Author Archives | Brian

Shit I hate about travelers

As a traveler and, I guess, as a travel blogger I’m probably supposed to think that not only is travel awesome but that other travelers are awesome too. Mostly, I do. And yet there’s a surprisingly long list of things that I really dislike about many travelers – like when they pretend that they’re better than “tourists;” or when they talk about “the locals” as if they’re not people but just another attraction; or when they confuse rural with “real;” or use the word “authentic” like it means something. Those things are all modestly irksome.

But the thing I really detest is when travelers treat poverty and hardship as if it is something that needs to be preserved so that the rich can surround themselves with it while on vacation.

And if you think that doesn’t happen all you need to do is read through some of the tweets people unleashed after the U.S. announced it will normalize relations with Cuba.

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Why you can’t listen to anyone else about travel

Typical smiling faces in North Vietnam

We heard so many mixed things about Vietnam that we weren’t quite sure what to expect when we arrived. Some people spoke very highly of it. But even in those cases the endorsements were usually qualified, as in “I love Vietnam, but . . .” or “It’s beautiful, but . . .”

Other folks dispensed with the “buts” altogether, claiming that “the northern Vietnamese HATE westerners” at worst, or – at best – “they aren’t very friendly.” On one thing most people seemed to agree: “Everyone tries to rip you off in Vietnam.”

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Things to do (and not do) in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang at Night

Leafy green and surrounded by water, Luang Prabang in northern Laos mixes aging French Colonial architecture and resplendent Buddhist temples with a laidback atmosphere that begs you to linger. And that is exactly what we did, for nine straight days. During that time we discovered some of the ins and outs of this UNESCO World Heritage designated city and compiled them into a short list of things to do and not do when in Luang Prabang .

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Crossing the Nam Khan

Temporary bamboo bridge Luang Prabang, LaosOn our first day in Luang Prabang, Laos, we discovered these cool bamboo bridges that they erect over the Nam Khan river during the dry season when the water level is low.

So what’s a traveler to do when he finds a rickety looking bridge in a new town? Cross it, of course, to see what is on the other side.

 

 

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