Come along for the journey!

Come along for the journey!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

BEACH NAZIS: (Varkala, India)

It's Christmas eve. There's nothing like a bit of apartheid on the beach to get you in the festive season and promote some relaxation. The local authorities in Varkala have decided in their wisdom, to implement a strictly policed segregation policy for locals on 'the tourist section' of the beach. That made me feel pretty uncomfortable.

I'm trying to get all the thinking behind it - it goes something like this: the local fellas used to head for the beach for glimpses of the forbidden western flesh in abundance. In such a conservative wider context, this is fairly understandable, but equally understandably, tourists feel pretty annoyed and often unsafe. So, in an effort to safeguard the vital income from the tourist industry in Kerala's premier beach resort, the local communist (relevant?) government simply split the beach in two. There is a line demarcated at the mid-point, where people are dark on one side, and mostly white on the other. Police with sticks chaperone and shepherd the adventurous few who breach the tabooed point.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but I certainly know I wouldn't want the best part of the beach reserved for people from overseas on my annual holiday at Minehead. And this all leads to my nauseatingly trite punchline…"what a complete beach"!

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