I often like to get advice on things I want to do from those who might know something about it. It was great to catch up with James’ friend Kate recently, for example, because she gave me oodles of tips on where to go and what to see in China based on her extensive travels there last year.
So when I discovered today that a customer was originally from Shanghai, I didn’t hesitate to ask his opinion too. I don’t think he’d get a job with the China Tourist Board…
“Don’t talk to anyone, watch your money and camera VERY closely.”
“Take your own towel and toothbrush – don’t trust the ones in your hotel”.
Ïf someone walks up to you and offers you anything, just say no”.
“Never touch local women”.
I was quietly amused by his relentlessly negative viewpoint, so I pushed further by asking whether he’d been to the more remote provinces such as Yunnan that I intend to visit next year.
“Why would you want to go there?” he exclaimed. “Too poor, too dirty. Just visit the big cities, they’re okay, then come straight back to Australia. It’s much better here”.
His words have been taken on board, but I rather prefer Kate’s outlook. He makes China sound as inviting as a weekend with dysentery.
Well, the charm of a place is often wasted on the locals. Plus as a tourist you’re more likely to overlook some negatives in the excitement of new experiences. At least, that’s my experience. The guy I travelled around Europe with in my mid-twenties turned out to be one of those people that pretty much ONLY sees the negatives.
It’s strange how some people are only happy when they’re complaining, isn’t it?
Oh, don’t get me started. “You can’t get a decent cup of tea.”, “The locals are ignorant” (because they didn’t speak English), “I hate the French because of what they did during [insert name of ancient battle here]”… etc etc. Frankly, he should have stayed home and done Europe (and me) a favour. 🙂