I often scratch my head in bafflement at the actions of the Goa Tourist Board and local authorities. They often seem to be on a suicidal mission to destroy the very golden egg they ought to be preserving. This year their acts of genius include sacking the beach security officer thus allowing tourists to be pestered by itinerant hawkers and beggars; installing enormous plastic wheelie bins every 50 yards along the beach which stand empty because there never was any sort of trash volume on the beach; ending the daily rubbish collection from the main road giving rise to horrific mess and a large volume of local trash there …..
But yesterday, their idiocy reached new heights when officials descended on Palolem and Patnem and demanded the removal of all the sunbeds and shade umbrellas from the beach. But don’t worry, they left the massive bins in place so the natural beauty of the beach can be preserved!!!
Now some beaches in Goa are turtle habitats and on those beaches it is perfectly reasonable and understandable that the natural environment must be preserved. However, Patnem and Palolem are both developed beaches, their treeline lined with restaurant shacks which light up with neon every night. Definitely not turtle beaches…. if the authorities are worrying about preserving those beaches for nature then they should start by removing the shacks. Yet, strangely enough only this year they have granted the shacks a 5 year permanent structure licence for the first time, which means they no longer have to be demolished at the end of April and rebuilt in October. So… that’s a bit of non joined up thinking right there.
I can quite see that the beach looks better with no sunbeds – pity about the bins – but – and its a big but…. the majority of the tourists in Patnem, particularly the long term stayers, are over 50. These are the tourists, like us, who spend their money in the village, stay in the hotel rooms, frequent the shops and restaurants, use the taxis and tuks…. most people over 50 – and I’m sure there are exceptions, do not like lying on the sand. More particularly they do not like lying on the sand without the benefit of a shade umbrella. It’s suicidal in this day and age when we are all much more savvy about the dangers from the sun.
So.…. if this continues….. we will have to find another place for our winter sojourn. Which will be sad after all these years. It is simply not enjoyable to broil in the sun sitting on the hot, hard sand surrounded by dustbins and hawkers.
Let’s hope common sense prevails…..