Party Smart

Christmas and the changing of the new year are well behind, and the new year ahead.
Here in Goa, where Hindus, Muslims and Christians live in peace as neighbours, the Christians, Catholics, celebrate the Christmas on 25.12. That means only for one day.
And the celebration started with wonderful fireworks on the beach at midnight, when the Christmas Eve turned to Christmas Day. The beach was full of partying tourists, and in Baga they were mostly Indian.
During the days between Christmas and New Year, the local police was numerously employed in directing the traffic, ’cause the streets and roads were so full, especially in the evening and night time.
I’m sure many unlucky people had to change their new year on the road in a stopped line of motorvehicles.
A four-wheeler seemed really helpless in that traffic chaos, when with a two-wheeler you were able to zigzag relatively fast through all the traffic jams, if you had a skillful driver.
And so it was then, that I was well in time on Baga beach before the year changed and the place was swarming with people and the atmosphere was joyos. Here in Goa the men really dare to dance and enjoy of it. When the year changed the fireworks were something I’ve never seen before. They were even more magnificent than in Christmas. Wherever you turned your head you saw splendid fireworks cracking, and this show lasted for half an hour. People weren’t saving money when doing this.
The music was roaring, the sea was roaring and a stir ran through the crowd every once and a while.
So the year changed happily in Goa and elsewhere in India. No bomb bigger than fireworks was blown. This I say, ’cause the fear of it might have narrowed down the amount of tourists this season. And maybe a small fear of it was hiding out also in my and some other people’s mind.
This I say because when a young man, who had lost his friends, asked me to guard his big and heavy black bag for ten minutes, the time he’d look out for his friends, and I kindly agreed to do that, I was scolded by locals. I had to leave the possible bombbag there and go away. I thought it was a bit exaggerated, but I guess that in the end it’s better be safe than sorry.
In Bamboo Forest, Anjuna, they’ve had a custom to arrange a three day party, and I went to see what’s happening there. On my way there the bike ran out of gas. Luckily it is always sold somewhere, in one litre bottles. The prize is one euro. 
But the Bamboo Forest was empty. The raves and parties alike seem to be very much stopped here by the authorities. The open-air-culture seems to be changing to a club-culture, since some new clubs have come.
Well, since I was in Anjuna, I thought to go to Club Paradiso then, but inside there they said that the entrance fee was Rs 1500. I could have paid that prize in the New Year Eve early in the night, as all the food and drinks were included in the prize (that means only about 25e all night out), but not at two o’clock in the morning. So I went to Matrix (a club surrounded by water in Anjuna) and from there I came back to Baga, and ended up to one fully crowded restaurant by the street, where everyone spent the beginning of this year nicely until six o’clock, till the sunrise… And just on 4th of January the morninpaper Navhind Times informed us, that a Party Smart has been developed. That is a pill for party goers preventing hangovers resulting from alcohol.. Well well, I’ll report you on this miracle more, if I get this herby product in guestion in my hand.


It’s snowing in Goa also!

December has passed by quickly, and I haven’t had time to blog until now, when it’s two nights for Christmas only.

I’ve finally settled down, found my own corner under the palm trees, with one room, bathroom, kitchenette and balcony. Good prize, peaceful location and all the services closeby.
Day before yesterday came the tv and the refrigerator is under repair at the moment, since it made such a loud noise and froze everything from juice to ketchup – Believe me, it’s not funny to wake up thirsty in the morning and find the waterbottles in the fridge frozen to big icecubes.
I found an excellent shop of artmaterials in Panjim, so now I only need to find joggingshoes for the morning seashorewalks, and the everyday life shall begin to flow.
Though it may be that the routine can not begin until next year, considering the Christmas and New Year soon to be. I’ve heard stories about all the Goan hotels and guesthouses being totally full during that time and the action being very festive. Even last year, when the rest of India was grieving over the victims of tsunami, were fireworks constantly cracking in Goa.

Whereas the health is concerned, I’ve been well until last weekend, though I forgot to take my antimalarialmedicines at one point and mosquitos are too common here, and though I’ve eaten outside home near everyday. Last Saturday veg.sizzler came out from up and down, when I got some sort of a foodpoisoning. Luckily the suffering didn’t last longer than 24h. Small fever with a good night sleep cured it all and little by little my appetite is coming back.

But who would have thought that you might be freezing in Goa, but then again, it is winter here also. At this time of the year ac is totally unnecessary, as well as the fan in the night time. It’s better to remember to close the windows for the night as well.
After the sun sets, you’re not warm enough without a coat and socks when you’re on the bike, if the speed is more than 20km/h. And did you know – It’s snowing in Goa also! Yes – I asked one waiter why the chairs in their beachshacks were all wet, and he explained to me with a serious face that “It’s because it’s snowing”. I had a hard time keeping my face serious, coming from the land of snow. The snow he was talking about is the dampness that condenses from the sea in the evenings during wintertime. Slightly uncomfortable moist.

Day before yesterday I visited the local artacademy Kala Academy’s students’ exhibition is Panjim. That exhibition was a part of the recent festival of Visual Arts & Theatre. Some time ago there was also the Fontainhas Art Festival in Panjim, where the artists had their exhibitions in fine old houses. I would have wanted to see that exhibition, but I didn’t have time.

Well, what else. Mood is positive, though I didn’t get the fullfillment of dreams, my own house with my own garden in Anjuna, near the sea and with own beachshack, ’cause I was half an hour late. That story is long, but to make it short: only half an hour late (and some people are liars here). At this point I’d like to remember one of my favourite sayings: Whatever happens, happens for the good.

Anyway, I like my current house a lot. This house is surrounded by palm trees, and when the wind plays their leaves, it sounds almost the same as with aspen leaves, which happens to be my favourite music back in Finland. On top of this all these exotic birds that keep on singing almost without a break. (Only these crows I mind a little sometimes.) You can’t hear the sea to the balcony during daytime, only in the nights, but it takes only four minutes to walk there. (And when I learn to drive the scooter, I shall be there in one minute! – Only today I was learning to drive it, in a small street 5km/h, but don’t tell my Ma! And no, I haven’t planned to go to the mainroads with the scooter. The Indian traffic is well known to be chaotic, and on top of it it’s leftsided. Though all the mainroads here have just had a new asphalt surface, and the bettering in comfortability during driving is remarkable.)
My “home”beachshack is also nice, peaceful, good service and good food, nothing to complain about. Location is excellent and the beach is not overcrowded. There is for example Italian and French tourists. Nice place for sunsets.
So I don’t mind being here at all.

Greetings to home-Finland, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year for everybody! 

Finnish people gaining reputation in Goa

Last week the daily newspaper Navhind Times wrote, how a Finnish man – mentioning his whole name as they do in Goa news – was arrested in the Dabolim airport. Reason being a sexual harrassement of an airportofficial.
Also I heard that some days ago in Baga, a Finnish couple had gone swimming far to the sea, but the woman never came back. Strong undercurrents had taken her. Everybody have been warned about those undercurrents, but still you get to see some reckless people who go far to this Arabian Sea swimming.Also one of these days you were able to hear Piirpauke in one beachshack. It because of my cd. And from the radio I happened to hear The Rasmus. They had a gig in Mumbai in the beginning of December.

P.S. On some beachshacks there were flags of various countries waving through the whole touristseason. When it came till the end of the season, sun had faded the colours of the flags and the wind had torn all them flags into rags. All except one, which stood out being the only totally whole, shining in bright blue-and-white colours. Yes. That was the Finnish flag, flag of my homecountry. (See the pic.)

Goa 11 / 2005 – Anjuna

Goa 11 / 2005 – Chill out

Goa 11 / 2005 – Arambol

Been to Arambol, seen the Tree

Last Thursday began the international filmfestival, IFFI, in Goa’s capital Panjim. I couldn’t make it there to the opening, but from the Candolim beachside I admired those three fighterplane’s show in the sky. Each one them drew a different colour, and the show ended in a Bollywood way, when those two fighter planes drew a big heart in the sky, and then disappeared.
Wellknown local artist Subhod Kerkar is having his big fineart exhibition right in the middle of sunbathers, dogs and cows on the Candolim beach, and the exhibition is called Sea & See.

Last week some strange heatwave hit Goa and the weather was truly burning hot and overhumid. The heat didn’t ease off even for the night. After this, the air stopped, and during daytime there was no wind blow, not even on the beach. The sea was almost still. Then came couple of cloudy days, and to me clouds are almost a miracle here in the sky. Now the weather seems to be cooling down. Luckily.

December is soon at hand, meaning that the prizes of accommodation will rise up. I’ve been looking for a long-term accommodation for a good prize, but so far I haven’t found a place that I’d like enough. December and new year are almost fully booked everywhere, also in my present guesthouse, so I hope I won’t be left without a rooftop over my head…
Seriously speaking, I shouldn’t need to worry. I went to see one nice house in Anjuna, close to the sea. But the decision is dependant on several things. The following days will tell.

Those bombblasts in Delhi, few days before my coming to India, and the possible threat of terrorism in Goa may have reduced the amount of tourists here. This is what the locals say. And at least during the weekend there wasn’t much people nor happening on the beach, which is exceptional. Otherwise you don’t see or experience this threat of terrorism here.

In a party in Finland, couple of days before my coming here, J recommended me to visit the Tree in Goa. So yesterday I decided to drive through Anjuna, Vagator, Chapora and Mandrem to Arambol. To my surprise I saw Pelle Miljoona jogging there on the beach.
The path to the Tree was surprisingly long, and pretty hard to walk. At some point I even began to regret my going there. But the nature was beautiful, green, and there were lots of banyontrees and monkies were jumping on their branches. My clothes were wet from sweat when I finally reached the Tree. There, in the middle of the jungle, under a huge banyon tree lived a woman, and there with her were also her friend and her puppy and some older local man, an altar, guitars and lots of exotic birds singing in the middle of otherwise quiet nature. In the middle of that camp was a fireplace, and I suppose people have a habit of gathering around it to smoke some drugs. Now wasn’t it under a boddhi tree were Buddha was enlightened as well? This might be their point with this Tree.. I decided to skip that experience. Still my way back was lighter, thanks to endorphins.

"Stepping on a cowshit brings a good luck"

Last night it finally did happen.
I was on my way to a beach shack for a dinner, walking in the dark, when suddenly I realized the sand under my sandals felt odd..
I looked behind me, and saw a big pile of cow dung on which I had just stepped..
Locals were there to advice me what to do. That is to rub the sandal in the sand and knock it on something hard. And so shall the dung fly.
The good thing in this accident was that – when you step on a cow dung accidentally, it will bring you a good luck.. according to an old Indian belief. This is what they told me.What else happening here – Well, I live in a wonderful place, in a homey guesthouse, so close to the sea that one can listen to the waves when in the balcony, and see them as well, if one really wants to.
Food is heavenly good most often. In Helsinki / Finland you go to an Indian restaurant and pay 20 euros for mere thali. But here you can get a thali with less than a euro, and a special thali with one and a half euros. So you wont be starving. At least not, if you’re a Westerner.
Whereas mosquitos, they are hungry here. Every evening at least one of them bites me.
The other night was a full moon night. And the other day I visited a Finnish friend of mine, who spends her winters in Goa. She had a lovely appartment. It was wonderful to be in Anjuna again.

In Candolim, Goa

Candolim beach, Goa
In the end the flight from Mumbai to Goa was over two hours late. Sun was setting when we finally got on board. I was admiring the beautiful sunset and taking pictures of it with my phone camera, when the airhostess started to complain and told me to delete all the pictures I had taken. I thought it was only in Goa airport, where you weren’t allowed to take photographs.
Finally yesterday I got to wet my toes in the Arabian Sea. I enjoyed my tea in a beachshack, where I spent my time reading a good book until it was time for the sunset. Which was, beautiful.
The only negative thing here, and I mean the only, is the hard mattress in my bed. Otherwise I’m happy.
The weather is hot during daytime, but after a few days it will get cooler, say the locals. Nights are already rather cool – I’m almost freezing, when wearing a t-shirt only.
Quite a many tourists have arrived here. I was eating in a Chinese restaurant and the next table was having a conversation in Finnish.