Mumbai/Goa: from noise to serenity

I arrived in Mumbai after 15 hours of plane and 40 hours without sleeping. But I could not sleep directly, too excited by the travel. It took me 2 hours to reach downtown, which is only at 30km. It let me time to observe the pupils in uniform, the women in their « sari », the « zebu » in the dust, and all the pedestrians we almost smashed !!  Mumbai is an enormous city, full of chaos, traffic jam, klaxons and trapped in a deep cloud of pollution. The city is crowded with people, cars, trash, noises and smells… The encent perfumes are not covering the smell of perished eggs and burned tires. So we decide to leave it as soon as possible. Waiting for our friend Audrey, we visit Elehanta Island. It gathers several caves full of stone sculptures. It is a very touristic and polluted place, not really worth the visit. The next day, we visited a small market, and we try to see a wide laundry place. But our indication weren’t clear enough, so we ended up in front of a large shopping center, 30km away. We have to improuve our communication skills !!!

We want to join the Goa region, 700km far away. We tried to book a train, which is faster and cheaper, but the places for strangers are very limited. So we couldn’t leave the place by train before several days (in fact we could book normal places, but we didn’t understand the whole system yet). We end up by talking a 14 hours bus trip to join Panadji, the capital of Goa. We started our visit by a sunset boat tour, so kitsch! We could admire the dancing talents of the Indians on techno music. Such a surprise! We discovered more about Indians in vacation the next day. We joined a bus tour to visit South Goa. We rapidly became an attraction for the whole bus: each indian wanted to grab our hand and take pictures with us. Being photographed with a weight person seems to be a “must” for every Indian in vacation. Weight people aren’t so numerous; it is more Indian touristic season. At the North of Goa, the environment changes on the Arambole beaches. It is nicer, quieter and full of Russian, Israelian and Europeans. Some come every year to spend several months on the beach with a low budget. We stay two days in a small hut on the beach in the middle of the fishermen and the hippies. We took a yoga class (during which I fall asleep, not my thing yet), observed dolphins, chassed scorpions (one only, but in the middle of the night) and danced around drums at the sunset. It was hard to resist buying so cheap clothes. I realized I am still far to detach myself from our consumption world…

The first week is now already gone, spent with the ninja gang, caring each a nice carapace of 20kg on their back !! I realized the Indian cooking is not only often vegetarian but also always very spicy… Everything seems to taste the same. Fortunately we start to develop a new skill to decrypt Indians menus.

Photos of Mumbai:

https://picasaweb.google.com/111067839791541444667/09bMumbai?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCObGvc697tnRywE&feat=embedwebsite

Photos of Goa:

https://picasaweb.google.com/111067839791541444667/09cGoa?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCLODjPLhn73-hwE&feat=embedwebsite

 

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The beginning of the trip

The trip could not have start better, with this animated carpooling toward Paris. We were four people representing each one a decade from 19 to 52. As the miles went by, we discovered each other and started to rebuild the world… In 5 hours, each one could criticize this crazy society where we are not fitting completely. Anna, 38 years old, half Laotian, half Thai, but living in France since his childhood, especially touched me. She worked 70 hours a week. She is divorced with no child. She just experienced a break down at the beginning of the week. She fells work took much from her, but after so many sacrifices she is not ready yet to let it go… Would work be a drug? When she is speaking about her fishermen family in Thailand, she is making me dreaming. I hope I can visit them and in the meanwhile, I wish Anna will find a better balance in her life…

Every departure starts with goodbyes. After a lot of goodbyes, we start to wonder if we should leave. We doubt about our motivation and think we could maybe find answers just next to the people we love… But travel euphoria stays stronger. To leave to enrich myself and come back to share my discoveries… Last night in Paris, no sleep, everybody is sharing his next trip itinerary. Will a cross my way cross their? I don’t know yet. Acordion and drums music isechoing in the night, coming from a crazy night bus where people danse, laugh, simply live! Making me realize a few can make the difference, can make every day more lively…

Lacabe ecovillage

Lacabe ecovillage, at 50 kilometres from Pampelune, in Espagne, is the place which inspired me the most so far… This abandonned place was reconstructed by about 15 people 30 years ago. It is now a model of autonomy. 50 people including 17 children are now living there. An organic backery and eco-construction workshops are generating enough money for the village to be financialy self-sufficent. The inhabitants, originaly from the city, became with the time, specialized in eco-constructions. Through great construction projects, they build new houses with stones, straw, cob and used tires. An artisitc touch adds some poetry to each place. Food is 3/4 produced by gardens and animals.

A midwife enables the women to give birth at home. The education of the children is also organized in the village. It encourages the children self-fulfilment, by leting them learn what they want, far from the traditional system. The community is taking decisions and managing conflicts thanks to two weekly assemblies. They leave in groups of about 10 people, rather than in family. The whole community is sharing a meal together once a week. Electricity is produced by solar panels, a water turbine  and a wind generator. The produced electricity is enough to feed the houses lighting, the two fridges and the grain mill. They use some cars fueled with used filtered oil.

The hippy farm of Jean le moine

I spent about 10 days in this farm in the middle of the goats, the sheeps, the chickens, the ducks and the peacoks. Germans settled there more than 30 years ago. The place still spread simplicity and serenity. Dozens of people usualy visit the place during the summer. In November, we were sometimes only 2 to manage the farm, and sometimes more. Mathias just finished a training to host handicaped people in the farm. It is a good way to keep the local spirit and generate incomes at the same time. The forests arround furnish firewood, animals furnish milk, eggs and some meat. Nothing is sold, barter with the local farmers is prefered….

I you want to visit this farm, you can directly contact them by filling this form:

 

Why to leave ?

Back from Chad, I opened my eyes on our occidental society:

an  alienation by working, which doesn’t let us space to stand back, to change his habits, to travel to discover new horizons or simply dream about another way to live… Nowadays, people running after the watch, because they are afraid they won’t have time to enjoy their little free time after work. As a result, we don’t have time to enjoy simple things anymore. Work is pressuring our lives more and more, imposing us where we have to live, at what rhythm, and as a result the friends we have time to see…

a world of artificial pleasures, as our time is limited, pleasure has to be enjoyed rapidely… We create artificial hapiness, ready to use. Television is passively making us live adventures from our couch. The Internet is assuring the communication with friends we don’t have time to see and enjoy simple moments with them, without having to drink or party…

an over-consumption, not by need, but to reach short-lived pleasures, to buy objects of desir, fastly useless, outmoded, broken… We consume by pulsion, to repress frustrations, the get more confident, to have the impression to live… The society is creating fake needs, always renexed to stimulate this crazy consumption without limit, thus never satisfied…

over-exploited ressources, without realism and thoughs for the futur generations which end up in an unbreathable atmosphere, desorded climat, barren lands, artificial life unable to reproduce itsself, less and less species naturally adapted to their environment… Humans are playing sorcerer’s apprentices, without thinking about the consequences…

an incapacity to produce by itsself what we need, by lack of time, motivation or knowledge. We totally depend on plombers, electricians, mechanicer and supermarkets. We are unable to produce by ourselve the most simple things like bread, yogourt, dry meat, soap… We don’t even take time to pick mushrooms or chestnuts. We buy ready-to-eat dishes, ready-to-live houses… We forgot the simple pleasure of enjoying home made food, or handy made tools…

an atmosphere dominated by fears under all its forms. Since our childhoods, we learn to fear failure and unemployement, to push us to work. Then medias and society maintain a fear from the unkown, the stranger, the people who thinks differently… We beleive their is a rapist or a murderer at each streetcorner while there are mich more nice and welcoming people, just exhausted by a crazy society where they can not fit…

After all these findings, I decided to dicover other ways of living, of eating, of sharing moments with others, of respecting the nature… I am starting a world tour of ecovillage, and any community living in some autonomy, to dicover new and original ways to:

consume local products, which vary a lot according to the regions, so possibilities are numerous

grow food and animals through permaculture, which is a way to feed itsself naturaly by using the natural cicle of life to produce better and more.

produce localy clothes, cheese, ecological houses, dry toilets… Even if I have done long studies, I feel totaly ignorant about all these ways to recover some local autonomy

– consume less energy, while using alternative energies

– live in selfmanaged communities, where everybody enriches itsself in the contact of others, without losing its indivuduality