While the travel books and magazine features are telling you about how lovely Goa is and what to do this winter in the land of sun and sea, here are four things not to do while in Goa this holiday season:
1. Don’t befriend Indian (Goan) boys/men on the beach: Here’s a lesson for women, especially foreigners (Indian women learn this early) – ‘friendly’ strangers, especially men, must be viewed with suspicion. Indian men are not trained to be ‘friends’ with women. Any friendly overtures must be rebuffed firmly, but politely. Chances are that years of Bollywood has brainwashed them into believing that you’ll come around sooner or later. Do not get flattered by the attention. Your life may be at risk. Whether you are 12 or 50, a Scarlet Keeling or a sullen teenager looking for friends, be very careful about who you befriend. Unlike the West, you cannot afford to be lulled into a friendly chat on vacation, knowing that at the end of the day you can walk away if you choose. An Indian man is likely to think you are leading him on.
2. Don’t argue with hotel waiters : An Australian tourist was beaten to death last week in Calungute by waiters at a local hotel. Conflicting newspaper reports suggest that the Aussie had a knife, was drunk (at 8.30 am), boorish and made the first move. I ask, does that justify being beaten to death? If the waiters could get together and beat him, surely they could have as easily over-powered him and handed him to the police?
3. Don’t complain/grumble about local politicians : Whether you know anything about Goan politics or not, keep your mouth shut. Complaining about local politicians could lead to severe injuries, perhaps death.
4. Don’t complain about harassment : If a family member has been harassed, molested, even murdered, think twice before making a police complaint. You may be booked for negligence instead. In Goa, you are expected to keep a constant eye on your family – that is your responsibility. If anything should happen to them, you couldn’t possibly blame anybody else but you (that’s what you’ll be told).
If you want the perfect holiday, I’d suggest you head elsewhere. Goa? Paradise Lost.