Funny Paparazzi Moment in Goa, India Visiting Dona Paula!

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The day started out like any other. Cold shower, I threw on a bathing suit (because if you’re going to sweat, you may as well sweat in a bikini), and then I put on some shorts and a loose neon shirt.

I was travelling through India with my sister, Ashley, and our adopted Indian family from Toronto at the time. (My boss’s daughter was getting married in India, and since the man is practically like family, my sister and I also tagged along with all their relatives that made the journey for the wedding. Now how’s that for a trip?!)

Funny Paparazzi Moment in Goa, India Visiting Dona Paula! Audrey and Ashley in Goa
Funny Paparazzi Moment in Goa, India Visiting Dona Paula! Audrey and Ashley in Goa

The pre-wedding days were filled with shopping in Indian markets, eating delicious curries, exploring a little bit of Mumbai in search for Sharukh Khan’s home in Bandra (sadly, we didn’t spot the King of Bollywood), and some crazy rides on a rickshaw.

After about a week and a half together, the whole family (us included) travelled down to Goa for a holiday, and this is where to story unfolds.

The day’s attraction was a short drive south to Old Goa to visit the statue of Dona Paula, and so the seven of us hopped into a little van and set off to explore the setting of a tragic love story. (Truth or myth, no one seems to know.)

This is how the tale goes:

“Once upon time a girl named Dona Paula fell in love with a young Goan man. Dona Paula was the daughter of a wealthy Portuguese viceroy, while her love interest was a local fisherman without a great fortune. The match, of course, did not sit very well with the girl’s family and Dona Paula was forbidden from seeing her lover ever again. Not being able to imagine a life without this boy, Dona Paula threw herself into the Arabian Sea to bring an end to her woes…”

And that is why a statue of the two young lovers now sits on the rocky shores.

Having heard this story, along with several variations of it on the drive over, we all walked down the pier to see the star-crossed lovers. We then went up to the viewing point to take a few photos, and that’s when the paparazzi shenanigans began…

It started out with one man. He looked our way, evidently thought we looked quite…distinct, and took a picture. Snap! I guess it didn’t turn out the way he liked, because he then took a few more.

Seeing that we weren’t too bothered by this one man’s attention, another approached with his camera in hand and did the same. Snap! And then the family that was standing nearby followed.

Now, have you ever noticed how when a few people gather around a specific street food vendor it seems to attract more people? If a few people are standing around, then there must be something good around, so more people join in… Well, that’s how it was with the photos. Once three cameras were pointed our way, everyone else jumped on the bandwagon.

Snap, snap, *flash*, snap, *flash*!

I’m all for snapping a few discrete photos of strangers (heck, I even do so on occasion!), but there was not even a hint of subtlety in the number of cameras that were being directly pointed our way.

If you were to have a look at some of the photos the paparazzi snapped that day, they would probably look at lot like this…

Paparazzi shot in India
Paparazzi shot in India

That is a photo that our Indian mom took for us while this commotion was going on. Even her sons got caught in the cross fire… Impressive, right? (I can already hear the laughter on the other side.)

Yep, I’m the one in green on the left. Point a dozen cameras my way, and that is how I react. I laugh in your face.

This isn’t the kind photo that you put on your mantlepiece once you get back home, but whenever I think of Goa this is the memory that springs to mind.

It is far from photogenic – we all have the most random looks on our faces ranging from hilarity to bewilderment with a little sprinkling of ‘WTF?!’, but it sums up our little outing so well.

Forget Dona Paula, that day I was a star!

Have you ever had a paparazzi moment? Do share!

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Sam

    I find the idea of appearing in strangers’ photos both exciting and disturbing. Just thinking about how many mantlepieces around the world might be adorned with an unintentional shot of my face, arm, leg or butt in the corner of some more intentional, posed photograph of a friend or family member makes me feel both a little queasy and helps feed my vanity, or what is left of it. I don’t think I’d ever have such a joyous expression on my face as you, Audrey, since I’d mostly be concerned with getting out of the way, or showing my ‘better side’.

    1. says: Audrey

      Haha, butt you say? That reminds me of a river boat cruise I took in France, where a French guy standing along the banks decided to drop his pants and moon everyone on board…haha, yup.

    1. says: Audrey

      A celebrity, of course! 😉 Nah, haha, but on the flight over to India my sister and I were asked by the passenger next to us if we were planning on going to India to become singers. It may have had something to do with the fact that we were singing “I Will Survive”…

  2. That’s alright, Audrey 🙂
    My story. When I was in Hanoi last year, I asked a local street seller if I can take a pic with her. She was wearing a leaf hat and, yes, she looked beautiful. I’ve thought that’s okay, right?… Two days later I was in Sa Pa hiking a mountain. Suddenly, two Asian men appeared on both sides of me and the third man took a photo of three of us (???) Then I thought “Ha-a, that’s how it feels” 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh, YES! Being a fair-skinned blonde in China, this happens to me all the time. Though usually they want to have their photo taken WITH me. And as soon as one person sees that I’m happy to do it, five more are waiting in line. It even happens in Shanghai. I think it’s kind of hilarious. What are they doing with those photos anyway?

    1. says: Audrey

      I’ve heard that China is one of the top places where foreigners get a lot of camera attention, haha 😉 I’ll be travelling around the country in a couple of months, so we’ll see how it goes!

    1. says: Audrey

      Yup! It happens. I had a similar experience when I was in Malaysia. A group of travellers from India wanted a photo of me, but this time they posed next to me. 😉

  4. says: Sofie

    Lol! Did any of these people actually start a conversation?
    I’ve never experienced anything like this. Having dark brown hair and looking pretty tan in summer (only in summer:p) I don’t look ‘special’ in most countries:)

  5. says: Zhu

    This is so funny, I can imagine the scene! When I was in Shanghai, many years ago, Chinese parents always handed me their baby and snapped pics of me holding him. It felt just… wrong and funny!

    1. says: Audrey

      Haha, that is so funny that they would want a picture of a stranger holding their baby! Most people back home would never hand their child off to someone they’d just met. I look forward to holding Chinese babies in my arms when I make it up there in a couple of months. 😉

  6. says: Amanda @ Living in Another Language

    Bahaha! I love it! I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences Korea. I swear, everyone want’s a pic with the ‘foreigner.’ I even had a guy tell me one time he’d pay me for a picture. O_O

    1. says: Audrey

      My students used to take random photos of me while I was teaching class, but I didn’t get to pose for too many photos around town. I did get a lot of frantic waving and pointing, which made me feel just as special! 😉

  7. says: Melody

    Haha, awesome. My favorite paparazzi moment was probably when I was in Surabaya, Indo. It was the middle of the night, and I was trying to buy a plane ticket, but was pretty stressed out at no one understanding me, nor were they trying to, they just wanted to hang out and stare at me. While I was talking to the guy at the counter I heard some voices behind me and there were six Indonesian guys and every single one of them had their cell phone out snapping shots. I was pretty fed up so I did some sarcastic pose real quick, and they all thanked me profusely and shook my hand. haha

  8. says: Maria Alexandra @LatinAbroad

    Ahahaha, they probably thought you were an American celebrity or something! That’s just too funny.

    -Maria Alexandra

  9. When I went to China men actually started queuing up to take a photo of me. Our tour guide said that most of them are from the countryside, so when they get back they are likely to hang my picture up on their wall and tell everybody that I am their Western friend. It is a kind of status symbol. A bit disturbing, but since I like taking photos of locals I couldn’t justify posing for a few as well.

  10. says: The Pinay Solo Backpacker

    Interesting! I didn’t know that it also happens in India. 🙂 I remember seeing it happened to a European couple in Central Java a few years back. At first I thought they’re celebrities, it took me a while before I understand what was happening. But then I also saw a group of young British students at Jakarta airport approached the Muslim women cleaning the airport for a photo op. Moments like this makes me smile, because if some locals wants to have a souvenir photo with a Westerner so they can show to their friends that they have a foreigner friend, its the same way when a Westerner or a tourist ask indigenous people if they can pose with them for a souvenir photo ( for example the Long Neck Tribe of Chang Mai or an African tribe or even the African kids ) so they can post it on Facebook, Instagram, blog, etc .

  11. says: Maria

    You’ve done it to yourself. Self fulfilling prophecy. It’s that contagious smile and easy way about you that they flock to take your photo. Or, they’ve just seen your YouTube videos – they are a ton of fun.

  12. says: CurlyTraveller

    Hahaha…funny story. And very recognizable!
    Just spent 6 months in India and had experiences like this all the time. I was told that it’s just because you are ‘a foreigner’ and hence interesting to take a photo of and/or to be in a picture with.
    Indeed sometime it almost got out of hand, in the sence that we were getting nowhere, being held up by groups of people with phones and camera’s;-).

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