Indo Hustle, A Critique
Trip Start Mar 17, 2010
22Trip End Mar 17, 2011
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There's something I want to get off my chest here, because my quest for even-temperedness and balance denies me an outlet in the real world.
So allow me to bend your ears, my delicious little narwhals, for I have something to say to some of the people I've met on the road so far:
Shut the fuck up, you cheap, bitchy Western fucks.
Let's get something nice and sparkling clear. I am traveling as budget as I want to. Which mostly means eight-dollar hotel rooms, and five-dollar meals. I am not traveling luxe, and I enjoy the fantasy of stretching out my trip as long as I can. I count my change, always barter, and tend to cut a pretty good deal by most traveler's standards. But every time I travel with a group of more than two people, I inevitably meet up with The Hardened, Professional Traveler ™; this is the person who will bitch and whine and hassle the locals yet see themselves as 'bartering'. The Hardened, Professional Traveler ™ is the person to whom every accident and mishap they suffer is part of a looming conspiracy. This is the person who will spent an hour trying to whittle down a street vendor's price by an amount of money barely comparable to bus fare at home.
The Hardened, Professional Traveler ™ is always surrounded by conniving enemies, day in and day out. They spend their hard-earned vacation time oscillating between feelings of anger and self-pity, with the added bonus of making everyone around them unhappy and tense.
I just want to say fuck you, Hardened, Professional Traveler ™
I am well aware that I get cheated occasionally, but I also try to keep in mind whose country I'm in, what the average local earns in a month, and how foolish bules are with their money. If you want to spend less, bargain more. If you don't want to risk being cheated, go home. Being cheated is your own responsibility; it means you lost a game that you willingly chose to play. A lot of Westerners seem to forget that the main reason they're on holiday in Southeast Asia is so THEY can exploit INDONESIANS. Where else can you get a professional massage for five dollars? A tattoo for fifteen? A four star hotel for twenty-five.
The Hardened, Professional Traveler ™ needs to get off their high horse and acknowledge that for every time a local gets the better of them, they've gotten the better of a local a hundred times.
As westerners, we are all incredibly, incredibly lucky, and privileged. At the very least, we have a responsibility to be graceful about it.