There is a slightly cool breeze blowing on my face. I can see the sea through the dusty, thick, plastic panels of the restaurant in front of me and there are a couple of dogs hanging out on the beach. I counted nearly 30 yesterday, on the beach. They look ok, they look happy, but I’m sure they’re pretty hungry.
I’m still in India for a couple more days. I wasn’t planning on another post, but today I went for a jog on the beach (yay!), and I started writing it in my mind, so here we are again. I almost feel like a different person after the run. I could feel the weariness starting to leave my body as I moved forward. It is a 20 minute there-and-back jog, the area in which I am staying. I did two laps with a couple of short sprints in the mix. Feeling satisfactorily tired after, (this being the first actual exercise I have done since being here) I dropped my kikoi and plunged into the cool sea. I ran in my cozzie which lucky for me was enough support as I am certainly not togged up for a run here. The sea is just divine. I am using that word on purpose! It is the perfect temperature, and the waves are gentle and at that time I had the whole ocean to myself. Although not early, around 8.30, there is very little early morning activity here in India. Not to say people don’t rise early, as they do, but the shops don’t open before 9. It is a late night affair here…shopping goes on til 9pm. It must be because of the heat.
Anyway, the point of so much writing about running and stuff is it just highlighted to me the value it has in my life. I feel relaxed, awake and peaceful right now, as I wait for my breakfast. Perhaps it also has something to do with my location (Palolem beach, south Goa). I guess I have to pass some credit here as it’s really quite lovely. And maybe enough time has passed to recover or recuperate from this recent experience. Maybe it all happened at the right time – I arrived here yesterday and this has been the first time I have had the opportunity to run as I don’t have shoes for it and this beach is perfect. I feel myself recovered, and going for a jog was the expression of that.
I would also be happy to leave now, as I would rather spend the extra time visiting with my 101 year old Supergran and my sisters and nephews back in SA, but that is not how it is, and that is also fine. I have another two nights here.
I came up on the overnight train from Cochin, in the sleeper class carriage. I love it. A 15 hour journey starting at 8pm. Falling asleep to the sound of the train moving along the tracks is a special thing. Perhaps there is a childhood memory in there somewhere, but there is a security and comfort in it, somehow. Justine had left a couple of days before me as her flight was earlier. We spent about 5 or so days together, relaxing and wondering around and shopping and sleeping and just enjoying some unpressurised time together. She is an old friend, and lives now in Hong Kong, and it was through her that I came in the first place.
I am just interrupting this with the arrival of my fruit salad – fresh banana, papaya, watermelon, apple and pineapple. It is worth the mention 🙂
One evening, Justine and I went on the ferry across to the mainland. We were staying in Fort Cochin, which is the quaint older area, where the big fishing nets are, and more of the tourist spot. Cochin is a large city, local name Ernakulam and it is divided into areas around where the rivers meet the sea, hence the need for ferry crossing from one area to the next. It is about a 17 minute crossing to the mainland from Fort Cochin. It is nothing like I imagined. Across the river from Fort Cochin is a huge oil refinery, adding a different edge to the horizon line.
Anyway, Justine had read a review online from a blogger about this restaurant in the city, so we decided to go there for dinner. But it is not for the restaurant that I am mentioning this. We had a good meal, and were walking back to the ferry at our leisure, when we passed some kind of event that was happening. Bright lights, music, and a giant toy like gorilla beating a drum in a regular fashion, as well as a huge funny looking lion, where enough to catch our attention. People were buying tickets and going in, but we couldn’t work out what it was by looking from the outside. So we just had to satisfy out curiosity. In we went, 30 rupees a head (a whole R6). It was a pet trade show. But also, a bit of homeware and clothing, as well as the odd bit of food. Well, it would NEVER pass any standards in any country I have been for this type of thing. Grubby, messy, dirty carpets laid over a floor that was I don’t know what underneath because it kept moving when you stepped on it. There was one way in and you had to keep moving forward. Fish, birds, ranging from chickens, bugies, parrots, emu, pigeons, weird stuff. A cow, dogs and cats. Various plants. A bit smelly as you can imagine. Who knows how well the animals were cared for. They looked ok I guess, but it could have been a lot better. We stayed there a bit and found a clothing seller with some beautiful garments so we spent some time with her, and then moved to leave quickly as I had left my kikoi in the restaurant, and we were getting close to 9.30 when the last ferry ride was, although I didn’t know this. Amazingly, we got a rickshaw back to the restaurant, where my kikoi was still hanging over the chair, and we drove down to the ferry and literally bought a ticket, ran onto it and off it went. I couldn’t believe it! Brilliant timing by default.
The day Justine left, there was a tragic accident. Shortly before docking, a boat crashed into a ferry, and broke in half. There were 8 deaths, and many people went to hospital. This apparently is the first time it has happened. It was something about the pull of the currents, and the set routes the boats take, where the skipper hasn’t control of the steering, which made it unavoidable. I don’t understanding fully though. It hit the headlines as breaking news, and hundreds of people gathered to watch the lifting of the boats with cranes and a jcb. I did too. I couldn’t help myself, and I was intrigued by the way Indians handle a crisis. It looked like their were some professionals doing it, but there were ordinary people involved in helping, and everybody was watching. There is a huge unifying that happens. People become as one. Is it because there are so many people here, and that is the only way it can work? I don’t know. The following day many shops were closed in respect to the lost people, of which some were children.
But now I don’t want to end this on a sad note. There is also more I want to write, but I have noticed my posts getting longer and longer so that’s not too good. Better divisions need to happen. I formed a post in my mind this morning while doing what not, and I haven’t even ventured onto those thoughts. Ah well, perhaps I should do a bit more travelling and I can get round to them 🙂 But until then, I am thinking about renting a scooter today, but although I can now drive a three wheeler with sufficient competency, the first and only time I tried a motorbike, I proceeded to drive straight into a thorn bush in a matter of seconds, so I will have to psyche up for this one !!