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People you don’t want to meet on holiday

(weekend blog)

I don’t have any good stories this weekend. So I’ve ‘borrowed’ and adapted the stuff below from someone else’s blog. I suspect they probably ‘borrowed’ it from some other person’s blog who probably ‘borrowed’ it from yet another blog and so on and so forth. The blogging world is a brutal place.

*Disclaimer; these views are for entertainment purposes only.

When you’re on holiday, there are certain stereotypes that you go out of your way to avoid and who you would happily see being devoured by sharks.

1. Barstool Philosophers

Usually managing to make Keith Richards look healthy and nursing their happy-hour beer till it virtually evaporates, these fountains of faux-wisdom are often in the final years of their lives (not a bad thing from a world view perspective):

old-men4

For the price of a fresh beer or a short, or sometimes just because they think you need to hear about their decades of experience in Pattaya/Sihanoukville/Insert sleazy resort of choice here, these alcoholic versions of the Oracle at Delphi know everything you will ever need to know about relationships, visas, the locals, dealing with police, which bars have the best happy hours, running a business (they have likely failed at several), where to go for a full English/Aussie pie/burger, quantum physics, and a whole plethora of other mind-numbingly uninteresting facts, figures, and anecdotes. Ok, maybe not the quantum physics, but you get my drift. The ironic thing is, despite their lengthy time in the country, these sages rarely speak more than a smattering of local phrases, and those tend to be ones that can be used for purchasing either alcohol or sex. If you find yourself stuck beside one of these geriatric argle-bargles, then quickly finish your drink and escape. Irritation factor: 8/10

2. Special forces operatives or Crims on the run

Another common species found throughout the world’s holiday spots, they suffer from severe cases of Walter Mitty Syndrome. Get stuck next to one of these creatures and they will regale you with their convoluted tales of a life in organised crime (or sniper duty in Iraq) and how they used their brains to evade the forces of law and order (or the Taliban):shark-man-pattaya1

They will let you take away the impression that they are war heroes or major underworld figures with a price on their head. They will pepper their stories with dashes of colour in the form of shoot-outs while hopelessly outnumbered by fierce guerrillas or with gangland figures (whose names they have harvested from old news stories) or tell grand tales of living la vida loca that involves nubile women who happen to be contortionists, piles of cocaine Tony Montana would run from, and yachts more often seen in the marinas of Monaco. The (sad) reality is that the only wars they have been in were when drunk in various bars, their true criminal record amounts to shoplifting in Woolworths when they were 14, and the only nubile woman they have ever encountered charged by the hour. (In case you were wondering, the guy in the picture is actually a real tough guy, is known as ‘Sharky’ and is a former loan shark from Australia’s Gold Coast and definitely someone to be avoided) Irritation factor: 7/10

3. The Trust Fund Twatpacker

Whereas most backpackers are on a real budget, these trusties are on an imagined budget. Often with names like Tristan or Gabriella, these are the privileged few, armed with top-of-the-range rucksacks, $200 sandals, obligatory rebellious piercing, and the inevitable ‘emergency’ debit/credit card from mummy/daddy:

backpacker-money

Their trip is usually part of the last fling gap year before going on to a high-level university then a job in the city/media/pr/managing the family estate. They have spent some pre-trip time religiously learning some local phrases so they can “…blend in with the natives, yah” and have memorised all relevant pages of their copy of the Lonely Planet guide. They’re the first to hit the markets after arrival and buy some of what they think is local garb, particularly those awful jasmine/elephant pants that deserve to be doused in gasoline at the earliest opportunity. They are also most likely to cover themselves in fluorescent body paint and spend 12 hours dancing to the boredom that is psytrance. Irritation factor: 8/10

4. Chinese tourists

The simple fact is that your average Chinese tourist is an absolute nightmare. They waddle around in huge groups forcing everyone else out of the way. Spitting and blowing their snot out at some of the world’s best-loved tourist attractions, pushing other tourists aside so they can take their pictures (even though they all look the same), attacking buffets like crazed herds of velociraptors, bussed around in convoys of pollution-belching coaches and showing a total lack of respect for local ways or customs (though this latter one can be a feature of many tourists). But just why are they so bad?

Lots of theories have been put forward, from lack of education among middle-aged Chinese, no awareness of other cultures, a (well-founded?) belief that soon they’ll take over the world, right through to the perhaps overly simplistic explanation, “They’re Chinese.”

If you see a large group approaching – and they only and always travel in large groups…run! Irritation factor: 5/10

5. The Ecowarrior Vegan Pansexual Minstrel

This group are the backpacker equivalent of Jehovah’s Witnesses on a crack/acid cocktail, only this group smells bad, very bad, “Because washing damages mother earth, man”. They’re out to save the planet in any way they can, though they do seem to have conveniently forgotten the carbon footprints they left in getting wherever they are:

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They will all get tattoos while travelling because “this country has left its mark on my soul, man” and the majority will have dreadlocks, though usually temporary ones. Often found with a guitar or didgeridoo, they will regale you with tales of their journey upriver and how they communed with nature and the spirits of the forest. Popular phrases amongst this group include; “I’m here to find myself”, “That’s so deep, man”, “The Goddess will be a gateway to high-frequency fulfilment”, “The grid is calling to you via a resonance cascade”, “Consciousness consists of meridians of quantum energy”, and “Eons from now, we warriors will heal like never before as we are aligned by the dreamtime.” They will quote Paulo Coelho, Rumi, and Russel Brand at you…incessantly. They will also all either have a personal shaman or they are one, and will gladly tell you of their amaaaaazing ayahuasca experience in the Venezuelan rainforests. Don’t ever mention to this group that you are against animal cruelty but still eat meat or you will be subjected to a 12 hour Billy Graham style sermon on why you can’t be both. If you end up with one of this group next to you, there are various tactics you can employ, including ordering a steak, offering them soap, spraying them with a chemical insect repellent, or simply shooting them in the head. Irritation factor: 11/10

 6. The Travel Blogger

Since the spread of smart phones and social media, suddenly everyone and their Auntie Mable seem to have travel blogs. Some can be quite informative, but most are utter drivel. How do you spot these creatures if you are out and about?travel-blogger-ocean

Well, much like vegans, this group seem to suffer from some form of compulsive behaviour that means they have to tell you they are a travel blogger, usually followed by how many hits last week’s blog on the Ko Pha-Ngan full moon party got or how many retweets, shares on Facebook etc. etc. They come in all physical types, nationalities, class types, and backgrounds, but you can usually spot them at your favourite beach bar or restaurant frantically typing away on their laptop as they update their 17 regular visitors on just how fresh the shrimp is on this beach compared to the last beach. Irritation factor: 5/10

7. The Voluntourist

These are nearly always Guardian readers from affluent UK suburbs (or the equivalent in other countries), who wear green wellington boots, recycle their waste religiously, and have a standing order from their bank to Greenpeace or whichever good cause is the current flavour of the day:

 n-voluntourism-large570

There are many companies which capitalise on voluntourism by charging silly prices. Unless you are bringing very specific skills to the table which will make a real and tangible difference to the locals, then your few weeks of narcissistic, self-regarding supposed ‘volunteering’ achieves very little other than patting yourself on the back and giving yourself almost endless photo opportunities of yourself with grateful locals. You may have good intentions but honestly, no, stop it, go and lie on a beach instead and, when you get back home, why not find a local good cause that could do with help and volunteer some time there EVERY week. There is also the consideration, when the charity/NGO project involves children, that you can do more harm than good. Such short term interventions, no matter how honourable your intent, can in fact cause psychological harm to what is likely a vulnerable group. Irritation factor: 7/10

8. The Hipster. 

This is a worldwide scourge that needs exterminating as soon as possible:

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With their carefully coiffured beards, their stupidly retro dungaree shorts, checked shirts that belong in a Canadian lumber camp, and their obscure and esoteric tattoos that only tell us how much of a dick they are, this is one trend that will ideally die out sooner rather than later. Now combine those hipsters with backpackers (hippackers?) and you have a creature that is crying out for a continual slapping. If you find yourself in the company of one of these people the best course of action is “exterminate, exterminate” (as the Daleks suggested). Irritation factor: 14/10

2 comments to People you don’t want to meet on holiday

  • loppoman

    Nr. 4 everywhere you go.
    Block the pavements and photograph everything.

  • william boreham

    I came across this piece written by a Wes Siler.
    He runs an ‘IndefinitelyWild, Outside’s lifestyle column telling the story of adventure-travel in the outdoors, the vehicles and gear that get us there, and the people we meet along the way. You may recognize Wes from such websites as Jalopnik, Gizmodo, and Hell For Leather, where he used to review cars and motorcycles, and share his various misadventures, outdoors and otherwise. Wes lives in Montana with his partner Virginia McQueen, and their dogs, Wiley, Bowie, and Teddy.’

    “I’ve always struggled to combine the idea of personal responsibility with the overwhelming need for human society to address the threat posed by climate change. Since at least the 1970s, the massive energy corporations responsible for the vast majority of our carbon emissions have known about, and done nothing to mitigate, the harm they cause. Because they own politicians worldwide, there doesn’t appear to be any will to take government-level action. But I’m supposed to turn off a light? What possible impact could that ever have? And why is all this on my shoulders and not theirs? 
    When I got engaged, my fiancée, Virginia, and I started planning for the future. It wasn’t just my dog Wiley and me against the world anymore. All of a sudden, I started thinking ten to 20 or more years ahead. 
    Children are an obvious thing to plan. With a sudden focus on responsible decision-making, it no longer made sense to leave hypothetical future offspring up to chance. When should we have them? What did our careers look like on that timeline? Who’d be responsible for staying home and raising them? Couldn’t we just have one of the dogs do that?
    We got engaged in June 2018, a couple months before a wildfire destroyed an entire town in California and another one wiped out sections of Malibu. Shortly after that, most of the Mississippi River basin flooded, something that might be the new normal, virtually eliminating the future for industrial agriculture throughout a region that produces much of this nation’s food. And, of course, the whole Donald Trump thing has been going on.
    Is this a world we want to bring kids into? Is this a world it’s responsible to bring kids into? 
    It looks like the pace of climate change is speeding ahead of science’s ability to understand or forecast it. Thinking about hypothetical Wes Jr.’s life as far into the future as I’ve already lived—38 years—it’s tempting to try to forecast stuff like so many feet of sea-level rise or the extinction of some keystone species. But that may not be possible. The future might be worse than any of us currently fear. 
    Then Virginia and I started talking about something we could do—for ourselves and to make a meaningful impact on the bigger problem. We could just forego the whole kid thing altogether. 
    The image of personal climate change action doesn’t really match the reality. If I gave up my 15 mpg pickup truck—basically the mascot for climate inaction—and rode my bicycle everywhere, I’d save the planet 2.4 tons of carbon emissions a year. That’d be a massive sacrifice, but it’s nowhere near the carbon emissions I’ll save by skipping becoming a daddy, which comes in at around 58 tons annually, per kid. Any other action we could take, even all the actions we could ever possibly add up together, pale in comparison. 
    That’s because there are simply too many humans on this planet. We’ve all been told that driving an electric car or putting solar panels on our roofs will help, but that involves buying more stuff, which has a terrible impact on the environment, no matter how green the image. Two people deciding to make fewer humans eliminates the entire cycle of consumption that would fuel that kid’s life. 
    All those people ultimately represent the greatest climate change–related threat. Burning forests and flooded beach houses are sad and all, but it’s the human conflict created by dwindling resources needed to sustain the population that stands to really change life on this planet. We’re already fighting wars for oil. Many think wars for water will be next, and those are going to hit closer to home.
    So, we’re not having kids. I found a colleague’s brother here in Bozeman who performs vasectomies and made an appointment. I was afraid of getting my scrotum operated on, but the procedure ended up being quicker and less invasive than most dental appointments. I took off my pants, laid on a bed, received a local anesthetic, chatted with the doctor while he made a few incisions, then got a ride home. Once the anesthetic wore off, it felt like someone had kicked me in the balls pretty good, a feeling that dissipated over the next seven days. I took a Valium before the surgery and a few handfuls of ibuprofen afterward but otherwise didn’t need painkillers or even an ice pack. The worst part was taking a week off from the gym; I’d been making good progress. 
    It might not be enough to save the polar bear, and it might not prevent the next Camp Fire, but this is the absolute biggest difference we can make. We need fewer humans, and getting there voluntarily will be an awful lot less painful than doing it with war, famine, and natural disaster.”
    What a jerk!

    A reply from the one and only Mark Steyn:

    “To quote a line from America Alone: “The future belongs to those who show up.” And, while eugenics is universally condemned as morally repugnant, self-eugenics is an idea we can all get behind. Step forward the “Indefinitely Wild” columnist of Outside magazine, Wes Siler:
    I Got a Vasectomy Because of Climate Change
    Getting one was, by far, the most powerful personal action I could take for our planet
    Mr Siler claims to be 38 years old, notwithstanding the prose style of an overwrought pre-pubescent. And he cannot stand idly by procreating while the planet burns. Greater love hath no man than to lay down his sperm for the remnants of Malibu:
    We got engaged in June 2018, a couple months before a wildfire destroyed an entire town in California and another one wiped out sections of Malibu. Shortly after that, most of the Mississippi River basin flooded, something that might be the new normal, virtually eliminating the future for industrial agriculture throughout a region that produces much of this nation’s food. And, of course, the whole Donald Trump thing has been going on.
    Is this a world we want to bring kids into? Is this a world it’s responsible to bring kids into?
    So:
    I was afraid of getting my scrotum operated on, but the procedure ended up being quicker and less invasive than most dental appointments. I took off my pants, laid on a bed, received a local anesthetic, chatted with the doctor while he made a few incisions, then got a ride home. Once the anesthetic wore off, it felt like someone had kicked me in the balls pretty good, a feeling that dissipated over the next seven days. I took a Valium before the surgery and a few handfuls of ibuprofen afterward but otherwise didn’t need painkillers or even an ice pack. The worst part was taking a week off from the gym; I’d been making good progress.
    It might not be enough to save the polar bear, and it might not prevent the next Camp Fire, but this is the absolute biggest difference we can make.
    In fact, “the absolute biggest difference” you could make would be to kill yourself right now – rather than merely tossing your unborn children into the infernos of California. Alas, the self-extinction movement has not yet reached that stage of despair, although we should certainly encourage them to follow the necessary logic of their epocalyptic torments. For the moment (and, again, as I wrote in America Alone) contemporary progressivism has “adopted a twenty-first-century variation on the strategy of the Shakers, who were forbidden from reproducing and thus could increase their numbers only by conversion”.
    As you might have noticed, there aren’t a lot of Shakers around today. Will there be a lot of anguished environmentalists around once every Wes Siler reader has had his scrotum anesthetized?
    No. But at least they’ll have saved the planet, right?
    Doubtful. Mr Siler notes that every little baby Siler comes with a price tag of 58 tons of carbon emissions per year. But that’s because he’s American. Mr and Mrs Siler could move to Somalia and have thirty kids for the carbon footprint of one Yank moppet. So why are the same people who lecture us that we only have twelve years to save the planet in favor of every Somali moving to Maine or Minnesota and acquiring a western-sized carbon payload?
    Mr Siler claims to be anesthetizing his scrotum in part because of “the whole Donald Trump thing”, including presumably the alleged confiscation of children at the southern border. If families are leading to the destruction of the Mississippi River basin, why does Mr Siler not support sending all those photogenic caged urchins back to the low-emission nations whence they came? Instead, the Sierra Club, for example, is gung-ho for open borders. What’s the point of Wes Siler taking a can opener to his scrotum when eighty per cent of US population growth is due to immigration? The exhibitionist virtual-suttee – the piling up of unborn heirs on one’s own funeral pyre – is just narcissistic posturing as long as you support mass migration to the developed world.
    So the planet does not need Mr Siler’s vasectomy, courageous though he thinks he is. Most of the western world – German, Japan, Greece, Italy – is already mired in what demographers call “lowest-low” fertility rates from which no society in human history has ever recovered. Yet, instead of crowing about their environmentally responsible self-extinction, they persist in importing millions of people to be the children they couldn’t be bothered having themselves – and with First World carbon footprints to boot.
    In fairness to my old chum Alex Renton, he did at least tiptoe round the contradictions:
    By today’s standards, a cull of Australians or Americans would be at least 60 times as productive as one of Bangladeshis… As Rachel Baird, who works on climate change for Christian Aid, says: “Often in the countries where the birth rate is highest, emissions are so low that they are not even measurable. Look at Burkina Faso.” So why ask them to pay in unborn children for our profligacy..?
    After all, based on current emissions and life expectancy, one less British child would permit some 30 women in sub-Saharan Africa to have a baby and still leave the planet a cleaner place.
    Except, of course, that sub-Saharan Africa can’t support its present population, so most of those thirty babies will be figuring on heading north and getting a piece of that high-emissions lifestyle. As for “leaving the planet a cleaner place”, best of luck to Mother Nature when she’s dependent on the environmental stewardship of the Chinese Polluteburo, who’ve turned the Yangtze into the world’s longest unpumped septic tank, or the various transient presidents-for-life presiding over the teeming coastal megalopolises of West Africa.
    Gosh, you’d almost think Wes Silver was a solipsistic nincompoop who’s never given much thought to anything beyond the poseur environmentalism that plays so well at dinner parties. To modify St Augustine:
    O Lord, make me suicidal …but not yet.”

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