Mass, Market & Mail

Feeling down.

Wednesday evening I was just having some time alone, reading and listening to music. I was in a sad place and couldn’t face anyone. I wasn’t hungry and I had a knot in my stomach so I didn’t even go out for dinner.

As I was sat there, one of the hostel staff came up to me and said everyone was meeting at 8pm to go to Joseph Bar for a few beers. It was proably the last thing I felt like, but I knew I had to try and snap out of this slump. Sitting in my own world was not going to help me and I would just go to bed and end up crying.

So I changed my top and headed out with Elsa (Swedish) who was in my dorm for the night. 

We got there just gone 8pm and no one was there. We got a beer each, a bottle of kingfisher for 80rp which is just £1.

We were making the usual small talk of travellers – how long have you been here? How long until you leave? Where did you come from and where are you going to? They are the staple questions asked sometimes even before you have exchanged names.

We then started talking about strange Indian men we had encountered, with me telling her about Anurag and she had a story about a boy that had asked for a blow job on the side of the road.

A few of the staff and guests from the hostel arrived and we chatted with them about drinks (mainly feni) and food.

A couple of girls from the UK joined us who were fun and we were just dicussing the selfie obsession when an old man came up and asked for a selfie. We all burst out laughing and he got a bit confused. 

We agreed in the end and he stood in the middle of the of us, with the bar sign in the background. He spoke to one of the girls after and it turns out he is a GP and is 70 years old! He looked about 50.

Elsa left after one beer as she was getting up at 5am for her train. It was just a stopoverty stay for her.

I headed home with the 2 British girls, stopping to buy ‘dinner’ on the way back, a packet of crisps and biscuits for 40p!

I couldn’t sleep but the WiFi died so I just carried on reading on my phone in bed until the early hours.

I drifted off and woke at 6.30am in a sweat. In the heat I am having so many dreams and although I don’t remember them once I have woken up, they make me feel sad when I wake up.

I had planned to go to mass in the church down the road the past 2 mornings, but I had slept in on Wednesday and then gone early to Old Goa Thursday so hadn’t yet been. I rolled over and thought I would give it a miss, but then when I woke at 7.30am I decided I would go. I thought it would be good to experience church in India and I also hoped it might bring me a moment of peace.

I crept out of bed and out the dorm once dressed. Stepping out of the hostel, the air almost felt fresh. The sun wasn’t yet high and so it wasn’t yet hot.

I walked quickly to the church in time for the 8am start. I wondered if it would be busy or empty. There is a mass in English at 8am every day.

I climbed the steps of the church which zig zag up and entered the church.  There was a sign to say no photography which was annoying. 

Inside the church, it was smaller than I had expected. But as with the churches in Old Goa, the back wall behind the alter was covered in gold with elaborate sculptures and figures. Along the side of the church walls were windows high up and smaller alters with figurines and icons displayed.

The church filled up, but not to an amount that made it uncomfortable. I was on a pew with only one other person and directly beneath a fan.

The mass itself was very similar to in England although the singing was hymns I didn’t know and they all sounded like they were in slow motion.

Holy communion was received, and where most of the people had the host put directly into their mouth by the priest, a man stood to the side holding a tray underneath in case it dropped. I held my hands up to receive it rather than that way.

I felt tearful, which was the opposite of what I wanted to happen. I wanted just a moment of peace, where my head and my heart stopped, and I didn’t feel so sad.

I felt ashamed, the priest was asking us to pray for those in need, those in Africa, and all I wanted to ask for was him.

The service only lasted 40 minutes and then I was back outside into the heat. 

I walked back to the hostel debating whether to go back to bed for a bit or have breakfast. 

As I entered the hostel, Celine was sat with Marain (Slovakian) and said I should join them. I ordered my breakfast and sat down. 

Breakfast took ages as the poor girl was on her own. I almost offered to help but I’m not the best at carrying trays or making coffee so thought I might make it worse for her.

Celine left for Old Goa straight after breakfast and I sat for a while on my phone. I felt like hibernating for the day, I didn’t want to get hot and I didn’t want to do anything.

However,  this was my last day in Goa and I had wanted to send some spices back home. I forced myself out the hostel at 11am, ignoring my inner feelings of wanting bed.

I walked 20 minutes to the market and went inside. It was a very strong smelling place, with so much fresh fruit, bags of spices and stalls selling cooked food. It caught in the back of my throat and I felt like I was suffocating. 

The market was indoor, and felt underground. It was a rabbit warren of narrow corridors with stalls along the sides. 

I asked one spice seller if he had any saffron, he said no but then kindly climbed down from his stall and took me to a stall down the way who had some. I purchased a small box of it for 130rp and carried on.

Tumeric was sold whole, rather than already ground, and it was 10rp for 50g which is probably enough for a whole herb bottle back home.

From another stall, I got a bag of Goan chillies which are said to be very hot, black pepper corns, garam masala and some black tea. This was 130rp for it all.

Leaving the market, I also got a packet of cashew nuts which are grown and famous in Goa.

I made it back to the hostel by 1pm and had an iced tea as a reward for my venturing out.

I put my purchases in a large padded envelope that I had purchased earlier in the week and wrote mum and dad a letter, just saying hunan explaining what was enclosed.  

I sat upstairs and read my book until 3pm when I decided it was time to find the post office.

It wasn’t far from the hostel and when I walked in there was a large counter with 2 windows. 

I queued behind a lady and waited my turn. However, queuing in India is slightly different. I had left just under a metre between myself and the lady at the counter, but this gave space for a man to cut in front of me!

A man who was stood to the side and was with the lady, told the man he had pushed in and told me to go to the counter.

The post mistress looked very grumpy.  I gave her my package and she said I needed to fill.in a customs form. I asked her for the firm to full in and she gave it to me with a huff. I asked to borrow her pen, and she refused.

I stood to the side and asked the nice man from before to borrow his pen. I filled in the form, giving my from and to address, and a signature. Back in the queue I waited my turn again and this time she took the form but then pointed to the back of the parcel and said from address. I said OK and asked for her pen. She looked at me and then huffed again! I smiled and shrugged, if she had told me this then first time I would have done it. She gave in and pointed for me to do it right next to the counter, and gave me her pen.

Once she had dealt with the next person in the queue, she let me jump in and took my parcel.

She asked if I wanted it there quickly, and I said no just the cheapest option. She finally smiled – I had cracked her! It cost 556rp to send back to the UK which I think is a good price.

Back at the hostel I sat upstairs with an iced tea and read my book. We had a power cut for about an hour but I just stayed here, able to read on my phone.

Sri Lanka tomorrow and I hope the elephants can help in the search for Sazzle.

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