You can take the tourist out of the uglies but…
A news article caught my eye today. Well, that’s not accurate. It was more like: an article in Yahoo really pissed me off today, even though I knew I shouldn’t pay too much attention to it because:
- It’s in Yahoo.
- It’s written by Fox News.
- It’s based on the Reddit thread “World travelers of reddit, where did you go that was a total disappointment?” — ie, it’s based on the opinions of people who:
- are on Reddit,
- have the time to participate in the thread, and
- feel strongly enough about past travel disappointments to answer.
Still, I couldn’t help getting annoyed at statements like:
- “You’ve dreamt of seeing the pyramids, Venice or Rome for your whole life. Then you get there and it’s just not what you expected. We’ve all built up a trip in our minds, only to find it’s not remotely like the brochures.”
- Paris is the “worst city on earth.” “Other accusations levelled at the city were that it was overpriced, dirty and ‘smelled of urine.'”
- About Venice — “Many thought it was sad to see how it had declined because of tourists, making it impossible to find affordable food and drink in central areas. ‘The famed canals are horribly polluted and filled with garbage,’ said one visitor.”
Do you guys even know how lucky you are to be traveling at all? So many people in the world are too poor to travel. So many people are blind. So many people can’t walk. So many people don’t even have enough to eat. And yet there you are, exercising a privilege granted only to a few, and all you can see is the bad stuff!
Now, of course no place is perfect, and there is always a good side and a bad side to every destination, but what astounds me is what these privileged people choose to focus on.
Take Venice. Some tourists may say: “I paid a lot of money for this Venetian vacation. I have the right to demand that my expectations be met.” Oh, absolutely, you paid for it. In fact, you chose to come to Venice, didn’t you? Well, I’m sorry, but…
- Did anybody say the water in the canals in Venice are clean?
- Did anybody ask you to drink it?
- Did anybody ask you to swim in it?
- Did anybody ask you to touch it?
- Did anybody say, “Come to Venice because the water is clean”?
No! You basically built up expectations that couldn’t realistically be met because you were too lazy to do a little research before deciding on a destination. Well, that’s rich of you, isn’t it? (And I don’t mean wealthy!)
In the meantime, there is all that grandeur and beauty around you! So much history, so much culture. You are so incredibly lucky and yet you choose to train your eyes on the few unlovely things.
I guess there are just some people like that: complainers. There are just some people who, if they find themselves in Antarctica, would find their whole experience ruined by the guano. Confronted with beauty, they see excrement. You just can’t take the uglies out of them. They are lucky because they get to see places that others can only dream of. But you know who’s even luckier? Those who can find and focus on beauty no matter where they are…no matter where they will never be. So there’s justice in that at least. Poor and happy trumps rich and whiny any day.