My first visit. I have seen pictures. Tourist destinations, mostly. I saw the movie Slum Dog Millionaire. I knew there was poverty. I knew it was crowded. I knew it was dirty. Did I see what I expected? Yes, and no. I think that when the media and pictures are the only experience of a place, we are prone to preconceived ideas about a place and a people.
Living in Dubai, away from the US has helped me with those preconceived ideas and prejudices. I have spent my whole life in the US. Subject to the opinions from the media about other countries. What I have found is vastly different than what you hear and see via the media, and to some extent Christian circles. I love seeing and feeling those prejudices disappear. I love really seeing for myself what people are like. Experiencing different cultures and foods, dress. These people for whom God loves and gave His life for.
The flight left Dubai at midnight, it is only a 4 hour flight to Goa. I expected to get a beverage and then cabin lights off and sleep. Nope, dinner served in the middle of the night, the first of many spicy meals. No sleep either. My first impression was 4:30 AM, the airport. Coming from the Dubai airport it was a shock to walk into the Goa airport. It is old, and broken. The new terminal, still unfinished stands next to the old, quite the contrast. At least the toilet was not just a hole in the floor, but smelly and broken.
Arriving before sunrise our drive was shrouded in darkness. Speeding past buildings, dodging cows, pigs and dogs, we made our way to the Costa Montage our apartment. The sun was rising, birds were singing, we opened the windows to the green and crashed for a few hours.
The purpose of this trip was business for John. He taught for two days at the training program his company has for employees from India, Romania, and the US. My plan was to spend some time teaching sewing to a couple of ladies from Nepal. Marian Noronha, owner of Turbocam, the company my husband works for has had much impact in Nepal. You can read about it here. You can also keep updated at the blog here.
Unfortunately, the ladies did not come until the end of the week, but, we made the most of our time. Our goal is to help them set up a sewing business and increase their earning potential. I digress… I will have a blog post about this adventure soon.
After our nap we were picked up by Roger, a Turbocam employee, Roger took us to the facility. My first drive that I could observe the surroundings. CRAZY CHAOS is what I would call it. Makes driving in Dubai seem like a drive in the park. I have never seen so many scooters in my life. Some with whole families, Mom, Dad, and two or more kids. No helmets. Wild! Cows in the middle of the road, people walking on the side of the road, buses, trucks, cars, scooters all following their own road rules. We saw one bad accident, several near accidents. I was happy to be driven around, with a backseat vantage point, usually viewing out the SIDE window.
The roads and town were crowded, there was trash everywhere. Seemed as though if something is no longer wanted it is just pitched on the side of the road. The dumpsters overflow and are crowded by stray dogs, cows and goats. The poverty, children picking through rubble, collecting I am not sure what, people living in the skeleton of an unfinished building.
On the other hand the color was amazing, brightly painted houses, beautifully colored clothing, flowers, the red dirt of the empty fields, the green of the forests of palm trees.
Our accommodation, an apartment in a cluster of buildings, gated, about 100 yards from the beach. There was a large pool, palm trees, a vegetable garden and flowers, green and birds singing. A short walk from the beach.
We went to the beach nearly every evening, for dinner. Lining the beach are seasonal “beach shacks”, small restaurants. We ate at Jonsy’s most every night. The fish was amazing and the biriyani, YUM!! Fishing boats and stray dogs, beach walkers, and beautiful sunsets!
Always an adventure when traveling with my husband’s boss Marian, we went to a bakery. Turning down a small side street, that was actually quite clean, we pull up to a small house, inside is the bakery. The bread was hot and packaged up in newspaper for us to take away. Made breakfast yummy the next morning.
I really enjoyed my trip to India, and am looking forward to seeing more of India in the next few years!