Art, Culture, and Ocean Conservation . . .

Archive for February, 2012

Vroom vroom

Arambol was an adventure. Lots of hot girls riding kickass
motor cycles. Lots of folks stopping with nice bikes to give free
rides, yummy food, gypsy gear, drum circles, lovely conversation,
cow fields, sweet Indian families, hot sun, full beach, and
motorcycle taxi rides to anjuna. I ended up in Anjuna twice. Once
for the night market which was an incredible experience. I was
expecting a lil building with some booths- but this market truly
was like nothing I had ever seen. It was a full on outdoor bizarre
with 12-15 piece bands playing non stop, bars, food, Indian goods,
local designers, and European craftsman all selling their wares.
What a beautiful and magickal place. Wow. The second time I arrived
in anjuna was for a proper beach party that I got to perform with a
fire crew at. I ran into friends from Thailand and Montreal. It was
the Goa I had heard about for all these years. I’m glad I was able
to pilgrimage and shop but was also happy to return to my lil
seaside sleepy farm town of Galgibaga. I’ve been in such a
dedicated and serene place and it has been so good for me. I can’t
even believe I head out tomorrow for Tamil Nadu. Xo

Mother Earth Inc.

Houses made of earthen bricks fences made of sticks and
palm. Roads beaten into the clay. Scaffolding made of bamboo
decorations made from flowers boats made of trees. Resourcefulness
is everywhere and technology comes from Mother Earth. Pretty
incredible what one can do when there are no other options sitting
in front of you on a silver platter. In some ways technology holds
us back. Supermarkets wash away farming skills, and money takes
away the barter system. Inflation takes away fair trade and
suddenly we are all working 60 hour weeks with only 2 weeks of
vacation a year. It’s all cyclical as east looks to west and west
looks to east. Full circle, as it turns out Christopher Columbus
was correct about ONE thing- the world is round not flat. There’s s
bunch of westerners doing yoga and a ton of Indians really digging
aerobics. Take one down pass it around 99 bottles of limca on the
ground ( being collected rapidly for the deposit). P.s. If you
haven’t noticed Coca Cola has taken over the world.

Fabrics of Life

We arrived to arambol late in the evening after a long day of errands. We took a rickshaw, two buses, and then a taxi for the last two hours. It kind of cracks me up how lanes and direction of traffic are kind of just a suggestion here.

We were meeting my friends’ friends at a small gathering on the beach. As we climbed the sand dunes in the dark I could hear the beat creeping in. As we got closer I saw the glow of lots of dready cutie pies all cuddled up on the beach accompanied by slow dark snarling bass. We have arrived.

I’m somewhere new but I feel instantly at home. Brightly colored Portuguese style houses everywhere. Shrines glowing in the middle of the night. People group hugging and om’ing in the street. It’s Friday night but it’s quiet except for the gentle lull of warm and fuzzy conversations floating off of porches and out of door ways.

I stopped to buy some water at this welcoming lil tea house. The shop keeper invited me in and mentioned he had many things to offer. I continued on after my purchase though, exploring the winding dirt roads lolly-gagging around housing complexes and temples.

Our sleeping situation was fairly uncertain on the way into town. My friend was trying to find a house where we could both stay and so far- nothing had surfaced. I knew i could always rent a room if it came down to it and there where people actually sleeping on porches all over the place lolol. A friend was to let us crash but ended up staying out late in another town a bit farther away so we could not get in. The group from the beach had moved into a restaurant and we were contemplating our options over tea when someone brought up the fact that their friend who didnt show- the house they stayed at was missing the lil moon shaped window from above the front door. They said perhaps a small child could fit through half- jokingly. We came by to peruse the situation. There was indeed no glass in the window and to our luck – both the Portuguese and the Indians are both a pretty small breed of people – so the door was not so tall. There was even a step stool conveniently on the porch. I felt i was the nimbler of the two of us and surprising slid right through on the first try. I wasn’t quite sure that my body would actually be able to fit in the opening along with my leg as I swung around the other side- but it all worked out quite easily. (Just as it should)

Soooo. . . I totally just broke into a house (with permission of course) and was surrounded by beautiful epic gauzy fabrics, flowy skirts, long vests, and pretty much anything you ever wanted to buy was gracefully holding space all around me. I go to open the backdoor and let in my friend when I find my leafy seadragon dress ( my favorite dress of all time that I got in san Francisco) laying on the table and the om body pants that i am wearing right now hanging on the rack in front of me. Turns out the owner of the house is an epic fashion designer and that all of my favorite fabrics in the whole wide world are all around me and made in Dehli and have been brought to this house that I am standing in now. What are the chances?

It reminded me of when I first moved to NYC and was looking for housing and my friend was dog sitting Madonna’s hair dressers dogs in their villa-esque condo in the west village and I got to do all if my craigslist searching from there!

I love this life!!

And the adventure continues!


Gravity and Flight

Motorbiking at sunrise between red Rock cliffs watching the mist roll of the ocean. Lazily swerving around cows and dogs napping in the road. Enjoying the last of the cool breezy shadows before the sun makes his presence known. Once I hit the town it’s two fingers on the break and a thumb on the horn. They actually use the horn to communicate logisitics, like I’m passing you, or blind curve, rather than the typical NYC “get the f*** outta of my way” charm.

Fresh chai comes my way the steam peels back my eyelids in a refreshing manner. The lil shops untie the lil strings holding their tarps over their merch and everyone is sweeping their stores, sweeping the dirt road, sweeping . . . Sweeping. In India the first thing you are to do in
The morning is sweep. Before breakfast, before anything, you are to sweep your home and start anew each day. It’s a nice practice. Ive been sweeping my room each morning and would like to continue this ritual upon my home coming. Time will tell.

The next thing they do is throw water onto the road. The Indian people have an impressive technique for throwing water. It’s much more beautiful then you or I have ever spread it upon the earth. If water throwing were an Olympic sport the Indians would take the gold. I believe they do it to keep the dust down, sometimes they do it to disperse the cow dung – as cows are holy and roam wherever they please. Sometimes they are giving an offering or cleaning a pan- it does not matter the reason why they are throwing the water. It is always done with style and gusto.

Today I go to Arambol! I have not yet been but look forward to the adventure of three bus rides and another town as I make my way to the northern part of Goa. I have been told it’s full of freaks, gypsies, and circus folk- and upon hearing this I can’t imagine why I have been visiting anywhere else. Lolololol. Oh right – discipline, focus, and all that jazz 😉 it’s been good for me to study in a quiet far-flung seaside as we all know I would not be studiously practicing in my room for hours on end in the art hub if India. Looking forward to the adventure and must get a move on before the sun gets too hot. Good morning world! Thank you for letting me travel upon you. Gravity and flight. Namaste.


I have been
diving deep into Odissi dance. It is ancient temple dance. A dance
of devotion created and performed for the gods. It is beautiful and
intricate and even people who have been studying it after 20 years
are still considered beginners. It is the oldest classical dance
form of India with written documentation of it dating back over
2000 years to 1 B.C.. I have begun an incredible journey. I am
dancing 5-7 hours a day. It has had an incredible impact on
quieting my mind, improving my posture, and increasing my own
self-discipline. I have exercises and choreography in the morning,
rhythm and music theory in the afternoon, mudra class (!!!!! This
makes me so happy), then followed by choreography recap. I make a
point in my down time to then study my own movement practices. I
have been alternating between tribal fusion bellydance technique,
working on my 3 hoop separations ( one on your chest or above in
the hand, one on your waist, one on your knees) and I hope to have
a day where I work on contact juggling out on the beach ( a long
time and long term goal for myself). This Friday I get to take a
Persian dance class on Sufi Whirling (!!!! This is also very
exciting for me)! The lessons Odissi is teaching me are grand and
of great importance. Some of them i surely wont even recognize
until I have left. Part of my intention for this trip was to
receive. To be open not only to learning new things but to retain
them. It has been a while since I have undertaken the serious role
of “student” and I am loving it!! The ashram where I am staying is
also a tantric yoga teacher training program. It has been a nice
mix of dance and yoga creating a complete practice. Everyone
attending the program is super nice and inclusive. I Also join them
for their lectures on metaphysics, Hinduism, the history of India,
and the history of yoga which have all been a complimentary study
to the ancient history of Orisa (where Odissi was born). Through
studying this ancient dance form I have enjoyed recognizing that so
many other forms of movement have all built their practice from
this ancient foundation. I look forward to discovering all the
lessons yet to unfold. Bless!! -=ali*<

Mama India

I have made it to South India. Justin and i spent time in the wild city of Bangalore where the roads erupt into 15 lanes of traffic complete with dogs, cows, motorbikes, rickshaws, taxis, buses, cars, babies, you name it- it’s moving- and at high speeds in all directions. I spent several hours in the saree district finessing the finest silks laden in jewels. I was sat down and shown showcase after showcase of one-of-a-kind hand woven, hand beaded, intricate pieces of wearable art- from the way they are made to the multitude of ways the are tied. Each one was wrapped me so perfectly, folded in a perfect bkend oc science and art. The women of India are equally as intrigued by me as I am of them. We all steal glances -returned with sweet smiles, cheeky looks, and head bobbles. Mutual admiration society in full effect!

We find busy food stalls and my fingers become an extension of my tastebuds as I scoop up channah masala with fresh puri and have as many dosas as I can possibly eat in 24 hours. All washed down with chai- every meal, every thought, every corner – chai, chai, chai!

We then took a sleeper train to Hampi. Hampi is a magical and ancient village full of 16th century temples, gypsies, amazing boulders strewn across the landscape teetering in unrealistic ways. Nature truly is the greatest abstractionist. I’m also constantly impressed by the timelessness of human innovation. The intricacy of the temples, the roads, the sculptures, the society that existed in a different time of technology makes a huge impact on me. I learned all about Krishnadeviraya and fell into a deep fascination with the unfolding history of India.

I am currently attending an Odissi dance program mixed with tantric yoga in south Goa over the mountain along the sea side.

I am honing in on the art of being a healthy traveler. Enjoying my time exploring this world as well as the inner journey of exploring myself and finding the harmony in all things. India is a magical place but it is not such an easy place to get along ( confusion, corruption, disease, politics, harsh weather harsh sun, etc) but if you surrender and release your expectations into the flow- the rest will follow.

Currently I’m on Galgibaga Beach. There are few westerners here and each one’s absence is replaced three-fold with INCREDIBLE wildlife. Dogs and cows lazily mill through every city and village- but in this very far flung village woven into an even further out coast there is the most amazing array of birds. Huge crows, hawks with at least a 3 ft wingspan riding the warm thermals coming off the Arabian sea. Bright green and blue parakeets glittering and flipping around, these lil birds slightly bigger than a hummingbird with the coloring of a peacock darting here and there, roosters, egrets, gulls, and a ton
More that I don’t even
Know how to dichotimize. Even a short five minute walk yields spectacular sightings.

Life and death is also much more in your face. I’ve seen several animals killed with my own eyes in the past few weeks. I saw one monkey brutally attack and kill another and then drag off the body, I saw a dog trot by with the bottom half of a very large Doberman colored creature hanging from it’s mouth, a hawk dropped a rodent 10 ft from me on the road from about 25 ft and then 2 cars immediately ran it over, even the 5 week old puppy at our ashram returned home completely missing his back paw and his leg is now limp. India is not necessarily an easy place- but it us however real and in your face.

I have learned so much in the past few weeks about a multitude of topics. The most fascinating and still unravelling is tattered threads of Indias rich past and history- nearly wiped out during the 3 centuries of British rule and the intriguing and laborious duty of uncovering and re-establishing their rich heritage.

I have been dancing 5-7 hours a day and intensively studying classical Indian Temple dance – Odissi- history, music theory, and technique. This devotional dance dates back to 1 B.c. – that’s over 2000 years ago!!! Such a beautiful and intricate practice.

May each of you be enriching your lives in some way today and enjoying your personal freedom, health, and happiness.