Music That’s Better Than Goa Trance (especially whilst chillin’ in Goa)

Without music, life would be a mistake.
Friedrich Nietzsche, the ultimate nihilist

I’m currently based on Agonda Beach in Goa for two weeks, taking a much-needed breather from all the urban madness of Bombay and the touristy back-n-forthing from visiting sites one “should” see, like the World Heritage Site, the Ellora Caves.

Buddha carved into a massive cave at Ellora

The Ellora caves are about 10 hours from Bombay and are definitely worth checking out if you have a few days spare on your itinerary.  Be prepared for a lot of inter-travel travel, however.  Once you get to Aurangabad you need to take a rickshaw to Ellora and a car to Ajanta to see the two sites.

2 million tonnes of stone were dug out of the mountains to create these buildings in the Hindu section of the caves.

It took a lot out of me to travel by train from Igatpuri to Bombay (directly after 10 days of silence and meditation), Bombay to Aurangabad (which was *freezing!*), and finally back to Bombay (23 hours in the train, not to mention all the taxis, hotel checkins, and fancy footwork).

In the midst of all this frenetic movement, I find myself in month 8 of being on the road . . .

So a lot of my time is spent thinking about an imaginary home I have in my head . . .

. . . even if I did have the pleasure of meeting a group of very sweet local girls traveling 26 hours to compete in a folk dance competition . . .

Good luck, girls!

The hair that really broke this camel’s back was the freezing cold rickshaw ride where our evil driver refused to stop for a warming chai *or* to purchase a shawl (clearly, he had a different shawl connection 30 minutes up the road where he would get a cut – of absolutely nothing, as it turned out, as I refused to support his devious plan).

Gr.

Thanks to this man, I had a chest cold from hell for a good week . . . but I’m letting it go (;o)) and finally coming back to the world of health . . .

Breakfast picnic of champions: coconut meat, strawberries, figs, dates, cashews, almonds, bananas, orange, apple, grapes. Yes.

You may not think Goa is the kind of place to go for some healing and chilling out.  It is, afterall, the birthplace of some of the most drug-induced head-numbing music of all time, the infamous Goa Trance.  (I’m not actually going to put a sampling of that music on my site, but the link is there . . . if you dare ;o))

Goa is massive, home to over 22 beaches where two million tourists make their way for sunbathing and partying every year.  A former Portugese colony, obvious mostly in the architecture and relaxed attitudes toward drinking and two-piece bikinis, Goa is a sweet break from the rest of a sometimes unforgiving India.  You can choose to hang with any number of European and American lemmings up in the tour package beaches, stuffed to the brim with high-end hotels and ripoff dining – just like home, except . . . in India!  On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got backpacker delights so gentle on the wallet, you might end up staying a few months on top of your journey.

Bombay to Agonda, 634 km.

I’m catching up on work and relaxation on the south side of Goa in Agonda, a sleepy stretch of sand, lined with relaxed restaurants serving freshly caught seafood, and a few odd clothing and general shops along the way.  No clubs or late-night bars.  And definitely no Goa Trance!

My hotel of choice is Cupid’s Heaven, where the cook and manager are friendly 20-something homeboys from the Punjab.  It’s a three-story hotel with solid walls and good plumbing (rare in India!) and the balconies facing the sea have a gorgeous view of the sunsets.  It’s a super comfy, super relaxed vibe, no thrills or fills, but I’m paying a third the price of the more popular make-shift huts on the beach.  Definitely the budget traveler’s pick!

Wee river just along Agonda Beach

Between papaya meals, logo designing and afternoon writing sessions I’m slowly getting back into a healthy body.

Yay!  Bike rides to Palolem!

Buffalo grazing beyond cross. Taken between Agonda and Palolem beaches, Goa.

Morning runs with some very sweet sounds . . .

. . . along the Agonda shores . . .

Makes running a helluva lot more enjoyable ;o)

Meditation sunsets!

OK, so this was not taken in Goa, but this is Goenka-ji (and his wife, Mata-ji), who is responsible for spreading the Vipassana meditation technique I've been using here. This was taken after a private interview I had with him - luckyyyyyy. :o)

To celebrate my return to health (which feels an awful lot like freedom) I wanted to share a few songs from artists that keep popping up on my journey so far.  They’re much more appropriate for the vibe than the manic music that was born in this sunshiney international party destination (well, Goa is known to be a bit mad, but the beach I’m staying on is pure chill) – there’s no accounting for taste ;o)

One of my favorite artists of all time, Alice Coltrane . . .

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