Arambol: food and culture

I’ve had so much time to think and write while in Goa. The only decision I have to make here is which amazing restaurant to eat at! :)

Things are so sweet in India, literally. Extra sugar in everything!! No wonder I love dessert so much.

Yesterday I haggled with a shopkeeper for a pair of pants. He finally agreed to 200 rupees when I spoke to him in Hindi. I think I was still ripped off, but that’s how much my dinner cost, so I decided it was fine. That got me thinking…It’s interesting how food is never bargained over in India. Imagine if you ordered a dish and didn’t like it and refused to pay a lot for it. That would be chaos! It just shows how food is of so much value here – for enjoyment, pleasure, love, sustenance. 20121224-214652.jpg

There is life in Goa. The fish served at the restaurants is caught from their ocean by their workers (this is not always the case in other beach towns). The beach has puppies and babies and starfish and crabs. All alive, living together. So nice to be on fertile land.

The culture in Arambol also thrives on what my dad would call “mutual trust and respect”. I discovered this from the stray dogs – they are so friendly and loving to the people, as in they will come sit on your beach towel to hang out with you, because the people have been good to them. They trust and respect you, you trust and respect them. In other parts of India, the dogs can be quite dangerous.

This is true also for the people. Yesterday, my last day in Arambol, I wandered to the beach on my own without any bag, just some money in case I got thirsty. I left my money with the owner of the closest restaurant and told him I’d come sit later, after I swam a little. How convenient is that? How often can you do that?

And then, this morning while sitting at Dylan’s, my favorite spot for masala chai + chocolate chip cookies + Internet, Raj, the the owner (who had now become my good friend) gave me his home address and number, and told me when I travel up north, I must come visit his family. Wow.

Here, the locals and visitors become like family and don’t turn their back on each other.

Eating on the beach is lovely here. The service is at a snail’s pace, but you don’t have anything else to do anyways so it works.

I realized that it’s best for me to stay away from routines. They eat me alive.
“Aparigraha” = unattachment.

Always carry tissues with you in India. 0 out of 10 bathrooms have toilet paper.20121224-214617.jpg

“Hello to queen” is this dessert served in almost all the restaurants here. It’s basically a cookie ice cream sundae. I wonder where this name came from – perhaps British influence?

Banofie pie – crushed up biscuits mixed with butter and pressed into a pie shell, a layer of bananas and condensed milk, topped with coconut and cashews. Then frozen. Then served cold. I’ve never tasted anything like this before. So good! When I get home, I am going to try this with a twist – maybe cooking the bananas first, or throwing some chocolate in there. Yum.

Met some really great people here and in just a few days, I already feel like part of a family. Each person seems to have a similar story as to how they ended up in India, but each person is so unique. How refreshing.20121224-214632.jpg

Now being whisked away for family time. Arambol, I will be back.

Much love,

SONIA

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