Ok, so I like travelling. Reading this blog, you already know that. And I promise I will not repeat it (too often). 🙂
But there are still some things I hate about travelling. Here is my top ten of things that annoy the hell out of me when I travel:
- Tea – actually rather the absence of real tea – on the airplane, in cafes and in restaurants (even good ones), where they give you the choice between green (or worse – cheap green tea with mint) and black or fruit tea… A corollary to this are places where they serve tea bags in a splash of water in tiny espresso cups. That should be a crime. No, that actually IS a crime. On this note, my biggest disappointment was not being able to get a good tea in Busan, Korea. They all drank Starbucks coffee ! To be on the safe side, I carry a private stash of quality Ceylon tea with me at all times – sometime also loose tea and tea bags, to make sure I can actually enjoy the drink.
- Air travel – it used to be an exclusive, uplifting experience. You would dress up, go to the airport that looked something vaguely reminiscent of a travel cathedral… You boarded a plane and you got a nice drink and a good meal, along with smiles from the staff. Today it’s a hassle, not much better than a bus (actually some of the buses are nicer and have wifi now I hear). Seats getting smaller, people are rude (staff as well, but I don’t really blame them considering how the passengers behave), comfort has declined. I refuse to travel of low-cost airlines. They treat people like cattle. I am afraid that soon I they will start charging for the toilet or even for emergency oxygen…
- People clapping on airplanes, people constantly talking on the phone on the train, loud music from a neighbour’s headphones, “elbow” invaders, snoring on long haul flights when you are trying to sleep. Enough said.
- The annoying tourists – those that want everywhere to be like home – people who eat/drink/ask for the same food, drinks that they are used to at home and refuse to try anything local. The Americans that only eat at TGI Friday’s or MacDonalds in Europe. This includes people who don’t speak the language of the country and think that no one understands their rude comments that they deliver very loudly in crowded places. People who dress or behave inappropriately – women in short skirt and bikini tops and men in shorts or baseball caps in churches or temples.
- Selfies and “selfie sticks”… I have the urge to grab the sticks and beat those unfortunate souls to death with them…Very. difficult. to. control… Another annoying category are people taking photos with their iPads. Oh, thank you, Great iPad Master, for blocking the view for everyone else so that we can see that you own an Apple product!
- Garbage – there seems to be a plastic bag, a beer can and some trash everywhere I go lately… even the most “romantic” wild places, beach, forest. Maybe it’s time I went to Singapore for a bit… 🙂 The worst is when I see someone throwing thrash on the floor, on the street or outside the car window on the highway (oh yes, still happens). I have been known to go and ask them to clean after themselves. Similar annoyance occurs when people eat in a self-service and leave the trash on the table when there are places to clear your tray nearby. Really gets to me.
- The dark side of globalisation – you can probably buy a coke, a 50 shades of grey book and a Justin Bieber album everywhere or almost everywhere. Can be useful, but can get annoying if you don’t actually like that kind of thing. I don’t.
- Authenticity transformed into “marketable folklore” such as false Massaï warriors on the beach in Malindi, “Montmartre” paintings painted in China (by a poor guy who has never seen the Sacre Coeur other than on a picture, but paints 10 for 2 euros everyday), Czech crystal or Murano glass made in China by the dozen and sold by expensive boutiques at tourist spots.
- Air conditioning – I like hot weather more than I like cold. But today, when you travel somewhere hot, you risk catching a cold, because all the air-conditioning is on all the time – in the airport, on the plane, on the train, in the taxis, in the buses, in the hotel, in the offices when I go somewhere for work… My sinuses suffer and I keep switching it off.
- Padlock mania and graffiti – in Czech there is a saying – “jména hloupých na všech sloupích” (the names of the idiots are on all the pillars – in Czech it rhymes nicely). I know that this is a natural tendency of the human being – to leave its mark – and that archeologists have found some graffiti even inside some pyramids (left by the builders). But scratching your name or the one of your current girlfriend in a cactus on a hill above Split, on a centuries old church bench in Bavaria or on a padlock stuck on a chicken wire fence on the Pont des Arts in Paris is just – plain – dumb.
What are your pet peeves when travelling ? Looking forward to other rants and suggestions in comments.