Hey, people who travel with their bed pillow. You look insane. – Jim Gaffigan
Is everyone on holiday but me? Even though my vacation is later this month, I’m still burning with jealousy at everyone else’s Instagram feed. I’m convinced everyone’s loaded with unlimited cash – and having a great time. *sobs into monogram handkerchief*
Well, for folks who are just getting a few days off, or for those who don’t have the funds to go someplace faraway exotic, and take tons of pictures in restaurants with hammocks while the rest of us roll our eyes, this post is for you!
It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘As pretty as an airport.’ – Douglas Adams
// I’d Rather Starve, thanks.
Hey, no doubt about it, I’ve been shocked. Seeing the variety of fried bugs at the market for your snacking pleasure was something that I could have done without. Especially the black scorpions of unusually large sizes for tourist photo ops that I avoided with unnecessary fear in Siem Reap. (They are dead, Lani, quit cowering.)
Just the other day, one of my students handed me a crispy silk worm and told me, “Delicious, teacher. Try it!”
I ran away.
The truth is sometimes the local fare is not what we’re used to – at all. We can be brave, we can feel like we’re on Fear Factor, or we can choose to avoid it all together. I think it greatly depends on the situation and what the food is. Regardless, WHAT WE EAT is a pretty big deal and is much more easily controlled when we are in our home country.
Eating well is a form of self-respect.
// You do it Your Way, and I’ll do It mine.
This is a hard one, a doozy, and I know we do this even in our own country, and by ‘this’ I mean, “Why on earth are they doing it that way?”
Of course, I’m guilty, too. It’s impossible at times to understand why Thais do things the way that they do (drive like maniacs much?), and yes, I’ve dived deeper into those ‘whys’, but we should be aware of who were talking to, who’s around us, and our motivations.
Tourists get upset when locals treat them a certain way, but the knife cuts both ways. We all come from our own point of view, our culture, which is why understanding each other, accepting differences, and navigating through various levels of comfort can be so CHALLENGING! Traveling is a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility.
The cool thing about being famous is traveling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff. – Britney Spears
// Other tourists, friend or Foe?
I swear every year there’s a story of someone behaving badly at Angkor Wat, and by badly, I mean, running around taking nude shots around the sacred sites. We’ll do anything for social media these days, won’t we?
After one of my old posts about being respectful around Thais, I was surprised by a couple of comments defending their “right to be ignorant”. I didn’t reply because sometimes those comments should stand alone (asshole alert! asshole alert!). Plus, I honestly was at a loss as to what to say.
I suppose when you’re on holiday you want to act like you’re on holiday. But what I hate is when you behave in a way you wouldn’t normally dare do back in your home country. “Fuck it I’m on vacation” is the excuse, but sometimes your “good time” is other people’s misery, or your stupidity you wear like a hat.
Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. – Mark Twain
// Clash of Cultures (Chinese and Thai)
While the Chinese and Thai governments are strengthening ties and making way for the sweeping numbers of Chinese tourists, some Thais are not pleased with the differences they are enduring. I’ve already spoke about a few of these incidences since I was living in Chiang Mai at the time when the first wave of clashes began.
Although, I’m surprised as many Thais have Chinese blood in them, and you’d think they would be more forgiving or welcoming of Chinese tourists, but this is not the case. I’ve written about this a lot already, but I will share that when I went to a restaurant near the Chiang Rai bus station, I had to go to the WC. There was a Chinese sign over the toilet to remind folks to flush the toilet. Yeahhhh.
Spain travel tip: If bathroom genders are indicated by flamingos, the boy flamingo is the one with a hat. I learned this the hard way. – Dave Barry
// it’s a Crime being ripped off
Somehow everything is magnified when we travel. But let’s face it, a bad experience anywhere is a bad experience. Short term glory on the thief’s part can create a lifetime of loathing for a city or a country with the tourist.
Crime, I believe also keeps many people from ever traveling outside their home country. I think this is particularly true for Americans, but as statics have shown this has changed dramatically over the last 20 years as more folks are getting out there.
But I remember when my old boss came out to Thailand with his family. They had a great time until they were ripped off by a taxi driver in Bangkok. The BF was cycling through Vietnam when his backpack was taken. Luckily, it didn’t have much in it just his jacket. I met a guy in a bus line in Laos who experienced the same thing. And unfortunately, I know a lot of similar stories from the time I lived in Ecuador.
What can also derail a vacation horribly is when you’ve committed a crime you weren’t even aware of! For example, if you accidentally overstay your tourist visa in Thailand, you will be banned from the country. One day equals one year!
// Whaddya mean, you’re sick?
Airline travel is hours of boredom interrupted by moments of stark terror. – Al Bolisk
Ahhh, my Christmas in Luang Prabang, Laos back in 2009 or 2010. We ate something questionable and proceeded to spend the rest of our time taking turns using the toilet and changing our plans to return to Thailand by (expensive) air travel.
One of my colleagues had to cancel his trip to Vietnam when he got food poisoning in Cambodia. And let me tell you, I’ve seen enough people hobbling around, bandaged up after getting into motorbike accidents. (If you don’t know how to drive one, learning on holiday might not be the best way to go!)
Adventure, yeah. I guess that’s what you call it when everybody comes back alive. – Mercedes Lackey
What did I miss? What ugly sides of traveling have you seen?