Little blogging recently, because I no longer have a guaranteed internet connection bigger than a Blackberry, life got hectic and Goa is fun.
After two months, I am Prati-less. She left to resume real life Monday evening. I spent one more night in our hotel by party central Baga Beach, planning to fly to Hyderabad the following afternoon.
I awoke the next morning for a private yoga class with crazy Osho yoga guy to an e-mail from Prati's friend in Hyderabad, my planned host, saying he had a cold and could I delay my arrival until weekend?
I got angry and panicked simultaneously and called Prati at 6 a.m., waking her up.
"Figure it out," she said, voice groggy with sleep, as my panic morphed into guilt. "There's nothing I can do at 6 in the morning."
I decided not to go to Hyderabad and be dependent on somebody who confirms and then flakes on expensive travel plans a few hours later. To arrange a longer stay in Goa, which is beach paradise full of kind, helpful people and fresh fruit, a fellow American who moved to Goa a few months back lent me his Indian cell phone. (I'd met him the previous day over our last shared morning chai; he walks daily from Candolim Beach to Baga and then stops at the restaurant by our hotel to drink a morning beer.) He offered to show me Candolim, where he lives. so we hopped on a local bus (wall sign: "No standing, no spiting (sic)"; Hindi music blaring) and departed.
Candolim is less of a party scene then Baga; there are fewer beach-front restaurant shacks open, but the whole vibe is calmer without feeling as old as the South Goa crowd. My American buddy introduced me to his pals, who own a guest house steps from the beach and offered me a decent rate. I moved in and planned to spend more than what I'd saved to do a few days of yoga at Rolf Naujokat's Candolim studio. He wrote one of the chapters in the Guruji book I read just before departing for India.
I checked out the shala location last night, since their directions read to the effect of "turn right on the dirt road by the pink wall."
"He's German, but he's been here so long we call him Narayan," said the jovial neighbor who helped show me the way.
I walked there for a 6:30 a.m. practice this morning. It was still dark when I arrived, and it was impossible to see what was going on inside. There were just one or two people there and nobody in sight behind me. Then, as if by magic, westerners began appearing out of the murk, from all directions, and filed one by one into the shala.
Since it was so early--and, I learned a bit later, I was that day's only new arrival--nobody bothered to explain where to go until I asked, despite deploying my clueless face. (People were super friendly once I did open my mouth.)
I settled in and observed my fellow students. Nobody spoke, but there was plenty of noise as people rushed to surround themselves with all forms of mosquito repellent, lighting sticks on the floor around them and slathering on creams and sprays. Then, a few advanced students began to practice and everybody else sat and waited. The gate squeaked, a male throat cleared, and then the teacher stalked in, said good morning and began the Ashtanga opening chant.
"Is anyone new?" he boomed as everyone began to practice. I raised my hand. He came over, figured out I was the chick coming for three meager days, and asked me to pay up in advance. "Why are you here for so little time?" he asked me.
"Because I figured three days is better than no days," I told him. He looked me in the eye, placed his hands in anjali mudra and bowed his head as though to say, 'you've got a point there, kid.'