Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Going to Goa

I left home on Sunday November 28, 2010.  It was hard to say goodbye to my love for five and a half weeks.
This is what I took:  

Packing my bags I ran into a little snag when I saw that with one bag I was just over my weight limit.  But with two bags I could take everything and have extra room.  I didn’t want o leave any of the chocolate and candies I packed for my brother and sister, so I took two bags.  I will also need room for the curtains I will have made here, so I can use both bags for the trip back too.  My third bag had clothes for the three days I was to spend in New York City.  It got very complicated very quickly.  Needless-to-say I did make it to Goa and did not have to pay any overweight charges. 

It was a rainy afternoon when I flew out.  Here is the shot I got from my window seat (I love window seats).
Just before the plane took off, I got a great view of the sunset but that is where my luck ended…
Watching the other passengers find their seats I soon saw that I had both the seats next to me were free.  I was so excited that I was going to have three seats together for the next fourteen hours of flight.  It meant I could sleep on the long flight, but just as I was about to stretch out some other woman jumps out of her seat and takes one of the free seats in my row.  I had watched her try to take another seat earlier, but the stewardess placed someone else there. 

Now, I’m not a total pushover, but I also don’t want to make a big scene in an airplane.  I turned to the woman and said that maybe she should sit in her own seat, but she just ignored me.  So then I said that I wanted to sleep and she should return to her own seat, to which the nasty woman replied “I want to sleep too.”  At this point I was fuming inside.  First of all, if she wanted to sleep sitting up, why couldn’t she just do it in her own seat?  Why does she have to also ruin my flight?  I was so mad I could not even look at the woman for the first four hours.  

In the end I had to contend myself with taking the middle seat, the one between the nasty woman and me.  I managed to stretch out across the two seats.  I did get some sleep after I took a Benadryl. 

My second adventure involved the stop-over in Delhi. 

The itinerary I so thoughtfully printed out before I left said I took the same flight from New York, stopped over in Delhi and went on to Bombay (aka Mumbai).  When we arrived in Delhi they made the people going to Bombay stay on the plane.  This was fine with me, but then they told us to get off and talk to some guy.  This is where I made my mistake.  The guy asked for our boarding passes.  I gave him the wrong pass.  Instead of showing him the old boarding pass from the flight I was on, I gave him my boarding pass to Goa.  He directed me to the domestic side of the airport.  I actually asked four different airport workers about my boarding pass and they all told me to go to the domestic side.  As I was heading to the domestic area I had to go through customs and then over to the other side.  Everyone else on the flight were going somewhere else.  I got all the way down the escalator and onto the customs line before I realized that this was not right.  But I was stuck down there, to get back to where all the other Bombay passengers were I had to go back up an elevator and talk to some guard. 

I did get back to the right area and just when I was beginning to relax and thought I was in the right place I heard my name over the loud speaker.

”[my full name]* please come to the ticket station.”

I go up and they ask me why I went to the customs area.  I explained the whole thing to them and they just laughed at me.  It was all alright.  I think they were just surprised that a woman with a name like that looked like me.  My middle name is an Indian name, Chandeen sounds very Indian, and my last name is Portuguese.  Goa was colonized by the Portuguese.  Overall my name is very Indian and very Goan. 

I got to Bombay only an hour late, and after a mild hassle in Customs I was off to my hotel room for the next five hours.  
Sorry about the mess!

The room was clean, cool and just fine for me.

I took this picture of the bathroom in case you have never seen how the Indian people don’t use toilet paper (they use water).

The bathroom was also clean and a hot shower was godsend after the long flight and heat of Bombay. 

The flight to Goa left at 5 am.  My sister picked me up.  It was so nice to see her, as I was picking up my bags I looked out into the lot and there was my sister jumping up and down in the back.  It was so nice to see her.  The fact that she came out to pick me up so early in the morning was really touching.  My big sister had everything ready for me.  It was a wonderful welcome to Goa.    
Above the beach.  This is the house where I was brought home as a newborn.
That's how I got here, the next post will be what I'm doing now that I'm in Goa.  

If you like what I'm writing leave a comment.  I love to see what people think. 

* I took out all references to my full name, I'm applying for jobs and don't want to be found here too easily, although with a name like Chandeen it is hard to hide.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I invoke Peter, Paul, and Mary in order to tell you, my readers, that I will be out of the country for the next five weeks.  In twelve hours I am heading to the airport to fly to Goa, India, my birth place.  It looks like this:

I love this shot and really enjoyed the music on the beach that day.

Here you can see the little beach "chai shops" (restaurants) where we all hang out.
No I am not going just to hang out on the beach, although I hope to get to do that too, I'm going to write my Masters thesis.  I hope to interview my friends and family in this far away land so that I can set the record straight about the wonderful expatriates of Goa.  They have been given a bad reputation for the last thirty years and I hope to shed some light on this group and reveal the nature of this culture. 

That said, I am very nervous about the whole thing.  I am afraid that either no one will talk to me, or I won't ask the right questions.  Or, heaven forbid, both.  Whatever happens, tomorrow, I will go there and see (after 32 hours in transit).   

My warning to you is that I may not be posting very much, if at all.  As I stated in my first post, I don't intend to start posting regularly until after January 7, 2011.  This is because I arive home to New York on that day and will have internet at home.  I can't predict how often I will have access to the internet in Goa, or how expensive it will be in the internet cafes. 

I leave you with the promise that I will return, and when I do, I will have stories and pictures from my trip. 
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