Subtitle: Can we please be civilized travelers?
Sorry if you were led here by the title but I won’t be sharing any sex-on-the-beach gone wrong stories or anything as scandalous as that.
Instead, I will rant about tourons (tourist+moron)–thanks to LandLoper Matt for teaching me this term.
The title of this post came from a conversation I overheard. A local in Vietnam was telling visitors that some tourists would party on the beach at night, get really drunk and pass out on the sand and then hump each other (he used the better word “make love”) during sunrise.
Before I get into the story of my personal experience of meeting unruly travelers, here’s the travel tips I promised:
- The “Dos & Don’ts” section in your Lonely Planet is not used to add weight to your guidebook. Read the chapter for Flying Spaghetti Monster‘s sake.
- Respect the local culture and don’t do things you won’t do in front of your grandma in front of locals.
- Just because you are excited being at a new place, please don’t shout your satisfaction to your fellow travelers.
- Stand on the right side of the escalator. No, not the side of your right hand, the correct side which is the side most locals are standing at.
- Be polite. Remember, it’s you who’s visiting their country so be respectful.
- Lastly, yes. you are allowed to have sex on the beach but please find a secluded area and not hump like wild dogs in public.
Back to the main pointThis post is inspired by a scene I saw at Cua Dai beach:
Picture this: A drunk young person with a buzzcut, who I think is called Allan, was making a fool of himself by first shouting at his drunk sleeping friend Charlie and then walking in a zigzag line into the sea. He proceeded to manhandle a fellow girl traveller–let’s call her B–in what is mistaken as an act of courtship (it’s about hamsters though).
In the sea was also D who probably felt left out from the manhandling was also shouting a lot while flapping around in the sea. Girl, you do not get attention that way and he’s not worth it.
The locals (and I) were sneaking peeks at the rowdy foreigners. It didn’t feel very comfortable watching these people being less than human.
Later, the gang picked themselves up (not very successfully) and headed back. I was also going to cycle back so I eavesdropped on Allan and B’s conversation at the bike parking lot.
–You are a beautiful girl. Something something something.
–Aww, you’re so sweet.
B seemed like the only not drunk person which signals being level headed so I wanted to shake her to say: “Why would you believe a drunk?” Of course I didn’t.
B had a bicycle and wanted to ride back but Allan insisted he ride. I didn’t think he was sober enough to cycle and true to that, Allan also managed to fall off his bike, scraping some skin and brusing his ego.
While I was pedalling back, I saw Allan brought back on a motorbike with two other people while B cycled a long way behind them.
Besides Allan’s friends Charlie who was drunk on the beach. Another girl slept on the pavement in front of a hotel while Allan and B were speaking to each other.
The scene was really disgusting.
‘I pity the fool’
Is there something about being away from home that makes some travellers uncouth? Does being in a foreign country means that the rules and social etiquette at home do not apply anymore?
Guardian has an article of this phenomenon happening in Vang Vieng. Things are not pretty there, some broken limbs and cracked heads (not to be confused with crackheads).
“It’s pure Darwinism,” says backpacking travel expert Stuart McDonald, a regular visitor to Laos and the Australian founder of travelfish.org. “If kids keep getting tanked and jumping off trees or ropes, they’re going to keep dying.”
Perhaps going on the road less travelled means I won’t meet with such travellers.