Foreigners in Goa

Disclaimer: I am not writing this post to make any sort of judgment over the death of Scarlett Keeling. What happened to her was wrong, but who was to blame will never be certain.

I have seen four kinds of foreigners in Goa.

The ones that look like they have been staying here for a while. These are people who look extremely comfortable with wearing what everyone around them is wearing, you have to look at them twice to really see that they don’t come from around here. They are spotted more in art exhibitions and music shows rather than on the beaches. They carry diaries and journals rather than cameras and bottled water. These are usually people with genuine interest in Goa and its culture. Many of them stay in Goa to learn some kind of art; some form of music (i think an extraordinarily large number are fascinated with the sitar). Be it a way to get away from the bland lifestyle of the west or way to start a new life, they are really interested in staying here for a while. They also know the ways of the land they are living in. They make sure they don’t leave their 15 year old daughters alone on the beach full of rowdy drunk men after dinner time, or that they don’t attend late night shows without arranging for transport.

The other type is the hippies. Everyone knows of Goa’s reputation as the haven of drug users and rave parties. These parties are often misunderstood for what they are not, but it is true, that it is a dangerous affair in all. These ear, nose (and god knows what else)-pierced people roam the beach strip on enfeild bullets and bikes. Most of them appear harmless to someone as gullible(giggle) as me, but frankly I know as much about them as I know about Goas nightlife. (which is to say I know nothing at all), so i’d better shut my mouth right here.

The third kind are the ones that roam the streets of panjim wearing shorts and cotton kurtas, looking not quite so comfortable in their Indian clothes, but willing to try and blend in, in order to observe Goa and its lifestyle more closely. To my imaginative (and modest :D ) brain, they are the journalists, they will probably go back home and publish a book or showcase a documentary on Goa and its culture.

The last kind are the tourists. The lost expressions show they have not done their homework. The revealing bikinis that they wear while walking on the busy(or not so busy after all) streets of our cities, show how negligent they are of the fact that they are standing out. Their bright red tans show they are here to enjoy to their utmost. These people don’t really care about being polite or clean or anything else, they are here to have a good time and go back to their land with tans to show off the tropical country that they visited.

To wind up, a few pointers:

  • Goa is and always will be the most peaceful and calm place that I have seen.
  • Tourists: (especially Indian) Do dive in and frolic in the water on your first few days here, then try sitting calmly by the beach and sipping coconut water.
  • Foreigners: Come here to find yourself, not some fantasy land.
  • Media: The things because of which you label Goa unsafe happen out on the streets in your metro cities too. It is unfair that they dont make headlines then.
  • Goa needs the tourists for revenue, the tourists need Goa to have the best time in their lives. It is symbiosis. Both sides are to blame for anything that goes wrong, and both will be affected equally.
  • To the culprits: Think before you cut off the hand that feeds you.
  • To the visitors: This is a place where you will get some of the most pleasant and hospitable people. It is a statistical fact that the tourists and visitors produce more garbage and human waste in Goa than the residents do. Th least you visitors can do is take care of yourself and this beautiful land around you.

13 thoughts on “Foreigners in Goa

  1. I think even we Goans should share a blame. We need to identify the points on which Goa should be promoted to the tourists.

    Rather than concentrating just on beaches Goa would be an ideal place for echo tourism, health tourism and education hub. All these kind of tourism are unlikely to bring drug and sex to our state.

    However if we promote Casinos and beach life culture, it is certain that it will disturb the peace of the native society.

  2. it’s probably not people in goa who are raping all these tourists….goa is a paradise….a safe haven..probably..some kind of sea creatures come out at night and do all these heinous things..

  3. Everything you have written makes sense except this:

    “What happened to her was wrong, but who was to blame will never be certain.”

    A crime has been committed. The criminal is to blame. That is the most important thing we should be saying.

    Lets say all foreigners are irresponsible. And all their daughters get murdered. Does it still apply? “What happened to them was wrong, but who was to blame will never be certain.”

    Or say a woman walks out on the street wearing something sexy. “What happened to her was wrong, but who was to blame will never be certain.”

    Personal blame is different from legal culpability.


    Oh, once we do that, we can sit back and talk about families, personal responsibilities etc etc. But till then, the criminal is the criminal.

    If he is not to blame, why not get married to him, get your daughters married to him? He is not to blame right?

    The moment we say I dont know who is to blame, you are doing nothing but providing moral support for someone who would shamelessly rape your sister or your mother – if he gets a chance. He just got a Scarlett. If Scarlett and her mom were to blame, probably you should pardon the criminal and invite him to your homes with your innocent family and what see what happens and decide on the blame afterwards.

  4. I completely agree with what u said. And i can imagine tht u can give the real picture of goa than anyone else who’ve been there just for a vacation.

    Hey waves n sands good to catch u after a while. n sorry for dissapperaring. I knw i have an undone tag frm u, which i’ll do soon. I now have a new place, come we’ll hav fun.

  5. @aniche..
    no place is a safe heaven…and i like the humour…but seriously…these things happen all the time in all places..and agreed that they are done by horrible and evil people(u may be right in calling them monsters) but u cannot please generalise things like that and make statements about the people of goa.

    i repeat…i am not here to make judgments…i dont know Mrs. Keeling personally…i dont have any right to say she is irresponsible or anything otherwise…but all i can say is…as i said in reply to aniche…these things happen all over the is the cruel and monstrous individuals who do it , no doubt…but the blame part according to me is still unresolved…who is to be blamed and who is the culprit are two different issues….i hope u understand…

  6. I think this is a wake up call for the Goa Government to have a more robust Tourism policy which will not just focus on increasing number of tourists but also on ensuring the tourism is socially accountable and morally acceptable.

  7. Hey there… nice read but jes 1 point… I beg to disagree with Akshar. If Goa is promoted as a “peaceful” place, wht makes u think that it would be preferred over places lik Pondicherry or kanyakumary ?? the night-life is its core-competency dude..

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