild, everyone wants their picture taken, and the children really want a “single,” a shot of just them, this request is almost impossible to grant, but I managed in some cases.
Mike and I spent the next days commuting to Hampi, the former seat of the largest Hindu Empire. It is best known for its surreal rock and bolder landscape. It is quite breathtaking, and possibly the hottest Mike and I have ever been. I’m finding it is not the place that I most remember it’s the people that I meet along the way. After a particularly hot and long day I exited a temple and this tribe of women called me over to just sit with them. They gave me cookies and we talked as best we could, I don’t think I ever smiled so much. Mike was wandering around in the distance and of course I was asked about my husband, and why don’t we have children. All the little girls then ran to retrieve my husband grabbing him by the hand calling him “husband” and declared that they were our children. I took some photo’s, gave my husband some cookies and we left.
We were told at the travel agency the car ride from Hospet to Goa was 4 hours. Around the 4th hour we were nearly half way there. It was a tough car ride. When we arrived in Goa I had enough of India. Little did I know Goa would become one of our all time India highlights. The weather is dreary, monsoon rains appear out of nowhere, and the regular India dirty becomes combined with mud and the sand makes for a new level of grime. At our hotel we are the ONLY Westerners. The hotel offers bus tours of Goa, and I really didn’t want to get on an Indian bus and be the only non-Indians. Well, it turned out to be the best bus tour ever. The whole trip was 6 hours. At first everyone kept to themselves. We were dropped off at a site and then told how many minutes before we needed to be back on the bus. The family behind us began to translate. After about two hours I felt like Mike and I were in their family. We began talking and joking and they had two daughter one 21, and one 16. Very Western. The 16 year old plans to go the college in the U.S. Where? Somewhere in Florida because that’s where the Backstreet Boys are from. Even the Indian’s whose English was just so-so begun to bond with us and us with them. The culmination of the trip was a boat cruise, again about three hundred passengers, 2 whiteys! The ship had its own “disco” for dancing. Ladies entered for free, for men 50 Rs. It was a blast; everyone knew all the Bolly Wood moves and lyrics. We danced with our new Indian family, even Mike.
As we exited the ‘”Paradise Cruise” I had expanded my vision on what it means to be Indian. When I complimented the 16 year old on her dancing, and that everyone knew all the moves she quickly replied, “After all we are Indians.”
Part two of Goa to come: How to Bargin, Indian Style. Plus Adventures in Mumbai.
I’ll be back teaching at Wake Up Yoga starting Tuesday October 16th at 5:45pm, I can’t wait to see you all!