To date, I have observed the following goods and services for sale on my local beach:
- Fruit (bananas, mango, pineapple, etc)
- Nuts (cashews, almonds)
- Maps of India
- Ripped off DVDs (specifically, “Slumdog Millionaire”)
- Drums (a particular source of irritation)
- Massage instruments (a sort of metal contraption, which looks more like a gardening tool to me)
- Sponges (bath not cake)
- Joss sticks
- Massages (of your feet, performed by men, or of the whole body, by women)
And maybe more …
The beach sellers seem to have acquired some rudimentary Russian, too, for use, when haggling with the Russian tourists. As I mentioned previously, the Russians are very happy to hand over money to both those who are begging and those who are selling; I sat next to a party of 4 the other day and, between them, they bought about 80% of the items offered from the above list over the course of four hours.
One of the beach shack owners told me that the Russians don’t currently require visas to holiday in India, possibly one of the reasons why they travel in such great numbers – but that this situation is due to change in 2010. The locals are quite worried about this and you can see why, given that there are fewer western European tourists each year and the ones who are here are more careful with their rupees than the free spending Russians.
“Is the credit crunch in your country madam – British peoples are poor now.”