A chronicle of Alison and Ron's trip around the world in 2009-2010.


"Not all those who wander are lost"
- Tolkien

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jaded in the City

One of the downsides of this trip is having to deal with touts, drug dealers, and other unsavory sorts on a daily basis. We have been forced to learn the ins and outs and always remain vigilant. Some will catch you off guard. Saunter up to you in a business suit and nonchalantly whisper, “ You want marijuana? …hashish? …mdma? ….cocaine? …brown sugar? …you-name-it, what do you like?“ They are well diversified in product with a virtual drugstore beneath their tailor-made coat. The perfect response to this question is: “I don’t do drugs” which will thankfully end the conversation. A drug dealer knows not what to do when faced with someone who does not partake : no ailment to relieve, nor thrill to be had.

Even if we did want drugs, there are way too many reports of tourists being entrapped by police in cahoots with the dealers and, more importantly, I promised my Dad at least a hundred times that I wouldn't end up in a Thai prison. Needless to say, we were very good boys and girls.

To the rickshaws and taxi drivers pressuring us for a ride, we respond: “I need some exercise“. To the silk salesman and “come see my shop” guys we save them face and promise to stop by later.

Unfortunately there is no good response to the absolute most frequent bombardment which occurs maybe fifty to sixty times a day: “Hey! What’s your name? Where are you from?” You can’t play dumb, obviously we are Western, and look like Americans or Canadians or Brits. You can’t lie, how would that help. And you can’t be silent. because that will beg the question again and again and again. If anyone has a good way to defuse this fake conversation starter please let me know.

Sometimes it can be so maddening. With every new unsolicited interaction it builds and bubbles and simmers until I want to scream at the top of my lungs:

NO WE DON’T WANT ANY DRUGS OR SEXY SEXY ALL NIGHT OR TO STAY IN YOUR SHITTY GUESTHOUSE AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO WE WANT TO GET IN YOUR FUCKING TUK-TUK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then maybe, just maybe, we can keep walking and save everyone the time and hassle. Alright, so I’ve become a tad jaded and I assume that anyone who talks to us wants something. This has reached such epic proportions that sometimes I blurt, “No thank you!” before they even get a word out of their mouth. As we walked to dinner one night, I verbally karate chopped a guy who was merely pointing out some monkeys above us playing on the electrical lines. Okay, so not everyone wants our rupee, it just appears that way.

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