|Dominic and Rita|
Each year there are more beach huts and restaurants but so far the character remains the same. Our guest house – the home of Dominic and Rita – is only a dusty walk away from the beach. Families of pigs trot through the yard, large monkeys with black faces lurk in the bushes eating the leaves, and an early morning bird chorus fights with the noise of the crows. It’s not difficult to create and maintain a schedule here, with plenty of time for swimming and walking on the beach in the morning and late afternoon when the sun is less fierce.
Gerard, the ‘Swami of Mundane Things’ according to a good friend back home – manages to find things to repair in the room – towel racks, squeaky hinges, and after, Salou, the cleaning girl has cleaned the room, he discretely asks for a rag and disinfectant and continues to wash the bathroom down again. He’s even been pressed into service to relocate a flying cockroach bigger than your thumb from the curtain rail of our bedroom
|Salou on her way to work|
Meanwhile I grab my shopping bag and head to the greengrocers to buy deliciously fresh fruit and vegetables. Taking a break from eating out three times a day – fresh yoghurt in clay pots from the corner store with fruit for breakfast and at lunchtime a huge vegetable salad with samosas fresh cooked in the vil vvillage each morning.
The two English couples we first met three years ago are here again. We all look slightly older and grayer….but everyone in high spirits to be back in Agonda…Without effort, we pick up where we left off. The old couple from Swedenwere enthusiastic to see us. Ingrid crippled with arthritis, had a stroke last year, but still musters the energy to come down here. Gerard was particularly pleased to reunite with Johnny, who we have known for the last couple of years, a very sweet Buddhist from England who’s had more than his share of hurdles to negotiate. One being an over production of iron in his system which is slowly poisoning many of his organs. He’s found that the weather and the overall atmosphere here have been very healing. Unable to travel through Indiaany more he’s content to stay here into the rainy season in May/June. Many hours have already been spent sitting in the shade of an Indian style covered patio at the guesthouse listening to each other’s story.
|Gerard and Johnny|
Our immediate neighbors in the guest house include a Polish woman who works in films, right now translating from Czech to Polish, a Jamaican woman living in London, and an Italian lady who comes every year and does yoga. A new arrival is “Snake” with a huge snake tattoo winding up his arm. He’s traveled extensively in Indiasince 1971 and is an goodsource of information. We like the diversity of those who find their way to Agonda.
|Lunch at Blue Planet|
We had lunch with them at our favorite and only organic restaurant that is pleasant walk into the jungle. Over the meal, they both told us their background which left Gerard and I with our jaw on the table. Like our friend Johnny, they’ve had way more than their share of personal problems and have not come out completely unscathed. For those of us who have blinders on, it’s a sharp reminder of how many wounded people have to pick themselves up daily and get on with it…with enthusiasm.
Danielle and I hike to a nearby cove, leaving the men behind relaxing. Nice to have someone with my energy to hang out with! We have birthdays two days apart and as a fellow Libran and fervent believer in astrology, she analyzes my personality with uncanny accuracy.
|Fatima’s General Store cum Restaurant|
Every few evenings, we wander up to a restaurant cum general store, which is a central meeting place, partly because it is one of the oldest and least pretentious in town. A sliver of a building, with a dark interior, steamy with the cooking that takes place in a tiny area in back…cramped with a couple of wooden tables and benches… a wall of yellowing photos of long gone hippie visitors. When Agonda was a simple fishing village with few if any other restaurants this was a stop for the locals. It’s still frequented by the locals and the travelers who’ve been coming here for twenty years. Newbies like us go there to feel the remnants of the old days.. Sometimes the conversations can be provocative sitting on the steps outside where the air is cooler.