gokarna and goa

3 December 2004

Gokarna is the hippy paradise that Goa used to be: remote beaches where you can chill, practice your little hippy drums, strum guitars and sleep in hammocks. Om beach is reckoned to be the best, so I went there. Its called Om because its shaped like the first letter: somewhat like 3. After all of one day I decided I was already as chilled out as I have ever been in my life and didn't really need to sit in a hammock to prove it.

What Goa is now is overrun with techno-hippies, euro-trash and packaged tourists (oh whoops I mean package tours). After 6 months in India I'm well sick of the tourist industry and keep well away from it, but like Hunter S.Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I figure the best thing to do is turn around and head right back into the belly of the beast—its the last thing the bastards will expect. So its off to Goa.

Not sure I needed sun, surf and the soft porn parade of the beaches. But after a couple of days I sink into the daily rhythm of the beach...and the relentless trance doesn't sound so bad. (The topless girls aren't exactly unpleasant).

Goa trance is still in full effect here, sounding about the same as it did 8 or 9 years ago: little farty filter kicks, too many breakdowns (and shimmery snare buildups). Its like having sex but you are only allowed to use your belly button; and every 60 seconds you have to stop and look at pictures of sunsets. (The industry term would be "breakdown"). This is the opinion of the old techno snob inside of me. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be negative at all; its more humorous. "Goa" is a dirty word in the techno scene, a synonym for "tacky".

On the outside I'm not very judgemental, I just let things happen and observe. If I enjoy it, I enjoy it; if other people do and I don't, no problem. Grasping at opinions and personal demands on the outside world only leads to more knots (tensions) and dissatisfaction with life. It doesn't get you anywhere: the opinion and the expressing of the opinion don't change anything. If I have a choice though (when I'm spinning or producing) there are much higher states of musical consciouness to be attained, in techno and even in trance.

The party scene here got shut down a couple of years back and they are only allowed to play music up until 9pm. So the main club is called Nine Bar, and it goes from sunset till 9pm. Its on top of a hill, flooded with black light and those spooky faced trance statues. No pictures allowed, sorry. On tuesday it was lame, with weak music, about 20 people, overpriced pizzas and 2 people dancing...vaguely.

On friday it was really packed (aprox 400), the music was much better danceable trance with proper kick drums and some real 303s making a blessed appearance. I danced my ass off. I met some cool Serbian girls (though they said they were from Yugoslavia "to make it simple"). Its all CD mixing everywhere in India, partly because of the heat. Some guy got into a fight with the DJ, but then it appears they know each other–he was just really drunk, he didn't get thrown out–then at the end he yells "why do they stop the music ? 190 of my Spanish brothers are fucking dead ! why do we have to stop the music ?" This is the day after the Madrid bombing.

There are frequent small parties throughout Goa. They try to go late into the night, but things I heard about got shut down early. Laying on the beach all day was nice enough for me; I didn't really come to Goa to go clubbing; just had to come check it out and say I've been here.


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