Signposts or street signs are nowhere to be find. If they are really necessary is the big question. The road from Goa Airport to Agonda has no exits. We slowly drive past women with heavy, round baskets on their head, old, small trucks who have problem getting uphill, making so much noise I expect them to collapse every minute and we zigzag between all cows on the road. Holy cows. In India they are – among other things – the symbol of fertility. I think you need a lot of imagination, looking at these skinny animals.
The closer we get to Agonda, the denser the forest on my left is getting. Every few kilometers a sign is telling me the forest is the property of the government of Goa and it’s function is to absorb CO2 as the green lung of Goa. India may be one big garbage belt for many outsiders, but Goa keeps the environment in mind. Partly to protect the environment, partly out of idealism, but for a big part economically driven as well. This former Portuguese colony thrives on tourism.
After an hours drive we see the first, little wooden plate, telling us that we have to go left to go to Agonda. The turnoff is hardly a road. It looks more like a cinder track with some rocks in it. Skaikh Zamir, my cap driver, looks at me for a while. Then he confesses: ‘This is my first time to Agonda.’ Before I can wonder how we will ever find the yoga school, he reassures me: ‘I will find Fatima Guesthouse for you.’
Finding Fatima’s Guesthouse is easier than expected. Agonda Beach is one long street. There is not a lot more options then going left or right. Help is on his way. Tourism season only starts half November, so this white guy coming in to day can mean extra money. In no time our cap is surrounded by people who want to help and who tell me their guesthouse is absolutely the best in Agonda. When they hear I’ve already booked my room they are very disappointed, but still willing to show us the way.
Almost at the end of the road we find Fatima’s Guesthouse to our left. A big, white house, with a porch and white pillars and a very bright orange railing. In front of the house is a courtyard with five palm trees and a well. On the front part of the yard the grass is fighting the gravel. Behind it a mosaic floor with small, white tiles. Painters are doing there best to get the guesthouse ready for tourist season.
Fatima’s son greets me as soon as I get out of the cap. My room is on the first floor. He takes a look at my two backpacks and decides to help me carry them upstairs. His choice is quickly made: ‘I’ll take the small one, so I have to carry less.’
Behind the dark, wooden door on the corner is my room. Small with three yellow and one orange wall and a marble floor. In the right corner is a wooden bed with a mosquito net over it. Opposite a plastic garden table, covered with a dark, stained brown cloth. Plastic as well. In the left corner is a small corridor with very old fashioned tiles. So old fashioned they are retro and very ‘in’ again in the Netherlands. The corridor is home to a sink, a cold shower and – behind the shower – a toilet. Just a bowl. No paper, no cistern. Just a bucket with some water to flush.
When I open my brown curtains, full of big flowers and look out through the bars of my window I see the sun coloring the sky orange and slowly sinking down into the Indian ocean. I know the yoga shala has to be here somewhere, but I haven’t seen it. When I ask where the yoga classes will be, Fatima’s son smiles and points two the roof. ‘Up there. You will be doing yoga on the roof.’
This is and old story. I wrote this at the end of 2010, when I went to India for the first time, to do my first Yoga Teacher Training. I finally translated it in English. My first yoga teacher training was the starting point to walk to path of yoga seriously.