Living Among Animals


by Michael Golding

I’ve talked about how much I enjoy living outside when we travel and especially in Goa. Our room opens on to a small balcony where we eat breakfast and lunch. At night we sleep under an open window – a cool breeze off the ocean blowing in.   And the sound of the animals – bulls snorting, pigs grunting. Night and day, we are surround by animals.


by Michael Golding

Each morning pigs appear out of the bush to eat our breakfast scraps, competing with a squadron of militant crows with their annoying squawk that drowns out other delicate bird songs.

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Monkeys swing down from guava trees, startling us in our path. Rita’s given up trying to protect the fruit.

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The one-eyed cat wanders through the garden around noontime. A persistent cow blocks the entrance to the banana lady’s shop.

Brahma bulls with horns erect stand in contemplation on the beach.


by Michael Golding

Dogs imitate tourists – splashing in the waves, sprawled on empty sunbeds…


by Michael Golding

…watching the sunset.


by Michael Golding

At night, they adjourn to the restaurants and sit beside us waiting for handouts Motionless geckos wait patiently for their prey next to the light bulb


by Michael Golding

They are in our midst and we are in theirs.

india  2011 jpg (89)And then the bell tolls and it’s time to leave Agonda. On our last night as we go for dinner with Michael, it seems almost everyone we’ve befriended is out on the street to say goodbye. Hugs from fellow tourists – Jen and Tony from England, Peter the talented violinist and his wife from Switzerland, Krystyna and her 88-year-old mother from Poland. The Indian shopkeepers, Geeta and later up the road Lakshmi, step outside their cultural boundaries and also hug me. Last of all, the banana lady waves from behind her mountain of bananas, papaya and melons…the persistent cow stops for a moment to give us her final appraisal. Harder still is to say goodbye to our new friend Michael who kept us laughing for the full six weeks.

Why does it seem easier to make friends here? Over morning chai we spend hours talking, sharing experiences and stories. From different countries, cultures and political environments, learning what our Russian friends think of Putin and the fighting in the Ukraine, and to hear their perspective of the US role in world politics. More enlightening than what CNN serves up. And how much better the Russian version of Dr Zhivago is than the old British version we’re so familiar with in the west.

There is plenty of time to get to know each other, no one has to rush off to work, take care of their families and so on. At the same time there’s an element of urgency. A stay may be only a week or as much as four months, but no one is here forever. If you have something to say or do, best hurry up and do it.  But there’s always next season – God willing.

5 thoughts on “Living Among Animals

  1. Bobbi and Gerard, these are beautiful pictures! I think your pictures really illustrate why Masters Kirpal Singh and Ajaib Singh wanted us to be vegetarians. These animals are beautiful little souls. I especially enjoyed your picture of the dog resting comfortably in a lounge chair on the beach. (My two little dogs also enjoyed that picture.) We are still inundated with snow here in the Boston area, but I hope that much of it will melt before you return home. I look forward to seeing you soon.
    Best wishes,
    – Richard S.


  2. Hi you two travellers

    I seem to recognise the house in the picture

    This is a great topic ….well described ….Dave already has something to say about this in the next story about D and G re importing animals into Boston .

    The writer is now escaping the beach as its getting quite muggy here (UK word ?)

    I am trying to rearrange flights but Air India here want to charge me the full cost of the Goa Delhi leg for that and calling it taxes

    So I tried calling the agency in London .The voicemail from an Asian Indian female was almost undecipherable ..worse than here

    What to do ?

    Since your departure the energy at Dand R has changed somewhat .Full of frogs playing cards and smoking and waving their arms about

    I asked Cat if she is coming next year with the baby as if not I might need to bring an alarm clock to wake me up in the mornings .It took a while for it to sink in

    I feel it time for me to get of here although hitting the road or train is not that appealing .Are you in Varanasi yet ?

    keep the fires burning old chap .…as they say

    All de bees


    ps .Can you send me Chaitanyas please e mail just to check I have the right one

    Sent from Windows Mail


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