Traveler’s Bad Luck in 5 Easy Steps

#1 Sickness

The tally: two bouts of traveler’s diarrhea, one crater on my arm, pestilent boils on the back of my neck and face. When you own a travel website the worst thing you could do is rant about it zoned out on antibiotics. Oh wait, it’s me and that’s what I do.

#2 Theft

Do you ever feel trapped in a David Lynch film? One day I woke to discover a dwarf dancing in the kitchen. Replace dwarf with a toothless Indian man clutching a cloth saying “I here to clean”. He sashayed into my room, I shooed him out. He glided into the spare room thinking we were going to play Catch the Intruder. Instead of Special Agent Dale Cooper, Christine burst in with a baby on her hip, and began pointing at him in staccato. “What are you doing in here? You’re not supposed to be here. You can’t just come in here. Go!!” It took her two times to make him understand ‘out’. I channeled Laura Palmer’s homecoming photo, watching this scene with benign detachment. It wasn’t until the aftermath that I noticed my iPhone had vanished from the kitchen table. Since then, I eye any toothless, Indian man with suspicion, wondering if he’ll pull out a neon pink iPhone.

#3 Accidents

Back to drugs, really refrain from operating any type of vehicle. It may seem effortless, even cool to zip around on a scooter with glee because you paid 150 rupees instead of the normal 250. As you smugly enjoy that feeling of fleecing someone, coupled with drugs, bad shit can happen. In my case, it

March 14th, 2011|Categories: Goa, Life|Tags: , |37 Comments

Looking for Faith on Shiva Day

Sometimes I curse my curiosity. It’s too easy to lounge alongside Russians clothed in ugly harem pants and embrace blissful ignorance. Western food and alcohol goodness are within reach. Whittling away time on  Baga Beach as touts hawk bracelets, manicures or ice cream is like sinking into quicksand. Slow and surprising.

I had other things in mind on March 2. It was Mahashivratri, and I was going to temple.

Temple at night

Practiced in Goa for centuries, Mahashivratri signifies a day of rituals and fasting in worship of the Lord Shiva. On this momentous day, Shiva plunges his lightening bolt of a blue arm to grant moksha, the release from samsara and perpetual reincarnation to get your karma on track.

I could use some release. As much as I’ve grown on this journey there are sober moments of envy or anger that surprise me. Buddhists call this a ‘restless mind’.

Buying enlightenment

Maybe this is my pale version of Eating, Praying, Loving Thyself, but onwards towards enlightenment, right?

I purchased my offering of coconut, bananas, flower garland and incense guessing that Shiva is one hungry deity. That set me back 40 rupees.

My offerings

The tourist bubble bursted as I stepped away from the hedonistic pleasures of Baga towards the temple a few feet away. The buttery yellow of the temple beckoned me, intensified by the cache of Christmass lights decorating it’s exterior. Worship just turned Vegas.

Each worshipper sounded the bell. Shoeless and reverent, I

March 4th, 2011|Categories: Goa, Life|Tags: , , , , |12 Comments

When Sickness Makes You Weak Minded

I’ve been offline pretty much all week not because of good times and tequila shots. That should be the case. I’m in Baga Beach staying in a 3-bedroom villa and was psyched about hanging with Christine Gilbert. Instead of playing with her son Cole, I’m battling my second bout of traveler’s diarrhea after narrowly recovering from a staph infection (Staphylococcus aureus).

I posted this nasty picture of my arm on Facebook:

The arm was steadily healing, but today it’s stinging again and looks like a tiny fissure is forming.

The mind whirs while in this precarious state. I feel worn out, spent, and am probably riddling this post with typos and grammatical errors because antibiotics leave me dizzy.

  • I want to throw in the towel. Go home. Then I want to kick myself because I worked hard to be here and returning home means failure.
  • I want to curl up in a ball and cry.
  • I feel guilty for not enjoying Goa. I should be out exploring the coastline on a scooter or snorkeling. All I really want to do is lie down all the time.
  • I’m beginning to determine that the SteriPEN might not work, or I used it incorrectly. I’ve experienced the same symptoms twice in the past two months.

Help me out people, I need some intense words of encouragement right now.

Am I overreacting or simply experiencing the banality of sickness in long-term travel?

February 25th, 2011|Categories: Goa|Tags: , , , , |32 Comments