As we sat by the fresh water lake, munching on fresh pineapple bought from the same lovely drunk who has paraded up and down the beach in a decrepit Mickey Mouse hat for the past decade or so muttering, "Pineapple, Coconut, Watermelon, Cheese Sandwich..." (you wot?!), the husband and I grinned at each other with delight.
We have been going to that beach for so many years that it felt like a homecoming, though it did spin us out to discover that a little muppet of a girl we had known since she was a smooth talking pig-tailed sarong seller (and the only beach seller who could ever part me from ridiculous amounts of Rupees for bits of dolled up cloth I so didn't need) is now a nineteen year old married mother of two (gulp).
Our big disappointment was that we didn't get to see our 'Mendhi Man'', Ulash, who is singlehandedly responsible for poring over my brown belly year after year, painstakingly creating masterpieces of temporary tatooed art on a tum-tum that has grown less taut and no doubt less wonderful as the years have passed. And still he's treated my aging gutular area with the same reverence that one might reserve for the Sistine Chapel. Bless him.
At one point, after a deliciously refreshing swim, spread out on a comfy sun lounger as the sun's late afternoon rays beat down on us, gorgeous lemon cocktails in one hand, a great book in another, and a can of Salt n' Vinegar Pringles nestled close by, poised for guilty consumption - it hit me that I felt exactly as one would feel if they were on Honeymoon.
The husband and I had enjoyed a perfect 3-4 hour ride up on our too-cool-for-school retro Enfield. Buzzing along, covering nearly the whole length of Goa whilst marvelling at the picture perfect natural beauty seeping from the pores of the wild countryside, we made the inspired decision to stop off at one of our favourite restaurants for a midday feast of chana masala, puri, samosa and masala dosa. Though our faces were coated in road grime (a fact the husband neglected to properly convey as we sat down to eat, and which led to a horrific fright once I clocked myself in the loo mirror afterwards) we were beaming like serotonin-riddled idiots let out from a mental institution on a day pass. Which, in a way, we were.
But back to the Honeymoon. We had all the ingredients: all by ourselves, in a drop dead gorgeous (ie. romantic) location, perfect sunny skies, delicious alcohol fuelled drinks, reclining on loungers, romantic cliffside cabin from which we were afforded a perfect view of the Sea, succulent dinner served up under the stars from the world's sweetest and most subservient waiter...I mean...it was all there.
In fact, recalling our actual Honeymoon umpteen years ago in Costa Rica, there was just no comparison. I don't know whether it was the competitive tennis match which soured things, the constant rain and subsequent (distinctly unromantic) chess games on repeat, or the fact that the husband spent a great portion of our honeymoon nights holed up in the guest house owners home, playing old Floyd tunes together on guitar...hmm...
So I have decided to reinvent the past, and from now henceforth, whenever I think of the most amazing time we have ever had together - just by ourselves - this will be it. Even the break of dawn hike up the mountain to see the sun rise (I am SO not a 'hiker') and the subsequent precarious scramble down the mountain side over the next hour or so in the hot sun did nothing to quell my enthusiasm. And even though we had no blanket and had to cuddle up close throughout the chilly night, with only two small, mildly damp sarongs as warmth...it still didn't matter.
What have I learned?
1. Children are great but sometimes being away from them is great
2. India rocks
3. Few things beat the feeling of holding onto someone you love as you hurtle through lush scenery with the sun on your hair, and no sound but the addictive whir of the Enfield engine (save the times you plug in your ipod and turn the journey into the best ever music video in your head)
And I would be remiss if I didn't yet again thank my mum and sis for making this break possible. You accidentally gave us another Honeymoon and helped us end our year in SouthEast Asia as perfectly as one ever could.
(Oh yeah and sorry Mum that Dumpie vomited all over you and your new pashmina in the taxi...and that Egg almost burnt down the laundry ladies beach stall with the lighter he nicked...and that Dumpie snuck off, hid in a beach shack for ages and made you think he'd been kidnapped...and all the other stuff...sorry...)
|Nothing beats a yummy, still hot Masala Dosa washed down with sugary chai!|