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Tourist Tyranny

November 9, 2012

Tourist tyranny


     I don’t travel much anymore.  Age, income and responsibilities tie me down, but I don’t think I’d go very far anyway, especially not to places ‘off the beaten track.’

     I’ve been to these places, especially in the Southeast Asian hills both in the military and as a civilian, to small towns and villages consisting of a huddle of three or four huts and just don’t like the impact my presence has had.  Everyone running around trying to get everything ready; desperate to look their best, to make a good impression, to feed you their best food.  Being a visitor is a major inconvenience to everyone involved and can even be a huge financial burden.  It always makes me feel like a total pain in the ass.

     I love these places away from the city, little bits of human endeavor surrounded by the mountains, shadowed by rain forest; people living hard, stretched out lives but still flashing those huge Asian smiles.  All trying so hard to do the right thing.  Because I love them so much I’ve decided not to bother them anymore, at least those few who remain.

     It is the great ambition of ‘explorers’ to find a place where no man has stepped before.  Then, of course, they go there and step all over it.  What arrogance.

     Coastal areas of every nation, the first, second and third worlds, have become a culture into themselves.  Visit a beach hotel in Phuket and you’ll find it has more in common with a beach hotel in Los Angeles than it does to the rest of Thailand.  The shorelines have become a culture into themselves.  Call it Hospitality Land.

     Tourism brings a lot of money to a lot of countries, it true, but it seems rather tawdry to me.  Rich people coming to impoverished countries to enjoy desperate people kissing their asses.  A shameful business.


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