Friday, May 16, 2008

Bloody tourists, yeah!


Yes, but which one will make me look like a twat?

Spent the evening in the basement of a Thai Restaurant just off Trafalgar Square in the company of ‘Travel Indochina’, a tour operator who, for exorbitant fees, take lazy (mostly aging) bastards who can’t be arsed to organize their own trips round Asia – booking them into the best accommodation and generally making sure they don’t ‘rough it’ in any way whatsoever.

We initially had a slide show presentation on Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, which simply whetted the appetite even more for the impeding trip. After which we stuffed ourselves on the platter of absolutely yummy assorted Thai starters. The second half of the evening was dedicated to China. 

We’ve not really planned to visit China, but seeing the presentation there are definitely a few parts of the country we’d like to go to, in particular the Silk Road, (east to west China) and Shanghai – which looks absolutely amazing.

The only reason we sat through the slide show was to get some additional ideas on places to check out and to see what accommodation they recommended – obviously it’ll be significantly cheaper to dead the tour operator and book everything directly. 

We also got that ace free Thai nosh, which to be honest I’d have sat through a presentation on Eastbourne for.

The Travel Indochina bods proudly stated that the area of the Great Wall they would take you to would be far away from the tourists.

Far away from the tourists… wha wha hat? Aren’t we all bloody tourists?

I don’t know if it’s just Asia that elicits such travel snobbery but it seems to be rife. All the books I’ve read and all the websites I’ve visited constantly say ‘don’t go here, full of tourists – you really need to go to this unspoilt area’ – not unspoilt for long I think if you’re recommending to all and sundry. I guess this is why if you take a rucksack anywhere round the world you instantly have to refer to yourself as a backpacker and not ‘god forbid’ a tourist – imagine how dreadful that would be! You would be just the same as ‘those’ that haven’t tried to enjoy their ‘holiday’ as much as you have.

I understand that certain sections of the Great Wall now have McDonalds and Starbucks along with the usual array of postcard and tat peddlers which is ironic, as I was under the impression that the Wall was built to keep the barbarians out.

Hmm… perhaps I’m already a travel snob. 


Sniffy said...

Yes, you'll look a twat. Don't forget your bumbag.

Tourists, backpackers, what the hell, so long as visitors have respect for the people and places they're going to, that's the main thing.

I've heard that the silk road is brilliant, but I don't really fancy China - all those chinkies look the same.

Herge Smith said...

To be honest, I already look like a bit of a twat, so a rucksack won't make much difference.

Chinkie??? You what mate?

Sniffy said...

I was being ironic.. I think.

Herge Smith said...

Oi knows that, I was mucking with you.

More seriously though, the Chinese population does change in the general looks the farther east and west you go.

Jesus, i haven't even gone yet and I'm already a poo faced travel bore...

Chinkies is a great term, what have we got? Whiteys - so much less funny - as are Whiteys in general.

garfer said...

Buy a shack in Phuket and open a pub. That way you can supplement your income by 'disappearing' gormless backpackers and running their credit cards up to the limit.

The less middle class Nigels that come back here and boast about broadening their minds on their gap year the better.

Herge Smith said...

Gap year bastards! i hate them - hardcore is chucking it all in in your 30's and wandering around with a backpack that could do serious damage to your coccyx in a last ditch desperately futile attempt to add some experience to your empty existence.

Erm... not me of course, I'm just going to further doss and eat nice food for as long as possible.

Sniffy said...

Watch out for the coriander though. How long are you going for and when are you going?

Will you ever hold down a job for more than three months?

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with being a travel snob?

Oh wait. Yes there is. I have a phobia about going anywhere and being thought of as a tourist, which is why I don't go anywhere.
Well, not in this world, anyway...

Herge Smith said...

T - I'm planning never to hold a job down for more than 3 months again! Actually the last one was 2 years before I quit.

Inex - got to get out there, seriously, much to see. I've always felt like a tourist, even in my own town I feel like an outsider - even the town I grew up in. Not a problem though.

pissoff said...

Funny you should say you're never going to hold a job down for more than 3 months... I was just saying the same thing. Then again, who would pay for the kids riding lessons? Fucking money. I'm a slave to money.