A Rant: Travelers Who Really Piss Me Off

306 comments

Rant: Travelers Who Really Piss Me Off

I have to get a few things off my chest. I’ve been in Chiang Mai for a couple of months now and see tons of fellow tourists every day. And while the majority seem like pleasant, well-adjusted people, there are a few that are driving me absolutely insane. Here are a few of the worst types:

Mr. ‘Make Mine a Little Bit Spicy’
Rant: Travelers Who Really Piss Me OffI’ve seen this countless times, with the most recent instance involving a French tourist who was ordering a curry at a small Thai cafe. When asked if he wanted it spicy or not, he replied “yes, a little bit spicy”. It was, of course, too much for him and he spent the next ten minutes haranguing the poor waitress about how irresponsible she was to serve him such an outrageously hot meal.

‘A little bit’ is a completely useless phrase because there is absolutely no frame of reference — there is nothing to gauge against. Thais eat red hot coals for breakfast, so when the cook hears ‘a little bit spicy’ he thinks “Okay, I’ll use smaller coals”. If you can’t handle spicy food, don’t order it. Just lie when you go home and tell everyone about the amazingly spicy food you ate. No one will know.

The Backward Backpack Guy
There are times when it makes sense to wear your daypack backwards so that no one can open zippers or slice into it without you knowing. If you’re wading through a crowded train station full of pickpockets, it’s a smart move. But when you’re wandering through the sedate streets of a small town in Laos, wearing your pack on your chest sends a different message: “I’ve traveled thousands of miles to visit your country and learn about your culture, but I’ve already decided that you’re all thieving bastards”.

What are you carrying in there anyway? Gold bullion? Good luck meeting people with that attitude, touron.

Miss ‘Look at My Titties’
For the love of God, put some clothes on. The locals aren’t impressed by your ample cleavage or your tight shorts — they actually find it rude and disrespectful, so please save it for the beach. Just last week I saw a young woman in a Buddhist temple wearing a see-through mesh shirt with a lacy push-up bra underneath and shorts so tight that she was sporting not just a camel-toe but the whole hoof. The poor celibate monk across from her was working his prayer beads so fast it looked like he was twirling a lasso. They sounded like helicopter blades — if she’d bent over he would have left the ground.

And of course, this applies to men as well. Would you walk shirtless through downtown Manhattan? No? Then don’t do it in Bangkok, asshat. Don’t show me yours and I won’t show you mine.

Sex Tourists
Rant: Travelers Who Really Piss Me OffIf you’ve traveled to the developing world solely to hire prostitutes for the price of an Olive Garden dinner, please go stick your junk in a light socket right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

I’ve heard all of the arguments for such behavior: “It’s part of the culture”, “They need the money, so I’m helping out” and “Everyone does it”. These defenses are, of course, total bullshit.

You’re simply taking advantage of the fact that the hourly wage where you live is about ten times what it is here and in doing so, you’re exploiting a fellow human being in the most intimate way possible. I sincerely hope that your rash turns out to be more than ‘just a rash’.

Lithuanians
Okay, this one is going to take some explanation. I really don’t dislike Lithuanians — in fact, I’ve never met one — but I needed someone to pick on and poke fun at. I considered the French first, of course, but c’mon… a man needs a challenge. While researching the issue, I stumbled onto this entry in Wikipedia and knew that I had found my new comic foil:

“This small Baltic country was originally intended to be named “Lissuania” but the man who made the announcement had a severe speech impediment and no one realized it. Lithuanians are widely considered to be some of the rudest, most insensitive travelers and can be easily recognized while abroad due to the fact that they all wear smarmy little mustaches — even the women and children.”

Who am I to argue with Wikipedia? I mean, the greatest Lithuanian artist was named Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis — how weird is that?

When I presented this idea to my friends Shannon and Jodi, their reactions weren’t quite what I’d hoped for. Shannon hated the idea because her nephew is half-Lithuanian. My reply was something along the lines of “Yeah, but does he read my blog? I didn’t think so.”

Jodi protested for two reasons, the first being that it was rather mean-spirited and the second that it was just a stupid idea. I admit that I wavered in my convictions but the universe would soon prove me right.

The very next day, she stopped at her favorite local Thai restaurant to find a heated argument in progress. A Westerner was red-faced and screaming at a waitress, causing such a ruckus that the police had been called. When Jodi asked a server what was happening, he explained that the man and his family had eaten lunch –running up a whopping $6 tab– and he was demanding to pay by credit card. This was a small family-run, open-air cafe with plastic chairs and tables and they weren’t set up to take cards — only the largest tourist-oriented places have that capability.

As she went to leave, she asked where the irate man was from. The answer? “Lithuania”.

I rest my case.

{ 306 comments… read them below or add one }

tnations July 6, 2011 at 2:54 am

wow sounds like your having tons of fun cousin. been awhile since i looked at your blog. i guess the monk was not having very much fun. now i know not to travel there.

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C.T.J. Bush July 7, 2011 at 2:15 am

My biggest pet peeve concerns travel bloggers who are perfect and criticize other travelers’ personalities, choices, behaviors. Although, I agree sex tourists and under-dressed people are a pain in the fanny-pack.

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wes July 7, 2011 at 7:13 am

Yeah, I hate those guys too.

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Quincy July 7, 2011 at 8:31 am

Personally, I LOVE traveler blog comments that can seamlessly blend hypocrisy and humorlessness into the same assertion.

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Holden September 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

C.T.J. Bush is a horrendous douchebag and probably from Lithuania.

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The Travel Chica July 12, 2011 at 12:47 am

I love that you used the term “asshat” in this post :-)

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Liv July 12, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I stumbled on here via the 7 Links meme; glad I did. You’re a funny guy, Johnny. A funny guy.

Also, I hate tourist nudists, too. I’ll never understand what makes some people turn into absolute douches as soon as they leave their home turf.
Liv recently posted..Seven Links, Seven BlogsMy Profile

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Dave July 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Regarding the sex tourist comment: I don’t personally enjoy seeing them either but please understand that ALL the foreigner operated sex businesses you see is only 2% – 3% of the actual prostitution in Thailand. The rest is for Thai men. There is a report on this somewhere online and I can not find it at the moment.

Having lived in Thailand for 27 years and traveled to most cities and towns, I don’t doubt the report for a second. The amount of Thai on Thai prostitution across the country is mind boggling. It is even in the smallest villages and often controlled by the local police (the biggest mafia in Thailand), who usually are also involved with trafficking women from Laos and Burma into Thailand for sex and labor slavery.

To get to my point, it’s not “bull shit” in terms of it being part of their culture. It is deeply rooted here and dates back to the earliest kings.

Our western minds often have a difficult time understanding this, but to the Thais it is a way of life, and often being a prostitute is an accepted profession.

Once must truly leave their western mind set at home when traveling in Asia. Neither logic nor the basic human rights you and I know of and take for granted, exist.

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Pong September 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Hi Dave. I am a Thai and strongly disagree with your statement that prostitution is a way of life to the Thais and that it is an accepted profession.

Of course, I don’t deny the fact that prostitution is prevalent in Thailand. The Thais do not accept this profession and it is illegal in Thailand (it is true that police in most areas act like mafia and control brothels and casinos).

I can bet with you that if you go to red light districts in Bangkok or Pattaya, you will definitely see more foreign customers than Thai customers. I usually recommend my foreign friends who would like to travel to Thailand not to visit this kind of places if they are not interested in it. If foreigners walk past this area, they will definitely be called and offered something they may not want.

It is quite embarrassing for me as a Thai to know that a lot of guys travel far far away just to have sex with Thai ladies (who in Thais’ view are not that pretty).

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wes September 29, 2011 at 1:04 am

Well said, Pong.

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Dan August 4, 2011 at 3:37 am

Chill out on the sex tourism, everyone really does that, especially when your 40+ and divorced male that wants to get some hot thai girls.

They actually love the attention, and the money. So don’t worry for the girls, they will keep doing their job even without you and your fellow blog readers.

Prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, and deserves nothing but respect.

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Kendra Dumbledore October 20, 2011 at 3:06 am

My my Dan, could I talk your ear off about this. They do NOT love the attention, and the money is the only reason they are doing it. Otherwise they would starve. How about those who were kidnapped from Mae Sot? You know, the thousands of orphaned children who fled from the military dictatorship in Burma. They were stolen because no one cares about them. Their family is dead. They are sold into the sex industry and are forced to stay with disgusting foreigners who use and abuse them and don’t give a damn about their comfort. And the bonus? They don’t even get the money. They were stolen. I know many who live each day in fear of being stolen and sold for sex. So smarten up and realize that the whole world isn’t here to do whatever you want just because you’re divorced and life is terrible. Want to help them? Buy them food, don’t take their clothes off.

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Robert January 12, 2013 at 7:39 am

Well Said??? No she is offensive and the last sentence is simply stupid. Ask her why they aren’t pretty. I’ll answer – she a racist hi-so pretender and the girls are dark skinned.

Any hotel in large Thailand cities are surrounded by massage sex parlors and the clients are 99% Thai. Now the dark skin Thais she finds ugly have brothels galore. Thailand prostitution is predominately a “Thai” issue.

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wes January 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Pong said “who in Thais’ view are not that pretty”, which is true in my experience. There is a major cultural issue there where lighter skin is highly desired, so much so that Thai women have complained to me that they can’t get a retail job if they have dark skin. Right or wrong, it’s rather prevalent.

As for my “well said” comment, I was referring more to Pong’s comment that it was embarassing that Westerners travel halfway across the world solely for access to cheap prostitution.

Edgyjunecleaver January 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Dan you’re an asshat. The very same asshat Johhny refers to. Keep your dick at home please.

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Big Joe August 8, 2012 at 3:50 am

While it’s easy to jump all over Dan, the prostitution issue in Thailand isn’t as clear as black or white. First, while there are a large number of foreign sex tourists in the red light districts, there are far more Thai men discreetly visiting the massage parlors and brothels. Not that this makes it right.

That said, I’ve lived here for a long, long time and it takes two to tango. The Thai girls involved with the bar scene may not enjoy it, but many would rather work in a bar than in the rice fields or selling fruit or some other menial job. I can’t really blame them but then when they do work in the bar, many will blow their money on cell phones, gambling, boyfriends, gold and other non-necessities.

When visiting foreigners go to a club, for instance the Hard Rock, or one at RCA, these are not brothels or considered the red light district. Just like back home, he goes out, has a bit too much to drink and meets an attractive, sexy lady. They end up going out afterwards and then back to his hotel or apartment. They have sex, sleep and when she wakes up and wants to leave, she asks for money. This has happened to me many times. After the first few times I made it a point to ask if they were working or they just wanted to go home with me. Most said they didn’t want money. In the morning, they wanted cash. I’ve offered a few dollars for taxi and in every case, they’ve said, 200 baht isn’t enough, I need more. They want a couple thousand, “for taxi’s.”

Oh and Kendra – get real and stop believing the BS. The Thai and Burmese women “kidnapped” from Mae Sot, where I’ve been 5 or 6 times, generally go to brothels or massage parlors. They do not have much interaction with foreigners, it’s mainly with the Thai. Again, this doesn’t make it right but get your facts right because most of the girls in the bars are there because they want to make money! Also, I can tell you firsthand because I’ve been here for over 20 years and have been around the block, the majority of foreigners do not mistreat them, in fact they treat them better than the Thai men. And why are the foreigners disgusting? Because you don’t like the thought of them having sex with the women?

Kendra you remind me of a girl I met on a plane to Cambodia once. Eventually the subject got around to things to do in the country. She asked me if I was one of those sex tourists and I told her, “no, I have a Cambodian girlfriend – for four years.” But for whatever reason she wouldn’t let up and kept on about how bad it was. Jesus, there are alot of bad and negative things in the world. I do what I can to make it better and try not to let the rest get me down. Maybe you shouldn’t either Kendra.

If you don’t know the culture, it really isn’t fair to blame foreigners for wanting to have sex. The women want it too, although the working girls want it for money or a long-term hook-up.

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Big Joe August 8, 2012 at 3:50 am

While it’s easy to jump all over Dan, the prostitution issue in Thailand isn’t as clear as black or white. First, while there are a large number of foreign sex tourists in the red light districts, there are far more Thai men discreetly visiting the massage parlors and brothels. Not that this makes it right.

That said, I’ve lived here for a long, long time and it takes two to tango. The Thai girls involved with the bar scene may not enjoy it, but many would rather work in a bar than in the rice fields or selling fruit or some other menial job. I can’t really blame them but then when they do work in the bar, many will blow their money on cell phones, gambling, boyfriends, gold and other non-necessities.

When visiting foreigners go to a club, for instance the Hard Rock, or one at RCA, these are not brothels or considered the red light district. Just like back home, he goes out, has a bit too much to drink and meets an attractive, sexy lady. They end up going out afterwards and then back to his hotel or apartment. They have sex, sleep and when she wakes up and wants to leave, she asks for money. This has happened to me many times. After the first few times I made it a point to ask if they were working or they just wanted to go home with me. Most said they didn’t want money. In the morning, they wanted cash. I’ve offered a few dollars for taxi and in every case, they’ve said, 200 baht isn’t enough, I need more. They want a couple thousand, “for taxi’s.”

Oh and Kendra – get real and stop believing the BS. The Thai and Burmese women “kidnapped” from Mae Sot, where I’ve been 5 or 6 times, generally go to brothels or massage parlors. They do not have much interaction with foreigners, it’s mainly with the Thai. Again, this doesn’t make it right but get your facts right because most of the girls in the bars are there because they want to make money! Also, I can tell you firsthand because I’ve been here for over 20 years and have been around the block, the majority of foreigners do not mistreat them, in fact they treat them better than the Thai men. And why are the foreigners disgusting? Because you don’t like the thought of them having sex with the women?

Kendra you remind me of a girl I met on a plane to Cambodia once. Eventually the subject got around to things to do in the country. She asked me if I was one of those sex tourists and I told her, “no, I have a Cambodian girlfriend – for four years.” But for whatever reason she wouldn’t let up and kept on about how bad it was. Jesus, there are alot of bad and negative things in the world. I do what I can to make it better and try not to let the rest get me down. Maybe you shouldn’t either Kendra.

If you don’t know the culture, it really isn’t fair to blame foreigners for wanting to have sex. The women want it too, although the working girls want it for money or a long-term hook-up.

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Hoo Sze Ling August 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm

You crack me up!
Keep it up.

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rey August 24, 2011 at 4:43 am

Hey Dave, how would you feel if it were your sister or mom or niece who was forced into another country to get deeply rooted by ugly white guys?
Dan, what if it was your twelve year old daughter who was at the receiving end of some 40+ divorced male’s attention? They have billboard sized signs in Siem Reap asking foreigners to not sexually abuse the children living there. Do you think they’re just trying to curtail the kids’ fun?

Anyway, lots of good points. Saw an enormous guy, 300 pounds, about 6’4″, at the Petra visitor’s centre a couple of years ago. Shorts, sandals, nothing else. Sad. It only takes a bit of money to travel, no class required.

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Cal August 24, 2011 at 11:15 am

Wow. So much for live and let live. Just because you’ve been there for a few months doesn’t mean you’re any less of a backwards tourista.

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wes August 24, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Oh, I make no claims of not being an idiot. I think that comes through pretty well throughout the site. I don’t really hate Lithuanians. I do hate sex tourists. The post was written to get a laugh and it seemed to work for many people.

For the record, it’s actually 18 months not 3…

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sonia August 27, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I have never read blogs nor do I follow them; however, today I decided to check out yours since it is about tourism and photography tips. I have to admit it; it is great all around. Enjoyed the shocking observations and responses, and valued the photography and travel notes. Do you think you could write about how to travel on a budget to all the geo sites you have visited? It certainly would be very informative. Thanks

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Stu September 3, 2011 at 7:13 am

This blog made me laugh… and laugh…… I meet these people all the time, and I live in Chiang Mai! The Thais have special words for these kinds of people.. I dare not write them here……

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Chris Haughey October 7, 2011 at 2:46 am

Ha, I’m Mr. ‘Make Mine a Little Bit Spicy’!

Granted though I wouldn’t complain about it afterwards, I’d just suck it up like a real man!

I like spicy food, at least I think I do. I guess my upcoming trip will let me know just how much I like it.

Any ‘little bit spicy’ dishes you could recommend around thailand or vietnam?

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wes October 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Most thai food isn’t overly spicy — they expect you to add chili to your taste. Curries are always going to be a bit warm. I enjoyed Pad Ke Mao which is packed with chilis and garlic — yum!

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Joel Tillman October 17, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I’m not sure if you see much of this but in South Korea young and bold American soldiers have a tenacity to ruin it for the rest of us. They are fresh out of high school, don’t care about adapting to the culture they are stationed in, want to get drunk while causing a scene and are persistent to tell everyone why their culture is better than anyone else. It’s easy for us to generally identify who is a soldier and who is not by their haircut or body structure but most other Asians don’t know this like we do. *sigh*

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Kendra Dumbledore October 20, 2011 at 2:58 am

I’m so glad you said what you did about travelling for sex. It’s complete exploitation of women, and after working in the slums of Thailand I’ve had a better view, even worked with one girl who was 12 and found out later she was being sold to the red light district by her family because they are too poor to feed themselves. I hope things like that make people reconsider their trip plans.

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Kendra Dumbledore October 20, 2011 at 3:00 am

Oh and for all those going to Thailand that don’t like spicy food, say ‘my-pet’ I know that’s not the spelling, but that’s the pronunciation. It’s Thai for ‘no spicy.’
I used that phrase a lot while there.

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Josh November 3, 2011 at 1:37 am

Mai phet is the correct spelling and for those who won’t take Wes’ advice, nit noi pet is how you say little spicy

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Kathy November 22, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I hope you don’t mind, I enjoyed this post so much I linked my latest blog post to it under the keyword “obnoxious tourist.” You’re welcome to take a look at http://beyonddisneytraveltips.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/when-mild-is-spicy-and-now-is-later/. Please let me know if you’d like to me take down the link for any reason. Thanks for your posts – I always enjoy them!

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wes November 23, 2011 at 1:31 am

Thanks so much for the link! I Stumbled it as well.

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Paul in London November 23, 2011 at 12:03 am

Cmon, you ain’t even trying here.

What about all the new age dreadlocked types who think they ‘get it’ and you don’t? What about all the rich gap year kids? And the Israelis? Or the competitive travellers?

Personally I like meeting young travellers showing off their tits, and would laugh at some Frenchman on a chilli OD.

ps sometimes I wear my backpack across my front (not both straps mind! So more accurately under my arm) so that I can access my SLR camera much more quickly when shooting street photos…

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wes November 23, 2011 at 1:31 am

Yeah, I think a part 2 is definitely called for. I side-sling my pack sometimes for the same reason you mention — it works…

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Sergio Felix January 3, 2012 at 12:48 am

“A little bit spicy”…

Yeah, that doesn’t works out at all here in Mexico either.

My brother in law is from Holland and whenever his family comes over and we take them to have traditional mexican food or seafood, they already know that going for the NO HOT dishes is their safest and smartest choice.

A few of them actually like the hot dishes now but it certainly took some time for them to get used to eating them LOL

Sergio

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wes January 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I love spicy food and have yet to run into anything too challenging here. But Thailand is a whole different animal — some dishes or sauces are dynamite…

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PurpleYam January 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm

I once ate lunch with a Thai friend when we left the eatery, she sighed and said she forgot to eat her snack, she took out a tissue paper in her pocket, in it was 6 pcs of bird’s eye chili. She munched on them like it was baby carrots.

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Mantas January 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Being a Lithuanian myself, I was researching your blog to get some tips for my upcoming trip to Thailand. I was just going through the list, agreeing with pretty much everything, before I found Lithuanians on it, just after sex tourists. I just couldn’t believe it, I mean what are the chances??? It’s a country of only 3m people: how could you possibly meet enough of them to put them on the same list with sex tourists in Thailand? Anyway, after reading the explanation, I got the joke. Good one. And yes, that quote from wikipedia is purely fictional, I can assure you. Although, as your example also illustrates, we have a few ignorant idiots too :) Hope next time you meet a Lithuanian, you will have a better experience.

How did you get this idea of Lithuanians? Why not some other weird small nation?

Take care!

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wes January 7, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Mantas, you just made my day. Thank for taking it as a joke as it was intended. I really can’t say why I thought to pick on Lithuania — the word just popped into my head. And it’s precisely because I had never run into one of your countrymen that I decided to go with it — somehow it made the idea even more absurd.

If our paths ever cross, the beer’s on me :)

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PJ January 11, 2012 at 6:03 am

Every so often I plunge into despair that both powerful words and writing are disappearing. Then I read blogs like this that blend humour with “shanky comments”. Two sides to spice here. Thanks Wes.

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wes January 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Wow. Thanks so much :)

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Nathan January 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm

“The poor celibate monk across from her was working his prayer beads so fast it looked like he was twirling a lasso. They sounded like helicopter blades — if she’d bent over he would have left the ground.”

Soooo good. Especially the part on the Lithuanians; I was grinning the whole time.
You have a great knack for writing, and I hope to be able to tell stories this well one day. Keep up the good work!

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wes January 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Thanks, Nathan — very kind of ya :)

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Mary January 21, 2012 at 8:47 am

Hysterical! I was just in Laos and it made me crazy all the guys walking around with no shirt on! It really isn’t that hard! I think you forgot the drunk ass in the corner sucking his thumb, maybe next list:)

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Wally March 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I know by living in Thailand since 1988 that I only know a small amount of Thai culture. It’s always nice to hear from people who understand the intricate and delicate nuances of this country.

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wes March 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Oh, I don’t claim that. I could live there 20 years and still not get it.

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Andrei G March 16, 2012 at 3:02 am

I was really curious about Lissuania but I found no reference to that name or the speech impediment whatsoever. Neither the article on Lithuania nor the article on the origin of Lithuania’s name on wikipedia mention anything close to that. Since it’s a European country the name has actually evolved throughout the ages, and nobody just all of a sudden named it :)

I’m not Lithuanian (I’m actually Romanian) but I would really really like to know what’s the deal with ‘Lissuania’?

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Mantas March 16, 2012 at 5:45 am

Andrei, I can’t really understand your question. “Lithuania” is an English word, where is the problem? There are many countries that have completely different names in other languages (take Finland for example, which is “Suomi” in Finnish, although we Lithuanians, being the good guys, call the country “Suomija”). Same goes for Lithuania, although you could still see some resemblance to “Lietuva”, which is “Lithuania” in Lithuanian.

I have to admit that this name is quite hard for some non-native English speakers to pronounce correctly, but if you can pronounce the word “the”, how much harder is “Lithuania”?

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Andrei G March 16, 2012 at 5:50 am

My question was why does he think the name of the country was supposed to be “Lissuania” but the person who first pronounced the name couldn’t pronounce it “Lissuania” and instead pronounced it “Lithuania”?
I got the feeling this was a FACT and not fiction, but then I did some research and it’s not true. There is no mention of anything like that anywhere, so either he made it up (which is fine with me) or he was misled (I’m fine with that, too).

I agree with you, I don’t think you understood my original question :) No problem, I hope I made it clear now

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wes March 16, 2012 at 10:21 am

Hi Andrei,

Yeah, I totally made that up. Same with the wikipedia quote — it’s all meant as a joke.

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Mantas March 16, 2012 at 6:29 am

Oh I see what you mean now. I originally read this blog post two months ago, so when I saw your comment today, I couldn’t understand the point you were making, because I had forgotten about the “Lissuania”. It’s just a joke. :)

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Pan March 30, 2012 at 2:53 am

This section is hilarious! Thanks for the laughs!

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Vicky April 20, 2012 at 10:32 am

Great post. I totally agree with the backwards backpack idea. Annoys me so much when you see people walking down the street like that – they look like absolute goons and you’re right about the message it sends out to other people.

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Linda May 21, 2012 at 7:54 am

I came across this as I was searching for news from my son Johnny in Thailand. I cracked up reading about the celibate monk and had to try and explain it to my 12 yr old daughter who asked me why I was laughing to myself.

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wes June 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Oh no! ;)

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Chael May 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Hey Johnny, I know we link to each other but I have to admit I haven’t read many of your articles. I just popped in for a peak, and alas I dig this article you wrote. I especially like that someone on here tried to defend prostitution, jaja. Well, enjoy Mexico, I’ve been all over there.

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wes June 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

Thanks, man! I’m due for a sequel to that one I think ;)

Be safe out there.

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Magic Travel Tanya May 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Brilliant! What a fantastic read. Thanks for making me laugh.

I think you should do a follow up and talk about the need for tourists to walk the very dirty streets of Asia barefoot. Totally gets me every time.

That and looking like utter turds when going through border crossings! Especially when they are also shirtless. Come on!!!!

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wes June 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

Ack! Bare-footed neo-hippies! Run!

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Mat June 10, 2012 at 7:21 am

Alright so this white trash has somehow become an authority on how tourists should behave yeah? Why, because it is more intuned with local culture and it understands how the primitive local mind thinks?

Piss off : poon tang is there for everyone to enjoy I don’t see your cheap white trash ass putting any money in to help the local economy beyond what the average backpacker spends = a pittance. Criticizing sex tourism in Thailand is beyond stupid when millions of people are employed by it by choice. Don’t be ignorant just because you ‘travel’ it doesnt make you an expert on everything.

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wes June 12, 2012 at 9:20 am

Yup. You’re the guy I’m talking about.

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Amish_Muse June 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Geez, Mat – you are a DICK!

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marie May 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm

lol seems like you pissed of a few sex tourists, they will never understand what is wrong with them.

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rey June 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

just because you’re ignorant, thoughtless, and stupid doesn’t make you an expert on anything either.

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aaron July 7, 2012 at 5:28 am

LOL, true observations. It is a real shame about sex tourism, a good example is Sri Lanka where a huge percentage of 12 year old children loose their virginity to tourists willing to pay a little more for the ‘privelage’. Those people whom exploit poverty deserve the same treatment as a pedophile rapist found in Texas.

Another good point is people who travel simply to get wasted, why bother? What a waste of an experience!

And I hate people who disrespect waiters in restaurants, for what ever reason they are (BTW love this phrase) asshats.

On the lighter side I have worked and befriended loads of Lithuanians in Scotland, some where funny, some rude some intelligent, some not so bright, people are people everywhere in the world (except for perverted sex tourists).

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wes July 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

I think that sums it up: people are people. Certain countries get bad raps but I’ve met both good and bad from just about everywhere. As for Lithuanians, I was just kidding — I’ve never met one though I look forward to it :)

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Drew July 20, 2012 at 6:03 am

Travelers who piss me off:
1. Travelers who hang out just with other travelers, instead of interacting with locals.
2. Travelers who fail to understand and appreciate the often-extreme gaps between themselves and locals, in terms of education, resources, and power. This invariably leads to disrespect, and a “what’s wrong with these people” attitude.
3. Sex tourists. I’d like to see a poll conducted among prostitutes, to determine how many of them would rather be doing something else. My guess: something in the neighborhood of 100%. Sex tourism is the most vile form of exploitation going, and I sincerely wish nothing but the worst for those who engage in it.

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The Wonders of Wandering August 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Sex tourism. My rant is when tourists complain about the drugs and prostitutes. They want to judge the country for something that tourists are buying! I work at a nightclub in Costa Rica and I think it is disgusting when men approach the prostitutes. Furthermore working in a tourist town I have been able to get to know the ladies and they are very kind people working to support their kids. If my kids were starving (living in a country with a $2 minimum wage-most of which are not natives so they can’t get jobs legally) wouldn’t I do WHATEVER I had to to feed them? Maybe I couldn’t be a prostitute but still, who am I to judge someone for a position I have never been in. I agree with you…the more light sockets the better! Also My PET PEEVE – Speaking to a local in slow broken English. First off idiot your in a tourist town. Everyone speaks English…well except maybe you. I am embarrassed by the way Americans behave. Some times even when I answer in English they go “OHHHH whew you speak English!” I think as opposed to what…slowed down spaglish…sheesh. Id love to share some of my travels as well at http://www.thewondersofwandering.com/
-Daniella

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Drew August 5, 2012 at 12:40 am

Daniella…hilarious, great comment, will definitely have a look at your blog.

I especially liked your the bit about speaking in slow broken English. I wrote something similar in my “How To Communicate With Savages” post: http://thetravelbureau.me/2012/07/28/communicate-with-savages/

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Ceri August 7, 2012 at 7:12 am

Hahaha. I love this.

I also can’t tolerate Mr “I’ve just come here to party and get smashed off my face” and Mrs “I’ve been more places than you therefore you know nothing about travel”. Honestly, there are so many types of travellers that wind me up.

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Drew August 7, 2012 at 7:18 am

Or the Holier-than-Thou travelers who have a particular cause they’re fighting for…the kind who give the impression that “if you aren’t with me, you’re against me”. Like the girl I met in Nicaragua who couldn’t shut up about “big bad oil”…too bad she FLEW to Nicaragua on an AIRPLANE that used JET FUEL, rather than doing the honorable thing and walking…

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Ceri August 7, 2012 at 7:17 am

Oh, I also hate travellers who deliberately avoid landmark places like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Colosseum in Rome because it’s “too touristy” and they’re desperate to have an experience “off the beaten track.” I’m all for exploring and finding something that’s not in the guidebooks but I genuinely think it’s ridiculous to avoid some incredibly famous sites because you’re worried about “looking like a tourist.”

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avinash August 16, 2012 at 12:41 am

hello

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ouenda September 12, 2012 at 1:12 am

I had such a fun time on this page!!!
Wes – I think you’re just AWESOME… and that’s coming from a proud French :)

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Chris October 9, 2012 at 5:09 am

Don’t forget needlessly-overhaggles guy!

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Ann November 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm

There is no defence for the western people to abuse the young girls and boys by exploiting them sexually. If you really want to help, give them the money and give them time of from the awful “job” they have. These girls and boys are damaged for life ! I will suggest anyone, who is defending this, to read a book by Marie-France Botte, called Le Prix d’un enfant (the price of a child); I was sick to my stomach, and had to put it aside twice, before I could finish it.

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Stephanie Keenan November 25, 2012 at 1:55 am

I stumbled upon your blog while searching for “inspirational travel quotes” or something like that. Wow… was I in for an awesome treat. This is sooo much better than what I originally came for. Such insightful and honest observations.

Great blog! I am so glad I found it! Serendipity;-).

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wes November 28, 2012 at 11:26 am

Glad you like it :)

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Rita December 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

I found your blog googling things to know about Cambodia. I enjoyed it so I read more. I am of Lithuanian heritage but Canadian…all I can say the brits ARE the worst and some Europeans….who stole my camera at the top of Manchu Picchu? I freakin’ European. Who tried to take me on one of my travels a brit than later a European. The Brit incident was in Lithuania…any issues with locals…NADA!

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Talon January 13, 2013 at 11:23 am

I’ve only encountered 1 Lithuanian traveler so far, and they DEFINITELY fit your criteria. Holy hell!

Thanks for the entertaining read. I agree with so much of what you ranted about.

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wes January 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Well, the Lithuanian complaint was tongue-in-cheek, to be fair.

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Brian February 9, 2013 at 1:55 am

You sound annoying as hell.

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wes February 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Oh, that I am and you’re not the first to point it out, believe me. But this was meant in jest, as I think most people understood.

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Robert February 10, 2013 at 5:23 am

You have thick skin and a sense of humor!

I have been blessed with ability to always stumble into opportunities allowing me to make lots of money fast and spend the majority of my adult life travelling. People need to take a chill pill and stop applying their morals to others. Think about how peaceful the world if righteous fools disappeared.

Laughing at “asshat” tourists consumes an exorbitant amount of my day. Rarely do I judge them morally, mostly because I nothing about them. I’m sure I also entertain others with my peculiarities.

Prostitution in Thailand, is not as simple as you seem to believe. From a religious perspective it is an evil but not a tangent I want to discuss. I estimate 99.999% of the prostitutes in Thailand have a choice and have chosen prostitution. They make the choice for numerous reasons. The vast majority could work other jobs. These other jobs might even pay more but don’t offer what prostitution does from their perspective.

Silly arguments claiming most of the girls would rather being something else or the person discussing an anecdotal story in a book are misleading. Ask the billions of women working on factory floors around the world if they would rather be doing something else. By the way most the prostitutes in Thailand could find menial jobs.

Why can’t we all just get along, laugh at each other, and stop telling everybody else how to live.:)

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wes February 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Hey, thanks for the comment. And, yes, prostitution is not at all a simple issue. And yes, many of these women can find other –lower-paying– jobs. Many are supporting entire families out in the sticks, pretending to have a ‘shop job’ in the city. Some are forced into it. Others are supporting drug addictions. There are no easy answers.

The point I was trying to make is that every man I’ve met who travels primarily to find cheap and available prostitution has turned out to be an asshole.

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Robert February 14, 2013 at 3:57 am

“The point I was trying to make is that every man I’ve met who travels primarily to find cheap and available prostitution has turned out to be an asshole.”

Probably true and I have met some odd ones myself. I tend to be a loner so I don’t get close enough to the traveling sex seekers to understand them. I do know that the vast majority of the girls from rural Thailand have a choice and they have chosen prostitution over other options.

Enjoy your stay in Thailand. I’m heading to Vietnam next month to escape the Chiang Mai pollution. Last year I coughed out one of my lungs.

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wes February 15, 2013 at 2:29 pm

“Last year I coughed out one of my lungs.”

Dude, I stepped in that ;)

Ann July 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm

“or els discussing an anecdotal story in a book”. First an foremost; it is not an anecdotal story written just for entertainment, it is a book about her experience with prostitution in Thailand, after working closely with Terres des hommes and Medecins sans frontiers. Her main concern was child prostitution, and the shocking conditions they live under. She interviewed the men as well under cover, and the selfishness and ignorance of these men is mindblowing. This is not about religious morals or applying morals on others; it is about how degrading it is for women, to have to “service” men to survive. It is usually ignorant men, who defend prostitution; they have no idea how degrading it is, or the longterm effect it has on women, to be prostitutes.Your ignorance is obvious with the comment “why can`t we just get along , laugh at each other…”, but on whos behalf !! Read the book, dig deep into your soul and find some empathy and tell me again, that it is just an anecdote.

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rey February 14, 2013 at 10:27 am

ugh. one underlying issue here is that everyone has a choice. yes, thai women have a choice besides prostitution, just as everyone has a choice to smoke or not to smoke. everyone has a choice to abstain or be a drug addict. everyone has a choice to work or be homeless. everyone has a choice to live and let live or kill everyone who pisses you off. i know it’s not that black and white, but your comment seems that heartless.
in my opinion, to say that the vast majority of girls from rural Thailand have a choice and they have chosen prostitution is a bit like saying the vast majority of homeless people in America have chosen to live on the streets rather than get a job.
Wes’ point is not to denigrate Thai women, it’s making an issue out of the men who are seeking out these women. the men are the problem, not the women.

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Robert February 26, 2013 at 5:08 am

You seem to think or know for some ironic reason that Thai girls working working in venues frequented by foreigners as prostitutes would choose a job at 7 Eleven, an office job or factory work. Would they rather be doing something else? I assume they would, just as most young girls in the west working at McD’s or as secretaries.
Sure it is disgusting to you but they don’t share your moral belief. It’s their choice and definitely not yours and who are you to judge. Unemployment is low here in Thailand and the economy is roaring yet some girls still choose prostitution over traditional western type jobs. The girls have no obligation to work in other occupations when they feels prostitution benefits them more.

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rey February 26, 2013 at 11:29 am

you do understand that i’m not judging the women, right?

i’m not sure what you are saying with your first paragraph. you say it’s ironic that i seem to think or know that Thai girls would choose a different job, then in your next sentences answer your own question and state that you too assume they would rather be doing something else.
i’m not trying to be combative, i’m just not sure what point you are trying to make.
you’re making a serious generalization when you say “they.” to assume that all Thai women (or “all women in Thailand” may be more appropriate) who are in the sex trade have chosen to be a sex worker is false, and to assume that all Thai women who have chosen the sex trade choose to stay in the sex trade because they prefer it to anything else is probably also not an accurate reflection of reality.
but let’s get back to Wes’ main point on the issue, actually his only point: if you’re in Thailand solely to seek out sex, you’re probably a creep.
go back and read it again. he is not judging the women, nor am I.

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wes February 28, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Thanks, Rey.

Robert March 1, 2013 at 7:01 pm

The point is simple. It is a job that Thai prostitutes choose and just like many of the other alternatives they may or may not like it. I’ve managed 100′s of people before retiring at many different locations. People moan and groan about their job as if they don’t have a choice. Same goes for many Thai prostitutes .
As for my use of “they”. Silly comment on your part and offensive. In English the paragraph structure is utilized to simplify the use of pronouns among other things. Read the first sentence of the paragraph and I think it is obvious what “they” refers.
Again, as I stated in an earlier post; if the world let others live by their chosen morals and believes, it would a better place. I travel the extensively and it amazes me how preoccupied westerners are with prostitution. Wes just mentions it casually and the moral police get all worked up about its evils.
As Wes seems to be doing, chill out, laugh, and don’t fret over a persons personal occupational choice. Life is too short!

Ervin Cenmurati February 26, 2013 at 6:58 am

Great post Wes and I think the part about Lithuanians was quite funny… I have friends from there and wouldn’t say they are any worse then many others I know. However, you may have gotten a bit lucky on resting this case with Jodi so your point taken :)

In terms of the other points there are so valid and know issues that I think travelers and holidays makers don’t realize how this could affect the locals. The social interaction between two different cultures is always going to highlight the differences and all parties need to take responsible steps to avoid arguments and annoyance…

Thumbs up on the Photo Competition you won as well.

Ervin

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lencho April 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I’ve been on all sides of the prostitution argument…and never been 100% right….self-righteous…maybe

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wes April 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm

There are no easy answers. Nothing will ever be 100% right on this issue.

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