The first day – 18th Feb 2012.
Having only managed about three hours sleep since Thursday, today has been a strange day. I meandered round Patnem in a zombie like haze. I ventured into Chaudi and went through the mountains of paper work required to purchase an Indian SIM card. Accomplishing this in under an hour was no mean feat, however, ten hours later the SIM card is proving to be temperamental at best. I won’t congratulate myself on coping with/overcoming Indian bureaucracy just yet. Despite the task itself, it was lovely to be back in Chaudi. Saturday is market day, so the whole town was buzzing and colourful. Chaudi is like an Indian city in miniature; it has all the colour, noise and chaos of city life, but comes in a bite-size manageable form.
I had a scout round Patnem in search of a nicer room. The one I have just now is a bit too flimsy to live in alone. Perhaps it’s easier to rough it when sharing? My hut only cost me 250 Rupees per night which probably say it all; too many peep holes in the wall and a door that doesn’t close properly! Tomorrow I’ll move into an actual room with solid walls and a bathroom with working lights. I’m going up in the world!
The rest of today has been spent blistering on the beach and eating. I seem to have developed an incurable appetite!
The second day – 19th Feb 2012.
I’m writing this entry from my friend Sam’s balcony. We are looking onto rice fields and the trees are full of loud monkeys. The sun is beginning to set and has turned the sky a beautiful pink colour. I have a Twix in one hand and a Maaza in front of me. Sam is playing her guitar and is filling my ears with Joplin happiness.
I woke so early this morning that I made it to the beach before even the dogs had risen from their slumbers. I watched the sun rise then spent a good 20 minutes in hysterical laughter. A want to be hippie was on the beach trying to shanti it up with yoga moves. The beach dogs had a field day with her. They endlessly jumped all over her and continued to spill sand on her precious yoga mat. After a while she threw an Oscar winning tantrum and stormed off. Not very shanti of her at all! I sat on the sand a bit longer, watching eagles dive into the sea for fish, before wakening up over a couple of chais.
Next on the agenda was moving house. It’s a vast improvement in living standards! I think I’ll feel a bit safer here, or less vulnerable at least. I had a quick breakfast in the guesthouse garden before heading back into Chaudi for some boring, but much needed, shopping. It was a beautiful walk though and I loved passing all the water buffalo en route. After yet more chai in Chaudi I caught a rickshaw and drove north to Agonda to meet Sam for the day. It was lovely to see her again and beautiful to be back in Agonda. Together, we spent the day catching up, swimming, lying on the beach and scoffing delicious snacks.
We (me, Sam and her dog) squashed ourselves into a rickshaw and drove back to Sam’s house in Patnem around 4pm. This evening we’re going for dinner at The Nest in Palolem, I’m quite excited about returning.
The third day – 20th Feb 2012.
It was another early start for me this morning. I woke at 5.40am to the familiar sound of the beach dog howl. I wandered down to the beach and woke up over a few chais. The eagles kept me entertained with their feeding antics. It’s quite spectacular to see them swooping into the sea and returning with a mouth full of wriggling fish. I took an early morning walk north along the shore and into Palolem and stopped into the German Bakery for breakfast. Reunions were happily made. It was lovely to be back there, I felt like someone had turned back time for me. I followed the water buffalo back along the road to Patnem. Along the way I stopped in at the Oceanic Hotel for what I’d intended to be a quick dip in their pool. A few hours quickly turned into the best part of the day. It was just so peaceful there. I was surrounded in beautiful flowers and had a couple of impish monkeys for company. Perfect timing saw me leave Oceanic just as Prakesh, the owner of my guesthouse, was approaching. He picked me up on his Enfield and drove me back into Patnem. It was probably just as well as I think I had a bit too much sun today, dizziness was kicking in!
I had a long overdue mali kofta for dinner then spent a few hours drinking chai and admiring the sunset. I’m writing this from the veranda outside my room. In front of me is Prakesh’s motorbike. It’s filling my mind with ideas of hiring one tomorrow. I’m going for an early night. All these predawn starts are making me sleepy.