Arambol is this beautiful beach land filled with musicians and yogis and people who just want to enjoy life. It doesn’t really feel like India at all. Probably because no one here is Indian, except for the locals of course.
I’m totally out of my comfort zone for the first time in India. Up until now, I have been waited on hand and foot by family and close friends. Will I survive? (Is the question that keeps popping up in my mind)
BUT…I met my good friend Erin here!! She and I both taught yoga together in New York, and actually, she was the first person I met at my yoga studio when I moved to New York. Now, she’s the first friend I have met in India. Funny. She’s been in India for the past 4 months doing an Iyengar intensive, and it’s so nice to hear her point of view on the places she’s been. I’m so lucky to have her. We’ve been catching up on the beach, doing yoga, meditating, dancing to live music, drinking fresh juices and coconuts and lassis. Ahh it’s unreal :).
I’m staying at Piya’s guest house. My room is small but clean. Piya is this big stern looking Indian lady who owns this place and she is like a mama to all her residents. She knew who I was before I even arrived and she always pokes her nose into our business in a nosy/loving way. I appreciate it.
Bathrooms outside my room are nasty here! Imagine Indian bathrooms plus beach bathrooms. Ew. The best place to go is in the ocean. End of story.
And I can’t really sleep too well. My bed is hard and I’m a princess. It’s the truth, so I just have to deal.
So until today, I was the only Indian tourist here. Everyone else is from UK, Spain, South America, Tel Aviv, etc. I think that gives me a weird sense of expectation by the locals here. I ran into a few nasty shop keepers. One Indian lady told me to put more clothes on when she realized I was Indian. Yikes.
On the other hand, some Indian locals are thrilled when I talk to them in Hindi. So the people who visit are extremely nice, the locals, not always.
Today there are lots of Indian youngsters like me here for holidays but they don’t really embrace the beach like we do in California. Erin and I saw an Indian family, completely full dressed – shirts, kurthis, tennis shoes, everything – as they waded into the water in excitement. Too funny! But if wearing a bathing suit isn’t a part of their culture, then what can you expect?
It must be such a hassle to get that water and sand out of your tennis shoes 😉
The food here is much better. Fresh fish caught in the ocean. Yum. Fresh coconut water (much tastier than the one I had in Pune), fresh fruits. And lemonana – lemons and mint blended together, the most refreshing thing you can imagine. Remind me to make this in Ek-thor (my vitamix).
It’s a really rejuvenating place. I mean, you meditate on the beach in the AM, go take some yoga, you eat fruit with muesli and yogurt for breakfast (everywhere has this), sip on coconut water and freshly squeezed juice, wade in the water, and nap on the beach. The water relaxes your muscles and just relieves all the tension in your body. Man, I am so tan.
Funny story…I ordered ginger ice cream tonight and it was basically vanilla ice cream put in a sugary syrup of fresh ginger…more like ice cream soup! Ew. You can’t always trust the menus :).
Also it’s like yoga central!!! So many ads for so much yoga it’s overwhelming indeed. Erin took me to a good ashtanga class, so I bought a six day package. That way, I wouldn’t have to think too much. Vijay teaches the class and he’s great. He is this old Indian man who is pretty much the same size as me and can do everything. Amazing fellow.
It’s so nice to be with yogis again. They really are a different breed. Everyone is loving yet independent – you don’t feel any judgement or “supposed to’s”. It’s like this secret understanding where you can just be yourself easily. I can’t really explain it in words, but if you’re a yogi, you know what I mean ;).
What else, oh the beach!
It’s amazing. Whenever I start to feel doubt or uncertainty about India and change and whatever, the beach just clears it all away. Emptiness. The sand is soft, water is warm, the breeze is cool, and the sunset is breath taking.
Around 5:30, the entire town of Arambol gathers to watch the sunset. People get out their drums and guitars and just create music for everyone to dance to. Other people juggle and spin ropes adeptly and do handstand push ups on the sand and toss fire. It’s like a circus.
Today Erin and I are going to try Flying Yoga. I’ll let you know how it goes.
You know, I think I’m going to be just fine here.
- Arambol: food and culture