Saturday, 14 September 2013

On Being a Bad Traveller

I wouldn't actually say I've ever been 'travelling' as such, but I have definitely spent a fair amount of time in typical backpacker destinations such as Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. I've worked away for long stretches of time with lots of holidays in between, meaning that I'm often masquerading as a traveller as I blend so effortlessly in with those bright young things. I've suspected for a while now that I'm not really traveller material; I remember in Koh Pangan in southern Thailand (home of the 'full moon party' or 'British and German students go a bit crazy on the beach' as I like to call it) when a young whippersnapper told us that three days was the longest she'd spent in one guest house during her three month jaunt. The thought of doing such a thing filled me with horror. When I'm dragging my bag/lugging a backpack up a hill or down some precarious looking stairs, the only thing that keeps me going is knowing that we will be setting up camp for a few days. Take the room we're staying in now for example- it's up four flights of stairs! As if I'll be leaving in a hurry. 
So that's the truth, I'm lame. There's no point hiding it any longer.
Wherever I am, I like my home comforts. To me there's nothing better than watching a film in a hotel room and ordering a pizza. Not very adventurous I'll admit, although we do get to try out some weird and wonderful variations on the Pizza Hut classics. In Taiwan we probably broke the record of how much crap and unhealthy chain food we could eat in one week. I think it was somewhere along the lines of Pizza Hut (2), Mcdonalds (2) KFC (1) Burger King (1) and countless 7eleven hotdogs- they're so cheesy and yum! Don't judge me.
So there you go, my secret's out. Don't get me wrong, I love trying different foods, especially anything noodle or soup based. I think the problem is I find the whole act of going somewhere local and ordering from a menu you don't understand pretty traumatic. I still haven't forgotten the time me and a friend accidentally ordered chicken feet in a restaurant in Korea. And street food takes me ages to acclimatize to- right now after two weeks I'm slowly beginning to edge my way towards the pure unadulterated ghetto stalls on the side of the road.
Having said all that, last night we did eat at a street side restaurant. In the rain. With a small dog between my legs for a vast majority of the meal. We perused the scary menu options several times. Was it frogs or pigs liver or squid teeth you wanted, dear? After some deliberation we finally settled on boar. So there. How exotic are we? (it was weird and a bit gross).

Lee looking awkward on the all too small seat at the all too small table (are we giants?)

Added to all the food wrongdoings in my 'bad traveller' life, there's a mountain of other stuff. We often opt for more luxurious hotels; I was so happy when we arrived at the plush Cinammon Citadel five star hotel in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Their buffet dinner included lobster and there were white slippers in our room! Maybe I'm just a snob?
Here in Ho Chi Minh we've refused so far to catch scooter taxis, opting instead for the safe-albeit much more expensive-actual car taxi. Our reasoning is one of safety, something which seems to unfaze every other westerner whizzing about the insane streets without a care in the world. 
And then there's culture. I like museums and discovering new things, although laziness does often get in the way. Sometimes I think about the 'beer I'm going to have as a reward for all the cultured stuff I've done that day' throughout the entire day. In fact sometimes it's all that keeps me going. And then there are other times like yesterday, when we attempt to soak up some interesting war history, only to find ourselves in the wrong museum. Totally the taxi drivers fault. And try as I might, I just couldn't find it in myself to be interested in old coins, old clothes and old pots. Big fat yawn.  

Who would've guessed this wasn't the war museum?

On an unrelated but rather shocking note, we've quit our job! What can I say, we like to keep on our toes. A story for another time I feel. 
So seeing as we're going to be hanging around for about a month without even work as a convenient excuse for not exploring, perhaps we'll get out there and really see some stuff. Maybe. 

Exploring the swimming pool...

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