i'm lying in a bed with a warm breeze blowing through the windows. the above is me is wobbly but provides a nice breeze as well. incense is burning to keep away mosquitos. my belly is full of water and eggs - full in a word, maybe for the first time sense arriving here. my head is warm and soft from rum. my skin is clean from a hot shower, my memory overflowing from the day. thinking it over ...
we finally cleared the city today about 10am when a worker from the hotel last night guided us to the road to goa. he asked for a tip so eliot gave him rs20. we had gathered some fruit from the hotel in our bags so we stopped to eat not long after that. on the way we braved traffic and heat. the weather really took it's toll on eliot. personally, i felt great - the hot weather, the biking the fuit - it felt just like my childhood in san antonio. i was in high spirits but eliot was having rough go.
we made it to a fruit stand 15km from pen and 40km from alibad. eliot lay down by the side of the road and i visited some of the stalls. i bought a pineapple and ate the whole thing as my lunch. we biked to a nearby hotel. eliot had some soup and i drank water and read the paper. with eliot on the verge of heatstroke, we opted to take a bus from nearby pen to alibad.
we were told that for ten rupees we could store the bikes above the bus ... but that we had less than ten minutes to unpack and get them up there. this turned out to be more like 5 minutes. i hauled my bike up single-handedly with much screaming and grunting. eliot handed his up and i hauled it up and began strapping themdown. the locals started yelling "time to go" before i had the first bungy on. hastily wrapping them, i jumped down and ran into the bus, panting and bleeding. i cannot stress how hard it was to haul the bikes up in a rush nor how satisfying to be working so hard. the experience of having one thing to do that must be done right now is clarifying, simple and good. biking 45km in 95 degree heat qualifies too.
on the bus i napped with trepedation given the amount of jostling that occured. in alibad we saw townsfolk preparing for holi, the end of winter and festival of colors. because of the holiday there were no rooms in town. we asked around for a place to camp. at one stall there were a couple men a few women and a retarded girl. the puzzled over our hindi-english translation picture book then walked accorss the street into a darkened shop. an old woman came out of the shadows. she took a brief look at the book and, in perfectly clear english asked us if we wanted to camp, then kim beach up the road was the best place. we thanked her and she smiled waving us in the direction of the beach, then slid back into her shop. when she spoke all the men stopped and listened. she is perhaps the only person we've met who looked first and only at us and not our bikes. if there are goddesses, this is what they look like.
so there we are, on the road to some beach at sundown with the vague hope that we can camp somewhere ... maybe find a meal ... dead tired too. no food in me except some fruit, running low on water. starving, dehydrated, dirty and tired, we had no clue where we would sleep, what we could eat or where we were going.
and then we met Kunal ...