Friday, May 24, 2013

Tony Comes to Town

May 1st-3rd, 2013

One of my best friends from Canada was on a business trip in Bangalore so he decided to fly up to visit me for a couple of days.  I've known Tony since we were 14 years old so I was looking forward to showing him my home away from home in Arambol.  Tony was the last friend from Canada that I've seen as I started my worldwide adventure back in November of 2010 in Delhi and we day tripped to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.  This visit was going to be much more laid beach time, not taxi time (we spent 10 hours in a taxi to visit the Taj for about an hour and a half...but it was still totally worth it.

Tony arrived early on the first day so after some breakfast with some cheeky mid-morning beers we spent some of the afternoon on Sweet Lake Beach including a swim in the ocean.  Tony remarked that it was probably the warmest ocean water he’d been in.  We decided to walk in the jungle behind the lake to go to the banyan tree where usually hippies and/or old supposedly wise old men known as babas sit and smoke their chillums.  As we were passing the beach shack restaurant before the trail, the manager asked if some Russian ladies could follow us to the tree as they were concerned for their safety...sure, the more the merrier.  It was a nice little walk and although there was no chillum club happening at the tree as there usually is, there was some guy playing a chime bowl constantly for the first 3-4 minutes upon our arrival.  It was loud and unappealing to the ear...the ringing made you feel like you’d been to a super loud concert the night before.  Thankfully he finally stopped and soon after some monkeys where jumping around in the branches above us.  I’m guessing that they didn't enjoy the bowl ringing either and had kept their distance.

Unfortunately that evening Tony couldn't escape his connection to the corporate world and had to sit in on 3 telephone interviews looking for a replacement for the position he’s about to leave.  One candidate was in France, another in Iran and the third one in South America with two other interviewers in Delhi and Canada.  Wow, must have been quite the phone bill!

A quiet evening at a restaurant was exactly what we needed since the following morning we were up at 7am to climb up the hill behind my house in order to get an Internet signal.  Why?  Well to watch NHL Playoff ice hockey of course!  Our team, the Vancouver Canucks were playing their first game and it was great to have a fellow fan here with me (if I’d been home in Canada I probably would have been over at Tony’s house to watch it on his big flat screen high def TV anyways!).  After the first period we moved down to 21 Coconuts restaurant for more comfortable seating and some brekkie.  Unfortunately the Nucks lost the game but it was still fun to watch.

Watching the game up on the hill:

Definitely more comfortable at the restaurant:

That afternoon we went back to Sweet Lake and even attempting a bit of boogie boarding.  Later I took him over to the main beach for some Carrom at Cock’s Town.  Tony and I used to play a lot of Crokinole back in Canada which is a pretty similar game so I knew it wouldn't take him long to get into Carrom.

The boogie man:

Walking over to Cock's Town:

With some good views from up on the hill:

And then some entertaining Indian wrestling on the main beach:

Followed by some serious Carrom:

On his last day, with him leaving late in the afternoon, we considered renting scooters and touring around north Goa but instead, since conditions seemed good, we opted to go paragliding.  Tony had never paraglided before and I hadn't flown since my crash back in January and even though there was no one around to help be an anchor on takeoff, I had total confidence in Tony’s ability to do exactly as I told him.  And I was right.  The takeoff was fine and the flight was great.  It was so nice to share “my new office” with a former co-worker and great friend.

In flight:

Looking down Kerrie Beach:

Safely on the ground with some big grins:

Thanks for coming to visit Tone!  It was short but sweet.  “Phir milengai mera dost.” (See you again my friend)