Thoughtful Traveler's Notes & Notions on Travel
Sean Connolly's Collection of Travel Quotes
Top 10 Travellers' Ailments by ?
Despite miraculous advances in tropical and exotic medicine, there are still some travelling diseases that you simply can't immunize against. They are strange afflictions of the mind, with prevention the only cure, and vigilance your only ally. This is your guide to ten of the most deadly.
Particularly prevalent amongst travellers who have been on the road for years on end. Symptoms include: the sufferer making wildly improbable claims about where they have been, what they have seen, and how much they have spent. While not communicable, if someone starts telling you that they travelled on 53 cents a day by sleeping on park benches and recycling their own urine, you should give them a wide berth -- if only for your own sanity.
The Cultural Emulation Syndrome
Also known as Going Native, this is when a traveller starts adopting the social, dress, and eating habits of the country they are visiting. Particularly prevalent in India, Southeast Asia, and South America; understandably rare in Switzerland. Usually clears up on its own accord when the sufferer is confronted by the reality of going home, though can persist indefinitely in all environments.
The Cultural Enhancement Syndrome
A strange disease that leads otherwise normal individuals to adopt the nationalistic stereotypes of their country of birth with vigour. In its extreme form, it can lead to sufferers invading a small neighbouring country, or at the very least, ruining a once tranquil tropical paradise. Miraculously clears up when the afflicted person's country endures a humiliating defeat in an international sporting event.
Symptoms include the appearance of a fixed, beatific smile and a sudden conversion to vegetarianism. Also induces the sudden realization of the importance of a blue-faced god with eleven arms and legs in the modern western lifestyle.
Constipated Payment Disorder
Where the afflicted traveller balks at paying the asking rate for an item, even though they would quite happily pay ten times the price for the same thing back home. Also known as having a "haggling hernia". You could try paying for them, but you risk getting a lecture about it not being about "money" but the "principle".
Obsessive Junk Food Craving
Often the result of an unfamiliar and unfulfilling diet for months on end. Symptoms include a psychotic obsession for a particular brand of cookie or potato chip. If unchecked, can lead to irrational behaviour such as scouring sub-standard supermarkets for said item, or catching the first plane home to pig out on it. Less dramatic treatment is adding a little tomato sauce to your rice for a change, or splurging at McDonalds.
Vacational Vocation Amnesia
Ever noticed that when you're travelling, everyone you meet seems to have glamorous careers? They're all either writers, artists, actors, or have wealthy parents. Nobody admits to being a bank teller or a parking attendant. Like Exaggeritis, this malady is often cured when the sufferer meets someone who really does work for that particular ad agency, publishing company, or art gallery.
Exaggerated English Pronunciation Disorder
Prevalent in countries where English is not widely understood. Sufferers find themselves speaking abnormally loud and slow to ticket sellers, waiters, and hostel managers. Beware of possible delusionary side effects. Severe sufferers believe that the person staring blankly at them actually understands what they are saying.
Caused by lugging a too-heavy backpack from one full hostel to another. Seems to get worse towards the end of a trip when packs are generally loaded with ridiculously heavy souvenirs for friends and families. A couple of days travelling second-class sleeper on Indian trains has been known to help.
This is a most serious disease. The afflicted feel an overwhelming urge to "connect" with local people and their problems. Symptoms include solemn nodding (usually with a knitted brow), a caring yet patronizing tone of voice, and a tendency to write off anti-social behaviour on the part of the locals as some sort of cross-cultural misunderstanding. Particularly lethal in conjunction with a dose of Exaggerated English Pronunciation Disorder. Should this happen, the most humane thing for everyone involved is to have the poor, afflicted traveller put down.
Ten More Travel Ailments by Tim Zwaagstra
The Pidgin Bug
A curious creature, known to afflict native English speakers with a puzzling degree of arbitrariness. Whilst some may address fellow countrymen with sentences such as, "I think it is not more better to go this temple", others will persist in informing a local guide that "we would rather pass on that temple, if you don't mind." Whereas the first may seem rather out of it, the second will definitely find himself being taken to that very temple he didn't want to see. On the whole, it is more effective to be bitten by the Pidgin Bug.
"Okay, so that's 25000 Indonesian Rupiah, so that would be about 200 Malaysian Ringgit, which in Thai Baht would come down to… Yes, I think it's about one dollar fifty. Now what did we pay for that in Nepal? I think it was much cheaper." Sufferers of this disease may eventually pass into the terminal stages, known as the 'zero extravaganza', in which the zeroes in any given number may multiply or disappear at will, causing oft terminal complications in receiving change.
Time Zone Aphasia
There are two main variations, known as the Jakarta Syndrome and 'doing a Fiji'. Flying from Singapore to Bali while having to change in Jakarta may cause watches and clocks to lose every connection with reality. Singapore has the same time zone as Bali, but Jakarta, East of Singapore but West of Bali, nevertheless is one hour earlier than both. It is not advisable to wear a wrist watch on this run. Dateline Confusion may make Daylight Savings mix-ups seem child's play in comparison. To 'do a Fiji', then, is to become irrevocably bogged down in the mire of trying to decide what happens to Thursday when you cross the date line.
Market Protection Mania
Never ever pay a local salesman his asking price when a Market Protector is near. You will be found guilty of Spoiling The Market, which is a capital offense. Market Protectors may offer righteously philanthropic notions in defense of their ardour: you will cause the price levels to rise for the local people. Patiently explaining the wonders of variable pricing (the price depends on the customer, not on the merchandise) may expose the ugly truth: the Market Protector was in it for his own bucks after all. Explaining that the 'MP' will just have to bargain a bit harder for his purchases may be quite good fun for those who like to live dangerously.
Airfare Splurge Denial
"I find it contemptible that people spend money on a hotel with a swimming pool. Do you know how long a farmer would have to work for that?" Confronting a farmer's income with the price of speaker's airline ticket is generally not contributive to further conversation.
Chili Brag Craze!
An innocent affliction, but amusing. Sufferers spontaneously organise themselves into clans such as Lombok Louts and Rawit Ruffians (prevalent in Indonesia travelers), Jalapeno Hooligans (Mexico), Piri-Piri Predators (Madagascar), and Madame Jeannette Mad Dogs (Surinam). Vigorous debate will ensue when members of different clans meet, making ardent cases for the chilies in question. Nevertheless, it has been said that testing sufferers with the merest bell pepper will invariably prove a disappointment.
Eternal Friendship Delusion
Common after chance meetings of travelers that turned out quite all right, didn't you think? Such nice people. Never more pointedly addressed than by one veteran of the disease who said, "Yeah, great, let's exchange addresses. Then we'll send each other one postcard and never hear from each other again."
Local Medicine Loopiness
"I don't take malaria pills. Over here, they cure it with papaya leaf mixed with palm wine. Bitter as hell, but works every time, and you never get it again." "I think it's a tropical ulcer, yeah. But someone gave me this herb paste, and it already feels wonderful." "I burnt my leg on the motorbike exhaust. You'll never guess what they treated it with. A mixture of tooth paste and engine oil." "You know what's great against hangovers? Raw young jackfruit."
Local Poison Fascination
Closely related to the Chili Brag Craze, only more concerned with the intensity of Mekong Whisky, Ouzo, Boukha, Mescal, Arak, Pastis, Aguardiente, Aquavit, Obstler, Slivovic, Bundaberg, Raki and other hangovers. Raw young jackfruit may be in short supply the day after.
Should be on 1, really. Because, well, it's true, innit? Don't YOU want to get back out there?!? That's what I'm saying, man, that's what I'm saying.
no sh*tting in the toilet
Weird Foods of the World
Rune's Barf Bag Collection
A Phrasebook for Budget Travellers
Toilets of the World
Rude Place Names