Coming to Southeast Asia on holiday makes people do the funniest things
If there is one smart way to prepare for a holiday to Southeast Asia, it is listening to advice from people who have (a) never been to Southeast Asia and gleaned all their knowledge from blogs, most of them written by people who have (b) only been to Southeast Asia on package tours led by nervous, bespectacled women who panic when the coach stops 100 metres further down the road than planned. There are just so many things to be scared of in this exotic land, after all. Ice in your drink? Aaaagh! Pre-cut fruit? Noooo! Interaction with a local who isn’t a waiter? Ruuun! Mosquito in your room? I’ve got malaria! Street food? Bleeeuuurgh! Sound like you? Then it would genuinely be better for everyone if you never left your hotel.
Wear shocking swimwear:
Many a beach break has been rendered not suitable for children by the exotic swimwear choices of a certain breed of male. Contrary to the beliefs of most middle-aged Italians, the ideal accompaniment to the sensual pleasure of warm sand between the toes and the fizz of breaking waves is not a pair of baggy buttocks. Usually accompanied by a thin gold necklace, furry inner thighs and skin that has assumed the properties of a well-crafted satchel, the Speedo has only one rival in the beach atrocities arena: For reasons unknown to every right-thinking human being, the luminous thong is yet to become a cultural oddity from a bygone era.
Wear a bumbag:
The skinny jeans of your youth have been replaced by functional cargo pants with multiple pockets. Where once there was a Converse All Star, there is now a sock-and-sandal combo. While such sartorial selections are shorthand for advancing years, there is one final step that confirms it’s time to start thinking about a pension. The second that a bumbag so much as strokes your waist, that’s it. Of course, embracing this particular bum’s rush doesn’t mean your life is over, per se…
Get ripped off:
“Two hundred dollars for that three-centimetre-tall Buddha sculpted from a spectacularly unprecious stone, you say? Well then, you, my friend, have got yourself a deal!”
“What was that, unfathomably friendly stranger who just approached me in the street for no apparent reason? You’re wondering if I’d like to come back to your house to have dinner and then play a friendly game of cards? Yes please!”
“The meter in your taxi’s broken? How unfortunate. Perhaps the best thing to do, then, would be to negotiate a fare now despite my distinct lack of knowledge of both the surrounding area and the local currency. Oh, and there’s a convoluted one-way system that visitors have little chance of understanding, meaning all journeys take three times as long as might reasonably be expected? Let’s go!”
Take ‘the feet shot’:
There is nothing people like more than a fine pair of feet. Perhaps your arches are so perfectly arched that only the cognoscenti notice. Or your bone structure is so divine that fashion types swoon over your prominent metatarsals. Maybe your youthful ankles are the envy of your friends, staying pert and firm to the touch well into your middle years. Incorrect. Nobody wants to see photos of your feet. They’re disgusting. Even if you’re reclined on a flawless beach, with your excited toes wiggling in perfect golden sunlight, while a turquoise sea stretches off to the horizon and a rare sea turtle tends her recently hatched offspring in the surf, your feet are still disgusting. Do not photograph them. Ever.
“Top five: backpacker activities” – There are some things that travellers just love to do, and time spent “on the road” in Southeast Asia is the perfect opportunity for them to indulge their inner goon