|India can be all too much sometimes! From Hampi I took a very bumpy overnight bus to Goa and emerged bleary eyed and bruised in Panjji at dawn. This was not my final destination but we were suddenly told that the bus was now stopping here and the two remaining passengers, a guy from Denmark and I were to take a minibus for the last part. The "minibus" was a beaten up old coach with most of the seats missing and replaced with eight overflowing oil drums full of diesel, the contents of which were swimming around the floor and filling the inside with noxious fumes. Thank God that the Danish guy was with me, we both of us point blank refused to be transported anywhere in this death trap. The Indians in their usual fashion couldn't care less and walked off and left us. Luckily the bus office was just across the street and the Danish guy went to argue with the management. Testily they agreed to take us to where we had paid to go and were herded back onto the original bus and taken to our destination. Who knows what that was all about!
So it was that I arrived in Anjuna, Goa birthplace of psytrance. I checked into my guest house and slept for a while. There have been reports for many years that the psytrance scene is not what it once was in Goa. The authorities have been clamping down on the parties and trying to get rid of all the hippies that never went home. My expectations were not high but psytrance is a huge part of my life and how could I come to India and not make the pilgrimage? After a hot shower (OMG!!! I haven't seen hot water in months) I ventured out to see what I might find. Before I got into psytrance I'd never even heard of Goa, however in recent years it seems that was an increase in mutterings about the place emanating from the UK. As soon as I got to the beach I realized why, huge expanses of ghostly white flesh in the process of turning a vivid lobster pink. British package holiday makers treating themselves to a melanoma for Christmas and ringing the death knell for yet another beautiful part of the world. Mixed in with this crowd were large roaming packs of hand-holding "Hindudes" on bikini watch wearing what I can only describe as "kiss me quick" hats from Blackpool (find a Brit to explain!). As soon as they spotted another interesting scantily clad female specimen they would crowd around and (quite blatantly) stare for the next ten minutes before taking off down the beach to the next exhibit. I was tired, recovering from a cold and a dodgy tummy, I couldn't deal. Get me out of here!
The next day (Christmas day) I woke up in a much better state of mind. I find that whenever I get to a new place it takes me 24 hours to get acclimatized, find my feet and get into the flow. This is especially true of India, every place is so different to the last and there are constant challenges of one sort or another. Slowly Anjuna worked it's magic and grew on me. Psytrance is everywhere! Every shop sells trance clothes, every bar plays trance music. I discovered the nice part of the beach where the locals and the trancers hang out away from the madding crowds. I saw some familiar faces and went to a party. The music has been good, but the scene seems a bit tired and past it (as expected). The majour problem I have is getting around, everything is so spaced out (in one way or another!). Everyone rents motorbikes here and the narrow leafy lanes are full of inebriated Israelis haring about like angry wasps running over anyone who dares get in their way. It would be easy to join them but I think in this case discretion is the better part of valor with the fragile state of my knees. If I can get a huge cartilage tear from sitting in a chair being on a motor bike would seem to be tempting providence!
Yesterday I went to the famous Anjuna Wednesday flea market, a vast affair stretching endlessly from the rice paddies to the beach. It's like the world biggest psyshop with everything from trance clothes to backdrops and every other stall is blasting trance and selling pirated CD's . I was constantly reminded of my friend Brina, there were so many bright sparkly things that I knew she would have gone mad over! But to be honest 98% of the stuff was terrible quality with the same old crap for miles and miles. However there were a few gems in amongst it all and a few familiar faces from the festival scene. There was some especially nice jewelry and I got a couple of nice pieces from a cool Belgian trance couple.
All in all I an enjoying my time here and it's really nice to stay in one place (that has hot water!) for a more than a day or two. I am sticking it out until the New Year as I'm sure there will be a good party in celebration and how could I miss that!