Sunday, November 27, 2005

Top 5 Ways to Annoy Fellow Travelers

And, the hits just keep on comin'!

"RenegadeBadger" on Lonely Planet's travel board posted a great Top 5 of Best Ways to Annoy your Fellow Travelers, beginning with the brilliant "Bring your acoustic guitar and your Tracey Chapman songbook." While I can't claim to better that, other items did spring to mind....

1-Insist on loudly and self-righteously pronouncing "NA MAHS STAY!" with both hands clasped to every brown person you see, including the maid who will be most bewildered. Don't forget the ostentatious bow.

2-Willfully mispronounce place names (ie, pron. Kerala as "kurr AL uh," rather than "KEDD uh luh," Chennai as "Shenneye" and so on), thereby guaranteeing no one will be able to understand where you want to go. Then get impatient and huffy when they don't understand your questions.

3-Complain about having to take your shoes off everywhere, and wear laceup shoes that make it particularly difficult.

4-Confuse "Hindi" (the language) with "Hindu" (the religion - ie, "are the people there Hindi?" "Do you speak Hindu?" --yes, I also speak Judaism and Buddhism). Refer to the people in Kerala as "Keralans" and their language as "Keralan" or 'Keralese" (it's Malayalee, the people, and Malayalam, the language). Better yet, ask the people in Tamil Nadu why they don't speak Hindi. (Or "Hindu.")

5. Hand things to local people (money, etc) to people using your left hand, then wonder why they look offended. Oh, and hold hands with your girl/boyfriend in public!
Then wonder why they give you dirty looks and eye up your partner.

Bonus item: Show an average bloke on the street a map, in English, and ask them to find where you are on it. I can count the number of local people (ordinary folks at shops and so on) who were able to make sense of a map, in any language. Then again, most Americans can't either.... Local people often do not know the name of the street they're standing on, even if they catch the bus there every single day for years. It's just the street they stand on to catch the bus. Remember, it doesn't mean they're stupid - it's just that they've never had to think in terms of going from one strange place to another; they have no spare time, and travel on the same 2 or 3 streets, then go home. Wandering about "seeing things" is an aimless frivolity they have little time for.

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