***Goa*** New Comers from East, Returnees from West
English/Russian signboard in Colva Beach, South Goa, February 2015
" Do you speak Russian ? "
It was my first visit in Goa and from Dabolim Airport, I headed straight to Calangute Beach. I had heard that it was not the quietest, but the most crowded --- Good for people watching !
I went to Goa, because the backpackers whom I met in other parts of India, THEY ALL WANTED TO GO TO GOA !
Why? Why Goa attracts them so much ? Let's go have a look by myself ( >>> this could be one of the reason why people go to Goa ?).
Calangute, Sunday late afternoon.
I heard that during the weekends, especially in Calangute, there were many domestic tourists.
So apparently most of them had already left here. Instead, I saw many Russian tourists.
English/Russian signboard in Calangute Beach, North Goa, February 2015
Located in the west coast of Indian subcontinent, with its more than 100 km long beach line faces the Arabian Sea, Goa has always been a place with its unique characteristic.
Goa was Portugueses colonly during 450 years, then short after being restituted to India in 1961, another group of people arrived --- these young people, after wandering around the world out of their cocoon in the western countries, settled in Indian Goa.
They were not there to quest for fortune, but for love, peace, freedom, and so on. From material world to spiritual world, hippies, are somewhat mysterious for me. It was 45-50 years ago. I do not really know what was going on there.
I watched German documentary film "Last Hippie Standing" (2001).
This can give you some ideas of their community in Goa in 60s and 70s.
By the middle of 70s, some stayed definitely, many went back to the place where they had originated.
Russians were not joining them.
Soviets at that time, the USSR was under communism, but has been having good relation with India.
No wonder once the political tendency changed, and the economic status allowed, at first wealthy citizens, then follwed by middle class citizens, Russians discovered beach holiday in southern coast.
Like others, away from stressful daily life in their home town, they enjoy sunshine, yoga etc...
Russian represents 30% of visitors in Goa, even more than British or German, 70% of chartered flights lands in Dabolim Airport is from Russian Federation, mainly from northwest and central part of the country, such as Moscow, Samara, Rostov, Ufa, and Yekaterinburg.
Russian tourists are everywhere, I heard they were numerous in Arambol or Morjim beach in North Goa.
English/Russian signboard in Candolim Beach, North Goa, February 2015
Unfortunately, struggling with their currency ruble, number of Russian tourists decreased in 2014-2015 season.
Yet you can see many of them in Goa beaches, together with other nationals --- beach holiday lovers, backpackers, party people, yoga trainees....... Goa is also a mass tourism destination.
Families, groups of young people, honeymooners, NRI (Non-Resident Indian)......number of Indian tourists increases too.
And also, the retournees of Hippie movement generation.
I saw aged bikers breeziing along the Goan roads, grey-long-haired, bare-chested, with their grey-braid-haired wives (or girl friends) on rear seat.
Good music lovers always.
There I met charming aged couple from France, who were open-hearted, cool, guitar player, read a book on Led Zeppelin on the beach, dansed in beach party.
How are you doing Claudette and Marcel ;-D ?
East meets West, West meets East, as it has been since many centuries.
This is Goa, an unique place in the world.
Now I understand why everyone goes to Goa.
--- Just because it's Goa !
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