My experience in Goa was better than I’d imagined. Daily swimming, a hotel whose staff I came to love, kids I befriended on the beach, an incredibly international tourist scene, a reasonably unspoiled beach-village, and seven traveler Deck readings to women from: Israel, Czech Republic, Russia! Finland, Great Britain, Guatemala and America. I was off-line due to problems with my sim card (phone) and my I-pad; so I’m including just a brief description of Goa before describing where I am now.
This was the view from my room.
The sweet and comfy open-air hang-out spaces in the courtyard Of Simrose.
And something unique to Indian beaches…
Now for the Fort Kochi scene:
Kochi, used to be named Cochin. I’m in the rather pretty area of Fort Kochi, where there are interesting historical dynamics in evidence. Portuguese influences culturally, genetically,and religiously, but there was also a fairly large Jewish community here too. I overheard a local fellow explaining that this latter community has shrunk so significantly that people left to go find suitable partners in Israel. In doing so, they had to give up their Indian citizenship (because of Israeli regulations). As a result there is a foundation of some sort that holds a billion dollars worth of assets in real estate that those people forfeited, but is held in trust by the local Jewish trustees.
India, according to what I’ve read and also witnessed, is not that interested in its own history but is intent on where it perceives it’s future lies. Perfectly understandable for an emerging 3rd world nation, but nevertheless often sad to watch as an outsider from a country where we have so much wealth but little cultural fabric developed over centuries like they have. Ah we’ll…such is the nature of change. It yields so many unexpected permutations, interesting solutions and plenty of unintended consequences.
Kochi is a deep water port at the mouth of an inland waterway. You can see big ships sliding past this ancient fishing net technology. They call them the “Chinese fishing nets”, but any presence they may have had here is long gone, except for the nets. they use rocks as counterweights to pull the nets back up.
The pollution is significant. the water utterly horrid, as you can see.
Nevertheless, I like a place where the trees are taller than the buildings. They call them Raintrees, but I’m sure they have a more accurate name, but don’t know who to ask about it.
Not far south of here is Alleppy, a highlight for tourists because of the beautiful canal boats you can rent. They cook your meals, you spend a night or two, as the boats tour through the waterways. I may get there, but for now, I’m just being fully where I am, meeting people, and getting to know my way around.
I’ve rented a bike here because it’s flat, and the traffic is tamer than it was in Udaipur. they keep the cows and animals fenced or tied here, so there’s much less swerving to avoid them.
Yesterday, as I toodled along on my trusty stead on an essentially one lane road that connects the tourist area to warehouses and shops on the harbor-side of this island, I happened to see a sign for an Artist residency and gallery. I stopped and went upstairs to find the SPRINGR establishment. It’s a simple, artsy event space that does have a single apt room that they rent to artists. Their concept for the business is: music X art X food, (this is how it’s written on their business cards).
I had a nice long talk with the young CEO of the place, asking lots of questions and letting him know that I’d been on the founding board of an art center, so I knew some of the challenges, as well as the joys of such a venture.
What came of my time there is a date next Sunday to give Traveler Deck readings during a Sunday Brunch. I will charge a donation and the proceeds will benefit their business, because I like the space, their concept, and the two young people I met who are doing the work. I think it will be a fun and interesting way to join something local, and a way to do a bit of promotion for the deck. I giggled all the way back to my hotel.
My next volunteer gig involving children starts on Tuesday. I don’t yet know how they’ll choose to utilize me. There’s about 10 young volunteers all female 20 somethings who’ve just arrived for this program, all from the US, great Britain and Australia. I’m the elder of it all, including the staff!
I began a daily yoga/meditation practice in Goa, and am committed to continuing it. I hope it will keep me fit for further volunteering with kids and avoiding further back pain such as I had in Udaipur. I’m feeling good, sweating profusely in this very hot place, but still deeply enjoying this gypsy life.