Having read my last post, Leila suggested that I might like to counterbalance my anti-hippie tirade with some positive thoughts on our time in Goa. It’s a fair point, so here are a few kind words about the place. First, the food. Being as it’s on the coast, Goan cuisine is heavily seafood-based, and the seafood is fantastic. I gorged myself on fish for the week that we were there – at least one meal a day, occasionally two, to the extent that I think my body is now experiencing fish withdrawal. Fish curry is possibly the meaning of life (on which, more will follow). Goa is home to the vindaloo, which is nothing like the thickened ultra-hot sludge that goes by the same name in Western restaurants – instead, it’s a spicy but subtle taste sensation that just about made the whole trip worthwhile on its own. The simpler dishes of fresh grilled fish were equally good – it’s not every day you can get a big fat tuna steak or whole grilled kingfish for about $3-$5, is it?
Apart from the food, the beaches were also a pleasant surpries – not quite the idyllic palm-fringed tropical retreats we’d envisaged, but still good enough for plenty of swimming and sunbaking. Catching a wave is one of the great simple pleasures in life, and I kinda didn’t realise how much I’d missed it until I got into the water. Bombay’s like Melbourne – great city, terrible beaches – so it’s a shame we couldn’t just cram the Goan beaches into our backpacks and bring em back here. Still, them’s the breaks. And at least there are no hippies here…
Anyway, we’re back in Bombay, and the last week has been suitably crazy. We came back to town in order to catch a talk that Greg Roberts was doing at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (Kala Ghoda is kinda the place for art in South Bombay, with heaps of galleries, performance spaces, etc). The talk was excellent – lots of thought-provoking stuff about God, the meaning of life, and other weighty matters. Senor Roberts has plenty of interesting theories about such things – they get a fairly decent run-through in Shantaram itself, and there’s also an overview at his sadly out-of-date website www.shantaram.com. It’s thought-provoking stuff – not that I agree with all of it, but I always have a lot of respect for anyone with the balls and brains to tackle such questions in the first place.
Since then, the week has been a bit of a blur – we’re trying to get hold of some work to stay here, so we’ve been running around making phone calls, meeting people, and basically trying to insert our fingers into as many pies as possible. It’s been a bit of a slog, but things are looking reasonably positive. We might land some work with a local music magazine (have a look at www.raveindia.com) – we met the editor/owner at dinner a couple of weeks back, and we hooked up with him a couple of nights back to discuss what we might be able to do for the magazine. By the end of an incredibly heavy evening, we’d agreed to regular work and an interview and photo shoot with Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame) about his upcoming gig in Mumbai this week – unfortunately the Roger Waters stuff has now all fallen through, which only goes to show that the music industry is the same wherever you go. Still, hopefully we’ll be able to get some more stuff to do – only time will tell what’ll happen, I guess. In any case, we get to go and see Big Roge play tomorrow night – he’s apparently playing The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety, so it should be a good show.
Apart from all this, we also visited Chor Bazaar this afternoon – a crazy place that seems to be Mumbai’s answer to the op-shop. The name translates as “Thieves’ Bazaar” – looking at the stalls, you start to wonder how there’s anything left in Mumbai that hasn’t been stolen. You can get everything there. You want tools? Or clothes? Or circuit boards? Or a 2-stroke engine? Maybe a car stereo? Just some food? An antique gramophone? Or maybe you just have a hankering for strange unidentifiable pieces of machinery? This is the place to be. It’s like Dave’s Boutique in Smith Street, but spread out over the space of about 6 city blocks. It’s crazy.
About the one thing we couldn’t find there was a decent computer, so we’ve shelled out for one from EBay. The mere thought of buying from Ebay India kinda fills me with dread, but we need a computer if we’re going to work, so $1000 later it’s apparently on its way from Delhi via courier. We’ll see what happens.
Anyway, if nothing else, life’s never dull. The curious duality of hanging out with publishers and models then going home to handwash our underwear persists – all terribly bohemian, I know, but still, it makes for good stories. Hopefully by the time the weekend’s over, there’ll be some more to post here. Till then…