Incredible India: Arambol (Day 5)

The day was so full of events that it feels like a week now. Some of my wishes materialized again today.

In the morning I decided to exercise on the main beach instead of the Kalacha one where I stay. I found many people doing sports there.

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Sunrise at Arambol beach

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Kids are playing cricket.

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Some people are jogging.

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Some are doing yoga.

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And some are practicing boxing.

While I was practicing taekwon-do kicks, a sporty man came up to me and asked whether I was a kick-boxer. The man was Sasha from St. Petersburg, and he turned out to be a karate master. I had wanted for some time to meet a martial artist here. And voila! What talked for a while about the differences and similarities of taekwon-do and karate, and then did light sparring on the sand. All I can say it’s an enormous pleasure to train with an accomplished martial artist and exchange experience! We agreed to have a full training together the next day.

So another wish came true. But this was not the end. I asked Sasha if he saw an exercise bar somewhere on the beach, and voila again! He told me it’s not too far from where we were, and I found it in a short while. The bar turned out to be shaky a bit, so I couldn’t do muscle ups, but for pull ups it was great. There were other pieces of equipment also.

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Yessssssss!

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Love Temple – a place for numerous meditations and practices on the main beach.

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Me too.

After having a short a swim. I headed for breakfast to the town to have a tasty 50-rupee masala dosa. On the road I met Lakshmi from Manali (born in Varanasi) who recommended me a good cafe. I dropped by there after breakfast, and it turned out to be amazing. I spent some time there listening to music, reading a very interesting “The Life of the Cosmos” by Lee Smolin, talking with Lakshmi and Ram.

Best things are usually hidden. If you happen to be in Arambol, do search for the roof-top Om Shanti Cafe that is off the main tourist path. Here you will get a chill-out atmosphere, live music, and tons of interesting people.

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School girls playing

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Cozy Om Shanti Cafe on the roof-top

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Music lesson in progress

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Lakshmi playing chess with Ram – a guitarist, pianist, and historian from Australia

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I found this book in the cafe. It is very special as I read it back in 2005, and it sparked my interest in yoga.

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Another hidden treasure of Arambol – Hindu Giroba temple off the main beach road.

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View from the top

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Next to the temple

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Interesting sculpture

I returned to the Kalachi Beach around 2.30 pm, had a swim in the lovely and fresh Sweet Lake, and had some fruit followed by a nap.

In the evening I headed back to the main beach to enjoy again the newly-found exercise bar. On the way I met Grisha who lived in the jungle. Here is one of the dialogues we had:

– Are there snakes in the jungle?
– Of course.
– What do you do?
– Nothing. I don’t eat them, they don’t eat me.
– Something like Maugli’s “we have the same blood”?
– Yes. If you have pure thoughts and don’t intend to harm anyone, you’ll be safe.

I am sure this applies not only in the jungle.

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This is the spot where I met Grisha who lives in the jungle near the Sweet Lake.

On the way to the sports sport I met a guitarist whom I saw the previous day. Alan was practicing a Scottish country song ‘Jolie’ with the vocalist Olaine. Alan has ten guitars here in Arambol 🙂

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This man has ten guitars.

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Sand art

At the exercise ground I met another interesting person – Johannes from Munich. He looked very athletic, and I found out he’s a sports coach in Munch. Now he was travelling with his girlfriend in India, trying different body practices (physical exercises, yoga, massage, etc); upon return he’d incorporate this into his training programme. Then back in India for new knowledge and back to Munich. So this cycle would go on. I found this pretty remarkable.

I asked Johannes to explain the technique behind the shoulder stand he was doing so well, and he showed me the main preparation exercise – half-stand – which I could make at first try. I was really happy because I’d wanted to learn it for a while.

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Sunrise at Arambol beach

After enjoying the warm ocean I walked back through the beach, which at this sunset hour turned its face from a touristic resort to a vibrant place with many musicians, acrobats, yoga practitioners, and so on. I had my dinner and went again to Om Shanti Cafe, where every Monday there are live concerts. The concert was amazing. There were three hand-pan players and one guitarist. I also met Vova from Russia whom I got to know at the Meditation Foundation, and two of his friend. Actually the only language I could hear in the cafe was Russian 🙂

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Acroyoga – yoga and acrobatics.

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Girl performing a beautiful dance under the sound of handpans

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Evening concert at Om Shanti Cafe

We went back together with Vova as both of us live near the Sweat Lake. On the way we stopped by his friends’ cafe and played one game of table football, which was really fun. Then we walked through the still open market street, talked a lot, and finally reached our destination around 10 pm.

Falling asleep tired and happy.

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