Monthly Archives: December 2014

BBQ for Viktor's Birthday

Leaving Benaulim

Hmm, a lot has happened since my last post occurred. Zach and I did a perfect week. That means a solid week of going out partying every night. We have been in Benaulim long enough we’ve seen a few crops of tourists go through. Some were pretty cool and we kicked it with them for a few nights like the Ukranian couple Ruslan and his wife. Some are here for longer periods and we have seen a bunch like the group of Russian tour guides Sergei, Viktor, Vladimir, Lena, and both of the Katarinas. A few have become fast good friends like Vitale who might meet up with us in Indonesia, Morris from Italy who went back home after an extended 5 month holiday, Chris who is from Goa and just went back to Kuwait for work, and Scott from Scotland who partied with us even after he dislocated his clavicle and was in a sling.

I thought of writing up every night on the perfect week, but I thought that it would get monotonous. Meeting people every night and drinking and laughing at jokes and at the language barrier while the music is pumping and the bottles keep coming. We’ve become regulars at a couple of places and they don’t mind that much if you bring in some of your own booze. However with a fifth of good rum at the bar only 400 rupees (about $6.50 USD) it’s not that hard just to get them there. Although you have to pay for every coke separately at 30 rupees or so. Some nights would just be me and Zach and Chris chatting and kicking it, but usually we would see people we knew or meet new people and would fill up our table, bring another over, fill that one and then grab another. I remember these nights for the heat, the lack of fans, the bugs swirling like vortexes around the light bulbs of Malibu (the shack not the restaurant that we might have mentioned elsewhere).

I was going to separate out the partying and my general thoughts on Benaulim, but I can’t really. However there is another piece that I wrote up about partying with some of the crazy Russian girls. Completely separating partying and daily life implies that there exists some line between them. The places we’ve eaten in the day aren’t generally the places we go at night, but they are all a part of the town. The fallout of the perfect week was that I ended up with pretty severe food poisoning that put me out for 3-4 days. It was another few days of issues before I had a doctor come out and give me some antibiotics. Jack, the owner of the guest house we’re staying at, was super cool. He heard I was sick and offered to get me a doctor. It was a couple of days before I took him up on it, but he got a good one out, Alejandro I think his name was, and then went and got me my antibiotics. I mostly stayed in while I took them over the next several days. Zach went on partying straight for another two weeks (three weeks total as he keeps reminding me) and now is getting over a bad cold. We both hit the wall and our bodies fighting back.

I guess I’ve been thinking about Benaulim in general a lot. I decided a while ago that I’m going to break off by myself for a bit. I’m flying to the Philippines on December 8th. I’ll be there until the end of March and then I’m meeting back up with Zach in Jakarta before we head to Bali for his birthday. When we first got to Goa we were some of the only people here and I got a bit stir crazy. It was some the lack of interaction with people. Mostly though it was the lack of things to do. When you’re working full time you don’t feel a need to really do anything else. You get off of work and just want to relax. You might go out on the weekends, but the time fills itself. I’m still doing some work, but not that much. It started driving me crazy. You think that when you do something big, like going across the world to travel, that things will suddenly look brighter and all of your problems will go away. You’ll be more gregarious, and be able to leap over buildings. Unfortunately people don’t just change overnight. You can’t flip a switch and be an entirely different person, or even flip a switch to stop doing things that you don’t like. I’ve known that in the past, but I had forgotten it. It took a trip to India to remind me.

Basically I was having some issues adjusting to travel, and the realities of what travel would change, and what it wouldn’t. Zach and I talked about it, and he said that he had noticed it too. After talking with Zach I decided that I wanted to travel by myself a bit. Travelling with Zach is great and I enjoy it, but he is a pretty experienced traveler, and I don’t think I’ll be able to develop some of those skills unless I put myself in a more sink or swim environment. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Goa, and I enjoy how I spend my days. I used to be much more frenetic, but now I can just sit and drink tea and watch the street for an hour or two and it doesn’t seem that long. I’ll hang out on the beach for half a day and be surprised when the sun is going down. I also find myself talking a lot less, because a lot of what I say (witticisms, puns etc) don’t really translate to non-native English speakers, especially who speak minimal English. I’ve been relying on Zach for meeting people because he’s much better at striking up a conversation with people in crowded environments. I met most of my friends at work, or school, or through mutual acquaintances.

There is no progress without sacrifice, and I’m a little sad that I won’t be here in Benaulim for the holidays, but Sunnny who owns the Hungry Duck is throwing me a BBQ tomorrow (December 6) for my going away party. Zach is super psyched about Northern India, especially Rajistan. I’m excited to see the Philippines, where Nate, a good friend, spent several months and has always raved about. He also met his wife Sally, another dear friend, there. I officiated their wedding, my About Us picture is actually from that wedding. For my conduct in the photo I blame the fact that Nate fed me like three 40s of Steel Reserve before it was taken. That wasn’t really relevant, but it still makes me chuckle when I see it. We’ll both still be writing and a few months isn’t very much in the grand scheme of things. We hope everyone will keep reading, because we’re going to keep writing.

At the club with the Russians

In Goa drinking with Russians

Quick setting for Tuesday night. We spent the day kicking on the beach for quite a bit, maybe 4-5 hours. I had several drinks, Zach had a few, then we went back to the guesthouse. The bar we were at with the chairs on the beach said that they were doing karaoke that night, so of course we were down. We only had a Saturday karaoke place. We definitely needed another. So we went back to the bar Dominic’s for karaoke. It was pretty much just Zach and I. There was a French guy doing some singing too. We got him to sing “Could you be loved” with us. It was awesome. I sang some “Gangster’s Paradise” which went over very well with the Russian women at one of the tables. The song selection was awesome. Zach and I sang some Will Smith (“Miami”), and I even sang some Everclear, “I will buy you a new house”. I was super impressed, most places in the states don’t have Everclear. I also got down with soe Sublime. We drank, and sang, and smoked hookah until they closed down. They said karaoke was over. Zach and I asked the waiters where the party was at. They said it was at Malibu next door and to come back next Monday for karaoke. I went over and invited the French guy and his table to join us next door. They said that they might when they were done with their drinks.

We walked next door and the music was blasting, the Russian dance music. That is apparently all they play at the Malibu. We had been to the Malibu restauraunt and go periodically for dinner (free wifi is nice). We hadn’t been to the shack yet. We setup, ordered a couple of Fennys, and surveyed the place. The dance floor was full of Russian women and the mandatory Russian guy with no shirt. They all seemed to be from the same table, and I was trying to think of a good way to introduce ourselves. You see it’s a little challenging to introduce yourself to Russian tourists out here because they speak little to no English and my Russian is limited to saying “Hi”. I was considering this when Zach saw they had a bottle of rum at their table and just turned his chair around and was then sitting at their table. They waved me over too. We started chatting a little, they said some of them were from St. Petersberg, and some others were from places I couldn’t pronounce. We all ordered more drinks and started dancing our hearts out. A little while then the French guy, who’s name was Joaquin I found out, and his girlfriend came in and pulled up chairs to the table. He was in town for a couple of days covering a soccer match for the magazine he wrote for. Also an Indian guy named Chris pulled up a chair too. We had seen him at karaoke and he seemed to enjoy our singing and I saw him at the bar seeming to be trying to find a way to come party with us. He also just pulled up a chair. I think our giant table was the entirety of the people at this bar at this point. We danced and talked and there were huge language barriers all around, but it was tons of fun. Language is overrated for having fun with people when the music is thumping and the drinks are flowing. They kept playing great music all in Russian that I had never heard of and we all kept dancing.

Eventually I told Zach I was heading home if he wanted to come, but he was fairly intoxicated and wanted to dance/drink more. I made it home and got through the gate to the guesthouse then to the room and laid down. I remember wondering how Zach was going to get through the gate when he didn’t have a key. I considered just leaving the gate open, but that seemed like a bad idea in general. That was about all the thought I put into it though. Fortunately Zach came back shortly after I did. He had a plan to get through the gate. He shook it and yelled drunkenly until someone let him in.

So fastforward to the next day, I wake up, Zach is hellaciously hungover and naked. There was an “issue” with his sheets and clothes. I felt a little rough, but Zach was close to catatonic. We went down to eat lunch at Jack’s, and then he went to sleep and I messed around a little bit online. We grabbed food for dinner, but were just going to have a low key night. I wanted a couple of beers, and Zach wanted to just go out for a bit. As Zach said to me later, we approached the night with the best of intentions. We went to this little lounge bar where some people were dancing and had a couple of drinks and just relaxed. Eventually the DJ sang along with the songs a bit too. He did an awesome version of Pink Floyd, and a couple of other songs too.

Then Mahal closed and we decided that we had a couple of more drinks in us before we wanted to go to back to the guesthouse. We walked directly over to the beach shack next door, not at the time realizing that it was Domnick’s. We were walking up to the bar when we heard people yelling at us “Zach, Noah!” We looked over and it was the girls from the night before. Zach and I both looked at each other and just had that telepathic moment where we just went, “Well, shit. I guess this is going to be one of those nights.” They called us over for drinks and said that they were going to the club in Colva, and we should come. One of the local guys arranged the cab and everything. We just kept drinking and had Svetlana’s daughter do some translating for us. There was this crazy blond girl that was all over Zach. I know that some of you guys might be taking umbrage with me saying crazy girl. I know that’s a term that guys throw around with abandon. However she borrowed my water bottle to pour it on Zach because he said he didn’t like Vladimir Putin, and kept biting his fingers. She also spoke about as much English as I do Russian. But did this discourage Zach? Nope. The party consisted of a really cool Russian guy, Svetlana the married mother, the blonde girl, the brunette girl, the guy who worked at Dominics, and our grumpy cab driver, you can see him in the group picture from that night. We ended up going to this club in Colva called Margarita. The guy who setup the cab and club got us in with no cover. The drinks were pretty expensive there. A double rum and Coke was 200RP, expensive is relative though. That’s still only $3 USD or so, but a double rum and coke is usually like 60RP or so, or $1 USD. I’m sure everyone is overcome with pity for us having to pay that much for drinks. The club was great. There was much dancing and little talking due to the volume.

I wake up the next morning. I see Zach walking around the room. I also notice that I’m naked, so as you can the shoe is now on the other foot. I had this witty rejoinder to Zach, “My mouth tastes like death.” He laughed and told me that he was going to take a shower then he would tell me what happened the previous night. So the last thing I remember is having drinks at the club and dancing, but not any event in particular. According to Zach I had a few too many and was about to fall off of a bar stool. He sent me in to the bathroom and sent a bouncer after me to make sure that I was OK. I fell down and the bouncer carried me out to a cab. I gave my bill clip to Zach for safekeeping, very weird by the way, and went home. I miiiight have paid for my cab. I saw the cabbie the next day and he said that he was paid. I just had to kick him a few hundred rupees for cleaning the cab, don’t ask. Zach stayed at the club for a bit and then headed back. The blonde girl wanted him to come up with her to the hotel, but he said that he was too drunk to want to and just came back to the guesthouse, waking up the people working there again. He said he felt bad because he promised Cool that he would make sure to come back home with me so that he wouldn’t wake up everyone.

This was the first, but not the last time that a bunch of Russians got us much too drunk.