I’m Not Gonna Lie…

by Joanna D.

The first week in India has been an intense mixture of severe discomfort and serious privilege. The journey getting here was uneventful other than the six or seven movies I watched during my in-flight entertainment. I don’t recommend Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter as a one to watch… ever.

Thirty-six hours of travel time. The last leg was the worst. I could swear the plane was flying around in circles. Just land already! My delirious mind begging to get off the plane… I mean, what would happen if I pulled that handle. Really. Just a little pull and there it is… the outside.

Getting to Anjuna beach was the highlight of that day. A taxi came and swept me off the airport grounds before I really knew what was happening.

Driver: “Taxi?” I stared at him blankly. “Yes, madam. You come.”
Me: “No, no. …How much?”
Driver: “Address you are staying?”
Me: “Ummm, I don’t have one. Anjuna?”
Driver: “Yes, no problem. One-thousand rupees.”
Me: “Isn’t that a lot? That seems like a lot.”
Six drivers at once: “No, madam, this is regular price.”
Me: “OK-OK.”

So off we went in a rickety old little van, Ganesha stickers on the windshield, windows down, horns blaring, cows roaming, dogs barking and a heavy, yet welcome, sense of relief.

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Asking the driver questions along the way I got some interesting information. Such as, we were to cross two rivers to get to Anjuna. They mine the first river we crossed for ore, and the second river is where the nightlife is if I want to party on a barge.  Oh and the fishing boats are on the second river too. The small blue ones with nets. He got me to a hotel; I bargained a bit and got the price down some (got a “very good” head bobble for that one), paid everyone, changed clothes and immediately walked towards the water. Little did I know that in order to get to the water I had to navigate through what felt like a thousand shops, all selling the same things and by the time I had made it to the beach I knew at least five places to score drugs.

Ahh, the water! And more cows! Yes, this is what I was looking for. Determined to stay awake some so that I could try to normalize my sleeping pattern, I kept walking, snapping pictures and looking for a place to find a bite to eat. However the rocking techno scene got the better of my patience and I navigated my way back through the shop-keepers and pushers, grabbing a papaya juice on my way back to the hotel. Once there I immediately passed out and thus began the worst jetlag I have ever thought possible. By morning I was literally wishing for death. How could I possibly feel this horrible? Eyes rolling around in my skull, body feeling like I’d received a good swift kick from a quarter horse. I slept for something like 26 hours in the two days I spent in Anjuna. So much for normalizing.

The arrival at Purple Valley Yoga Center was amazing. Even though I was a day early they found a place for me to sleep, fed me and made sure I had everything I needed. The place is beautiful. All-inclusive. Clean rooms, amazing food, a pool and a beautiful Shala to practice in. 3am my alarm goes off; time to practice then ready myself for assisting. Completely psyched to be here and soaking up the gift of it all.  Thank you David!

Some random things… there is a MASSIVE pack of dogs somewhere very nearby. I have spotted three spiders the size of salad plates. Just hanging out. I’m sure they have many friends. Finally get to sleep in a princess bed (made of mosquito nets but whatever). Motorcycle rides in India are awesome. Driving a scooter is harder than I thought but maybe that’s a good thing. Beach vendors do not understand the word, NO. Limca is totally yum. Four days of the stomach bug is not awesome. Ever. But completely awesome when it stops. I get to practice with the sounds of what I imagine are amazing beautiful birds and frogs and other creatures singing their morning mantras.