Friday, 21 February 2014

Arambol - the third time around

By my third stay, the bizarre has become normal.  I no longer marvel at tourists adorned in a mixture of Mad Max extras meet San Francisco "be-in" hippies.  Dreads piled like top hats atop the heads of bare-chested men wearing dusty-orange sarangs; tattoed women with one side their heads shaved, attired in scanty garments that look as if they had just been ripped off some wild beast, torn  by hand, and wrapped  around their tan bodies - this is the norm.

I start my day at Mahi's yoga class.  Here classes last 2 hours.  Mahi has me wrap a canvas strap around my sacrum and invert myself.  I hang upside down, knees wrapped around the canvas swing, souls of my feet touching as if in prayer, arms dangling on the ground,  swinging like a happy monkey.

After splashing pitchers of cool water over my body in my hut, I dress and head to Mohan's.  This is where all the musicians meet.  Yesterday, I sipped sweet milky chai with the Ukranian accordian player Topor, my Turkish friend Cabbar and 3 of the U.K. based world music group, The Turbans.  Hugs and kisses all around, we sipped and chatted as the parade of colorful characters strolled by.  Cabbar told me he sleeps on the rooftop of Ava Maria "hippy-style" with 20 other people.

I am thankful for my own little room with clean white tiles and its own fairly clean by Indian standards bathroom.  It costs me the equivalent of $6 a night.

My breakfast is baji - a savoury chick pea and potato coconut curry. And of course a glass of masala chai. Across from Mohan's the coconut wallah lobs the tops off fresh coconuts.  A young woman dressed like a collision of rainbows patters by on bare feet followed by a calf.  I'm reminded of Mary and her little lamb gone neo-hippie.

Slowing down on his motorbike, a middle-aged man with a wild aura of an orange Afro shouts in 3 languages (French, Italian, and English) "Today at 3:30 - Carnival! Wear a costume! No toplessness but wearing coconut shells is ok.  Bring an instrument!"

collision of rainbows patters by on bare feet , follow