Not Always Paradise

7.1483741996.bob-and-gloria-at-april-20Not Always Paradise
Patnem, India

Patnem, India

Monday was the last day of the festival of Holi, the day when all the paint and colour throwing occurs It was also Mike and Linda’s last day and we’d arranged to go to Cozy Nook at Palolem so they could have spa treatments at the Dreamcatcher spa. It was a bit of a stretch to get tuks as few drivers were working but we made it. Had a lovely breakfast at Cozy Nook and pegged out. At first the beach was quiet, and to be honest it always is at that end but we could see that the middle section was getting busy as the day wore on. Bob went for a walk in the early afternoon and reported back that there was a massive paint party near the beach steps with lots of drunk people, quite a few Indian men. Holi is a boisterous festival wherever it takes place. However, many of the Hindu states are dry so at least the paint frenzy isn’t alcohol driven. Obviously Goa isn’t a dry state and it attracts groups of male Indian tourists from neighbouring states like Karnataka and north to Mumbai who come down for a “wild and crazy time” on the beaches. Goa has a reputation as a great place to party. In the south is generally undeserved but there are club nights, generally well out of town. We left about 4 and had to get through crowds of revellers, covered in paint, and mostly off their faces in order to get to the tuk rank on the beach road. Not just Indian men but also Europeans, young people. Bob was ahead of me and I have to say that even I, got importuned by some of the drunks and asked for a kiss. Unpleasant situation.
Tragically at later parties that night, the revelling got worse and on Tuesday morning, the body of a young Irish girl was found naked, raped and battered in a field between Palolem and Agonda. She was apparently walking from a rave in Palolem to one near Agonda, although the details are not clear as to how she got there. She was certainly at a rave at Palolem earlier in the evening and the theory is she was going to the pool party at Leopard Valley which is on the way to Agonda. They’ve arrested a local man who has confessed. He is a local well known criminal who has been prosecuted for burglary many times apparently. Slightly worrying that he may be a scapegoat as the police have come under pressure for a quick arrest.It has made me think about the risks that women take and the responsibilities of the communities to lessen those risks. These night parties are always held in remote spots in order to satisfy noise legislation. It seems to me therefore that the organisers have a responsibility to lay on coach transport from the venue to town centres to allow women to get back safely. They should also employ security to ensure that women are not singled out and pestered by groups of men and they should ensure that admission is not given to drunks or people otherwise under the influence. As Europeans, we ought to accept that wandering around drunk or out of it on drugs is a very dangerous way to go on, wherever you are. Additionally, women need to be more wary. This is not a country where a local woman would ever walk alone at night, be seen drinking, dancing in a bikini, accept a lift from a stranger or do half the things that young western women do. You have to know that many of the guys that rock up to these parties are from country states where they barely see a woman alone, let alone a half dressed one. They don’t know how to deal with it. Add alcohol to the mix and there is danger. Not by any means suggesting that women shouldn’t dress as they like or go to these parties but they need to stay in a group and be careful. Don’t get drunk. Don’t go off on your own or with strangers. Heck, this is true in Manchester or London, let alone here….. This poor girl has had a horrible end and I feel very much for her family. Every parents’ nightmare.
Monday night we had a last dinner on the beach with Gianna at Namaste and wished her well as she is now off to Mandrem in the north of Goa. Toasted her off with some margaritas.
Saw her to actually say goodbye on Tuesday morning as she was having breakfast with Gloria on Eve’s terrace. Last night Bob and I had dinner ON OUR OWN on the beach at Tantra! First dinner on our own in 2 and a half months!!!! Very nice too.Today we spent at Salida again. Its lovely weather at the moment. Around 34C and not humid. A little breeze. The sea is so warm and still. Did lots of swimming.
Tonight we checked Gloria was ready for the morning and had dinner with her at Eve’s. There was some sort of parade through the village from the temple there to the temple in Chaudhi. Lots of bikes with orange flags displayed and then two floats with a statue and people dressed up. To commemorate an historical figure’s birthday but couldn’t quite work out who!!!!! Turned in early as we have to be up at 350. Urgggg…..