First of all, the good news: my story, “Perfect Sitting” about a meditation retreat in Japan in 2004 was published by Traveler's Tales this month in a book called “The Best Women's Travel Writing, 2009.” I am very happy about it and wanted to share this news with you. If you want to check it out, click:
Now, about Arambol...Peter finally found what he had been looking for the whole trip in India– a hotel with wifi. We found one in Arambol, 100 meters from the beach.
We also love it here because it offers a 10km beach stroll to the south. Along the way there are two small rivers that drain into the ocean surf where a long stretch of beach can be enjoyed alone. Sunset always draws a big crowd to the beach, everyone doing their thing, playing music, dancing, doing tai chi, meditating... The air is cooler, there's a breeze, and you can gaze directly into the sun as it hangs above the horizon. Here, the sun doesn't set, it just slowly dissolves into the haze that covers all of India.
At first we were discouraged with the beaches in Goa. We arrived in Panjim January 25th, Republic Day, and the following day we went north looking for a suitable beach, but were shocked at how crowded and developed some of them were. Maybe it was because of the holiday, maybe because one of the beaches we visited was Calangute, perhaps the most developed of all beaches. After fighting the crowds at the restaurant and beach, the only thing we knew at the end of the day was that we wanted to stay as far away from them as possible, especially Calangute.
But after a relaxing week in Panjim we decided to start our scouting exercise again. We headed directly to Arambol, the most northerly of Goa's developed beaches where we found the much sought after wifi hotel, the mellow beach, and the western beach culture complete with music, art, weirdos and all sorts of healing practitioners.
There is more western food than we like to eat in Arambol, but it is all so good! Returning Italians, French and German tourists trained local cooks well on their favorite dishes and the result is a small idyllic beach with good international food. This is our last month in India anyway, and after 5 months here, it is actually nice to ease our way into the west by eating plenty of pizza, lasagna, penne with pesto and broccoli, and espressos with so many delicious desserts like chocolate cake, cheese cake, apple strudel, brownies and croissants. The European influence here is huge, yet everything is “Indian style” - as mellow as it can be. The weather is perfect, not so humid and oppressively hot as in Kerala and the Arabian sea much more welcoming without the strong currents of Varkala. We are in a sort of heaven here, and we are not breaking the bank.
Socially it has been good too. Peter's friends from college, Kevin and Margaret, spent a few days here with us and Manisha, a Brazilian women we met at Amma's ashram, and an old timer in Arambol has been hanging out with us since she arrived here a week ago.
Next stop is Hampi, then Bangalore, then back to British Columbia. We think we can handle the tail end of the Winter now.