Taking in Goa, India

goa_portuguese_house

One of the great dichotomies of India is the apparent mixing–yet dissociation–of social classes. It’s an ironic sight when beautiful, well-maintained Portuguese mansions (above) and small shacks (below) are neighbors.

goa_shack

As I witnessed it, the living situation is very intermingled, with hovels situated in whatever small space is to be found between larger houses and complexes. One of our drivers explained that in a way this is made possible by the caste system, which is very ingrained in Indian culture. Even with people of different castes living so close together, everyone knows their place in society and so maintains a social distance. It was surprising to me as an American, where class-segregated neighborhoods are the norm.

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