Monday, June 14, 2010

When people turn wild..

This is not a post on travel, but a post on travelling . My husband says Ive become anti social. In a way I agree. My tolerance is rather very low and I blame it largely on the new breed of tourists who follow me wherever I go.

I have nothing against tourists in particular, but I seem to find a huge disconnect in the way they travel. I often travel to escape from the madding crowd and merge with the silence of the valleys . I choose monuments and forests that are off the tourist track and many a time, a new year's eve has been spent in a silent jungle resort which is not yet in the tourist map. But then travelling soon became a fad and travel stories have become conversation currency.

I understand that most tourists believe in letting their hair down when they travel and holidaying is all about relaxing and having fun. But I wonder if it is at the expense of a fellow traveller's peace and quiet ! "Notice me" says the brand of these new tourists, but I wish to tell them that they are an assault on my senses. They speak loudly, dress loudly , listen to loud music and crave for attention when they travel. Why cant they let a nondescript traveller like me enjoy my anonymity ?

I was recently in Kabini and I couldnt recognize it when I landed. It seemed to be a national park and a zoo rolled into one. Almost a 100 people and bulk of them were noisy loud children throwing tantrums with their parents screaming louder than the kids to be heard. One hip young mother told her son that she would throw a hot cup of coffee on the child if he didnt drink his milk. Another hyperactive kid was gargling water at the tap and spitting all over . She said sorry when I walked away in disgust.

And the most exciting sighting for these tourists was Rahul Dravid and his family. A tourist even had his picture clicked with him. " How about one with the leopard also?" asked a fellow traveller, but the joke of course was lost in the din. People still shout when they see spotted deer and of course get very excited when they spot elephants. As a tusker approaches the jeep, it is the perfect timing for a kid to cringe and cry. The excitement is always more if its a tiger. At Tyreguppe , in the tiger safari, a bunch of grown up men got into a nervous fit when they saw the home grown tigers - they started teasing it , while taking pictures on their mobile. The tiger just walked away ..

Tourists have hugely misunderstood the word " adventure " . In a recent trip to Bhadra, a bold young mother forgot that her 11 month baby would be hungry at 5 pm in the evening. So when the winds were making it difficult for the boat man to veer his vehicle and the boat was rocking in the waters ,wetting our feet inside, her daughter let out a loud wail announcing she was hungry.The adventurous mother didnt mind that the boat was extremely shaky , but went on to mix milk in the bottle and started silencing the baby by walking in the boat and feeding her, while we watched the scene with more attention than looking at the elephants on the opposite bank.

Food has always been the most important aspect of any trip. We all gorge on every delicious morsel and of course not just live to eat, but also travel to eat. However there are some who only eat ! While we were at a home stay in Masinagudi , a couple of families with teenaged kids dropped in as well. They made sure they didnt move beyond the dining room. they stood around the table attacking every dish with more vigour and patting their stomach after every meal. In fact they were least concerned that there were more guests at the property - after all, they have paid for the meal. while the kids protested after eating a dozen puris and an equal number of bread and other delicacies, the mother stacked away a few more for the journey , but before that she coaxed her daughter to eat more of the bananas.." You will feel hungry and we will not stop on the way..after all, we have paid na .."

I am tired of running away from such people. I am also tired of tolerating them. All I am hoping is that these families would enjoy travelling as much as I do and yet be more non intrusive . Am I asking for too much ?

23 comments:

Anu said...

Hey, this is why Shankar absolutely refused to go anywhere during the may vacation! the crowds are bad enough, but their behaviour just makes it worse......and considering that the longest vacation we get is in may, i dont really know when to travel any more!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Cool and relax to enjoy your posts. Have a great day!

Mridula said...

My sympathies Lakshmi.

Tamanna Mishra said...

If you find a way to escape such atrocities, let me know! :)

Anjuli said...

My sympathies indeed! There really should be a book on 'travel etiquette" - some tips on not being so obnoxious.

vj said...

pray you never get to travel on a cruise!!!

sudhagee said...

I can fully understand what you must have gone through at Kabini. I often do not go to tourist traps myself. And when I am travelling abroad, its worse as my fellow Indian travellers are the loudest and the most demanding.

Anjaan said...

Ur article echoes the sentiments of many.
I remember - once in Kanha - dressing down a noisy family with this line -
"When u talk too much, the jungle stops talkin to you" And with that managed to get exactly 12 mins of silence from them! :):):)

No wonder I love international travel more! :)

Parnashree said...

Well said.....i like it ....

Sanand said...

Very well written and I think the points you stated can take the fun out enjoying the process of traveling.

mumbai paused said...

We Indians are the best ;)

Janit said...

Seems you travel more than living in the city. The behavior there is a logical extension of our behavior in the cities where we live.
Id say what is required more than anything else is schooling that makes one a better person. And till that happens, we wont see much change in our country.
Hope that people learn to behave after reading your blog though. Keep spreading the good word. :-)

P.N. Subramanian said...

It is difficult to escape unless you decide to frequent only deserted places.

Anonymous said...

Please do let us know when you come across such quiet places. I have never been to Kabini but a friend and her son were horrified that a bunch of fellow Americans were being the loud and obnoxious tourists that she passed off as French :-) I laughed my head off. I have never understood this over-eating just because they have paid for it concept. Phew.

My3

Lakshmi said...

Anu - The problem is that people think travelling is about letting their hair down..concept of responsible tourism is not there at all

Philip - Thats why I blog :)

Mridula - Thanks..but I really wish something could be done about it

Tammanna - You cant escape them..at the most try and create awareness or talk to such people

Anjuli - I agree

VJ - why do you say that ?

Sudhagee - Kabini is not a tourist trap..have been there many times and its one of the most unique and beautiful forests..unfortunately, its the holiday season and people with purchasing power lack social responsibility

Anjaan - International travel is worse..

Parnashree-Thanks

Sanand - Yes and what some tourists assume as fun is not funny at all

Gopal - Tell me abt it..:)

Janit - I completely agree

PNS - I dont agree..forests need a certain kind of behaviour..you dont have to go to a deserted place to find peace

Anon - Kabini as i said is a wonderful unique forest and you must visit it..however it gets crowded during the holiday season and hence these issues

vishesh said...

not just you..everyone hates it! The problem is ppl don't think..they just act...

gaurav said...

i like the adventures most, so always looking for adventure trips, hey guys if any one interested for adventures then tell me.


Regards
Gaurav

Ashwini said...

I understand what you say.But I also feel that most of the people in India are new to travelling/staying in homestays and in the beginning they will do all these..but as they start travelling more and more, probably outside India, they will learn more by seeing others.Surely it will take time for them to become matured travelers as you expect.

Aditi said...

I totally agree. When we were in Sikkim this time, there was this Bengali group that had a similar itenerary to ours. Boy, are they loud or what. There were times when I'd almost loose it. I realised recently , I love all places which have lseser crowds and are less commercial coz I love it when I am almost by myself

Leia said...

Hi,
I came across your blog while randomly surfing and this post was exactly what was in my mind.
I was near Bandipur this weekend and made the mistake of taking the 'safari bus.'
Most of the tourists wanted to see only a tiger.
There were a couple of ornithologists who would casually toss out names of birds nearby and the whole bus would point their cameras in the complete wrong direction.
Does anyone appreciate silence and nature anymore or is it all about the photos?

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Anonymous said...

You're doing it all wrong.

People have been saying the EXACT SAME THING for hundreds of years.

You're just not going far enough to get away from the "tourists". Keep trying. Kabini or Bandipur is hardly a "getaway".

Traveling in a "tour" is never the right way. Fortunately the Indians almost all travel in tours, so it's relatively easy to avoid them.

abhinav said...

http://cloudnumber10.blogspot.com/2010/08/art-of-travelling.html

........ hope you agree :-)