This is not India

From: Tommy Hermansen
Date: Mon Apr 9, 2001 2:14pm
Subject: This is not India

“For how long have you been travelling now?” the woman behind the counter asked as a Pepperoni pizza materialised in front of me. I chewed away into my first slice, burning the roof of my mouth, as I said “A little more than three months now.” She continued her smalltalk by questioning: “And how do you like India?” I needed to cool down my terrible burns with some cheap glycerine beer. “I just love this place” I said and swung my pointed finger in the air around me. The music was pounding from the Nine Bar across the street. “Goa is not India!” she smugly replied.

She’s right. Goa is tourism.

There are some weird characters here as well though. The other night I met a guy called Jim at the Nine Bar, a Hawaiian who’d been escaping paradise half of the year – since the seventies, to another paradise, Goa. He had some stories to tell too. “What? NO THANKS?” he yelled as I regrettably declined his honourable offer of joining in smoking his chillum pipe. I was trying to explain that I really get bad coughing from smoking the tobacco they mix in with the marihuana, when he interrupted by saying “I’ll tell you a story about smoking”, and passed the chillum to the next person in our circle. “It’s basically taking cough syrup which is the main cause of us people contracting lung cancer. We’re suppressing the body’s natural reaction to germs and viruses, man! And smoking which triggers that same reaction helps us get rid of whatever causes cancer.” He went on about how dried leaves give us their life force when we smoke them, and opened his cigarette pack on the table in front of us. “Well, you DO smoke joints don’t you?” he asked and passed me a readymade one. “Sure, give me a few puffs” I replied, and accepted his second offer.

I passed the spliff onto the next guy after a little while. The music was fantastic!

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