Thursday, February 10

free love and german baked goods

At least once a day, I make a pilgrimage to the German Bakery. How does there come to be a German bakery in a small village in India? I don’t know, but if there was ever a people group capable of such a feat, it’s the Germans. My family tree is full of them, and they won’t be shaken out.

Savio’s Guesthouse, or Benaulim Hippie Central, is accumulating more and more every day. Soon, it will be Savio’s German Guesthouse, clean and organized, which will completely ruin its shabby reputation.

My next-door neighbor, Michael, is a German hippie, if that’s possible. He wasn’t at Woodstock, but he laments a world without free love. “It’s a shit,” he says. His red bicycle with a pink flower on the handlebars winks at me. 

But why is the German Bakery operated by a bunch of Asian guys from Nepal is, perhaps, a more obvious question. I don’t know, but they are adorable and I love them. They also make a decent latte, though it bears an almost exact resemblance to the cappuccino.

I sit with Michael at the bakery while he smokes a homemade cigarette and drinks a cappuccino; alcohol and other drugs are left to the past. He explains why east Germany is better than west and teaches me to ask for a rolled cigarette in Deutche. I add this to my repertoire of 'gesundheit.' Michael’s never been to the States, but he dreams about surfing in the Pacific. 

We sit quietly at the outdoor tables, but this is anything but a Parisian café. Rickshaws and taxis tilt around the main village intersection. All the new tourists of the week turn up curbside, looking confused.

“Ack, too many Indians here,” Michael complains, indicating the out-of-towners from Mumbai or Delhi. “It’s a shit.”

I smile.

The bakery, with its enticing case of bread, shaped into various pastries, offers a beacon of comfort to newcomers. It is a rare spot in the world where I can watch as much as I am usually watched.

Tuk tuk a la Michael

Last evening, Michael finds he has less mint leaves in his tea than his west German friend. I propose this could be intentional discrimination against east Germans. Then we discuss the silliness of dread-locked westerners who feel superior in rarely-washed clothing.

Life without Michael would be a shit.