Hippie-Bashing in Arambol, India

April 23, 2013

foreign-correspondent badge finalOn paper I should love Arambol.  I mean really love it.  There is an abundance of art and music, a multiplex of workshops in different disciplines ranging from ‘Indian Cooking’ to ‘Tantric Meditation’, a vibrant and eclectic music scene and, being a stone’s throw away from neighbouring party beach Anjuna or the uber-chilled out Querim, theoretically, there is really nothing to not like. On the contrary, there is just one problem.  The place is filled with stupid hippies.

Now before readers start clacking, “Stop being a hypocrite Little Miss Wasta, you’re hardly in a position to criticise,” allow me to demonstrate all the ways in which I am not, in any way, a tree-hugger of this ilk:

Hippie-Bashing in Arambol, India

1.  I enjoy yoga for its physical and mental health benefits and aim to practice in my own time as much as possible.

This practice is done in the privacy of my own room or practice space so that I can hopefully stave off cancer, mental illness, and physical injury from the extreme sports I frequent in my leisure time for as long as possible.

It is not done directly, and quite deliberately, in front of the mass conglomerating at the drum circle every evening (don’t worry I’m addressing that next), so as to show off my new hemp g-string and the lack of creases in my groin to an unwilling audience of families, confused Asian men, and other stupid hippies.  You know what you do, please stop.

You know what you do, please stop.

2.  Drum circles.

The pinnacle of hippie-dom.  These spots serve as the human equivalent to an African water hole, where creatures of all shapes and sizes come out of the woodwork to enjoy a nice refreshing drink–or in our case, a nice invigorating bash on the drums.

So why exactly can no one play the drums?!  I have no problem with beginners joining and learning, but if that is the case then surely it falls to the more experienced drummers to experiment with the sound and break up the seemingly endless monotone choir of out-of-time four/four drum abuse?

3.  Where are all the actual musicians?

Everywhere you look there are folk walking around with drums and guitars, yet all the venues are desperate for people to play for them. It doesn’t add up.

I know this because I went to perform at an open mic (just me and my ukulele, which isn’t even a proper instrument in my opinion–infinite joyride, yes, proper instrument, no) and I was asked by four different venues to play for them, and had two other musicians want to jam, and this was not because of my dizzying talent, I assure you.

It was simply because there were few who were willing to be genuinely creative and play something other than a wobbly version of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me”.

4.  Where is the respect for the local people?

First I have to deal with the eyesore of trippies (trust fund hippies) that are just as, if not more, punchable than David Cameron and his band of Tory crones, clad in neon tie-dye, saluting the setting sun by fanning their arsecheeks eastwards (a move they probably call something equally intolerable like ‘Shiva’s Spirulina Solace’ ) in an apparent “trance.”

I then have to bite my tongue while they treat local people trying to make ends meet as though they were carrying the Bubonic Plague.  Having people try and sell stuff to you is how they make their money, and they have a limited time to do it in.

You are a rich, foreign, tourist.  They are the impoverished majority that exists within this developing country.

You are a rich, foreign, tourist.  They are the impoverished majority that exists within this developing country.  While the sales pitches can inevitably become tiresome from time to time, manners never cost anyone anything.  And another thing, a charity exists for stray dogs yet not for stray children–is this a world you want to be part of?!

5.  Have some respect for the environment.

I was really shocked by the state of Arambol beach.  As we would say in Britain, “It’s minging.”

Granted I am in India, a place hardly famed for its cleanliness but one would have thought that in a more upmarket state such as Goa, in an area that has a large western influence (or more to the point, sees a massive influx of supposedly eco-conscious hippies), the beach would have been in much better shape.  But no.  I was wrong.  I guess litter picking just isn’t any fun.

But no.  I was wrong.  I guess litter picking just isn’t any fun.

Incidentally, if you don’t believe me and you ever go there, try using ‘the little, shitty, river’ as a point of reference for giving directions.

I guarantee you will you find the exact one using this description alone.

6.  To all men who have grown up in Goa: stop trying to put crystals down my pants.

There were four occasions where I had to deal with what became termed the “chakra-porno-massage” by my Spanish companions.  This peculiar phenomenon appears to only occur in Goa and is so widespread that following a Skype conversation where I told one of my friends of its incidence, I was subsequently launched into a debate about porno-massage experiences with three other girls in the internet cafe who had overheard me.

So be warned, if anyone tries to ‘cleanse your aura’, ‘realign your heart or genital chakra,’ or tells you that a body massage is absolutely necessary to be able to read your palms–politely decline their kind offer and tell them that you are in fact the spawn of a dark underlord and no amount of massage is going to help.

For those currently attempting to use massage and karma to fleece women into sexual submission, just man-up and ask the girls out.

7.  Ban “Balanced View”.

I hate this organization PASSIONATELY.  In all honesty, they ruined Arambol. (My word limit will not allow me to explain why which is why you can look forward to a brand new article written in their honour very, very soon.)  Just believe me.  They are awful.

Maybe I’m being a tad cold, cruel, vicious and jaded.  It’s because I am.  I blame Balanced View.  Arambol isn’t all that bad.  The food is all first class and there is an enormously vast array of things to do, making it easy to maintain a good harmony between partying and being pro-active.

If the hippies become too much you can leave for one of the many epic beaches found in Goa, and not everyone you meet there is a soya-munching, self-righteous, new age hippie.

It’s just not the India I was expecting.  It’s not India at all in fact.

In fact, some of the best friends I made were a direct result of hippie hatred so there you go.  It’s just not the India I was expecting.  It’s not India at all in fact.  Great for meeting people, slowly integrating yourself into India, and performing (if you actually make it onstage), buying tie-dye items, and learning weird stuff.

Alternative paradise or land of BS?  I put it to you to find out yourself.

About Emily Morus-Jones

34 thoughts on “Hippie-Bashing in Arambol, India

  1. Avatar
    August 17, 2015

    So true… !! I guess things are getting only worse every year … I am an North Indian and visit Goa every year Since ages .. Arambol was my favourite beach …. Not anymore !! A sense of loss !!

  2. Avatar
    February 10, 2015

    I saw the date of this particular article AFTER I read it and was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the things that you have mentioned still apply. Now, I have been to Arambol twice. The first time was in October ’14 and the second time was in February this year (As a matter of fact, I just got off a bus from Goa a couple of hours back).

    Before I even start commenting, I regret NOT having spent enough time in Arambol. This trip was a precursor to the next one in Goa. I was essentially scouting for locations to shoot a film.

    My perspective on Arambol isn’t entirely contradictory to yours. However, I was afraid that that might have been the case for me as I didn’t give it a fair shot. Three weeks is a long time. I was barely there for one week.

    As far as the “neo-hippies” go, spot on! I guess they’d be what pop culture might call “hipsters” rather than hippies. I have had the good fortune of meeting and spending time with some of the old-timers (people who’ve been around in the 70’s and early 80’s – the folks who created and carried back with them the genre of music we now know as ‘Goa Trance’). They are truly incredible humans. Most of them believe in giving back to the society and the environment more than what they take from it. And well, the Arambol ‘hippies’. That’s a different story. Getting 26 piercings and 13 tattoos DOES NOT make you eligible to be known as a ‘hippie’. Smoking some grade-C hashish in a chillhum DOES NOT qualify as hippie material. Also, being a hippie doesn’t mean looking like an older Eric Clapton and dressing up like Hendrix and stashing up on lots of hashish and LSD. Having a GREAT taste in music and a flair for some amazing storytelling are great hippie traits to start with. And to be fair, I DID encounter some of these characters in Arambol.

    My first experience with Arambol was straight out of a badly made gangster film. I accidentally interacted with a local ‘druglord’ who invited me to join a “gangbang” session for an Italian girl who was being provided generous amounts of white-coloured goodies from the South of America. I had politely declined, claiming that this was just not my scene. I had been travelling alone, after ending a long-term relationship and honestly, I found Arambol to be too harrowing an experience for a solo traveller. I thought it’d be way more fun had I come with a group of friends. Nonetheless, I made friends with a Swedish guy and a Nigerian (who, at the risk of stereotyping, was not trying to sell me some white-coloured goodies) and we had a really good time just exploring Arambol and around (not the beach).

    Which brings me to the beach. Oh man. I don’t have words to describe the disappointment. If I really had to, it’d be something like this – “What the actual fuck?” I couldn’t believe that this is the place that everyone around me had been raving about. It was positively disgusting. And being an Indian, when I tell you that the beach was disgusting, you better pack your bags and get out of there. If one goes to Arambol for the beach (or the lack of it), I’m sorry, you’ve arrived at the wrong place. There are better beaches in Karnataka and Kerela. There are better beaches in South Goa as well. Agonda, for one, is by far one of the most calm, peaceful beaches that I found. But again, experiences are highly subjective. Someone like me, who prefers chilling by the beach with a book and some good music would find the generic Arambol scene a little too tiresome.

    Yoga. Just one of those quintessential ‘Indian’y things. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but most of westerners (or easterners) or even most Indians have NO clue about what they’re actually doing. I won’t take any names – but there’s a Russian lady who runs a nicely-operated yoga-training scam. In fact, I was chilling with her husband who even admitted that what she’s teaching is not really yoga. But hey. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself, right? On the other hand, there was a German yoga instructor I met in Palolem who was quite simply put – a proper new-age yogi. And the reason why he wouldn’t move to North Goa was according to him, “too much drugz and many many many people zere. I like ze peacefulness here”.

    All that being said, I’d definitely like to go to Arambol again. But this time I think I’ll carry my drum kit and join the “drum” circle 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Women’s only tour
    October 24, 2013

    Top pink lady is Pretty and trying to carrying Indian outfit great spirit thanks for sharing

  4. Avatar
    June 16, 2013

    I agree with everything you said. However, as much as we appreciate the business, we do not appreciate the bad manners. We do not live in the British Raj era and even then, this kind of bad behavior was wrong. Anyone who treats a fellow human that way should be told off then and there. Indians used to love going to Goa, But now it exists to serve tourists from other countries. Drugs , Mafia, even the Mexican and Russian drug cartels operate openly. It has become so crowded that there is no peace of mind, ANYWHERE!!!. I’m not the kind who is against tourism, but right now I am extremely tempted to not mention some amazing places in Goa, only few know of. For fear of it losing it’s peace. Goa is being stripped off of it’s dignity, being exploited and trashed. If people are uncomfortable with the trash- Don’t create it, to begin with. Once all this becomes old, and Goa has been used enough, where will everyone go next? Kerala, Pondi? Daman? And then ruin Those places too? I’m a Hindu, My grandfather was a scholar in Ayurveda as well as Yoga. Most of what is being sold (products as well as services/ ideas) is laughable as well as insulting. But then, how much difference is the indignation I feel right now, make? It’s not only foreign citizen, it’s most Indians as well. Especially, the men- they go to get sloshed and baked and greedily ogle and pant hungrily at ‘gori'(fair- skinned) women. Maybe I’m turning old or maybe it’s because my ex-husband loves Goa, that I have this opinion. I’d love to just sit back on a quiet clean sea, be at peace.

  5. Avatar
    June 5, 2013

    thanks for opening the debate and for being candid.
    i spent the whole winter season in arambol 2010-11, and found it challenging and paradoxical and the flaws are obvious. the following year i was mostly in auroville, tiruvannamai, kerala ashrams- a different mission. i really missed arambol. in a word – community- the synergy of the tribes, communities within community and the fact that people show up with energy and intention to commit and create, collectively, whether that be on the level of creating an arts space or yoga retreat or simply showing up and being willing to connect with others in a shoreline dance at sunset. i am surprised by how sorely i miss arambol, for me it is dirty, chaotic, crass and noisy – yes and beautiful, real, compelling. if i can, i’ll be back for the whole season this year with attitude of openess and eagerness and hopefully enough emotional resilience to see me through
    peaceful blessings

  6. Avatar
    May 30, 2013

    For all the Balanced Viewers https://pinkpangea.com/2013/05/twisted-views-in-india/ Enjoy!

  7. Avatar
    May 18, 2013

    What the hell?!?! I swear the computers in these cafes have a mind of their own! The last comment was made by me, Emily, not you, Tom, I have no idea what just happened!

    P.S. If I do come back to Goa, assuming I don’t get lynched, can we have a “Yo Mamma” match? It’d be epic! We can even do it in the drum circle if you want :p

  8. Avatar
    May 18, 2013

    #sighs breath of relief# Thank god for that my eyes were going blurry. Every Goa related forum?! For realsies?!? Shiiiiit! Next visit am I gunna get accosted and be forced to repeatedly have my aura cleansed whilst being force fed wheatgerm and spirulina until I repent or what?!


    True people are getting more desperate, sad times 🙁

    Thank you too 🙂 xX

  9. Avatar
    May 18, 2013

    Right on lady, guess I’d defend my piece of work just as you do 😉 you got a talent writing, give you that 🙂 and I will stop challenging you right here ))) this article is across every goa related group on facebook by the way… thanks for digging out the numbers, if I remember correctly, the rise in Delhi was higher than of Goa… people are getting more and more desperate…
    thanks for the exchange

  10. Avatar
    May 18, 2013

    Wellity wellity well Tom,

    I think you and I could keep arguing til the end of time!

    So did I expect only kind replies – no of course not! That is why I thanked you for your input and really do mean that. It helps me to learn. Ok with regards to the language, 3rd world/developing, what would you have me write? On the one hand you argue that India is no longer a 3rd world country, on the other you insinuate that the term ‘developing’ is an inappropriate way to describe 400 million below the poverty line – so which is it to be?

    “You were “forced” to go to the drumcircle… because it’s the easiest place to meet your friends… who all listen to crappy drum performances, every night… Maybe you should question your choice of acquaintants or do you need to repeat a lesson every night for it to sink in?” No its just an easy meeting point that’s all. Meet, mess around on the beach, go do something else. That’s all. In all fairness its an interesting spectacle to behold, just a bit headachey for my liking and a bit egocentric (not everyone but a lot – check it out nect time you’re drumming there). I’m sorry if it seems like Im rubbishing your efforts to get this thing started just wasnt my cup of tea and the same goes for some others. As an ‘icon’ of Goa I think its fair to point out an alternative view – some do enjoy, some don’t and you’ll just have to deal with that.

    “Yes, there are unwealthy people jumping on planes to spend 2 weeks as far away from home as possible.. they are called “package tourists”and Goa gets a whole lot more these days, since all politics aim to get rid of Hippies and long-timers, many of them financing their stay with shitty jobs back home, working 6 months and spending this money on Goans and migrant workers, restaurant staff/owners, many of them also just working 6 months out of the year… in Goa, which has the highest per capita income and literacy rate in India… why’s that?”
    Im sure there are people that do that, but to try and present a picture where everyone is too skint to be reasonable is also highly inaccurate, and yes I did see people freaking several times. They come to Goa because it is sold to them as being one of the safest places in India which in comparison to some of the Northern states especially near Pakistan and to some of the big cities it is. However, the growing commercialization of the place has also brought with it higher crime rates (think about it, its logical!) and so the point is for women to be aware of that and to not just assume that because a place is more westernized it is safe. According to the Times of India (published in 2012) –
    “The crime rate in the district (North Goa) has increased by 59% over the last five years.

    The number of cases pending investigation in 2010-11 registered a sharp jump of over 377% over the figures of 2009-10, the CAG report points out. Police sources said that the north district has around 60% detection of cases by its respective police stations.” That said, the state of Goa as a whole does have lower crime rates in comparison to many of the other states – http://ncrb.nic.in/CD-CII2011/cii-2011/Table%203.1.pdf So the reality is that its somewhere in the middle – the point of the article was just to make people aware that there are problems there and be aware. The reason for this forum however, is to talk about your own travel experiences and I’m sorry but the men in Goa were really sketchy and I’m not an isolated case, far from it. There’s a reason why the ‘chakra porno massage’ became a running (albeit really dark) joke. Ok so 3 weeks may not be long enough to form a fair analysis in your opinion but it was more than enough time to find myself in some sketchy encounters and hear about even more.

    “A spade is a spade and your report is poorly researched, does only reflect your personal experience – one of 3 weeks. Oh my, did I just feed a troll? You have a great talent for words, use it to encourage rather than bashing – maybe that’s the entire lesson to be learned from this.” In your opinion. Believe it or not I am trying to encourage but from a different angle. There are no doubt hundreds of glowing reviews about Goa, but I just wasn’t feeling what everyone was on about. The first week in Arambol was miserable and lonely and I met girls who had been there for months and were still miserable and lonely! Perhaps it was their own doing to some extent but if you’re entering a place revered for its loving community that has been established over 30 years and you get knocked back while you’re on your own, it is a massive blow to your self -esteem, making it even harder to connect with people, and in that instance Arambol is just not all its cracked up to be. What’s more, I’m not a wall flower girl either, far from it as you may have noticed.
    The following two weeks were great but there were certain aspects that really started to grate with me and many of the people I encountered. Excuse me for doing something different! Had I written about how wonderful everything is then I would have not only been lying to myself about my experience, and to anyone that reads this, but I would be following the usual status quo. The temptation with any travel writing is to sing the place’s praises and talk about what an amazing time you had. I’m not about that, I’m trying to be honest and provoke some action from those who have the power to do so. Ok so people have other stuff to be getting on with, fair enough, but maybe, just maybe by being a bit of a dick some people might set out to prove me wrong! Arambol is a good place but it could be a great place if certain people would change their attitudes.

    “Nobody sane expects people to praise only, at least not if realistic and certainly not when coming back from Goa. But if you pretend that the Hippies, along with Balanced View are the sole root of Arambols troubles, if you claim that Anjuna is that much greater, for whatever reason, then you’re doing the reality no justice, that’s what I wanted to make you aware of.” I have 900 words to surmise my experiences in a place. Of course there is a much wider political discourse surrounding the ills of Arambol and Goa but I cant get that all into 900 words and make it coherent. What I can do is address the problems that I see to be within grasping distance or at least attempt to draw some attention to them. Some will agree, some wont, and I didnt say Anjuna was better, I just said it was there! Like I said before, have addressed the Balanced View thing. Still don’t like them. Never will. Not sorry. But have attempted to ascertain why I disliked them so much in a following article.

    “The reason why people applaud your report is not necessarily the truth but because you put it in a way which .admittedly. also made me smile.” First off, cheers. Second off, whilst the comedic element is probably what appealed to a lot of people I think the element of truth appealed to just as many. My friend Vikas (who has been living between India, Thailand and Ibiza for around 30 years) messaged me the other day to say:

    “Just fyi …. your Arambol article is spreading like wildfire around my 700+ fb friends…..I feel thats its provocative nature has struck a chord that is motivating people to forward it…. You express well what a lot of us feel about the whole ‘hippy thing’ in Goa though many aren’t keen to express it as it isnt’ ‘cool’ to do so ….. I’m with ya giving the middle finger to ‘being cool’ with some incrowd or another”.

    Thirdly, there is a reason I write in the way I do.
    I believe that comedy is a far more effective tool in engaging people in whatever issue you may be trying to convey. Without it its just another review and in the digital age which we westerners live, people just switch off . The problem with comedy is that there always has to be a victim – not my words, the words of a tutor I encountered at a comedy workshop in the Edinburgh fringe in 2011. Now Im not fond of this idea so what to do? Either direct it at yourself, make yourself the receiver – something along the lines of “I bloody love swimming in brown sea water, its amazing!” In which case I’d be being so mind-bendingly sarcastic that I’d want to punch myself in the face, or chose another victim. I chose the tye-dye brigade because they were the ones who, can read English, might listen up, have the power to do something about some of the problems, and in many cases annoyed me the most. Maybe I should have directed it at the Indian government but I fail to see what effect that would have had. Of course there are a myriad of problems that accompany any tourist area but I just tried to address the ones that were within grasping distance of the people that frequent there.

    Finally: “a problem if you claim otherwise for personal gain alone.” Eh?! I was genuinely shocked and astonished by the reaction this article received! I started this writing malarkey because during a period of severe difficulty I found writing things down helped me realise what I actually thought about different issues, because I’m a workaholic and find it hard not to have a focus in my life, and because I wanted something to show for my travels and reassure my family that I wasnt just sat getting stoned on a beach. Up until this article I had no idea that anyone other than my friends and family were reading these. I’m not getting paid, I’m just writing about the things that I see and experience like every other girl on this site. As it happens some people enjoyed, some people massively disagreed, that’s what happens with writing but I never imagined that this would be read by as many people as it has been so there must be some truth to what I am saying for it have struck such a chord. What do I gain here? I gain some learning experience and maybe more coverage than I ever dared to imagine. So ok, maybe now I gain something, but that was not my original intent so don’t paint me out to be some self-serving monster, be accurate, I’m a semi-hypocritical bitch when it comes to hippies.

    Encouragement can go further than bashing in some instances. True. It can also make people complacent and lazy. I have taken what you have written on board and once again thanks for the input. Should I return to Goa I’ll gladly hit you up for some volunteer contacts.

  11. Avatar
    May 18, 2013

    On a final note: child rescue ngo’s are constantly being suspected of potential abuse, those operated by foreigners rather source their funding in the west, than exposing themselves to jealousy, weird patriotism or other negativity.

    In case you’d like to volunteer some of your time, next stay in Arambol, I’m happy to provide you with contacts.

    Goans in particular are very touchy when it comes to foreigners trying to tel them what to do or how to do it, reason for firangs not to stick their poppies out.

    All these insights took me seven years to realize and respect, no judgment on you for not getting them in 3 weeks.

  12. Avatar
    May 18, 2013

    Well well, Emily
    Did I expect you to falter and admit that you wrote bulls, take it all back and ask the website to unpublish it? No.
    But did you expect only “kind” replies? Neither, hm?
    Wonder how many of these people you refer to as Hippies, would put this tag on themselves… guess not one.
    So let’s not get all uptight, your choice of phrasing prompted as much as did mine.
    If you spoke to many a veterans and still haven’t been directed to the places I mentioned, then in fact you met some strange people. Or asked the wrong questions. The reason why so many restaurant owners asked you to play for them might lay in the fact that that the musicians are busy playing in the other venues and they would love to have a slice of the cake.
    The abundance of music and art is not only on paper, thats what I tried to make you aware of. But Arambol provides what you ask for and gives what you need , ‘s not different from life, you know. Complaining doesn’t help much. Some platforms are more popular than others… for their own reasons.
    People don’t loose their shit all the time. What you’re claiming to be happening all the time I have not even witnessed once in 7 years. Not once. But maybe your exaggerating to illustrate a point.
    400 milion living below the poverty line (of earning less than 10Rs/day) to you is “developing”…. O-kay… nuff said.
    YYYYes, there are rather unwealthy people jumping on planes to spend 2 weeks as far away from home as possible.. they are called “package tourists”and Goa gets a whole lot more these days, since all politics aim to get rid of Hippies and long-timers, many of them financing their stay with shitty jobs back home, working 6 months and spending this money on Goans and migrant workers, restaurant staff/owners, many of them also just working 6 months out of the year… in Goa, which has the highest per capita income and literacy rate in India… why’s that?
    Yea, these darn hippies… not a single one of them cancelling their journey after the Mumbai attacks. Should hammer some sense into their heads finally, putting their lives at risk in such irresponsible manner, being faithful to the families they visited for up to 30 years consecutive.
    Yes… Goa is one of the cheapest tropical getaways, not only for Russians but also for many Europeans… not only because of the price for tickets, but living costs…. like… in the bigger picture.
    Maybe its you who should inquire and understand before shrieking?
    Oh and I’ll take back “bollocks” and replace it with “highly uninformed”, would that politically correct term make you feel any better?
    Funny enough that you project anger into my reponse, the ultimate tool to invalidate critics… oh, I angered you, you are blinded by your emotions, thus your judgment is off.
    A spade is a spade and your report is poorly researched, does only reflect your personal experience – one of 3 weeks. Oh my, did I just feed a troll? You have a great talent for words, use it to encourage rather than bashing – maybe that’s the entire lesson to be learned from this.

    You were “forced” to go to the drumcircle… because it’s the easiest place to meet your friends… who all listen to crappy drum performances, every night… Maybe you should question your choice of acquaintants or do you need to repeat a lesson every night for it to sink in?
    If you saw people in g strings performing downward dog looking over their shoulders to check if other people looking at their buttocks, then -trust me- these are highly isolated incidents… all seemed to have come together just for you, dear oh dear, what an unfortunate coincidence… couldn’t calculate the odds of that.
    Why oh why do so many people indulge in witnessing failing drummers.. let alone dancing like mad and yelling for more every time they stop? World gone mad I ‘spose…
    So you did study Yogic philosophy… with genuine Yogis which you met on your extensive travels after Goa… lucky you. Hope it wasn’t them fake Babas you get sitting in Ramjulah, targetting unsuspecting female pom’s on their spiritual journey, talking in riddles… all I’m saying is that people are people and just because you met a few fakes doesn’t mean that there are no jewels… unfair to judge an entire community of hundreds that built up over more than 3 decades by a rash judgment, all I’m saying really.
    Goa IS safer, you’re just not having enough data to compute the fact. Not blaming you, as you only had 3 weeks to render, but a problem if you claim otherwise for personal gain alone.
    If you aimed to stir some strong emotions, in order to make… casual tourists get involved in solving the garbage problem of Arambol… then I apologize, thanks for your efforts.
    Nobody sane expects people to praise only, at least not if realistic and certainly not when coming back from Goa. But if you pretend that the Hippies, along with Balanced View are the sole root of Arambols troubles, if you claim that Anjuna is that much greater, for whatecer reason, then you’re doing the reality no justice, that’s what I wanted to make you aware of.
    Maybe not now, but in your future reports and articles you bear this experience in mind. Discern, research more and when in doubt over an issue, make the reader understand the greater context. It’s easy to take something down, much easier than to build it up. Encourage people to get involved and to co-create. Appeal to their higher selves. The reason why people applaud your report is not necessarily the truth but because you put it in a way which .admittedly. also made me smile. We’re complaining about the condition of Arambol and Goa And India every day, at breakfast, lunch and dinner… but most of us are too caught up in our own personal quest and are facing disproportional problems around us to feel powerful enough to tackle them too.
    To make a point here.. all I’m saying is that encouragement goes a lot further than bashing. Sure it’s more difficult. But worth a try.

  13. Avatar
    May 17, 2013

    Dear Emily.. before I start let me ask you: how many times have you been to Arambol and how much time did you spend there?

    How much have you travelled the “real India” or the least: how much research went into the making of this review?

    Obviously not too much… I don’t get it, please forgive me. I’m about to respond really harsh and take your article apart, bit by bit. So… brace yourself.

    You write: “There is an abundance of art and music […] a vibrant and eclectic music scene…” only to ask later “Where are all the actual musicians?” I mean… how coherent is that?

    Next: “stupid hippies” I want to really doubt that you actually met a single one, but sweep over the leather-feather-part-time-neo-hippie-crowd and label them with a term you most likely (like myself) are too young to even get a grasp on.

    So you do enjoy yoga “for its physical and mental health benefits”…. unfortunately the practice has still to sink in, other you wouldn’t have written such bollocks.

    Yoga is not intended to be practiced in the privacy of your chambers alone… most real Yogis are actually lacking something that one may call “home” and given the loincloth they wear over the arsecheeks they point eastbound in most pictures and them being simply naked, smeared with ash alone in most others, I am certain you have never ever seen, let alone met a real Yogi in your entire life. Is this a justification for Western tourists to follow suit? Maybe not, but who are you to judge? Start with yourself and please you stop putting your own mindtrip on everybody else.

    The Arambol Drumcircle is a relatively new invention… most unfortunately it has grown to bizarre proportions, just in recent years and I must admit that I had my part in this development. Sadly. True, many if not most (me includinng) should practice more and attend workshops outside the circle… but: it’s not meant to entertain young fe/male backpackers who are too cheap to even hand a bottle of water, let alone a beer or share their spliff with the musicians. You loathe it, leave it… Actually you got about 10k’s of wonderful beach to hang out for sunset, why in gods name do you come there? The circle has become an icon for Arambol and in reality it is only a 50m stretch on an otherwise endless beach. I don’t know about “he pinnacle of hippie-dom”. The circles I have attended elsewhere on the planet where far from being dominated by a patchouli-clad crowd. A drumcircle is a social gathering of people who want to get in touch with a very archaeic element of human spirit. It is not a rock concert, sorry to have disappointed you. I myself am always wondering: we are laying such crap and all these people are not only dancing, they sccream for MORE! How strange indeed. There must be something we’re doing right but you seem to have no access to it… maybe we’re lacking the compressors you find on the electronic trance parties in Anjuna… their endless four/four abuse and whacko mind bending, electronic hounted house sound effects going on for hours and after hours in a stretch seem to appeal more to you than the (admittedly some times) out of beat, man/ handmade tunes. Thank god the beat is breaking up once and so often, only that we start playing the same madness again…. with scores of dancers cheering in delight… what a farce.

    Sad to know you had never experienced one of the epic African drumming sessions, with all the amazing (but highly narcisstic) drum experts, the sessions joined by trumpet, sax, belaphone, hang, mandoline, guitar, bass, flute, chants, etc… oh did you miss something to come back for… am suggesting you choose beginning of December/ end of February/ March next time you do.

    Coming to your strange question “where are all the actual musicians”? Makes one wonder, if you have been to the same Arambol, the one between Mandrem and Keri, in North Goa… Let’s start with Loekie’s: at least 2 jam sessions/ open mic per week, Revolution: at least 2 concerts per week, Cookie Walla’s regular tuesday session, Back to Nature – once a week, Mohan’s Chai Shop – almost every evening, Sufi Woodstock unfortunately closed down beginning of the season, but hey! epic Sufi Fusion concerts prior to that, then we got Dylan’s with at least one open mic and many spontaneous jams, Magic Park with the regular Sunday session, Totem with a number of concerts, Russian Yoga House and finally Ash… So, let me ask you: shall we put up more for you next season, so we ourselves really loose the idea of where to turn to on which day? Where were you? MAybe nobody wanted to play with you and that’s why you had to put it all down?

    Respect, dear… it is something on top of the list of “India’s most wanted”. You should know that, as you have travelled all over India already. Spatial (sp?) awareness is something that simply doesn’t exist, as much as personal boundaries or accepting a friendly “please, would you leave me alone, so I can enjoy my breakfast/ lunch/ dinner/ sunset/ beachtime/ sleep/ conversation with my lover/ holiday/ stroll down the road or travels from A to B”? But you know that already because you have travelled from Thiru to Leh on a train or bus, you have been stared at for a full hour by 50 men, no matter how uncomfortable you were with it and asked them to “please go away”.

    How are we, tourists and expats expected to provide for the 400 million, living below the poverty line (income of less than 10 Rs. per day) while our governments are paying billions of taxmoney in direct aid, enabling the Indian government to launch satellites into space, becoming the biggest arms importer on the planet and making them offer financial aid to other Asian and African nations to follow their own political agenda. How are we expected to have our jobs being exported and outsourced to India (and others), as to create a row of multi-billionnaires in this country – who don’t even think of engaging a Paisa in charity. But you do know all this due to your extensive research, don’t you? How do you still think that India is a 3rd world country, when in reality it is only wealth, being extremely bad distributed.

    HAve you not witnessed how some (middle class) Indians treat beggars? Some of them, by far the majority is just shooing them away or simply ignore them. The westerners are not used to the persistence and amount of poverty or its extend – and many of them simply freak… can’t blame them.

    Tourists are that: tourists. They are not aid workers or volunteers and they have no obligation to fix India. As a matter of fact, many locals would oppose if we were to address the issues of India. But we still are, aren’t we?

    Tourists are there to relax. And that is why hawkers on the beach are deemed illegal by their own government – you should see the treatment they receive by local cops if caught…

    “You are a rich, foreign, tourist,” by exactly which standards? These people themselves are trying to make ends meet back wherre they come from. The do work in honest 9 to 5, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year jobs and come to Goa to have 2 weeks of holiday, because they can’t afford to go anywhere else. But maybe I’m ripping facts out of context and put them back the way they suit my opinion… But hardly this behavior can be attributed to Arambol alone. You will find the same in Mandrem, Ashvem, Morjim, Anjuna… all the way down to Canacona. And don’t tell me you opened your pockets every time a beggar pulled your shirt.

    “Another thing, a charity exists for stray dogs yet not for stray children–is this a world you want to be part of?!” The world I truly don’t want to be a part of is when people put forth their personal opinions as solid facts. It would have cost you one single question to one of the regulars to learn that there are numerous charity events and concerts, initiatives and foundations in which Westerners engage to better the condition of local children. I myself have donated all proceedings of a festival I organized to the Moving School (for underpriviledged children of migrant workers) and in subsequent years tried to incorporate them in the following activities as much as somehow possible. So yes, I did take offense in your claim and it does reflect in this response… not sorry for it.

    Would you know anything about the environment and why it is in such bad shape? Would YOU know where in Arambol the center is, where I and so many friends have our plastic recycled? Would you kow about the innumerous initiatives in the past, put up by Westerners, to clean the beach, put up garbage bins and incinerators. Did you witness the local and national tourists trashing the beaches every Sunday? Do you know that beach shacks are not forced to provide proof about where they dispose their garbage? At the same time did you learn about “Garbage Warriors” or other initiatives? That only now, after local people start having the time AND the money (from tourism, being tired of the foreigners complaints and realizing that many Westerners simply don’t come back any more because it’s so trashed) that here and there some local initiatives are sprouting? But you do know, that garbage is not a Goan/ tourism induced problem, don’t you? You have visited Mumbai and Delhi and other places to know that garbage is a nationwide problem, the government is yet to address.

    These “eco-conscious hippies” as you coin them avoided ending up in a straight jacket and resigned. Did YOU pick up cigarette butts or plastic bottles?

    Oh, and you certainly have learned about “Nirbaya”, the woman that was gangraped and died afterwards of the injuries the metal rod caused inside her. All Indian women hear your cry to: “stop trying to (get) down my pants”! It is a reality in the rest of India, more than in Goa, but also there it happens and much can be attributed to the fact that Indian men have not yet digested the reality that western women do undress down to bikinis in order to lay in the sun. Did you go into the water in full Saree?

    On the other account, I am truly sorry that you and others had to face something that amounts to sexual harrassment. You should expose these men, by name, here or on Facebook or in extreme cases not hesitate to bring it to the attention of the police. But please take a friend when you do and best a male friend – as there have been numerous reports of female victims of rape being sexually assaulted by police officers when they tried to file a report. not as much in Goa, but in the rest of India.

    How do you know that “Balanced View” ruined Arambol?

    Find me puzzled again… either you do know your ways around Arambol – in which case you wouldn’t have put forth such distorted claims – or you don’t. In which case…. well anyway, I don’t know about them, so I don’t comment on this one.

    But maybe you should have manned up and addressed the Arambolites at the open mic in Loekie’s or Dylan’s or maybe at a Balanced View meeting… You may have found that the part time wanna be hippies actually have a lot of humor and can laugh about themselves, can listen, can learn and you would have gotten the attention you (and all of us) so desperately crave.

    Arambol is full of narcissists, like any other place on earth… amybe a good tad more than on any other place, given it’s status as being “hip”… but you find no lesser attitudes in Ibiza… only there you would go with different expectations.

    So maybe this experience taught you that people are people, may they wear Space Tribe or Chanel, drink Moet or Spirulina, drive Mercedes’ or Enfields.

    Personally I’m happy that this place exists and hope it can at least hold the standard it held last season for many years to come. I’m afraid it can’t. Because people come there with high expectations. Indian men come to see Western women, western women seem to come to see…. like… what exactly did you expect to see in Arambol? Oh, “first class food, a enormously vast array of things to do, easy to maintain a good harmony between partying and pro-activeness, an abundance of art and music, a multiplex of workshops in different disciplines ranging from ‘Indian Cooking’ to ‘Tantric Meditation’, a vibrant and eclectic music scene and, being a stone’s throw away from neighbouring party beach Anjuna or the uber-chilled out Querim”.

    I for myself must say: the more people come with these kinds of expectations to get something, rather than to contribute something, to take pictures rather than being interesting enough for others wanting to take theirs, to consume rather than to produce, the sooner I will pack my bags and leave the place. It is getting increasingly tiring to accord to these people, to provide an experience for them, so they can escape their sad lives for a short period of time, after whcih they go home, back to their misery, without having realized anything about life, about people and about what it takes to build something up, to compliment rather than tearing it all down and get the glam for bashing others.

    It’s up to you, next time

    be well

    • Avatar
      May 28, 2013

      A rather profound answer, Tom. Thank you!

  14. Avatar
    May 15, 2013

    Thank you people!! Glad you enjoyed! I received another really nice comment off a man named Martyn Healer. He writes;

    “Hi Emily ,loved your article thought it was spot on and astute and i am an aranbul veteran,lived through the monsoon a few years back with just the villagers in aranbull and spent many a 6 months living there ,but you travelled and saw the real India also ,many people never leave goa,its a bit like a non-stop glastonbury ,too me it is like a nursery school, a kindergarden for the europeans . Keep writing, your style is good,flowing and enjoyable .i will accept your friend request if you wish too link.you are so right about balanced view ,imagine what a poor indian family could do with a 1000$…. you are real not plastic keep up the good work goddess .”

    Big Love peeps x

  15. Avatar
    May 14, 2013

    LOL @ ” For those currently attempting to use massage and karma to fleece women into sexual submission, just man-up and ask the girls out.”

  16. Avatar
    May 14, 2013

    Oh yes, SPOT ON !!!
    I went to Arambol for 5 minutes this season…at sunset, I nearly threw up at the ridiculous amount of bad jugglers, new age deluded perverts trying to hide their pathetic attempts of copulation as yogis…and the drummers, well, don’t get me started at the effin’ drummers.
    So, after a 30 min ride from Anjuna…I was back at my bike and made it back to Chapora within 15, overtaking everybody at the road and seriously risking my life…was well worth it, I got drunk and numbed as quick as possible, still scarred.

    • Avatar
      May 17, 2013

      Hahaha, spot on Justin )))) happened to me so often in recent years – just the other way round 😉

  17. Avatar
    May 14, 2013

    Heehee, it’s nice to hear someone else think how I do… I’m a very eco-conscious person, at worst a very grounded ‘hippy'(ah but I hate the term!) and it shocked me that in forty years of this kind of tourism, not one successful recycling or waste awareness scheme has been put into place in Goa. It’s just as bad as everywhere else.

    And why DO we have such a reaction to the congregating and the drum circles? I think there’s so much ego in the air that its energy upsets us.

    Funnily enough the Balanced View crew, though some of them are a bit brainwashed, were some of the friendliest and most down-to-earth that I met in Goa. The Feather & Leather types were mostly cliquey, insecure or downright judgmental. Many times I gave a smile in passing and received a raised eyebrow or even a glare in return!

    I live in Bristol (which has a huge BV community, I know some of them so it’s why I went to Goa to ‘land’ in India), which has such a great sense of community and inclusiveness, I didn’t sense much of this in the bizarre surreality of Goa.

  18. Avatar
    May 13, 2013

    Haha, love it, dare say I didn’t try and get so involved in any of the yoga or anything when I went, mainly ended up partying and were lucky enough to make friends with some friendly locals and travellers.
    I have also seen far too many westerner run self help, chakra realigning blardy blah… ‘retreats’ to never want to get involved. Money making scams!

    Astronomical prices and run by people claiming to help you for 1000’s of dollars, what is money when you can reach enlightenment by lining the pockets of people very nicely? Ha!
    Sorry, half asleep whilst writing this but I am hearing your words loud and clear and I wish people would open there minds to the exploitative scams that are being run by foreigners and Indians alike. Unfortunately they don’t just stay in Goa. It’s a shame as there are some people that genuinely have gifts and knowledge to share but I thought the idea was that this knowledge should be shared for free? Free love and all. Understandably people have to make their way but that only needs a few mere rupees.
    P.s I don’t think you would find the rest of goa that much better. Can’t believe how much it’s even changed in 4 years. I have had fun there but it’s not somewhere I’ll be running back to in a hurry especially after reading your article.

  19. Avatar
    May 13, 2013

    Sorry im not sure I understand what you mean? Please explain.

  20. Avatar
    May 12, 2013

    ….you have expressed yourself in long and short..i guess arambol project..job done (on u ) india works in funny ways..

  21. Avatar
    May 12, 2013

    I love it! how titilating!

  22. Avatar
    May 12, 2013

    Holy shit! Certainly stirred some interesting reactions! In answer to your question Sean yes that is me in the picture, it was taken on the site of a film shoot where I was given the role of stanby sari wearer. The reason for that being that the girl who had been asked to star in the film was in a highly fragile state and so we were requested to go with her to help her stay grounded throughout the whole experience. For her role she had to wear a sari and when we went to get it fitted she insisted that we all tried on saris and naturally we all ended up taking one to the film set cuz it was fun. On reflection I would have perhaps chosen a different photo (you’re supposed to send a picture of you in the place you’re writing about)but I sent a selection of pics and that’s the one they chose, why do you ask? Cheers for the kind words, if you’ve be distributing it one the beach then I’d be interested to see what reactions you get!!

    Please don’t hit me with all this Balanced view stuff it only serves to infuriate me massively. I originally wrote an incredibly scathing article about them because of attitudes like this. If pushed on stuff like this I have a tendency to resist even harder, a lesson some of the members, not all but the majority of the ones I met, sorely need to learn. That said I have subsequently withdrawn the article, instead attempting a more objective one, but the constant preaching I keep getting from the members is really not doing the organisation any favours in that there will be some people who feel like I do and the members’ failure to accept this only serves to strengthen those reservations. It works for you. Great. It doesn’t work for me, that’s also fine. I’m happy that you all seemed to get something out of it but I really didn’t. No they don’t pressurise you into giving money, except for the posters I saw there that were suggesting donations of between 1000 and 30,000 dollars. Furthermore, the 4 mainstays themselves (if memory serves me right as it was ages ago and I have dedicated a great deal of energy to blocking them out of my mind) are a testament to their expectation that at some point you will be expected to run meetings and spread the word (ie;invest time and money). I would also be very interested to see whether or not the leader of this organisation (who likened my mentality to a garbage crusher – cheers for that) is making from it too. Like I say if other people get something out of it then I respect that so why then is it so hard to respect the fact that I don’t?! Some Indian gurus are way worse but they’re also probably a lot poorer (if only by merit of how weak the rupee is in comparison to the pound, dollar, and euro) and with no social benefit back-up scheme for when they are hungry. I’m glad you found them so friendly and nice, I did not, I found them creepy and preachy – again all experience is subjective.

    I fully understand that a lot of the problems stem from Indian attitudes to littering and I am stoked to hear of initiatives that have been set in place, it’s just that I didn’t hear or see any of them while I was there, so perhaps in writing an article highlighting this point it may serve to stir some action!

    With regards to men there, sorry but Arambol still wins for the worst place I have encountered in India. Obviously there are men there that are genuinely lovely but they are not the ones you need to watch out for are they?! Sure Indian men are a hell of a lot more blatant up north but that’s usually due to a genuine lack of education and of having never come into much contact with women (something that will hopefully change within the next generation). But the men in Goa knew exactly what they were doing as they had worked amongst the tourists for years. I was not putting it about in search of any attention whatsoever (which is why seeing women doing yoga on the beach in front of everyone wearing a thong and then shouting at Indians for taking pictures annoyed me so much). I, like many other women, had come there to do precisely the opposite and take some time out to relax and maybe learn some new skills, meet some nice people, and acclimatise to India. Had I been in search of male attention I most certainly would have approached men directly as I am a direct person but that’s not what I was there for (I find your statement about American and European women to convey a prejudice that you may need to address, perhaps you didn’t mean it like that but that’s the way it reads). If it wasn’t a problem that I and a LOT of other women had encountered I wouldn’t have had anything to write about. I did meet some nice people eventually but it was a lot more difficult than I was led to believe because of the closed off mentality of many that I met there that seems to go in direct opposition to the free love mentality one would expect. The majority of Indian men, particularly those who lived and worked in Goa were, in my experience, the worst culprits for presenting themselves as genuinely wanting to help you before letting their real intentions be known and did so in a very sly manner, so I think it warrants a mention.

    According to the net the term hippie means: noun
    a person, especially of the late 1960s, who rejected established institutions and values and sought spontaneity, direct personal relations expressing love, and expanded consciousness, often expressed externally in the wearing of casual, folksy clothing and of beads, headbands, used garments, etc.

    Or alternatively:

    A person who opposes and rejects many of the conventional standards and customs of society, especially one who advocates extreme liberalism in sociopolitical attitudes and lifestyles.

    Or according to the urban dictionary:

    A Hippie is a person who was raised under the ideological system that came out of the tumultuous 1960’s in North America and western Europe. They are either of the flower-child/baby boomer generation or that generations’ subsequent offspring. They possess a core belief set revolving around the values of peace and love as being essential in an increasingly globalized society, and they are oftentimes associated with non-violent anti-governmental groups. There is a stigma of drug abuse attached to the hippies that is prevalent to this day, specifically the use and abuse of marijuana and hallucinagens. Many rock movements,poets, artists, and writers from the 1960’s to today have associated with this movement, most prominently The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, and Phish. There are others too numerous to name. The movement, then and now, is considered a sub-culture by sociologists that associates itself with the left in all its political opinions. The conservative right often berates and abuses the opinions of people who associate themselves with the hippie movement and/or lifestyle, as the consider it dangerous and degenerative to a society to favor liberalism to such an extent.

    There are some who would argue that the term can be negatively interpreted as stemming from the word hypocrite, something that I am inclined to agree with in many of the people I met in Goa.

    Once more, all experience is subjective, how lucky you guys must be that yours was far more positive than mine.

  23. Avatar
    May 11, 2013

    Emily, is that you in the picture? Curious of Brixton, South London.

  24. Avatar
    sven hansson
    May 11, 2013


    Read your article and the comments afterwards. This is the way I see it: I had no idea that Arambol was a worldwide known place for great experiences whoever you are. I went there first time 2003, had never heard of it, stayed two weeks and liked it ( now it has changed a lot since then, becoming more mainstream touristic, and lot more russians come, which I don´t mind, just that there are too many of one nationality). I thought the “scene” was the most multicultural then I had encountered so far. And I made some few friends, most I never talked to, but none was really unfriendly or aggressive. No one tried to steal from me or pick a fight. You don´t find a comglomeration of cultures and types of people in one place in Africa or Latinamerica in this massive way as in Arambol (or other similar places that I don´t konw about). And I have returned, now probably for the 7th time/season. And yes it is getting really dirty. But thats because there are no system in place that takes care of the carbage and in India the people there themselves has the “tradition” to throw everything on the ground that they don´t need or want. One reason probably being that just recently there were no plastic to talk about in India; things was served in leaves or other organic things. Even the toilets in Arambol were “eco-friendly” once: You just went where the pigs were, did what you needed to do and the pigs took care of it. Now the beach is dirty as hell sometimes, especially when people from Mumbai comes down to party and get drunk and leave everything on the beach. Mondays are all the same; piles of junk everywhere, thrown actually mostly by Indian people. Look for a bin to throw your garbage in. Nowhere!!! Not one that I know about. I take my garbage back to the room. And everyone are aware of the problem, people talk about it, some has tried to come up with solutions, some has arranged special days to come together to clean areas (I have been there myself, doing my part). Last season there was this young woman from England, that has started her own organisation, Wastewarriors, and she had a meeting about it and what that little brave organisation is trying to do, in all India!!! And that is cleaning up the sub-continent and get some system in place that works. Because it is not an Arambol-problem (I wish it was), It´s sadly an Indian one.
    When it comes to unfriendly people and being alone. I know what you mean about that. But Arambol is less unfriendly than many other places and in society in general. But there are some really extreme personalities there and that tends to make me at least a little reserved about who Í let close to me. Also, people go to that beach and have close to nothing in common; language, culture, social background etc etc. So it is not easy to “read” people and therefore you tend to be a little cautious with whom you start up a contact with, the place is small and once in contact you tend to be in contact, sometimes unwillingly so. And you do have some stuck-up middle class people thinking themselves being wow-how-hip by just bying a ticket to India, get to Arambol to hang out as a beach-bum and think the world of themselves. But that is what they do back home to; In Sweden where I come from, media, culture etc are completely dominated by the middleclass (not because they are more talented than others but because they have monopolized it for themselves and their likes). And they go to Arambol, a small ex-fishing village in Goa, India and replicate the picking order from back home. And they on top of course. But that type you have everywhere, ignorance is worldwide. Instant-Hippies recently off the plane, changing on the airport probably and then you find them in many places in Goa. Well what to do? Don`t be your own version of it, that is what I do; Don´t encourage the fools, I see many females doing exactly that and I do not understand why. Look for the friendly unpretentious men, perhaps the more shy ones (which most females completely ignore because they are not cool enough) or the ones who are not pushing themselves to the front all the time (which ladies encourage by going with, so next time they do it again). You cannot take responsibility for what others do, you can just react on it. But you do have a choice yourself to take responsibility, so do it. Take Action, be pro-active. Pick your own guys and ignore the ridiculous ones. And Arambol is not full of men that are a joke and only have one thing on their mind. Get real!! Men have lots of other interests, many times more so than most ladies have. I can understand that some woman react strongly on constant un-wanted attention with a feeling of being exposed. But what about wanted, even craved, attention? Then all is well, right? Well, perhaps women should learn to tell men more clearly when it is wanted and not. I have seen scenes in which that is not very obvious. Why? I send clear unmistakeable signals, which men tend to do and females tend not to. And also, why not approach the men you yourselves are interested to talk with. In many countries in Latinamerica that is exactly what ladies do. And it works! So why not Europeans, or North-americans?
    And Balanced View. Yes, full of middleclass people, which are the ones who can afford spending time in India anyway. Yes, some preach and some don´t. And some are not catching it at all. But if you don´t want to contribute moneywise you can go there, sit a while, listen to the speakers, who truly tell their story and openly so which I find invigorating. Then I relax a while and finally leave. I am not pushed into paying anything, I do not need to sign up as a “member” and forced into a sect or to have a special dress-code or behaviour. I took one short course out of my own volition. I did not like the two “teachers” i got and never did it again. But there are some really nice people in there, and I can still go there and sit for a while. It is calming, relaxing. I do not ask for more and are not a member in any way. I say hello to some of them outside the place, in Arambol, the ones I like, and some I actually ignore, since I don´t like them. And thats that.´Some Indian Gurus I have met are worse than this little organisation in trying to rip people of and talk a gibberish of stuff any one can find on the back of a self-help book. Be critical, that´s what we all should be. But have some perspective on things. It´s not an organisation that I put on the top of my list but they are not assholes out after your money and some do really try to change themselves to be more open to the world and others are already really nice and open people. In Magic park you have a lot more of the fake ones, because it´s more public, more in the center of things. I don´t go there and that is that. Out of my life, period.

  25. Avatar
    May 11, 2013

    hippie hatred??
    it is time to wake up beloved.try to find your balance…..
    come back to goa ,one day, learn something about the garbage chaos, from the point of view of an long time goa “hippie”, realize that even the “balanced view” wants to help us people.that people starting to wake up, and not being as negative on everything, what seems to be different.goa has more freedom, except that the garbage will take over one day, there is no garbage system, and believe me, we tried many things.check out, on fb:help cleaning goa….and other ideas have been provided by us in the last 10 years. but the government doesn´t care, yet. but soon something has to happen.indian tourists are coming in larger numbers now, india opened up for commercialisation of everything.unfortunatelly indian men see western women as porn stars, and the rape situation is out of hand…indian mentallity is here and now. western mentallity is in the future.now we have to find the balance.”balanced view” or not….it is difficult for tourist to find the real goa”hippies”(whatever that means), as we found different spots now, away from the mainstream.tourism is booming, and everybody wants its slice….we just want to hang out, and enjoy life.life is good….
    beloved grow up, wake up, keep on smiling…see you on the beach..
    hari om

  26. Avatar
    May 11, 2013

    Oh Emily, where ever i may find her… lets have a coffee next time, should you ever come back for another try… so funny and very apt. You don’t know how amused i am… laughing! I have shared this on Arambol beach, hope that’s fine with you? This piece could be like free therapy for some… but i doubt it will be! Cheers!

  27. Avatar
    April 25, 2013

    Hmmmm…how interesting that our experiences were so dramatically different!

    I am in the process of reviewing the article I wrote about Balanced View as I may have been a tad insensitive! I personally felt like I was tricked into going as it was sold to me as something that it wasn’t and it just smacked of the kind of brainwashing you see in organisations like Scientology.

    Maybe its me, maybe I’m fucked in the head but it made me feel uncomfortable, angry, and I just felt massive pity for the speakers on stage, it was a downer. It also seemed to be aimed at middle class white people i.e; people with money which immediately sounds the alarm bells of mistrust in my mind. That said, it does seem to really help some people so perhaps I’m being too harsh, I dunno I will review what I have written and post accordingly.

    With regards to Goa, you are right, maybe having high expectations was the problem but its hard not to when the place has such a strong global reputation, and I think there will be people who will feel let down in a similar way. Saying that I suppose the thing to do would be to accept that it is what it is, it’s just not what it used to be and again, I think some people need to be made aware of it. Some of the true Goa casualties were hilarious but others made myself and other want to smack them across the face with a dead moray eel and tell them to wake the fuck up!

    Finding a crew was the only thing that made the place come alive! It’s just that it took a while and that’s because the majority of people I encountered were really unfriendly and unhelpful when I first arrived there on my own.

    I guess the lesson we learn here is that experience is subjective, (and I can be a bit of bitch from time to time!)

  28. Avatar
    April 24, 2013

    Hmmmm…interesting hypothesis. I guess the reason I returned to some of those places was partially because I like to give things a second chance or ten, it was a convenient place to find or meet people being as I didn’t have a phone, and some of the people I was with liked to hang out there despite the noise.

    I have read your article and really enjoyed it but I feel that we were at different points in our journey and in pursuit of different things. I was alone and had just arrived in India following 3 months in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. I think parallels can be drawn between the two places in terms of how authentic the experience was as an taster of a new culture i.e; both places are kind of a watered down version of their respective countries and are host to parties for westerners. I was aware that being on a beach with no surf was always going to be difficult but I am also a circus performer and so figured I would get involved with that side of things or yoga or something. However, having read up about Goa in Lonely planet etc I was under the impression that it would be a similar kind of “tropical bliss” that I had found in Hikkaduwa and that just wasn’t the case. The beach was brown, the water was brown, and the majority of people there were really not very friendly or just plain annoying. In fact I found my first week there (my mate that I was supposed to be meeting there was in hospital) really lonely. The only people that seemed to want to hang out were Asian men who were obsessed with trying to massage me and place crystals in areas that made me feel like I was being violated! (i.e; I did not choose to get a chakra-porno-massage, it was a simple case of my being naive but you’ll just have to believe that I’m really not that much of a space cadet so I think its important to make other female travellers aware of this). That was just not the case in Hikkaduwa, everyone was keen to welcome you! What’s more, it’s not like I didnt join in with stuff I assure you, lots of the people there are just fucking stuck up. Furthermore, there was the risk of pervy men in Hikkaduwa it was nowhere near as blatant or as sly as there. On, the whole, when Sri Lankan people try to help you they are massively more genuine than in Goa. I met so many damaged girls in Goa that had travelled there to take some time out to heal and they were harassed which is something you probably didn’t experience this because you’re a bloke. I went to Goa precisely because I thought it would be a low risk place to ease myself into Indian culture and that just was not the case.

    That said, I did eventually meet some awesome people who I love dearly and then had a lot of fun, but I was definitely ready to leave after 3 weeks. I just think that there are so many better places to go than Arambol. I regret that I did not have more time to explore other places in Goa that I had heard about such as Palolem, but I was on my way to the Kumbh Mela and from there headed up north which is why I think perhaps we are different in what we were looking for in our time spent in India.

    I agree that you are free to do whatever you want, and I did try a number of things, its just that I seemed to have the most fun whenever I was out of Arambol, or just chilling with the friends I made in my guesthouse, and you can also apply that rule to anywhere in India or Asia for that matter. That’s what being on holiday or travelling is!

    Perhaps it is wrong to compare Hikkaduwa and Arambol but being that they were two consecutive destinations on my trip it just couldn’t be helped. Even if you ignore my experience in Hikkaduwa, I still think that Arambol was by far my least favorite place in India and I’m willing to bet money that you could have a better time on some of the beaches in Kerala or South Goa.

    I was led to believe that Arambol represented a chilled out paradise beach where you can go and make friends, learn new stuff, and listen to some new and exciting music. Whist that is true to an extent (which I did mention in the article) it was also hectic, dirty, and I felt like people were constantly trying to sell stuff to me, rip me off, judge me, or molest me, and you’re just going to have to trust that I’m really not a princess when it comes to stuff like that!

    Whilst there was some good music there I still don’t see what all the fuss is about. Trance isn’t really my bag but there was a crew from Bristol who put on some good nights at CocoLoco, and a guy from Berlin that did some impressive stuff, and some of the more traditional Indian musicians at Magic Park etc were pretty sweet but it was not the mindblowing music town I had come to expect.

    How did you find your experience of “Balanced View”? Personally it left me wanting to burn the place down and it seemed to me to be statement to what North Goa has become nowadays – I commercial entity aimed fleecing vulnerable or stupid westerners out of as much cash as possible. Although, to be fair, I’m glad I went because of the awesome people I eventually met and it just meant that my trip in India has got better and better ever since.

    • Avatar
      April 24, 2013

      When i came to Goa i had been in north India, visiting some big cities. To me, Goa was the place where it was finally hot enough, beaches, good coffee, and the locals DIDNT try to rip me off 🙂

      I suppose its a matter of comparison, which is really hard in India, and especially Goa. Its not really India, its just its own, thing….

      I’ve seen enough of Indian guys making western girl uncomfortable, cant imagine how it feels, but i get the point.

      I had no expectations when i went to Goa, no lonely planet, hardly any reviews from other people. From that basis, i made loads of friends, went to way more parties then id ever thought, hang out in all kinds of guitar/drumcircles and had great food. Perhaps in your case expectations was the reason you where put off? And also not getting the crew needed to enjoy the time maybe 🙂

      Balanced view was to me a very solid message, a very simple way of saying what everyone else is creating religions about. “RELAX”. It inspired me to hear that. It inspired me to listen at people actually TALKING about their issues openly. It inspired me to realize we all carry the same shit, and it inspired me to talk about it myself. Balanced view creates a foundation for a huge amount of people around the world, to rest upon, get support from, and support others. Personally, i have not seen one bad thing come out of that center, and i have not seen any other organisation do it better than they do 🙂

      Having said that im not a very active part of the community, i go to open meetings every now and then, i enjoy it, and help them out from time to time, but my focus is somewhere else 🙂

  29. Avatar
    April 23, 2013

    What a fantastic review, it cracked me up, your angle on spending time in Goa is interesting. I agree on most of what you write, but i find it strange that you choose to spend time in all those places of Goa that obviously gets you annoyed. The drum circle is awesome if you like amateur drumming, if you dont, go somewhere else! I rarely go to the drum circles, because its not my vibe, i dont go to chakra-porno-massage, because its not my vibe. I felt that the parties wasnt good enough, so i gathered my friends and we made our own epic party. Its very simple, in Goa theres space for everyone to create and do their own thing, that means, Tantric-healer-crystal-mind-charlie is going to have his show on the beach, but you know what, you dont have to attend…you can play your ukelele somewhere (which sounds great). I know theres ALOT of great musicians in goa, and Arambol. They have probably choosen to move away from just those areas you choose to spend time in 🙂

    Id say in Arambol you are “pretty much” free to do whatever you want. Wherever you end up, is YOUR choice, because around the corner is something completely different, no excuses! Choose your spot, and enjoy it, or dislike it, both are great.

    Thanks for this text anyhow heres mine from last year:

  30. Avatar
    April 23, 2013

    Love it Emily!!! Spot on!! You are hilarious and what a what a well-written article!! It’s got rhythm for sure!
    Sincerely, the Indian embassy in Nepal! (you goof!)

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