Thursday, March 6, 2008

Super Mega Photo Fun Time! Awesome!

Wend your way down one of the circuitous sets of steps at Little Vagator Beach and you find yourself in a slender cove, bracketed at either end by cliffs that extend to the sea. Shiva’s is one of only a handful of restaurants on this particular stretch of beach, but perched in front of Shiva’s sits a large trampoline, a veritable kid magnet. The sun dips downward, the parents sit in Shiva’s, drinking, eating or smoking their chillums, while their children leap and tumble.

The family, and the family car.

There are an abundance of utterly mad people who’ve washed ashore in Goa and decided never to return to the land of their birth, and India being what it is --- a land where everything and its opposite are both true at the same time --- many of these afflicted and affected souls have carved out their own particular dreams, no matter how bizarre or off the wall. We’ve been frequenting the results of one such dream, a restaurant called Sharewood, at which every table is its own treehouse. I’ll say it again --- every table is its own treehouse. If that doesn’t stir your blood in some way, you are dead to the world and ought to climb into a coffin.

Each table is either built off the ground, up in a Swiss Family Robinson-style treehouse, or else sunk into the ground, the curved walls of the earth forming parts of the chairbacks. Sharewood also has a small, ankle-deep wading pool filled with various children’s toys, and there are usually at least one to three nude children splashing about.

The place is owned by a French couple who are cyberpunk biker nuts, and there are always several heavily modified motorcycles parked in front that have been channeled and chopped just in time for the coming apocalypse.

The ambience of slight lunacy at Sharewood is abetted by the absolutely brilliant food --- it has the best shakes, the best galettes, and the best tartines I’ve ever tasted, and their croissants are neck-and-neck with the French bakery as far as the buttery flake-factor goes.

We have no burner or stovetop at Resort Melo Rosa, so I dropped 40 Rupees (one US doller) on a “heating element” as a means to continue my caffeine addiction. I’ve procured a French press, and have accordingly switched from espresso to coffee. Drop the heating element into the glass and the water boils in less than two minutes. I am inordinately sketched out about electricity and water in such close proximity, but needs must. I also have a profoundly negative association with “heating elements” as the last time I saw one, it was in use by some junkie friends.

En route to the market area in Anjuna sits a large field, most of which has been given over to the nearby high school for cricket and football. At one end, though, a small portion is where the locals shape, press, and then dry the cow patties. I’m told cow patties make for excellent floors and walls, and are incredibly sterile.

We made the arduous 30-minute scooter ride north from our digs in Arporam to visit the beaches at Arambol and Morjem. Although the area is saturated with beach bungalows, restaurants, and of course, hundreds of shops selling the requisite fisherman pants, sequined peasant bags, and T-shirts, the beach itself is as beautiful a stretch as I’ve ever seen. Where else but India do you get cows on the beach?

We lived within blocks of the beach in Encinitas for roughly 14 years, so both Tara and I tend to have little desire to sit in the sun and sand. Which is why there aren’t too many shots like these.

The Las Vegas Market is around the corner from our old, rat-afflicted flat. It’s atypical of most Indian groceries due to both its vast selection and its overall large size.

I do love the 10 Rupee-per-pack biscuit selection, though why they don’t just call ‘em cookies and be done with it is beyond me --- must be some throwback to British rule.

This mutt lived at our old flat, and was one of the pack of dogs that used to howl and bark at the rats. All of the pack members were old, decrepit and disfigured in some way. This is Broke Face, so called because he was run over by a car as a puppy and managed to survive, though the accident left his head permanently kinked to one side.

The ankle-biter appears unhappy to have been woken from her nap on the scooter ride to Mapusa, the biggest town closest to the beaches of Goa.

We hit the Mapusa market in search of bootleg movies. Okay, in all honesty, I hit the Mapusa market in search of bootleg movies. I scored Jet Li and Chow Yun Fat bangers --- 16 movies on one DVD for the former and 12 movies on one DVD for the latter! --- and a kid’s compilation for Rowan that didn't work when I tried to play it later.

Need For Speed: Pro Street! In India! It’s an EA-produced video game I worked on last year with my man Rod Chong. Bootleg?

Scooter hair! My hair has been blown so high that it’s actually eclipsing the view of Tara and Rowan on the seat behind me. Note: although the forehead is truly giant, please remember that it is the containment unit for my monstrously oversized, incredibly virile, and hypersexy brain.

The kid’s room, or “Kids Korner,” at our favorite local vegetarian eatery, Bean Me Up. (I’d stab a stranger for their key lime pie.) Unfortunately, on this night Cartoon Network was inexplicably frozen, which devastated both Rowan and myself, because it was frozen on a fight scene from the “Cell Saga” of Dragon Ball Z.