In Goa the sun shines, the palm trees sway in the breeze, the sea is close by and inviting, the brightly coloured colonial houses are cosy and comfortable. This euro-india is a gentle place that takes you to heart, or perhaps it just slips into mine, but for the first time in a while I begin to find the first sense of a little contentment with myself.
Goa was my starting point on a big trip, my fifty something Gap year, my time to explore a little of the world and perhaps myself with it.
I made an agreement with myself a few months back, the wise part of me, the little part that lies tucked away had a quiet word with the noisier needy side which is most often in charge, the decision made to stop looking for a relationship and a woman, my most enduring and powerful drive for two years, I finally figured out that I needed a relationship more than was good for me, or anyone else for that matter. That whilst I wanted an intimate and loving relationship with a woman, that with it came a big flaw, that in some way I also was looking to find value in myself through the eyes of another. So for the present I am just being, no agenda other than to explore and see what happens and what interests me.
Whilst I have decided not to pursue a relationship I figure that I cannot shut out half of humanity altogether, in Goa I meet up with a rather pleasant Yoga Teacher from Berlin, Yoga types interest me, their motivations, their beliefs, their practice. My German friend spends a lot of her time living in Goa, I am rather interested in the expat life here, how people live, what it’s like, we arrange to go for lunch the next day, I take down her number.
The following day I decide not to have any breakfast, by lunchtime I am starving. I realise that we havent arranged where to meet, I call my friend and then find I’ve saved the wrong number. I drive to her place but she’s out. As the clock ticks my stomach rumbles more and more. By 1.30 I am ravenous. I take my scooter out on the road and ride. Eventually I come to a little roadside shack, under palm trees and tarpaulin. Somebody had recommended this as a good place to eat. It is just a few plastic tables under a tarpaulin in the palm trees. I walk down the steps and sit a a plastic chair, out comes the tiniest woman, I ask for the menu, I am told there isn’t one, it is lunchtime, so lunch is what you are given, I am so hungry I will agree to anything.
She returns a few minutes later with three plates, a Vegetable dish, a plate of rice, & some Fritters. A large bottle of water and a glass of lime water with ice. That meal was absolutely delicious, I cannot begin to describe it with words, it was heaven. I asked what the fish was, Shark, I had never realised shark fritters could be so amazing.
At the end of the meal I thanked Milly rather profusely. I told her it was the most delicious meal I could remember having. I realise looking back I probably sounded a little like a mad English Tourist that has been out in the sun for too long, but I asked to have my photo taken with Milly.
My bill came to 120 Rupees, less than £1.50. I couldn’t quite fathom out that the best meal I can remember having in the most basic of surroundings cost me next to nothing. As I walked back up the dusty steps to my scooter it occurred to me that the greatest of pleasures are often the simplest, that you find them unexpectedly, and that Milly was a rather wonderful lady that I will most definitely be seeing again.