Saturday, March 15, 2008

Reuters - Goa police may investigate past tourist deaths

At least 126 foreign nationals have died in Goa in the past two years, 40 of them British, according to Kishan Kumar, said the Inspector general of police in Goa.

Some officers, who have spoken on condition of anonymity, say that
10-12 deaths passed off as drowning since last year looked suspicious.
I went to Goa by myself less than two years back. I found the island to be pretty big and the cost of renting a taxi for a day (necessary if you want to see any part of Goa) was exorbitant at about S$120, if memory serves.

Fortunately for me, a young Goan by the name of A. approached me while I was wandering down the beach near my hotel; it turned out that he had previously worked in Singapore as a sailor and could speak English very well. On top of that, he liked the look of Singaporean women which accounted for why he came over to talk to me while I was taking photos of the skyline.

He offered to show me around the island for a cheaper rate. I agreed. Then he asked me out for the night and said he'd bring me to the nicer bars on Goa. Again, I agreed.

I'm usually an incredibly cautious girl in almost everything I do. This sometimes backfires as there are moments when I do something which could be seen as incredibly reckless and stupid because I am just so fed up with always being so cautious. During my travels, I have refused to pose for two painters who I ran into in Mallorca and Florence (and who, incidentally, turned out to be genuine artists), while on another occasion, I went out for drinks while incredibly jet-lagged and exhausted with two Marines on my first night in Berlin.

In the case of A., I can't quite explain why I agreed. It wasn't that I fancied him or anything like that. I was quite aware that there was a high possibility that he was looking for something I wasn't going to give. However, he felt safe. In a way, I guess you could say I posed that question to God and trusted that He would keep me safe. Also, A. was Catholic and while that's definitely not a guarantee of my safety, I felt there was a very low probability that something bad would happen.

And as it turns out, I was correct on all counts. He did ask me to be his girlfriend later that night, but I refused (I think I told him that while I was single, there was someone back home waiting for me) and he didn't pursue the matter. He didn't even try asking me for a hug or a kiss, and refused to take my money when I left for the airport.

Given what's been in the British press over the last few days, it's fair to suppose that not everyone is as lucky as I was. While I am not surprised that such an incident occurred - they happen too in Thailand - I am saddened; Goa is definitely a place I would like to return to with friends so that I can explore the full potential of the island. And while it's not as clean or as easy to get around as say, Bali, the whole place felt rather tranquil. The street food was quite delicious as well. It's such a shame that something like this has transpired.

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