Well, my three months of Ashtanga practice with Saraswathi in Mysore are now totally done – I’m in Brisbane, Australia! Our last four days of practice ended with two Led Primary classes and two Mysore practices. I felt pretty darn good during all of them, but definitely tired by the very last practice. Felt strangely tired, but, I guess that’s what three months will do. In my Mysore practice, I got to add Pasasana, “noose pose”, the first pose of the Intermediate series to my practice. It is a squat with a twist and bind. I don’t really feel like I deserve the pose… but it is nice to be able to think about moving forward and adding postures.
Outside of practice, the last days in Gokulam were full of various social obligations or expectations or activities, largely centered around food (of course). Sunday night had a special thali dinner at a family’s house that another Anokhi’s Café work exchange individual knew well. The woman who runs the dinner works the week at a café in Gokulam and then runs this dinner on Sunday nights, in addition to cooking and caring for her family while her husband drives a taxi (taxi taxi, not a rickshaw). It was an AMAZING dinner. So many delicious dishes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stuff my face as much as I would have liked to because it was a rather late meal and I had an early practice Monday morning – have to keep those bandhas available. But back to the food. There were three delicious curries/soups, a rice dish, shredded carrot salad, beets and potatoes, gobi Manchurian (a spicy, saucy fried cauliflower dish), curried pumpkin, momos (dumplings), and ragi dosas. Of course the meal was topped off with chai. Delicious, delicious masala chai. I really wish I could have let myself eat until I could eat no more haha.
Tuesday brought about my final trip to Secret Breakfast on which I was much more liberal in how much I allowed myself to eat – rice bath and their massive onion dosa, plus some pakora (a fried onion and batter ball) and chai. Soooo good. Wednesday morning was devoted to my last visit to the wonderful idly man, plus lots of chai. Then, Wednesday night was going to be another street food night, but a bunch of the stands that we wanted to go to were disappointingly closed. Instead, we headed over to Sri Durga for more indian food and I went with set dosas. After, I grabbed some sweets from a baker to top off the night – chocolate cake ball-like yumminess and jalebi (dough deep fried like in pretzel like shapes and soaked in a sugary syrup). They were great. Very sugary.
Finally, Thursday morning (my last morning) came with a breakfast for Saraswathi’s students hosted by the assistants consisting of idly, dosa, masala, kitcheree, coconut chutney, tamarind chutney, chai, and more. It was impressive, filling, and absolutely delicious. The tamarind chutney was the first I had had of its kind and WOW was it good. Yummmmm! I’d like to eat more and I’d like to try to make it. After eating more than I should have there, I headed over to Anokhi’s for a last meal of fruit salad and vegan banana pancakes and to say my goodbyes there. In the afternoon, I had my last coconuts of India. Fortunately, my very last coconut was the PERFECT coconut. Cool, sweet water, meat that was just the right spot between jelly and toothy, and it was large! Such a great way to say goodbye.
That evening, I rode to the airport in a taxi with a New Zealander who I might get to see again in Chiang Mai! The ride went along as smoothly as one can expect to travel by car in India. Plenty of near encounters, stopped vehicles, horns, and good conversation with my travel buddy. That night, or really very early Friday morning, I got my flight to Brisbane through Hong Kong. The flights were long and uninteresting, but I actually managed to sleep rather well on the first one, which was great! Late, late Friday night, I found myself in Brisbane met by one of my best college friends here for Med school.
Saturday has been a delight so far – went to a local farmer’s market and walked about West End. After that trip about town, we hopped on a ferry and a bus to get to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to look at and meet koalas, kangaroos, and a large variety of other Australian animals – kookaburras, Tasmanian devils, dingos, parrots… It was delightful. Even better to discover, the public transportation system here is just terrific! Load a card with money to swipe for buses, ferries, and trains. Swipe it when you get on or off. Super effective and rather inexpensive. It’s good to be here. Tonight, we’re headed to a music and food truck party (basically) that’s supposed to have really great food. I’m highly looking forward to it.
Until next time, have a great week!