Tuesday.. November 15th.. 2011.. mid-evening.. 8:25PM (2025 Hours) ..
There is NO WAY I can tell you all of the action that I have just experienced this past two days.. Sunday and Monday.. the 13th and the 14th of November..
So let’s you and I roll ..
Sunday Morning the 13th.. I was out the door of the YMCA on Jai Singh Road in New Delhi right on time.. my train was due out at 11AM and I was out of the YMCA at 10AM.. got an auto ricksha to HAZRAT NIZAMUDDIN RAILWAY STATION.. and was at the station.. and I was on the platform at 10:25AM for my 11AM train to GOA..
NIZAMUDDIN RAIL STATION in New Delhi is off the beaten path.. I have .. in all of my twenty one years traveling here in India.. only been into or out of Nizamuddin one or two times.. I KNOW LIKE THE BACK OF MY HAND THE NEW DELHI (MAIN) RAILWAY STATION.. not so Nizamuddin..
10:25AM.. train departing at 11AM.. and NO TRAIN in sight..
Finally.. at about 10:35AM.. here it came chugging in.. A FINE.. BEST- OF-THE-BEST.. RAJDHANI EXPRESS.. THE ENTIRE TRAIN IS fine.. elite..
Since it was just pulling in.. I could just watch the coaches pass me .. looking for my coach A2.. when the train stopped with coach B6 in front of me.. I simply began walking toward the end of the train until I got to coach A2..
GOD SURE PUTS SPECIAL PEOPLE INTO MY LIFE AND YOU ARE ABOUT TO MEET THREE OF THEM..
As I stood at the door to my coach A2.. a young woman was standing in front of me.. I had tried to push past her but was simply unable to do so.. so I had to wait for her to board.. I wanted to get in front of her because she had a ton of baggage .. and something about (let’s say) forty eight inches in diameter wrapped in a shiny silver colored cloth..
PICTURE THAT.. something forty eight inches in diameter.. I mean this THING WAS HUGE.. and because of that huge thing and all of her other bags.. I wanted to push past her to beat her to the door so I could get on and get settled..
I said to her.. in a NOT too friendly manner .. ” WHAT IN THE HELL is THAT ? ! ” .. well she just smiled up at me.. she being probably about 5-foot 2-inches tall.. and smilingly said.. “Hula-Hoops.. I am an entertainer ! ” ..
I thought some very unkind thoughts to myself (THANK GOD I kept them to myself) .. to her great credit she rather nimbly.. (being nimble).. in two trips.. got all of this stuff up into the coach and pushed it all into the foyer between the coaches so she did NOT block me or anyone else from getting onto the coach and getting settled..
I got to my cabin straight away.. and thus began one of.. if not.. THE MOST MEMORABLE train trips in India I have ever enjoyed..
In my cabin was a couple (I can NOT say elderly.. ).. a mature couple.. from Holland.. when I lived in Germany from July 1974 until October 1978.. I just LOVED HOLLAND AND I JUST LOVED THE DUTCH PEOPLE..
Meet Bert and meet his wife Trudi.. over-the-top human beings.. Bert is a sea captain.. a pilot at this point in his life.. who commands any ship that comes into his port in Holland.. Pilots take command of ships from their Captains who may not know the harbor as well as the Pilot.. this includes 336 metre container ships (about eleven hundred and three feet in length) ..
So all was well.. Bert and Trudi and I getting to know one another.. then SHE shows up.. comes into our cabin.. with the gigantic.. 48-inch diameter silver colored thing.. pops it into the upper berth across from me and above Bert and Trudi .. and settles down.. AFTER wrestling some of her stuff into place below our lower berth seat.. SHE being next to me..I said.. “Hula-Hoops” .. she smiled.. “well three are .. one is a fire ring .. ” ..
SHE.. THE ENTERTAINER.. HAS A NAME.. LISA .. ( NO not Julie..) .. and is about twenty seven and from Britain.. so we all spoke English.. Bert and Trudi and Lisa and me..
ODD.. while in the early stages of getting to know one another.. Bert asked me where the name Cap came from.. and when I told him.. he said “I am a Captain too” .. oh yeah Bert.. you sure ARE..
So out and off we four went.. we all clicked like life long friends who had not seen one another for years when we have NEVER SEEN ONE ANOTHER BEFORE..
I was ticketed to go all the way to Margao.. as was Lisa.. Bert and
Trudi ticketed to get down at a tiny rail junction named Sawantwadi.. in the extreme south of Maharashtra the Indian State where Mumbai (Bombay) is located..
Bert really studies his trips.. and Bert.. in terms of world travel.. makes the likes of me look like a cabin boy sweeping up the crumbs he drops in a dust pan.. I was going to say.. Bert makes me look like a pimple on the backside of a REAL WORLD TRAVELER..
For one thing.. career merchant seamen see the entire world in their work.. and at age twenty seven.. I would not say Lisa lacks much herself in world travel..
And Lisa and Bert and Trudi just walked off and left me ‘in-their-dust because I had done NOTHING to educate myself about GOA..
It took me until Monday about 10AM before I could spell and sound out the tiny rail junction Sawantwadi Road Bert and Trudi and Lisa ( who had decided .. mid-trip.. to get off with them) .. were getting off at..
.. and it took me about as long as that before I could pronounce and locate this small beach Lisa was heading to.. some place called Arambol Beach.. on the extreme northern ocean coast of the State of Goa..
And to where she had suggested Bert and Trudi head also..
Somewhere in the 26-HOURS we were together.. the following lightening bolt struck me..
(duhh) .. ” I wonder IF I should just go along with the three of them who seem to know what they are doing since I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ANYTHING ABOUT GOA.. ” .. (duhh) ..
BUT I did NOT have much money with me because I was ticketed to and planning to go to Margao.. a LARGE city with many banks and ATMs so I did NOT need a lot of money on the train..
Bert flat offered me the following.. ” Cap.. I will finance you until you can get some money” .. can you all imagine that.. I was NOT broke.. I did have about 12,000 Indian Rupees available to me BUT.. this tiny beach Lisa was taking them to had NO ATM NOR bank..
bad bad BAD KARMA IS THIS .. to run OUT OF MONEY in a country like India..
I had been on the cell phone with PATTI almost constantly talking about this thing.. Patti brought up Arambol Beach on Google.. and we talked and we talked and we talked more about all of the ins and the outs.. of me joining the three of them on their adventure..
FINALLY I decided to .. with all three of them urging and supporting this idea of me joining them.. go with the flow..
to go with them to Arambol Beach on the extreme northern ocean coast of the Indian State of GOA..
DURING THE NIGHT OF SUNDAY NOVEMBER 13th and MONDAY NOVEMBER 14th.. about 1AM.. train robbers visited our cabin (we think) three times.. they actually cut a metal ring on my back pack (leaving the metal ring attached to its lock) with threads cut and exposed..and my back pack still chained but no longer chained in two places.. and I was in an UPPPER BERTH.. Lisa saw one one time and called out.. Bert and Trudi woke up.. as did I.. it was bad and it was unnerving.. I came ‘this close’ to losing about one thousand US Dollars worth of stuff in my back pack.. this was bad.. REALLY BAD..
About 12Noon .. Monday.. November 14th.. we four .. along with three others.. got down from the Rajdhani Express at SAWANTWADI ROAD in the extreme south of Maharashtra State and began another journey..
First we had to travel by auto ricksha.. in probably 95F heat.. to a wide river between Maharashtra and Goa.. probably a thirty minute ride.. with Lisa and me and a third woman and all of our three combined luggage including the hula-hoops.. in an auto ricksha.. I would have never believed we could have gotten in..
The we crossed the river on a ferry boat.. and had to get to this place called Arambol Beach.. five of us.. Bert and Trudi.. Lisa and her lady chum.. and me.. Bert was able to flag down a tiny taxi .. and the poor driver almost fainted dead on the spot when he saw the luggage we five had in ADDITION TO WE FIVE.. Bert and Trudi and Me are full sized people.. Lisa and her chum are of the 5-ft 2-inch 90 pound variety who could easily pass for ‘thin’ asians..
Well we did this.. got into this place called Arambol Beach in Goa.. and Lisa promptly took us to MAGIC PARK.. told us to “Sit down.. get water.. eat food.. rest up..” and Lisa disappeared..
Bert and Trudi and I did that.. sat down.. got water.. ordered a nice lunch..ate said nice lunches.. and rested up..
Back comes Lisa.. ” Bert and Cap.. come with me.. Trudi you just rest here.. I have a place you might like to stay in..” ..
Friends.. GOD.. I would have dropped into a dead sleep in a rat infested roach ridden hell hole.. I was PAST EXHAUSTED..we are in the topics.. it was at least 90F..
What Lisa had found was a .. (I swear to goodness it looks like) .. BRAND SPANKING NEW place within eye shot of the fabulous beach at Arambol Beach in the extreme North of Goa..
We said ” We will take it ” .. Bert helped me get my stuff from Magic Park to our place.. I crashed.. Bert and Trudi left their things with me.. the owner had to ‘BLESS THE ROOM BERT AND TRUDI WERE IN’ .. which means it WAS BRAND NEW I THINK.. so out and off went Bert and Trudi.. at age 53 they have it all over me with regard to where I was at that point..
We.. me and the Bobbseys.. are on the beach in Arambol Beach in northern Goa for about thirteen dollars and sixty three cents a night.. and I may very well stay ‘awhile’ here..
I did a washing.. and at 8PM.. Bert and Trudi and I ate dinner..THAT DINNER.. on my zero to ten.. broke the scale at a fifty (50).. I ate my Singapore Noodles.. I ate up what Bert and Trudi did not eat up..
WHAT A TRIP.. WHAT JOY..
Today the 15th I was up at (just before) the crack of dawn and on the beach..
I moved from my hotel room (facing south) to the room immediately nest door for a (northern exposure) cooler room.. I got a twenty litre bottle of water brought into my room..
I LOVE my room .. it is over the top nice.. I have a refrigerator and cold water at my finger tips..
I walked to where I can get a local bus tomorrow to go get money at an ATM in a town South of Aramsol Beach.. I got more of the prescription medicine I am taking to thwart off Tuberculous and Pneumonia and severe Bronchitis .. I was tired.. but had to get the medicine..
“Oh Cap..” .. I looked over and saw a smiling Lisa.. she was on a motor scooter.. I said.. “Lisa.. please give me a ride back to the beach’.. “Cap.. I can’t do that because I don’t know what I am doing since I just rented this scooter” .. “Move over kiddo.. I will PILOT us back.. I gotta have a ride back..” .. “DO you know what you are doing Cap” .. “OH yeah Lisa.. lottsa motorcycles over lottssa years all over the world..” ..
“Cap.. I have to stop at that internet cafe”..
ME TOO LISA.. ME TOO..I have internet stuff I need to do Lisa.. me too..
and that is the rest of this story.. Lisa long ago left .. and I gotta wrap this thing up.. it is past 10PM.. and I am tired ..
much much MUCH love and joy.. IF there is one thing that will blow this trip up.. it is my lung health..
IF a woman could really remember child birth.. there would be a lot more one child families..
IF I could remember the times I have had to seek medical attention for my lungs here in India.. I would have stopped coming back years and years and years ago.. frankly I had forgotten that in the winter here.. all of India disolves into croupy hacking nasty lung infections..
Last Saturday.. in New Delhi.. I got the medicines THANKS TO CHAD AND TO PATTI.. and my pharmacy in New Delhi.. Nath Brothers.. when I walked into the local pharmacy here in Arambol Beach the pharmacist just handed over to me what I asked for.. AZITHROMYCIN.. 500mg Saturday.. 250mg Sunday and Monday and Today and tomorrow AND I HAVE A BRAND NEW SUPPLY AND WILL KEEP TAKING THIS UNTIL MY LUNGS ARE CLEARED UP..
Being here has got to be a good health move believe thee me.. over and out with love.. cap..
that’s it captain.. that’s it red rider..
- NOV 12, 11 .. LEAVING NEW DELHI FOR GOA
- For What It’s Worth.. 71.. November 17, 2011