Posted by: Winslie Gomez | 06/05/2008

Dream Goa or Dread Goa

© of Winslie Gomez.

Once upon a time, the only thing that could spoil your holiday abroad was the airline, airport, crap hotel, the service or lack-of, hire cars that broke down, bad food and getting ill; I mean very ill, getting drunk, losing your wallet-passport-camera-ipod and worse still, getting arrested for being a prat.

Of course you have to face the usual cons and fakes, from artists to souvenirs, crooked cops, pedlars and pimps. But you would never imagine that a Government official as in Goa, India would actually warn “foreign tourists” especially when 60% of their economy is tourist related.

“Foreign tourists have to be careful,” he said. “They can’t just do these things and then blame the government for the consequences. You can’t expect the government to provide police on the beaches after midnight.” He warned foreign women in Goa to avoid “insecure places” and to take “precautions”, while declining to define either term.” Timesonline

IMG courtesy of Lee Abamonte

Is Digambar Kamat, Chief Minister of the Indian state of Goa, misunderstood?

From a UK, perspective his words sound ridiculous!

However, in the Indian context, his words of warning probably would be no different to the average Indian tourist to his State.

Is the morality of the shack worker to be equated with that of either the Chief Minister or the whole State of Goa?

The case of Scarlett Keeling and her tragic death has exposed the grim truth about life-after-sunset, on the once idyllic paradise that was, the beaches of Goa.

Fiona McKeown as the mother, has come in for her fair share of criticisms. However she faces an uphill struggle in being able to understand the Indian psyche and the political machinery at work.The missing internal organs of her daughter are only a fraction of the problem at hand.

Timesonline has interesting observations and questions:

[T]he problem for Goa is the same as the difficulty faced by other tourist destinations “discovered” by the young and the adventurous and trading on their fashionable, hippy associations. Ibiza, Bali, The Gambia and parts of Thailand are all places where the prevailing hedonism attracts a large number of free-spending tourists but runs counter to the more conservative views and mores of the host country. Entrepreneurs who have invested in the bars, clubs, pools and hotels that bring in the tourists are keen to encourage a lively reputation in the West. That same reputation, however, can cause resentment, disdain and confusion to the very people working in these resorts. A clash of assumptions can have dangerous consequences.

Such clashes have been increasing in Goa as the tourist numbers rise. The Indian media have reported 27 deaths of foreigners already this year,…..

This story is going to rumble on for a while yet and many a head will roll, eventually!

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