Palolem's Silent Noise thwarted the midnight noise curfew by implementing a silent disco, or headphone party.
I awoke, vomited an intestine, and staggered twenty steps to Residensea's restaurant to join the heavy drinkers and demonic drunks that comprised our impending scooter gang: four Brits, two Aussies, two South Africans, and my solitary American self.
In America, four dollars could buy you some thread. In India, four dollars fetches a prostitute. Or a day-long scooter rental.
The saffron sun seared and the Indian jungle barreled by as we caravanned from Arambol in north Goa to Old Goa. We laced through pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and cars on the spiraling streets. I almost hit a cow.
We toured colonial Portugese architecture in the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the chapel of St. Xavier, and the Se Cathedral. Outside St. Francis' church, a street peddler sold karma sutra books and cigarettes.
Our excursion terminated at a spice plantation. Ambrosial saffron, ginger, nutmeg and coriander violated our nostrils. The tour guide dribbled water down our backs.
Seven minutes into the return ride, the wind cuddled my face and the sun's rays stroked my shoulders. Harmonious nature echoed in my ears, enveloping me in bucolic song. That ended as rapidly as my spell as a religious guidance counselor. I believe in God as much as I do in cyclopses. A sound similar to fingernails scraping a blackboard combined with a baby shriek volleyed my eardrums. My scooter shuttered like a vibrator.
I perverted street-side and stopped. Two of our scooter gang pitched past me. The inferno of an exhaust pipe had cracked off and drug on the ground. After a scooter-gang-options-conference, we tied one of the Brit's shirts around the damaged goods, hoisting the exhaust pipe from the ground. Tarzan, the South African, offered to drive it back if I would take his girlfriend on the rear of his scooter. This was a good idea. If good meant ghastly. My track record with motorized mechanisms was as successful as the Vietnam War.
Normal people (Americans) drive on the right side of the street. Indians, under British rule from 1765-1947, drive on the left side of the street. I, Einstein, turned onto the right-hand side. Tarzan's girlfriend Jane sumo-wrestler-death-gripped me and I swung to avoid oncoming cars and cows. We careened towards a motorbike carrying a nine-month-old baby and it's father. He skewed to his left, I slue to mine, and we were on the correct side of the street again.
The scooter gang progressed down the highway when a car drove by, rolled down the window, and howled like a Satan-possessed being, "Your friend crashed! Your friend crashed!"
We arrested progress on the side of the freeway. The female Brit cried. A few of the males doubled back. Eight minutes later, Tarzan arrived, the scooter sputtering and stammering like a drunken whore.
A water truck had exuded a stream, Tarzan drove over a white painted speed bump, the water-slicked paint projected the scooter out from under him, he stoned his body off the bike and landed on his feet. The scooter's paint job and a sprained Tarzan ankle were the only casualties.
After negotiation with the owner, us saying he rented us a death trap, he saying we crashed it, Tarzan and I split the bill: two dollars each.
After traveling together for three days, Rob Awesome bequeathed the two Brits and myself with nicknames. One of the Brits was MK Ultra, the other, Polly. I was ComeBag. The combined ethanol of his Kiwi accent and booze pronounced it Comeback in my infantile Jesus mind.
It wasn't until we met fifteen other travelers at our Residensea Guesthouse and Rob Awesome introduced me as ComeBag that I caught the pronunciation like Bill Clinton snags STD's.
One day I floated in the ocean's fluid matter when Rob Awesome's voice accosted me across a soccer field-sized expanse of sea.
"Can you catch?"
"Of course I can catch. Can you throw?"
"I am a powerful man. You're a woman. You sure you can catch?"
Upon my repeated assurances, he rocket-launched a black object at me from the shore. It tore ten feet over my head before hurtling into the ocean with the speed of a black man bolting from the cops carrying a television.
I waited for the ball to surface. Rob Awesome scuttled through the waves and asked me where his camera was.
"I don't know. On the shore? Is this like let's guess locations? I'm only good at this game if I'm detecting male body parts."
"No no no. I threw my camera at you!"
"You threw your camera into an ocean? I thought you threw a ball."
"I thought you said you could catch!"
The waterproof and shockproof camera was not waterproof and shockproof after being hurtled three hundred and sixty feet through the air, pulverizing the ocean's face, and settling on the sand-shrouded floor for fifteen minutes. Shocking.
When Rob Awesome departed the bamboo beach hut we shared, he left me one knuckle duster, a bottle of whiskey, and male deodorant.
Mumbai: Day One: The city was on a beer drought and served no alcohol.
Mumbai: Day Two: Bollywood, and we were told by a restaurant as well as by a bar that playing card games in public is illegal.
Mumbai: Day Three: We left.
By our arrival in Goa, the Kiwi was on his second Bolivian Marching Powder binge in sixty hours. He hadn't slept in forty hours.
As he referred to himself as Rob Awesome, he decreed that the day necessitated getting Rob Awesome in henna across his deltoids.
The Brits migrated to a restaurant for beer and lunch. I read and supervised the henna headway. Rob Awesome lay on his stomach, arms at his sides, while an Indian man administered the henna. Rob Awesome compelled me to cater cigarettes to his mouth. I commanded inhale, he inhaled. The Indian man's eyes told me he thought this as mystifying as my dad motorboating a transvestite in a restaurant on my twenty-first birthday. Henna Man finished. Rob Awesome's body gyrated with gorilla snores. I woke him up.
"Hey, I'm heading up to the restaurant. You want anything?"
"Sweet. I'll get right on that. Don't roll over though, alright?"
"Right. Just don't roll over. You hear me? DO NOT ROLL OVER. The henna won't be dry for another twenty minutes."
"Yep, exactly. Just don't roll over. You CANNOT roll over. You'll ruin the henna."
I returned thirty minutes later with the Brits.
Rob Awesome had rolled over.
After I had a cerebral aneurysm from being a Bollywood extra, the Brit and I stood on a Mumbai street corner with five hundred extra rupees in our pockets. Five hundred rupees equates $10.70. In the US I could get a meal at McDonald's. In India, $10.70 paid over five nights accommodation.
While we discussed where to eat dinner, the other Brit joined us and the Kiwi's ejaculations from down the street drumbeat our ears. He stammered up to us, stuttered some words as bizarre as birthing two daughters in China, bucked his bag around my neck, and swung into the street. He had the brain capacity of one who had just teetered out of a goat orgy. He disappeared. We shrugged and went to a Chinese restaurant with some other travelers.
The two Brits and I returned to Seashore Guesthouse at four o'clock in the morning after going to a club that looked like a cross between a Japanese tea garden and a Vegas nightclub. Seashore Guesthouse is on the fourth floor of a five-story building. The Kiwi's sandals sprawled on the second floor landing. We found him in our guesthouse in the room he shared with the Brit from Manchester.
The next morning, he awoke Manchester with a credit card corner of coke in one hand and the remainder of my Old Monk rum bottle in the other. His mad cow eyes and four-foot-long dreadlocks were as nonsensical as nipples spouting vodka. Manchester responded correspondingly. He beamed love and tenderness, sniffed and sucked. Manchester and the Kiwi then woke me and the other Brit up and we whirled to Leopold's restaurant for some beer.
The Kiwi recounted his night over a cigarette and a beer pitcher at ten in the morning. Bagpiper Whiskey caused his coarse memory, but he recalled purchasing two grams of coke from a street drug dealer. He had never tried coke in his life. Fueled by Special Olympics in a bottle, coke seemed a good idea.
Hours later the Kiwi returned to our guesthouse. He walked up the stairs but couldn't find the hotel entrance. The different levels with varying hotels, shops and signs confused him. He wobbled outside and noticed scaffolding near the building. His six-foot-four-inch body with four-foot-long dreadlocks monkey-maneuvered up the scaffolding until he was outside our floor. He assaulted the window with his fist. A man we had slurred to earlier while waiting for the Bollywood jeep opened the window. Asshole refused to let the Kiwi inside, telling him that there was a gap and it was too dangerous. Kiwi coerced a window open and tumbled into the worker's sleeping room.
"Sorry mate. I'm just sorry. Sorry love," he apologized to a two hundred pound woman sleeping on a broom.
The Kiwi's body pinball-machined the hallway. It took him seven minutes to open his door. He lay in bed for twenty-five minutes, soaked in silence and eyes as wide as a prostitute's legs. A European girl screamed at him, "For God's sake, keep it down!"
"I've been fucking silent for twenty minutes, Bitch!" he related in Leopold's restaurant, permeated with families and young children consuming breakfast.
"You daft cunt!" Manchester exclaimed. "You were probably still making noise."
After a pre-pubescent heart-to-heart with God, by seventh grade He had upgraded my life from Fat Kid to Soccer Player. However, He forgot to thin out my ankles. I have the ankle definition of a four-hundred-pound woman. In my youth people called me Klump Foot.
The German girl and I lay on our bed, talking with our legs in the air. She glanced at my ankles and wailed like a flying rhinoceros had shit on her head.
"Oh no no, that's just my ankles. They're always like that," I replied, giggling like I had just skimmed a classified ad that read, "Illiterate? Write today for free help."
"No, ankles aren't like that. Too big!" German said.
Twelve minutes later I finally convinced her that I had monkey breasts and elephantitis ankles. As an apology for potentially offending me, she bought me a silver anklet. It didn't fit around my ankle.
She said she was as embarrassed as the time she was in the U.S., walked into a hair salon, and asked for a shampoo and a blow job.
Translation: Diwali is the festival of lights, or, fireworks set off by babies aged three to five.
We returned from the camel safari by noon, met at one, and, after a meal and alcohol purchases, were drinking our coherence and consciousness away by four on our rooftop restaurant.
By five-thirty we were so bladder blasted that one Brit lit the book The Power of Now on fire and tossed it over the four-story ledge. His concern for what was below paralleled the interest blue whales have for Watergate.
As sly as a bald guy, the German girl asked us if the Irishman had a speech impediment. We Pillsbury-Dough-Boy giggled and questioned why she thought that.
"Because he says 'tink' instead of 'think.'"
"That's just an Irish accent," we informed her.
My success at keeping a straight face aligned with my nonexistent mathematical triumphs. We forayed the firework-strewn streets. In a Hindu-dominated country where cows are as sacred as the Pope, the Kiwi picked up a calf and rode a cow. He also held a lit firework that more closely resembled a rocket.
The other camels halted to eat. Leonard Iron-Man-propelled through them, knocked two back, who stumbled to keep their footing, and then stopped to eat three feet away.
When Mr. LaLoo veered to the right around a bush, Ivan and Julian circumvented to the left. Leonard thudded through it.
"My internal organs are damaged," the Kiwi announced.
"My balls died," one of the Brits countered.
The first day, the camels smelled like burning cat poop. The second day, we couldn't smell them. The third day, even the flies couldn't distinguish between the camels and us.
By the third and final morning, the Scot had a shirt of flies and the Kiwi a halo. Flies mated on me.
"Oh. Where can we possibly buy bhang cookies?" I questioned.
"At the government authorized bhang shop."
Last fourth of July, there were dry ice bombs, police, a three-some, swimming naked to a buoy at five in the afternoon watched by families with small children, and running/walking six miles to a store for a beer run when someone had offered to drive. The store was closed.
I entered the sleeper bus from Udaipur to Jaisalmer with the apprehension I feel towards owning a motorcycle. I have crashed both of the motorbikes I've rented.
I had just submerged into the surface sleep of one whose head is box-buffeted every four minutes when shrieks volleyed into my ears with the force of a gay man's sex drive.
My partition pulsed with bellows and bruises from a fist pulverizing the sliding walls for emphasis.
"Fuck-ing-thief! Fuck-you!" repeated, each syllable rapping its anger on my plastic. His voice was pregnant with unshed tears.
"I didn't fuck-ing steal an-y-thing, sister-fucker!" answered towards the front of the bus.
I heard wails, whines, and roars. I fell asleep again.
The next morning, the German girl and I talked to an English midget on our bus. He looked like a brown-haired leprechaun and at his full height ascended to my belly button.
He told us that the bus had halted and a man had exited. The bus drove off with the man running after it wearing no shoes, struggling to hold up his pants - which were more around his ankles then his waist - and with a roll of toilet paper in his hand. When he entered the bus, he returned to his seat, looked among his belongings, and started screaming. His pants never were properly placed.