lolamatopoeia: (sideview)
[personal profile] lolamatopoeia
Today was just an in between, kind of recovery day. The aim was to go tubing - the big attraction in this town - but we got up late (definitely needed it though after a long time in transit) in our almost too luxuriously comfortable guesthouse. We had to get a bunch of things sorted around town today and just didn't end up with enough time. We did, however, have enough time to book our eco tour for tomorrow - a day of kayaking and caving - and become extremely uncomfortable and conflicted about being tourists in this town. As I wrote earlier, this town is peculiar in that it is the most beautiful setting that I have ever been in but the tourists outnumber the locals and some of the people visiting here are kind of just assholes. It seems this town is set up entirely to cater to the foreigners - and unfortunately mainly to the drunken and disrespectful, party time kind. I stood on a corner for a good twenty minutes waiting for Bianca to come back from the bank and there were 4 separate bar televisions blasting episodes of "Friends", and two showing "Family Guy" to the tourists nursing their hangovers. I saw so many young shirtless and barefooted groups of men yelling curse words, swinging beer bottles, and stumbling down the street and several girls strolling around in just their bikinis. It makes me extremely uncomfortable to be here and a little ashamed to be a tourist. This place is so goddamn beautiful, it's just awful that it has become so exploited. We really wanted to go out and socialize and meet people today and this evening, but I don't know. I'm conflicted. I can't write it enough that this is such a beautiful place, it's just a shame about what it has become for the sake of what seems like babysitting drunk tourists. I don't know, maybe I'd feel better about it if I were with my friends here right now. We would be having a blast. This town makes me miss them. Or, maybe I should just have a fucking drink.

Date: 2009-07-23 10:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hmmn. This is why I refuse to go to Bali or Fiji or any of the other nearby countries that seem to have become 'playgrounds' for Australians in particular. I can very much understand why you'd be uncomfortable in that kind of place, and also how emberassing it can be.

In terms of you being part of the problem... I don't know, I guess what I'd consider is what the people in that area would be doing (or able to do) if there wasn't a tourist industry (no matter how bodgy). Would they have to move to a city or larger town to seek work? Would there be a higher rate of poverty? I don't think that excuses the bad behaviour of foreign (and in particular Western, I think) tourists. However, you aren't like them and I'm sure the people there do notice it. The issues that need fixing, the issues that create that kind of situation, are global and not easily fixed- which doesn't mean you shouldn't notice it, or care about it, but I wouldn't honestly consider you as 'part of the problem'.

Date: 2009-07-24 01:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The fact that you notice and are offended by the behaviors of these other people indicates that you are a traveler- not a tourist. An important distinction.


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