I am presently on the beach in Goa, India. This is not a city. Up till now I thought it was a city. Now I know that this is a State and not a city. Everyone talks about going to Goa, but I cannot remember them saying a certain beach, or specific spot in this State. It is located about 250 miles south of Bombay or Mumbai. They have decide to take an Indian name and get rid of the “English” name. So that is the confusion.
I have not updated my world and a lot has happened. Lets see I was in London. Peter came down to stay and I guess look for a job in London. He was staying in another Hostel down the street. So he was in Earls Court area also.
We went for a couple of walks. He is constantly on me to be tourist or encouraging me to see the local attractions. He is one-half English and one-half American. I would say he is more American then English but he would say he is more English. But he is proud of England and wants me to see everything. He knows I take picture of everything so who is sure of his exact motivations.
Some guy from the Guardian Newspaper in London is emailing him to ask questions about Iraq. This is good. I encourage him to call up the guy and give him better details. They met on the Lonely Planet Thorntree. I think it is Thorn.
But we walked around. I was searching my soul for what I wanted to see. I had already seen the big stuff. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the London Bridge. I decided to pass on the British Museum until next time around the planet. It needs more, and deserves more then a one day stop in an look. So next time for that.
In the end I said,
“I want to see where Charles Dickens lived or wrote about.”
So we went off searching for Charles Dickens. We went down to the City of London. London proper is a metropolis and a lot of smaller cities combined into one huge city. I suppose even in Earls Court I was not actually in London, but another city connected to London. It is too big a bother to figure out all this. I was in this big area called London.
Charles is a evasive individual. I am hard pressed to say. I have never read any of his book. I have tried desperately to read them, but have found the vocabulary too large and difficult to read in comfort. But maybe as I get older and more multi-leveled I can try again. That guy had a vocabulary that would confuse the normal person, or at least me. I cannot guarantee though that I am normal.
So in the end. I have only seen the movies.
“A Tale of Two Cities”
Now “David Copperfield” has my favorite quote of all time in it. Ooops. I hope I quote this correctly. I am working offline and cannot just search the internet for a clean quote. Ok, here goes
Some of you have heard this before. From the first page of the book David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens.
“Whether I shall be the hero of my life, or whether that station shall be held by someone else. These pages will tell.”
I suppose I wish to be my own hero. This has been or cross in front of my world to be claimed when I was about 16 years old. That was more then a couple of years ago. So I have been claiming this one for a long time.
But to be my own hero is in many ways what I strive to achieve. Or probably in the end just to like Andy. No more, no less.
I got up at about 6 am to leave for the plane. The kitchen was locked, so I unfortunately missed a large priority. My morning cup of coffee. I knew also that the price of coffee at the airport would be around 3 dollars USA and this is not acceptable in my world. I would give up coffee if I had to pay that much all the time. Obviously I have not drank at Starbuck much, and do not plan to.
So off to the Underground for a train to Heathrow Airport. This was very easy and quick. The hard part was to know how much to set aside. I did not want to have English Pounds in my possession as I left the country. So was trying to spend all, or converted to Dollars. I sat aside 5 pounds for the Subway or Underground. It is hard for me to fathom, but the priced of the trains in London fluctuated by the time of day, distance, zone, and other miscellaneous variable. I am still lost after a week in England. The system is similar to buying a plane ticket in the USA. Built to confuse, and just give up an pay through the nose. The train to the Airport cost 2.30 pounds. This is about 3.50 cents USA. This is not a cheap fare.
I wait around in the airport. This is one of the worlds largest airports and I did not want to miss the plane. So I was maybe 2-3 hour early. But airports are great places to people watch. But not great places to spend money wisely. But they got you, and they get you in Airports. This is worldwide.
I had to wait until they announce the gate my plane was leaving from, so I was sitting around watching them marquis boards that change numbers and flights all the time. Departures and arrivals.
There was a girl in the waiting area with hair that was about as long as I have ever seen. It was very shiny and silky looking. Amazing to have such healthy hair for being that long. I noted this.
Got on the plane. Normal stuff. Sleep, eat, and feel crowded. I like bus any day before a Plane. They have a lot more leg room. But they do not go as fast. A train has the best leg room. In the end to see the country though a bus will let you see the most from the window.
I flew on Gulf Air. Great plane ride. They had lots of movies. I like a movie on a plane and it always seems like they have very few movies on Planes. But Gulf Air was good and when I got off the plane. I am supposed to say disembarked. That is the right word. Well when I disembarked from the plane my bag disembarked with me. So I was happy. It was in one piece and all the straps still connected. I worry about plane trips. They are the roughest on my bag. I must note to myself while in India to reinforce and fix up my bag to be immune to plane baggage handler. I am not sure that is possible.
BOMBAY OR MUMBAI
It is tiresome to keep repeating this. But the name of Bombay is now Mumbai. So I arrived in Mumbai. I will not share using both name as I please for awhile. OK.. Bombay at 3:45 in the morning. Dark and the airport terminal feels more like a bus terminal in Peru then an Airport Terminal.
We had a layover of 3 hours in Bahrain. I may or may not count this on my list of number of countries I have entered. I think I should not. I did not leave the airport and did not get a stamp. So probably best to leave off.
The Bahrain Airport sold coffee for 3 dollars USA. About the same as London. So this is definitely a worldwide problem. Extortion at airport on coffee. They know I have withdrawal.
The Bahrain Airport looks like a 5 star hotel. Very nice and exclusive feeling. They would be 5 stars if they had a water fountain. I always grade a country by the toilet and water fountains first. So Bahrain is not doing well. They had a squat toilet and no water fountain.
Funny to note. The train from Mumbai to Goa had a western style toilet. So the trains in India so far are ahead of an airport in Bahrain.
I am in Palomen Beach Goa. I hope I spelled that right. But who cares? Natasha a friend and reader of the Blog and Newsletter is here so I planned first to meet up with her. She gave me directions and fortunately my friend Chris sent extremely good directions or I may have missed Natasha completely. But I have made it to Palomen Beach, Goa.
It was difficult to catch the train in Bombay. They have about 5-20 types of fares and very crowded and confusing. There are these people constantly talking to me that want to sell or scalp tickets. Saying the train is full, and I somewhat believe them because I missed the first one to Goa and had to take another taxi to the Victoria Station. This reminded me of the Bus Station in London called Victoria Station. This is a former colony so I am sure the Brits had their nose in on that one also. But if not. So I still blame them.
After the second taxi fare and multiple people trying to get a tip I got an extremely expensive train ticket to Goa. Cost 1600 Rupees. That is about 30 dollars USA. I was expecting to pay 5 dollars USA. It is possible, but I got ripped. So what can I say. I was late for the train, and told Natasha I would be in Goa that day. I arrived at about 10:00 PM. This is against all advice I have ever given. Do not arrive in a strange city in the dark. This is dangerous. Especially on your first day. So as happens sometimes. I ignore myself. If you knew me like my friends or family. You would know that they also ignore me. It sometime is the only way to like me. To listen to me think or talk is annoying. Strangely people would rather read the Blog then listen to me say the same story in person.
I am doing a second NO NO. I am typing on my computer from next to the beach. I can feel the keys getting sticky from the salt breeze as I continue to type. The salt will corrode metal, or make it rust very very fast.
On the early morning tour of Bombay or Mumbai by accident or paid taxi from Train Station to Train Station I saw a few things of interest. Both taxi drives seem to take a tour of all the back streets, so this was interesting. I saw a few cows. I saw people washing or taking their morning shower by dumping a bucket of water on their head. This is not a good sign. Most large cities of the world have running water and the country side does not. Where I am presently has running water. So I will continue to observe the cities. I saw some water fountains along the way here. At train stations they had water fountains. I took a couple of photos from the window.
One had a sign.
“Bacteria Free Drinking Water.”
All the signs are in English and in the local language. I have not idea and really do not care. I think there are too many to be bothered with in India, and the English language is the language of commerce and communication. The guy on the train said it was the language of the Elite. I will let that one go….
So drinking fountains is good. Who knows whether it is good. Natasha met me on the beach today and gave me a bottle of water. I have been getting the water for my coffee from the tap. I am waiting to see if she catches on. She has warned me on multiple occasions that I should not drink the water. I said,
“I need to lose weight, it would be great way to lose a few pounds.”
But life is good on the beach. Always is. I moving from the same cluster of huts as Natasha tomorrow to cheaper set. This one is little too much on the tourist side for me anyway. Too much bar and landscaping and not enough travelers. Just because a person has a backpack does not in my opinion make them a travelers. The line between backpacker and tourist is coming closer. Very hard to tell a tourist now from a backpacker. They both want the exclusive, bar, music, and western food. I hear a guy request a Heinekin Beer today. I was laughing. Where I Peter when I need him? He is a pain in the butt sometimes, but he does not need the pomp and luster to travel. So much of life is fashion. I am always surrounded by fashion.
So I move from the 7 dollar a night room to the 4 dollar a night room. The new one is on stilts and in reality safer. Hard to sneak up a ladder without someone noticing. While the other one is on the ground.
I teased or explained Natasha that the legs made if difficult for Rats to enter the hut. She said very quickly told me that the one I am in presently does not have Rats. I had trouble laughing.
They are drying fish in the sun out front of the Hotel or Huts. There are Rats.
She did not like today that I called her, or said she was
I did not think that would bug her. She is an extremely patriotic person. I better be careful. I guess no labels. … ooops. That is why she is American. I give up. Oh well. She is from the new country of
“Fruits and Nuts.”
The call it San Francisco and I heard or think they are going to secede from the Union. I sure hope so.
Well, so what do I know about India? Nothing so far. I have saw and airport and a train.
That girl with the long hair sat down next to me in the Bahrain Airport. She ask me if I was going to Pune? I said,
“Hard to say, I do not even know where it is?”
“It is where I live, and 2 hours from Mumbai.”
“I am going to Pune.”
Trust me this is a good decision.
But for now. I will diligently work on my tan. Lose a few of them big French Fries called “Chips” by the English from body. Get down to fighting weight again and ready for competition. I do not care what I have inside my mind. I know the packaging sell and not my mind. And it is getting harder and harder to sell the packaging. But life is good.
Every notice in life that the thing you really want or feel passionately about are easier to attain. I thought that girl with the long hair was special and she must have read my mind. Not a safe place, but nonetheless she knocked long enough to exchange emails.
The sleeper train was good. Air conditioning and I caught up on some of my sleep. Met a Lawyer from India. He also gave me his address. We did not start out on a good foot. He offered to help. I said,
“Every time someone offers to help her. I end up paying a tip, I have paid 5 tips and I have only been in the country 2 hours.”
The kept putting me in these boxed where I had to have help out. So as always if you need help. The dollar will set you free. I am free now, and learning the new systems here.
The Lawyer was an excellent man. He has an arrange marriage of 14 years. Has 2 children and believe this is the best way to get married. His English was great. Spoken like an Englishman. I have trouble understanding the people in England, and I had trouble understating him. So just like England. But he was good fun and helped me translate the English spelled word into the local language so I would get off at the right train stop.
Well. I hope I have bored you stiff. I cannot sleep because I have jet lag, so you get to listen to my rambling longer.
What has been interesting about meeting Natasha is that besides my Mother and Father, I have never really talked with many people that have read my newsletter or blog in person. I get a few emails. But very few that have read any of my noise. That is not correct. There is a couple of other I know. I will leave their names out to be polite.
NOTE: I am sitting out by the sea. Typing on my computer. There is a huge palm tree next to me loaded with Coconuts. Something just hit my shoulder. It is very dark. The waves are crashing and I know them rats also climb trees… aagh. I will look later.
I was told the reason why they paint trees with white calcium in Mexico is to keep the rats from climbing them. I will try to go back to sleep. I need to be sleepy. The waves are about 4 decibel points too high on some type of noise level. All the huts on this beach are really about 100 meters too close to the Ocean for comfort. The salt breeze is making me sticky and the noise will keep me awake. But paradise does not come without a price, and it is more fun in an imperfect world that is exciting then a perfect world that is boring.
“Good night John Boy.”
STAGING NEXT TRIP TO EUROPE
I know it appears that I came to Europe or London to be a tourist. But my goal this time was more an effort to discover how to travel in Europe for 6-8 months. Europe is expensive and hectic. Not my favorite type of travel. The biggest problem for me is the need for reservations. This remove the spontaneity and the pure joy of adventure. It can become more of job then an adventure.
I have discovered some ideas to make my next trip easier.
1. Travelers congregate in London and sell their camper vans.
2. It is legal to camp in Sweden along side the road. It may be possible to do this in most of the Scandinavian countries.
3. Renting an apartment for a month works.
4. London is a great place to find a temporary job. Do not need a work visa and they will pay cash. (That is illegal.)
5. I can buy car insurance that covers almost all of Europe.
6. Germany may be a good place to buy a used vehicle.
7. I need to take into consideration loneliness more in Europe. It is more difficult to meet and share experiences. Especially if you are not willing to spend lots of money.
8. My Mother and Father dream of going to Europe.
9. I want to get here in very early spring before the rush and / or crazies arrive.
This listing of idea helps me to think though my trips. I will often make a list of things to do and then never look at the list again.
I woke up at 1:50 in the morning. Could not sleep, but actually I thought it was time to wake so went down stairs to the TV room and watched a movie. The movie was “Finding Forester.” An excellent movie and inspiring.
What am I do next? This part of my daily thoughts and the question becomes bigger and not smaller. I now after my Iraq trip realize that I can go anywhere I wish. A person is suppose to know that they have the freedom to travel and do as they wish. But this often is an evasive thought and hard to believe. I seem to fall into a channel and have trouble thinking about where I want to go, and just go to the places that I hear other travelers say is nice.
I try to understand myself, and what is of interest to me? This is not always simple. So I choose a country that seems interesting and then go there. Once I am in the country I experience or hear information that tempts me to visit. Then I go visit.
Yesterday I went on a walk to Hyde Park to catch a bus that would tour the city. This is the double decker type bus and would take me to the main attractions. It cost about 10 pounds for a day ticket says the manager or my Hostel. This is a very good value in a city where one metro ride cost 1.60 pounds.
So on the walk over to Hyde park to catch this bus, or try discover how to catch this bus my true desires surfaced. I was looking at all these building and take a few photos. I had this vision of a Charles Dickens book and old historic homes. So I change my plans and decided to walk. This would allow me to the ability to walk through or wander around in the local neighborhoods as I head for a major attraction. So I started walking toward Buckingham Palace and keeping my mind open to the idea of wandering in the local neighborhood. Now this sounds good, but it did not work. I never seem to leave the modern areas. But I had a fresh walk on an Fall day in London. I think I need to go farther into the outskirts of the city to find the more bedraggled parts of this metropolis.
SPACE FLIGHT OF CHINA
China has successfully put a man in space. This is wonderful and it makes me think of China and what the future will bring. Current Events travel is starting to be on the top of my mind. History only occurs when it occurs so if you or I have the opportunity. Why not go and share in the moment.
Peter my friend from Iraq was going to go and watch the last landing of the Concorde as it came into Heathrow airport here in London, England. I hope he got his wish. Concorde was the first supersonic passenger plane. But as always a business is about making money and this plane has not competed.