Happy Pancakes

After a terrible bus ride and another horrible one I eventually arrive in Gokarna. I take a tuktuk to Om Beach, and walk straight on to the last resort for no particular reason. Probably because I cannot decide and think the last one will probably be best. It turns out to be the cheapest and it’s fairly deserted, so my indecision steered me right.

There is only one other guest in the hostel, a Northern Norwegian fellow, scientifically the most depressed kind of human. He is drinking beer and whiskey in the hammock. ‘Hey, finally, a new guest. I’ve been here for two weeks and nobody came to visit. This is gonna be great man! We’ll, have a good time.’ He stumbles out of his hammock and walks up to me. ‘My name is Joachim.’ He says putting his hand out.



‘Willem,’ I shake his hand: ‘how are you on this fine day on this beautiful beach?’

‘Pretty shitty actually, my grandpa just died. He was like my father, you know. I don’t get along with my family, only my grandpa. So yeah, pretty shitty.’

‘I’m sorry, are you going back home?’

‘Na, I’m too far away and I hate my family. The only one I would go back for is him, and he is not there.’

‘Yeah maybe better to drink on this beach in his honor.’

‘Well my old man didn’t like drinking, that’s why he was such a good guy, took me out for fishing, taught me everything, you know. And now he’s gone. It sucks. And I’m getting drunk every day. You know. Wanna smoke?’

‘Sure!’ He waves me towards his room. I put down my bag and follow him through the narrow hall. All the necessities for making a joint are neatly laid out: chunk, paper, scissors. The entire Om Beach smells like a big coffeeshop. And everytime I tell them I am from Amsterdam, they want to know everything about my favorite weed. Sometimes I feel bad to ruin their enthusiasm, so I try to bluff my way through. ‘A guy from Amsterdam that doesn’t smoke. That’s like.. that’s like an American who doesn’t like a hamburger or a German not liking beer.’ one wise Israeli once told me. In this case I just wanted to make new friends and there was not much else to do than swim and wait for the time to pass by. We can only smoke in his room. He is convinced the police will catch him. It has happened before. ‘There’s a new chief. A rich fellow with principles. He doesn’t take bribes.’ After we smoke, Joachim climbs back into his hammock: ‘shanti shanti, you know!’

The next day I meet Shani, a cute Israeli, and Jorgen, the Estonian. He looks a bit like Leonardo DiCaprio, Shani tells me. We hire three kayaks, pull Joachim out of his hammock, and add an Austrian to the group. We arrive at Paradise Beach, kayaking next to the dolphins;

Kayaking next to dolphins you can't see but are definitely there
Dolphins you can’t see but are definitely there.

Back at Om Beach, I follow Jorgen and Shani to their hostel where people are solving a 1000 pieces Jigsaw puzzle of a castle in France. Since I’m new to the puzzle I’ll be putting the blue pieces together to solve the sky. I carry it out with pride and obsessively compulsive dedication.


Michael, the awesome slum celebrity, arrives at the beach. To celebrate this great occasion, I decide to make happy pancakes. The Israelis will love it as well as the Australians, and Jorgen. Shani and I walk to Khudi Beach to buy weed at a beach club. Later, Jorgen and I start preparing the weed butter. You melt the butter, put the 10 grams of weed in there, wait till the butter is green, and remove the twigs before throwing it in the batter. I decide to make two types of batter, one happy, one unhappy. Of course neither batch of pancakes need no extra special ingredients to make people happy, but it really just fits the situation.

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Jorgen and I put a table on the beach. As the sun is setting, people slowly gather around the table. As expected, the happy pancakes attract the Israelis. The unhappy pancakes attract a group of cows who are chilling on the beach. Cows don’t get butchered here. They teach us an important life lesson: life is easy when you have no purpose.

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I especially liked giving pancakes to the necklace sellers. They walk here everyday, trying to sell necklaces. I bought one the first day to have a good excuse to not buy one again. The guys are extremely friendly and are  always making interesting small talks, even if you don’t want to buy a necklace for your mother, sister or ‘one of your girlfriends’. Ravi told me he has a great life and that I shouldn’t pity him. He has a family and lives near the beach. ‘I am a very happy guy!’ He says cheerfully. ‘So do you want a happy pancake or an unhappy pancake?’ I asked him with a big smile. He wants a happy pancake. Me too, and Shani too, and Michael, and Jorgen ,and the Israelis also.

I am afraid it won’t be strong enough, so we ate quite a few of them.
A Dutch guy arrived. From his accent I figured Zaandam. ‘Alkmaar,’ he said. ‘Same same, but different,’ I think. He did something administrative with the Spar supermarket chain, decent salary, but he will lose his job the next week. He is not married. His brother is though, to a Nepalese. ‘The lucky bastard.’ I nod.
Unable to say anything useful I just listen to his ongoing ranting. He went to Delhi once, ended up getting scammed. He is like: ‘I’m not getting in that taxi, I’m not paying, you know.’ In the end he didn’t know what to do, but it ended okay.’ I was already staring at the waves. ‘I think I’m going for a walk, I’m way too stoned to listen to this in-laws party small talk.’ I tell him. I probably would have said it the same way if I was sober. Especially in India I got really annoyed by tourists who constantly complained that trains don’t arrive in time, that there is too much trash and that the people are stupid and rude.



Somewhat disorientated I walk on the beach. I am glad the money was spent well. I tried to find Shani. I get lost in the garden jungle of her guesthouse. Fortunately, she finds me. We head for the beach. I couldn’t speak English anymore, which was fine. As I walked back to my hut, I see a guy with headphones, lip-syncing to what seemed like an awesome hip-hop song. The next day he is still standing on that exact spot, still lip-syncing. The necklace seller and his friend walk up to me. ‘What did you put in those pancakes! I was walking home and suddenly I was lost’ He cries joyfully. ‘Happy pancakes’, I say smiling wide, ‘with weed.’ We burst out in laughter. ‘It could have killed me!! My wife was so worried!’ He says still laughing. ‘I’m so sorry.’ I tell him with a grin. ‘No, don’t be it was fantastic!’ They hand me one necklace and one bracelet. ‘Because you made us so happy yesterday. It is really good what you are doing!’ They were the only ones that genuinely thanked me for the pancakes and the only ones I really cared about.


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