by Mike Williams

I've been to India now twelve times in all and I still can't learn the language, or should I say languages!

The country is incredible on so so many levels and the number of languages spoken is numerous. To my story, when I travelled to India the first time, it was for business and my boss thought it would be useful for me to go. The reason was that he knew I spoke all the Latin languages as well as Japanese.

He figured, hey, you guys are going to Goa and the Portuguese will probably come in handy. Needless to say, every day the boss called, he wanted to hear about his good decision to send a translator (only in his mind).

My colleague and I had to laugh, there weren't any Portuguese speaking individuals that we encountered, though the influence is tremendous, most obviously seen in the wonderful seafood dishes. Though the trip lasted only four days, India made an indelible impression on me. I returned the following year for three weeks, having to use all my vacation in one shot.

I went to see the usual tourist things like elephants, lots of them; many, many, many more cats though. There are animals all over the place and as a westerner, I connected this with dirty, though it could not have been farther from the truth or totally beside the point.

The thing I learned very quickly about India, is the incredible, deep and honest respect for all lives, be they human or animal, we are all animals. I always return with a mission to help and to learn. My Portuguese is a bit rusty after all these years, but my Hindi is no bad, with a Bangalore accent!

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