All the Churches

Feeling pathetic.

Last night I had dinner with Beth (British) and Celine (Swiss) at Viva Panjim. It was a quiet dinner with awkward small talk. Beth is in India doing yoga teacher training and Celine has been on business and tagged on a few days holiday. We didn’t talk about anything of real substance and we were back at the hostel by 8pm. 

We sat in our beds and did our own thing until we fell asleep. 

Beth, Bea (French) and I got up early at 7am to have breakfast and then travel to Old Goa. 

We walked to the bus station and easily found the right bus. It was a 20 minute journey and only 10rp each (about 9p!). 

The bus driver stopped to buy the carnation flowers on a string to put in his windscreen. We then stopped again for the conductor to hop off and light insense sticks at a shrine and then bring them back to the bus. It was very strong smelling!

 

We finally arrived and it was no what we were expecting. I though Old Goa would be a quaint village with the churches amongst houses. However, the churches were just dotted about along main roads. There were no houses or anything else there. 

The first church we went to was the Basilica of Bom Jesus. It was a large red brick building and once inside the alter with it high golden display was amazing. It is one of the oldest churches in India and has the remains of St. Francis Xavier in a silver casket who is said to have miraculous powers of healing. Every 10 years they have a public viewing of the body! He died in 1552 – that’s an old body!

The marble floor and golden alter was breathtaking. It’s so beautiful and upon entering a feeling of peace descended. There were signs for silence but I just felt in a world of my own and didn’t feel the need to speak. 

We walked through the main body of the churc, down the aisle and then into a side chapel. Here there was a very graphic. Almost gruesome, crucifix with Jesus covered in dripping blood. I guess this is a more realistic depiction of him on the cross as he had been whipped and then nailed to it but it was quite a shock. What was even worse was the amount of people taking selfies with it. 

I paid 5rp to enter the art gallery upstairs. The other 2 refused to pay which I thought was ridiculous. They had come all this way and refused to pay what equates to 6p to see the exhibition! It was a selection of wooden saints and then surreal paintings from one artist. No photos were allowed but they were very strange with a theme of hands breaking through different objects or out through the background.

We next crossed the road to the SE Cathedral de Santa Catarina. It has a large bell tower, largest in Goa. There were lots of side chapels, with one having the Cross of Miracles which is where a vision of Jesus Christ is said to have appeared in 1619. 

Again, this had an awe inspiring alter and it just gave a peaceful feel. 

Beth was not allowed in, even though she knew the point of our visit to Old Goa was churches, she had worn shorts and a vest so under the strict dress code she was refused entry.

We next walked to Church of St. Cajetan. This had a lovely garden to walk through and then inside it was smaller than the other two. There were no pews or anywhere to down so looked quite bare. The alter and back wall was dark made of wood and has a lot less gold. There are 6 alters around the side of the church as well as the main alter in the middle. 

There was a strange smell in this church, old wood and cleaning liquid but with its domed ceiling and smaller feel it felt very special. 

It was nearing 11am and it was so hot. We were sweating and had finished our bottles of water. The final thing we wanted to see was The Lady on the Mount which was a chapel at the top of the hill with a view across Goa. Bea wanted to walk but with it being so hot and at the top of a mount we agreed on a tuk-tuk. 

The tuk-tuk driver took us up a very steep hill (thank goodness we didn’t walk!) but when near the top we were stopped by police. They said the chapel was shut and we had to turn around and go back down! 

It turns out someone had hired it for a film shooting and we weren’t allowed to even get out and have a look at the view. Imagine if we had walked!!

We got the bus back, no stopping for the driver this time. He was a crazy driver and I had to stand as it was busy so quite a scary drive back! 

When back in Panjim, Beth and Bea wanted to have lunch on the way back. We stopped at a place but they had no food and so Bea said she’d take us to a cafe. We went a really long way round but then ended up at the church near the hostel. Bea didn’t know of a place but suggested we tried down a side street. I was too hot and had gone past lunch so came back to the hostel. I needed a cold drink and some air con! 

I just spent the rest of the afternoon on my own, not in the mood to make more small talk.

The texting between us has continued, still just general chit-chat about our different experiences. He called me by the pet name he had for me this morning. I don’t know if it was by accident, just out of habit but it made me feel strange. 

He asked if I feel like I have found myself in India, to which I said nope. He’s decided he will have a career change when he gets back and is thinking he wants to do something that helps people rather than just work for money. So it sounds like being away has already had an effect on him.

I’ve been chatting to our friend in NZ – J – all this afternoon about everything and nothing. He asked if I had heard from him so I said we have the occasional chat about what we are doing and then that I had told him that I missed him, with his response being that he thought I’d have forgotten him by now.  J said oh dear and that we all work in different ways so I don’t think he thinks his response is a good one but it was a while ago now and we have spoken since. 

I just wish I wasn’t so pathetic. I have been heartbroken before and it wasn’t anything like this. I have also been the heartbreaker and had to make a truly awful decision in the past. But I have always managed to have a hold over my feelings. I just feel totally out of control and that I am being taken over by the pain. I have tried so hard to keep it at bay, but when I actually sit and think about it, the pain is no less than the day it ended. It’s like I have tried to cover it but actually it’s not helping to reduce it, to move on. 

I’ve travelled to the other side of the world and still all I want is him. 

I just want to switch off. I would stop feeling anything if it meant I wouldn’t feel sad anymore. 

I’m hoping once I move to Sri Lanka on Saturday, I will be so busy with the elephants that I won’t have time to think.

I wish I could have a map to track Sazzle down.

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