Wednesday, December 06, 2006

fly blown Goa

There is a very fly blown juice bar in Chapora frequented by sweaty junkies, and the juices aren't bad. Set dankly amongst the layers of grime, tat, commercialism and history that make up places like this some 4 centuries after European powers arrived the juice bar churns out R25 treats customers for whom an early morning means 1pm.

Once villages, now holiday camps of a very specific type, these communities have simply had to adapt and live with the hoards who keep coming in ever increasing numbers in the now invisible wake of the first Hippy visitors of the late 60s and early 70s who arrived when this was still a viable fishing community.

I'm staying in Vagator which is still party central but with more of a breeze and less outright debauchery visible to the naked eye. On the upside we have here a great yoga teacher in the person of Gabriella Pascoli who is aided and complemented by her assistant Michael. I've never had so much input in 1 class. Sometimes both of them are on you at once. The perfect antidote to Mysore where the numbers of students involved make any meaningful teaching continuity impossible in the short term. Thank god!

The main question that has crossed my mind in the last couple of days is:

'Where in the world can one go to practice and learn Ashtanga and find a grounded and truly peaceful environment too?'

One could reply that yoga (like Ind-yah) is a state of mind. Indeed. However, as suggestible as the next person I have to admit to being influenced by the world around me. And it doesn't always feel that great.

Yesterday, after too much sun and beach the previous day, I went to the fabulously airconditioned multiplex cinema in Panaji, the European tinged capital of Goa, to see Casino Royale with Daniel Craig having a stab at 007. You know what? In contrast to the last effort, which was directed by Lee Tamahori, it's pretty good! Formulaic by definition of course but also fresh and up to date, without too much play on the gadgets (the fx crew seems to have realised like the rest of the world that, yes, the mobile phone is actually taking over every function known to humankind) and enough sharp edged self referencing humour to spice up the cliches. More like that please.


susiegb said...

Your post brought a smile to my face. I was one of those hippies back in the beginning of the 70s in Goa! And yes, I stayed in Chapora ... The only 'commercial' place there then was one tea shop. I'm not sure I'd want to go back to Goa now - in my memories it was so unspoilt and un-western. I guess the main beaches were pretty busy then, and there was some pretty heavy stuff happening on some of them (can't remember the names now). But up in Chapora and Vagator there were very few of us and it was very quiet ... (Though I do remember a story from a French magazine, Paris Match, with photos of us!!)

Rachel said...

howdy, i'm headed to vagator on sunday, so maybe we'll run into each other!

leigh said...

I am coming to Goa in a week, can't wait. Have you gone up to Emil's Pranayama classes in the afternoon at the drop-in center....really a treat.
Take care