onwards to palolam!
so we decided that Vagator, not the jolly christmas retreat that we imagined, was to be left as soon as possible.
We asked our hotel bloke whether a train ticket could be bought from him, he looked like a chronically frightened weasel at the best of times and now he looked especially shifty. he told us that the best way would be taking a taxi (the hotel taxi of course) to Panjim and then a bus to palolem from there. weakened by lack of sleep from the previous nights excesses, we agreed. the next morning we arrived in panjim and where dropped of at the bus station. much like when Flo and i went to our first station it was a process of trail and error to find out how things worked. the bus station was a bustle of activity, with signs everywhere written in one of the 87 languages that are actively used in India. i queued up at a likely looking office, only to be told to go someplace else for palolam. the bloke wasn’t clear, his wild gesture taking in the entirety of the bus station. the station was built like a hub, so we struck out a quarter rotation in the hope of seeing something. i found a bus heading to margaon, a place halfway there, but i had no idea how to get a ticket. asking around i discovered that what i first thought to a be a large mob aimlessly clogging up the station trying to sell stuff, turned out to be the queue to get tickets. as i considered the rabble, trying to work out where it ended or even began, a couple of travelers wondered up. turns out they where from the chek republic and the prospect of queuing scared them. they offered to share a taxi with us to margaon. this seemed a good plan so we got a taxi after a protracted haggling session with the chek guy happily inventing fictional journeys he had taken of similar length but for a quarter of the asking price. i was in the back with the chek couple and lucy was in the front apparently pretending to be a deaf mute. i chatted away to the couple who were really nice. a couple of times during out conversation the taxi driver would swerve violently and break to avoid such things as the side of the road or a tree. this isn’t unusual in india, so we really didn’t take it onboard that we where in the hands of someone who had only the most rudimentary grasp on the concept of driving. it was also possible that he was drunk. i joked about the lack of seatbelts, miming strapping myself into my seat in mock terror. we all had a jolly laugh. what seemed like moments later we came to an intersection and i glanced up to see a moped appear in front of us. the driver braked wildly and i watched in slow motion as we smashed into the moped. the rider crunched into the windscreen, spiderwebing it inwards right in front of Lucy. the taxi stopped, shedding its newest addition. i looked around, no one seemed harmed. Lucy was understandably in a state of shock and covered in glass dust. suddenly a crowd appeared around us. i saw the mopedist being supported by a couple of people, he looked alive, if a little mangled. after a moments indecision we all got out and wondered around for another taxi. our driver, now on the phone to his boss, tried to charge us, but we declined.
as luck would have it, we had crashed directly opposite a bus stop. a bus rested on the tarmac like some blessed apparition, it was going to margaon, it was empty and it cost rp8 a tiny fraction of what the taxi would have cost.
on reflection, this is all disturbingly lucky.
this enchanted bus soon filled up and took approximately a week to get to margaon but the bus from there to palolam it was speedy. we had worked out the buses at that point. you just leap on the one with palolam printed on the back and hope for the best.
on this bus we met a guy called Miles, a very nice chap who become our companion in palolam for a few days.
we slid back into the thing of things in palolam fairly quickly. getting drunk with Miles every other evening and taking a rest the next day.
a note on Quicksilver.
this has become one of the finest books i have ever read. it bypasses even the quincunx as a pleasure to read. it centers on the royal society and natural philosophers in particular. a subject i new a little about having listened to a radio 4 program on it a while back. natural philosophers such as Newton, Hook and Liebnez created the way we view the world today. inventing such diverse things as the telescope and the clock to metaphysical notions such as calculus and the philosophical language. fascinating stuff with a really engaging story. Samuel Pypes was a member of the royal society at the time and has a small role in this book. when i have the chance upon returning home i might have a read of his diaries and see his perspective on certain events such as the great fire of london and being â€œcut for the stoneâ€.
been in palolam for about nine days now. new year was an anticlimax of similar proportions to christmas. it was fun for a while but i went to bed at around 5am bitterly annoyed that the network had collapsed and not only could not send any messages but any messages sent to me where somehow lost in the aether as well. i’m still waiting to receive them. thinking about heading on to Hampi in the next few days.
see you anon!
Flo and lucy scrumming down some pemello in the park in mumbai.
some urchins, of which, there are many, in agra.
a traditionally painted heavey goods truck.
me trecking into the heart of monkey island, armed only with a glazed expresion and a staff of my own construction. those monkeys had better watch out!
still on monkey island, i rest for a moment and enjoy a good pose as i servey my claimed land. i shall name it von julion land or some such.
a foul creature thats has crawled out of someones nightmare. they populate the beaches of palolam in their millions.
i believe i have messed up the uploading again. but this computor is like a satan and is not making it easy.