Hippie-Bashing in Arambol, India
On 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:
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.
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. 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. (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. 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.