7 More First World Problems of a Traveller
Sequels are rarely as good as the original, so on that note I present to you the follow up to a post I did a while back about the trivial problems travellers face. Will it be as good as the original? Was the original even good to start with? Have I run out of ideas? Only the brutal and unforgiving public can answer those questions, so I’ll try not to worry about it.
Water doesn’t stay cold in hot countries
Picture this: You buy a 1.5 litre bottle of water, drink some of it before going to bed (it tastes good, it’s cold) and then you’re stuck with about a litre of warm water when you wake up in the morning. Warm water never tastes good, but even though water is extremely cheap in Asia (and many hot, humid areas of the world) I can never bring myself to waste it.
It’s hard to find good syrup
Pancakes are the classic traveller’s breakfast – the “Banana Pancake Trail” says it all really, but the pancakes being sold to hungry travellers often come up short, and it’s all down to the syrup. Sometimes you won’t even get syrup (I’ve ordered quite a few pineapple pancakes only to find out I had to pay extra to make them eatable). The syrup really does make the pancake – I’ve even heard of some people carrying their own from town to town and I’m starting to think it’s not a bad idea.
Mangoes aren’t always in season
Mangoes are almost the perfect fruit, although their sole weakness is a big one – they aren’t always in season. I was recently in Nepal, and even though mango shakes and lassies were advertised at most restaurants, my enquires about whether I could have one were always denied. It’s a bit of a tease having them on the menu; from now on if a fruit isn’t in season they should erase/cover any trace of it on the menus and advertisements.
Mosquito nets are hard to set up
I’ve had some really annoying mosquito nets over the years – the worst was in a small town in Flores, Indonesia (Moni). I tried for about 15 minutes, but I was either really bad at figuring out nets or it was just too small for the bed. I’ve had nets that have taken me a while to set up, and as soon as I was comfortable in bed I realised I needed some water or something, meaning I had to undo all my good work. A lot of Mosquito nets have holes in them as well, meaning they can’t even do their core job properly.
Lurking (or absent) waiters
If you’re the only westerner in a small town then chances are your presence will be of interest to the general public. It’s ok, but waiters really should be more professional. I’ve had some just stand there and stare at me for the entire duration of my meal (I tried to talk to them but they spoke no English). I had 2 waiters do it to me in Singapore – I don’t even think they blinked. Absent waiters can be just as bad – it’s almost impossible to order food or get the bill sometimes. I’ll give you a tip… try and sit reasonably close to the action, because if you sit on the outskirts of the restaurant waiters will often forget about you (and all of that food you ordered).
Scarce power outlets
Like it or not, electronic gadgets have become indispensible for most travellers. A large number of cheap guesthouses haven’t moved with the times and only offer a single power outlet, or worse yet, none at all. Some people travel with multi plug adapters, which is a pretty good idea if you can afford the space in your bag.
Bus stations and airports are often well out of town
This is a great way to make that seemingly cheap airfare or bus ticket a lot more expensive. Airports I can understand – planes are pretty big and seem to need a lot of room, but having a bus station out of town makes no sense. It happens a lot in Asia; I’m guessing the bus companies have some dodgy deals going with the taxi/tuk tuk drivers to drop unsuspecting tourists miles from their intended destination, and desperately in need of a ride.
Do any of these annoy you? Can you think of any more first world problems of a traveller? Let me know!
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