The last two months of travel has really shown me how easy it is to traipse around certain parts of the world in a bubble. It’s a safe, risk-free and comfortable bubble but it’s a bubble nonetheless.
The rules are simple:
- stay within the tourist enclaves
- eat in tourist restaurants that cost at least five times as much and serve the same food everywhere but are at least more likely to be safe
- dont talk to any locals who approach you because they are likely to be scamsters, salesmen or worse and in the unlikely event that they arent, see rule 4
- dont talk to other travelers because what’s the point you’re not going to see them ever again anyway
- if the destination is too far, difficult, inconvenient or dangerous – dont bother
- go to as many sights as you can find in your guide book but make sure you follow the above rules
- except for “no” and “please go away”, dont learn the local language, most locals you do speak to will have english anyway (see rule 1, 3 and 5)
- learn just enough of the culture to know how not to offend anyone
- oh yeah, and most importantly – if it sounds too good to be true (including spontaneous offers of hospitality), it is
Still, having written all that, I’m looking forward to Dubai and East Africa. Go figure.