Monday, 13 December 2010

Ohm Beach!

Ohm Beach, Karnataka, squeezed between Goa and Kerala, an alternative to the busy beaches of both the latter mentioned. It is gorgeous, but not what I‘d call a quiet, ideal paradise. There’s a dozen places offering rooms, most are no more than huts made of palm fronds, slotted in one against the other, with shared bathrooms, no privacy and no security. There is certainly no electricity in the huts and having the space to type and concentrate is just not going to happen. So I’ve taken a room in the most touristic place here, Nameste Guesthouse! Prices are top of the range for this beach, but the rooms are without doubt the most modern and comfortable. In many ways I would prefer a basic hut, but they just don’t come with bathroom and electricity. Namaste’s restaurant leads onto the beach but all the rooms are tucked away out back, they are a bit crammed in, the once secluded gardens have succumbed to the greed of the owners desire to fit in as many rooms in as possible. It’s easy to distinguish the older, original rooms with the new units squeezed in between. It is quiet though, which suites me fine, especially now they’ve given me a room right at the top, a detached building overlooking the rest. They swapped my room when I explained I needed more space and seclusion to write, It’s the same price, 700 rupees, which is just under £10. (Photo: North end of Ohm Beach - Karnataka, India)

Named after the double crescent shaped beach, it resembles the Ohm symbol, having a rocky promontory splitting the two halves. Further round the coast, you must walk over a headland, are two more beaches, even more basic and cut off. Paradise beach is the furthest and seems to be filling fast, it sounds just the place for almost total seclusion. Over an hour’s walk away it’s a rough trail to get there and few facilities once there. No power, very basic accommodation and limited choice of food. If it weren’t for the desire to write it would make an ideal getaway, but it’s seclusion is a major attraction here, many folks are hunting for the most undisturbed beaches. Unfortunately the effect has meant a quiet secluded beach that is more crowded than the main one at Ohm, the only advantage is the police don’t go there, so parties can continue all night. With Christmas closing in huts are in short supply, with Goa being almost closed down for parties the word is out that Paradise beach is the place for festive parties; I think I’m better off on Ohm beach. Having walked the length of the beach I’m now fully aware of what’s on offer, only one other seems to have rooms with attached bathroom, Jungle cafĂ©. It isn’t on the beach itself, which does give more seclusion, but it is also the main drug supply along the beach. It is used for those getting off the beach for a quiet smoke, or to score. They stick the music on when customers drift in, at other times there is a tendency for them to leave the TV crackling most the day. At first glance it’s promising, sitting and taking in the vibe I have severe doubts. I won’t consider packing up and moving along the beach unless I’m sure it will be worth it, one thing is for sure, the second crescent of the beach is where the long termers tend to stay, it’s also the busier half. This is where the fires are lit on the beach every night, where the impromptu parties occur. It’s also chock full with Israelis, hoards of them, full of life, full of themselves. (Photos: 1] South end of Ohm Beach; 2] No, it's not Cowes - Ohm Beach, Karnataka, India)

Generally the Israelis are to be found in groups, if they didn’t already have an attitude of us against the rest of the world group mentality will encourage it. People naturally form into groups of similar customs, language or habits. Let’s face it, if travelling alone, most people will find themselves socializing with those who can speak their own language, or one they are proficient at, and then group mentality ensues. It doesn’t matter what nation they’re from, in a group they are always louder, more adventurous, more sure of themselves. There are a lot of Israelis and Russians in India, they both have a bad reputation, for travelling in packs and being arrogant. They aren’t the only ones, though each have a strong penchant for sticking to their own kind; maybe more so than many other nationalities. (Photo: Jumped over the moon - Ohm Beach, Karnataka, India)

Wherever I go a few days of relaxing and settling in mark my arrival, once chilled out I try and establish a routine to create the ideal circumstances to write in. Well, I’ve got that at Ohm beach, quite quickly, and whilst the writing is slow, it is now my primary concern. For sure I scored some Charys without little delay, of course I got stoned for the first few days. Indian beach life is a magnet for the worlds potheads, it’s what the social scene here is all about. But now I withdraw and make maximum use of my hotel hideaway. Here I can remain anonymous, sit at a table alone and the chances are people won’t interrupt me, certainly not if I’m sat typing. Though it’s seldom that I sit and type in public, only to write my journal or blog. It works well, I don’t get in the habit of wasting time. If I want a break I move along the beach and find people to mingle with. By reading my research material over breakfast it prepares me for the day’s writing, gets the creativity warmed up before other distractions waylay me. I keep myself pretty much to myself, reluctant to open myself up to the vagaries of other peoples shenanigans. I actually like sitting back and watching the world go by, without exerting any personal influence on the proceedings. (Photo: Getting in the groove - Ohm Beach, Karnataka, India)

No comments: