Heaven, I'm in

Or: Vignettes from Goa

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As these words cross from thought to pixel, I’m lounging on the cottage porch of a resort in Goa–freshly rinsed from the pool, indulging in a cigarette and malted beverage, and watching the stars wink at me from a sable sky. This might be the closest I’ve come to a moment of unadulterated relaxation.

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This was, to put it gently, a difficult week–long hours, endless meetings, and more “double-tapped” cups of South Indian coffee than one man ought even conceive of; the coffee machine in the second TW Bangalore office produces an excellent half cup of coffee per use.

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I’m waking from a vivid dream in yet another place; the life of the consultant seems unnaturally inclined toward foreign bedrooms. I need to get over that moment of confusion and irritation at expecting a more familiar ceiling.

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Walking down yet another dusty avenue in this perpetually dusty country, and someone is calling me ‘friend.’ I give their wares a cursory glance and am unimpressed.  For “original, hand-crafted” xyz, as the seller shouts after me, they seem vaguely familiar to the elephants, stonework, and drums I’ve seen in the other cities I’ve visited.

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Salt stings the eyes, but only mildly; it’s not enough to create more than a flash of pain that gets swept away in the childish enjoyment of being pushed to the shore.  Shane, our Irishman, grew up near an ocean, and he seems totally at ease swimming right into the oncoming mountain of water.  An effortless and fearless flip into the riptide is outside of my capacity for bravery.

- - - - - -

2 nights and 1 day show me Goa’s capacity for starlit serenity; reclining on the beach as surf creeps up to steal the ground from beneath my chair, I’m at a table with my colleagues, compatriots, confederates.  Residents and tourists alike fill the beach with tea lights and stare glass-eyed at the moon’s reflection on the water.  I wonder if we look like constellations to people flying through the night.

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