Not quite Christmas – Calangute, India

This morning I woke to find ants having a party near my head. I don’t know how they got there or why they came but spent the next 20 minutes squashing them all. Everyone knows that there is always that one last straggler that seems to evade the kill. I was on the look out for him for the rest of the hour. I am putting off going to bed tonight because I don’t want a replay. I don’t know if they are bitey ants or not but I don’t want to find out.

After my breakfast, we went to the beach. It’s about fifteen minutes away and I followed closely on my scooter because I still don’t know the area. I am not sure why but my sense of direction is really messed up. I am getting lost all the time. Oh well. I guess I have nothing better to do. Driving on the streets here in the Saligao/Calangute area is not that bad comparatively to other parts in India. I have learned to use my horn profusely and probably more than I should but hey, better to be safe than sorry. There are lots of side street roads that are like mazes and I have yet to see a proper street sign. I am sure they don’t exist.

We finally got to the seaside and parked our scooters alongside the twenty or so others. The sand was soft enough though I did keep a careful eye for any glass among the other stray pieces of trash sticking out. Once we got closer to the water the sand was much cleaner and we plopped ourselves down on some thick padded beach loungers. After negotiating but not too hard, I found myself with a nice bright blue sheer beach cover up for 200 rupees. There are lots of beach touts selling sarongs, massages, handmade jewelery, ice cream, and watersports. I got a massage but it wasn’t half as good as the one I had yesterday at the salon. I decided I wouldn’t make that mistake twice.

I grabbed my iPhone and plugged into some tunage while I powerwalked down the length of the beach. About an hour later, I made it back to my chair where I stripped down to my bikini and headed into the waves. Joy and Cedric wanted to leave but said I had time for a quick dip. I haven’t been in the ocean for a while and felt drawn to it. The water was surprisingly warm yet refreshing. I let myself get carried out past the big waves where I could just float peacefully. That is until a giant renegade wave decided to thump me hard filling my head with the salty brine of the ocean. I went with it and dove in and out of the swell taking full advantage of natures neti pot.

We paid up at the beach shack and used the facilities before heading back to town. I have to say this was the nicest outhouse I have ever seen in my life. Though its walls were flimsy bamboo, had tile floors, a nice western sink and toilet and PAPER! This is a very rare occurrence in India in the best of places…but here, on the beach? How very pleasantly random.

We stopped in the town which was starting to really pick up and I felt the holiday tourist energy in full force. I refilled my phone (I use pay as you go Vodaphone here) which is actually really easy. You just go to any little cornerstore and give them the rupees and they text the amount to your phone. Three hundred rupees (six dollars) lasts me about a month but then again, I don’t have that many friends yet.

I got some more mung beans to sprout and finally found some yogurt after searching through a handful of supermarkets, which are really just tiny little one room mom and pop joints. I finally won the search for postcards after a month and got some really cute ones for my Angel Network who are helping me publish my book. I don’t usually bother with such things as postcards or souvenirs but I have made a special exception for my supporters. Expect some mail soon! But hey, not too soon…I am in India, remember?

After shoving a 80 rupee watermelon in my scooter seat (it fit just perfectly), we sped back to the house. After a shower, I lazed around for a bit. I started feeling down. I don’t usually get lonely often but for some reason, this year has been tough. Cedric is leaving tomorrow for home (he lives in Florida) and I am slightly envious. My sister and her family are also flying into Orlando tomorrow to spend Christmas in the sun. I miss my family. I ate half a watermelon and I still didn’t feel better. I watched the ants parade past me on the balcony with the tangerine sun as a backdrop. As the sun dropped lower it turned a spectacular glowing ball of fuchsia. I was distracted from my melancholy for but a moment.

I moped around for a couple hours waiting until it was late enough to call home. I didn’t know for sure but maybe a talk with Mom would help. It usually doesn’t hurt. In this case, I was right. I still don’t feel happy per say but I had a nice chat and now I am a bit less lonely. However, lonely is still the predominant air around me. Mum thinks I just need a good cry…but I don’t really have anything to cry about. I am actually really lucky and I know that. I think that lots of people get sad around the holidays. I am no exception as I have had several traumatic events happen this time of year. So I curbed my impulse to down a bunch of cookies and made a jar (yes I am drinking in jars now) of tea.

It’s not that I really miss Xmas because I don’t even really believe in the religion behind it. I most certainly don’t miss the commercialism of it and am relieved not to deal with that mad pressure one gets in North America on the day before Christmas. There is always that stress feeling like I have forgotten something even if there is no possible way I haven’t. Because in Canada most things are closed on Christmas, so there is no second chance. But happily, here that is not the case. Here, everything is open tomorrow. In fact, I am going to my local salon to get a massage and pedicure. Sure, there is a part of me that wishes I was hanging out with people I know and sharing traditions. Because to me Christmas isn’t about anything other than family.

The other day I was chatting online with a friend who seemed surprised when I admitted that I was a little lonely.

“YOU don’t get lonely, do you?”

Well, sure I do, but I know that it will pass. I know that I don’t have to be with someone to love them. I would say I am actually pretty good at projecting energy across the planet. I am always amazed at how quickly my mental messages get picked up and answered. I know I am loved. But sometimes its just nice to be reminded. So if you are reading this and are with your loved ones…go and give them an extra hug for those of us who can’t.

Grateful for loneliness.

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One Response to Not quite Christmas – Calangute, India

  1. kams123 says:

    Guess you summed it up well, how it is to be in the midst of crowd and yet keep the sweetness of solitude. Yes, as you rightly put it, Xmas or most of such special days are cherished not for its religious or commercial aspects, but it brings all your near and dear ones together. And that’s what we all miss, whoever we are…And i did do that, an extra hug as you said, for all those travelling and are away from their home 🙂

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