I have recently noticed a disturbing trend emerging, when travelling, why do certain cultures adopt a pack mentality? Herd behavior is common amongst the young, but I have also seen older tourists, who should know better, behaving like boorish louts in foreign countries. Why is it that we are only kept in check in our own countries?
The Lemming Mentality in South East Asia
Buyer beware, travelling opens us to many new experiences, some of them dangerous. A good adventure doesn’t have to risk your life, don’t learn your travel lessons the hard way. Make sure you live to tell your stories!
South East Asia is a bewilderingly beautiful part of the world, a diverse variety of nationalities head to the “Banana Pancake Trail” eager to immerse themselves in the exotic culture. Unfortunately many young travelers, fuelled on a cocktail of adrenalin, bypass all the beauty and head straight to party central. Many of the idyllic islands in and around the region have a reputation for excess, and may seem lawless and subservient. Mass tourism can distort social and cultural relations of both the tourist and the local population.
Not all the monkeys are in the jungle. While travelling in Bali I saw hordes of out of control, half naked, braying drunks, bullying the locals. Why is it necessary to swear and be so abusive when partying late into the night? Have you ever wondered or even cared what the gentle Balinese think of this insensitive attitude? If you are old enough to travel around the world, you should be old enough to respect the local customs. As a result of unrestrained consumption and accidental injuries, the hospitals in Bali make most of their money out of intoxicated tourists who have come off their rented motor bikes. Driving in Asia is a lot different to driving in your own country, no helmets, crazy traffic, potholed and poorly maintained roads. Alcohol and drugs equal a loss of inhibitions, resulting in poor decision making.
The Full Moon parties in Haad Rin Beach, Koh Phangan inThailand, have also become a rite of passage for the young traveler, but once again, after every party the hospitals are full of those who have come to grief. What is wrong with this picture… drugs, alcohol and flaming jump ropes?
Laos’s countryside is stunning, heaven on earth, peaceful mountains, rivers and limestone cliffs, but here the youth ignore their surroundings to flock to the seductive mayhem of Vang Vieng and Nam Song River, location of the infamous tubing trail. It all sounds innocent enough, dancing, drinking, tubing down the river to the next crudely built bar, but has the hedonism got out of hand? Consider this, the local whiskey, like rocket fuel and just as deadly, comes in buckets; illicit drugs are cheap and freely available.
The river is full of submerged rocks and the zip lines and swings are treacherous. Several serious injuries and deaths, the rate of one a month, with the body count growing, are the result of unbridled drug taking, drinking, and jumping into the river. The nearest hospital is four hours away, and if you do make it, they are poorly equipped to deal with this type of injury. The decadent behavior is also having a negative effect on the local families. I know, to most teenagers I am making this destination sound absolutely irresistible, and true you may go there and have the time of your young life, but make sure you live to tell the tale!
Been there done that have the T-shirt!
“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens” Kahlil Gibran