Tearing myself away from Arambol – India

I had heard that Arambol can be something of a vortex for lazy travelers. I happened to get sucked in good with my free spirited lack of direction. There were just too many factors at play keeping me happy. So when people asked me when I was leaving, I got a somewhat far away look in my eyes…I told them life was too good here. If I am happy, why leave? If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.image

But alas, one cannot live in Arambol forever, especially when their Indian visa runs out in a month. So slowly slowly, I tore myself away. I will miss the Ayurvedic treatments and daily massages from Minta and Shine. It was just the healing I needed at just the right time. My skin misses the daily slathering of oil and now seems crocodile like in comparison to those glory days.

I will miss the amazing food I was treated to from the spinach soup and my special rice pudding from Om Star to the fruit salad from Happy Banana to my very favorite Daal Fry from anywhere except Lamuella, where it sucked badly. I will miss the apple crumble from the German Bakery, but only when the crumble to apple ratio was right. I don’t think I will miss the chocolate balls, since they tasted nothing like chocolate and everything like marshmallow. I will miss the homemade snacks sold at sunset point and the fresh young coconuts with my thali. I will miss the 10 rupee water guy who kept a bottle in the freezer specially for me.image

I will miss picking up my egg order from Nelson, my corner store guy. I will miss the expectant but shy eyes his toddler daughter would give me until I produced her daily cartoon sticker. I will miss hunting around all the shops for my favorite yogurt and the endless search for Tulsi ginger tea. By the way, I did end up finding the tea, on the last day. Just AFTER I had sent my giant parcel home. I still bought four bags of it and they are now coming with me for the remainder of my trip.

I will miss the frolicking in the lively ocean waves and the serene bathing in the mirror like sweet lake. I will miss my high ceiling room and how I could stretch out in every direction on the bed and still not touch the sides. I will miss my little tea station I had set up and how I had made the space mine, decorating the walls even. I will miss going to get my hair worked on, first braids, then dreads, then finally dreadknots. I will miss visiting with the shop owners, even when I didn’t have anything to buy.

I will miss making friends at every turn and running into old friends over and over. I will miss my tight little group who made me laugh, watched me shed a tear or two, nursed me through sickness, and partied with me in health. I don’t generally get attached but something in our time together made it very hard to leave them. I loved that we all lived in such close proximity and we could just yell through the open doors. There was never a shortage of friends to be with but we all seemed to respect each others alone time as well. I will miss our dinners with Lila the Lovely Light Lamp. Oh and the nightly fireworks! The fireworks for no reason. Oh how I will miss them.

I felt safe and relaxed and I know it wasn’t just one or two things. It was a combination of all of it. The people, the time, the space, and my willingness to give and receive. There are few times in my life that I am cognizant of a special gift of a certain moment. I am lucky that this time, I was quite aware that I will highly treasure this unique moment I had in India. Sentimental as I am, I reminded the others that in the future, we would all think back on this time with a strong fondness. I encouraged them to take a snapshot in their hearts. Whatever guys, I know you rolled your eyes at my cheesiness but you also felt the closeness. That was a group hug hard to forget.

In the end, it was really hard to leave but I finally booked my train. Yay my first train ride in India! That made leaving an easier pill to swallow. I packed up what I needed and sent the rest home. I had accumulated a bit of stuff so it was a relief to ship it away even though there is a slight chance it may never get to Edmonton. I said my goodbyes and didn’t really sleep at all the night I was to leave. I had a feeling things may go wrong and boy was I right.

At 4:45am I was scrambling a bit nervous because my ride hadn’t come. I was frantically sending texts and calling to no avail. Finally I received a message that he had gotten in an accident far away and would not be able to take me. I tried my backup plan but that fell through due to lack of petrol in the bike. I was pretty desperate at this point. Luckily, Roz was sleeping next door and woke up to help me find a taxi. Mike also joined in the search party but we came up dry. The streets were empty except for one very creepy drunk man who reminded me of Golum. We turned down Golum’s offer to drive me on his motorbike and he got quite hostile. At this point, I was getting scared.

We three strode up the ghost townish street with not a lot of hope in us. Not five minutes later, we spotted three young men carrying bags. They looked like they were going somewhere. I asked eagerly if they were getting a taxi and they said they were. I begged them to take me with them, if only to the main road where there may be some traffic. They didn’t look very positive admitting the car was full but said we could talk to the driver.

When we reached the driver, I told him my plight. After chatting in Hindi with his passengers, he said he would take me for 1500 rupees. That’s about thirty dollars and honestly, it would have been a bargain at this time of night. It wasn’t hard to get him to agree to a lesser price and I was glad I had when during the ride, I found out they were going to exactly the same train! There was definitely room in the car and it all worked out fine.

Grateful for narrow escapes.

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