Don’t assume travelers are smarter, more worldly or better than those who stay at home. Stupid people travel too. I know this is a bit unfair to say because I live in Thailand.
I hear foreigners talk to Thais in broken English and I want to “go hit you” in the face for perpetuating bad English and sounding like an idiot. Two of my friends have just posted a youtube video on a couple of white guys getting into a fight in Chiang Mai traffic. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen or heard something like this happening here.
I also remember a couple of white, attractive, young, educated ladies in Ecuador giggling hysterically over the chicken feet soup they were served with their almuerzo. I was sitting with them, ashamed, since there were other patrons in the restaurant, and my own mother eats chicken feet, as do many other cultures and people around the world.
But I don’t want to let these kinds of experiences to negatively affect me. Although I do acknowledge the fact that my male friend has started to pointedly stare back at the geezers who “check me out” mistaking me for a “lady of the night” or whatever, no matter how I’m dressed. I’ve been living in an old man farang neighborhood for well-over a year now, and I’ve deliberately been cold and standoffish because I am not the person they think I am.
Fighting stereotypes seems to come with the territory of traveling, as does, this idea that “everything’s better over here or over there”. Chiang Mai’s tourism is on a heady high as is the increase of expats looking for whatever they’re looking for. I don’t know who’s to blame, if blame is something that needs to be addressed anyway, but don’t think that life abroad will be automatically amazing.
I always wanted the experience of working and living abroad, and I’m glad I’m doing it. If the world economy and the United States was the kind of place that it was ideally built up to be, I’d probably be still living there. But I also find the idea of returning to where my mother is from and having the reverse experience that she had over 40 years ago, highly interesting.
And to me, life is about having experiences – even if the stupid ones are always around.