The dead fisherman of Aarambol

Adventure, backpacking, Discover, Goa, India, Travel

 

Look just past that trio of people on the beach, and you will make out some people kneeling before the shore. A group of people are sat around a body wrapped in a white cloth, with just a pair of lifeless feet uncovered.
We had walked down to the beach for a couple of beers, but instead of watching the sunset, those around the body joined hands, lighting candles. I laughed awkwardly, hoping the large hole to the right of us (pictured) wasn’t to be the grave.
As if the scenario wasn’t strange enough, an Indian man appeared on his knees, swinging a golden necklace right out in front of me like a pendulum. I didn’t even get chance to blink before he wrote in the sand, ‘100’. He wanted 100 rupees for it.
I shook my head and told him to go away, freaked out by his sudden appearance and action in my face. Frantically, he wrote 50 – and having seen his desperation, I gave in – exchanging 50 rupees for an old golden chain with a pendant hanging from it. I put it in my satchel and forgot about it, wishing i had given him more from the look on his face. He ran off.
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It turned out the hole was not for a grave but this.. 

Despite a dead body on the beach, every one reacted as though they were just watching the tide come in. We were in Aarambol, traditionally a fisherman village which was largely inhabited by a ‘new age’ hippie community.
The hippies made it apparent they didn’t want to socialize, not having acknowledged us at all in the few days we had spent staying in a beach shack there. It was because of this atmosphere, we hadn’t gone round asking what had happened, despite our curiosity.
As the sun set, we could barely make out the figure, and as the tide continued to draw in we understood the body would be swept out to sea. Confused we hadn’t seen any type of authority we wondered if the ‘man’ had even been identified, if ‘his’ family even knew or if ‘he’ would just be regarded as a mysterious disappearance. I still don’t know the answers to these questions.
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Sunset on Aarambol Beach 

The next day, we got talking to some french backpackers. Supposedly, three local fishermen had gone out to sea in their boat drunk, and a few hours later their bodies had washed up on different beaches. This was the only version of the story that we heard.
It wasn’t for a couple of weeks that i found the golden necklace, zipped inside a pocket in my satchel. The chain was fairly thick but old, a brassy yellowing color. The weight of it passed as real, unlike the pendent which was very much fake. The circular pendent had a Hindu marking on it, which could imply it belonged to a local.
Now that i think back to the man who madly sold me this necklace, i wonder if i had mistaken his desperation as poverty instead of fear. Was he a thief, and could this necklace have belonged to the fisherman? Thinking back to his actions, it seemed more likely that it had been stolen. 50 rupees was less than a penny, why was he so reluctant to recieve so little so urgently?
Again more unanswered questions and speculation, but i still have the necklace. A bad omen perhaps, a reminder of the mystery..
Should i keep it, or drop it in the ocean?

 

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Everest Base Camp 1: Where would you rather be?

Challenge, Discover, Everest Base Camp, Travel
In little over a month – I will be leaving my laid back lifestyle on Bondi Beach  to go and hike in the Himalayan mountain range at sub zero temperatures.  The two scenarios couldn’t differ much more, and I’m not sure if The Himalayas is where the majority of people would rather be exactly.
It’s all for the dream of reaching Everest Base Camp, the closest i’l ever get to being on top of the world.
Physically I am trying to prepare myself – morning runs, long walks and a lot of steep stair climbs. But i know the mental challenge is going to be the biggest test for me. The cold, the constant wind. Not being able to shower, pushing on through exhaustion, doing your business behind a rock.. eating only when fed, Needless to say I’m going to be packing a lot of snickers bars for emergency hunger outbursts.
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Me before and after you feed me.
I’m leaving for Lukla on March 28th, famously known as one of the most dangerous flight paths in the world. The run way is only 527 meters long, and so landing the plane is completely down to the skill of the pilot. I’m not the best with small planes, or heights – so i’m really looking forward to it.
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Lukla landing strip.
Lukla is where my journey will begin.  My days will be spent walking up and across the mountains, crossing suspension bridges over the valleys and constantly dreaming of my next meal. By night, i’l be staying in tea houses made of plywood, cocooned in my sleeping bag at minus 15 (definitely not getting up for a wee in the middle of the night).  A couple of days will be spent acclimatizing, climbing high to get your body used to the altitude, and coming back down to rest. By day ten we hope to arrive at Everest Base Camp. I’ve no idea what to expect in between, but I’m going to require a lot more stamina than I ever have.
There’s no telling how my body will react to the altitude, I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’m hoping that if i take every precaution it won’t get in the way of me reaching the top. Cutting out caffeine is going to be the hardest for me, I’m going to be such a bitch in the mornings..
Follow me on the biggest challenge of my little life so far. I’l be keeping a day by day account of my adventure, fingers crossed for success..
If you would like to sponsor me, it’s all in aid of Prostate Cancer UK – Thank you.