23 June 2017

Touristy

Someone once remarked to me, right after a trip, “Oh I see that you did all the touristy things?” That was not the first time. I have heard this before – from acquaintances, strangers and even close friends. Many have said this. I am sure you too, at some point, would have heard this same retort from someone in your circle.

What is this “touristy” thing? I checked the dictionary to see the meaning. It says “it relates to or visited by tourists” and “often used to suggest tawdriness or lack of authenticity”.  Oh so that is an underhand comment meant to mock your style of travel.

Let us look at the logistics of a trip. Food, cost of transport, accommodation, clothes, camera, sight-seeing costs – that’s a whole bunch of expenses a person who travels has to factor in, excluding the planning that goes on weeks in advance. One has to be decently rich or at least willing to spend one’s hard-earned money on travel for any trip to become a reality.

So tell me, if you are going on a three day trip to another country, spending nearly 50,000, what are you most likely to do or see? Which fool will sit in a cafe and watch life pass by? Would you too not do the same ‘touristy’ things that you sneer others about? Or at least, see the most frequented and talked about paces first and then if time and money permits, explore lesser known places. Spending so much money for so little time in a new city or a new country, one of course would like to see the most famous places first. 

Only a person who lives there would go around exploring the lesser known places. That is because having lived so long there he would have heard about it from someone. Or if you are a super wealthy traveller or travelling on company money then yeah you might skip the more famous places for the quieter ones just to relax and be away from the crowd. Or if you are a solo backpacker, you would again focus your energies on few select places not frequented by more regular people. In all cases, you would either have the luxury of time or money.

I don’t think any normal person, by which I mean a middle class, working class family like my own, who has saved money and planned for the trip for months in advance, will go to a new place and choose to sit in a remote corner of the town just so he can boast about saying “oh, I don’t do the touristy things.” I mean, who goes to Singapore for the first time ever, and doesn’t see the famous Night Safari or the Jurong Bird Park. Or who goes to Mysore and doesn’t see The Palace, the Zoo or the Chamundi Hills? Or who goes to Sikkim and doesn’t visit a Buddhist monastery or eat momos?  Who goes to Chennai and doesn’t spend some time in the Marina Beach? Who goes to Kanyakumari and doesn’t visit the Vivekananda Memorial? Or who goes to Jaipur and doesn't see the Hawa Mahal?Is that touristy for you?

If it is, I really want to peep into your travel diary. I want to see what were the things you did and places you visited when you first visited a city with your saved up money.  Two places in India that we as a family have gone repeatedly are Mysore and Udupi. Each time we have explored a different facet of the city, the little nukes and corners, the lesser known eateries that serve absolutely delicious local dishes. But the first time we went to both these places, we visited the Zoo, the Palace, Chamundi Hills and so on. They are a must to see places in Mysore. And if that counts as “touristy” “tawdry” or lacking in imagination, that is only because, may be, You haven’t gone out enough. So, pack your bags, loosen your purse strings and go visit a new place. And then we will sit and talk of all the things You did “differently.”

20 comments:

  1. “Oh, I see you did all the touristy things?” It is pure unadulterated jealousy. That is all. We have lived in 5 countries and visited almost 40 countries. I will tell you when you are spending money and visiting a place you really want to see the famous sites you have read or heard about. If you are visiting San Francisco, you want to see the Golden Gate Bridge, see the Coit Tower, and ride the Cable Car. Otherwise, why you are visiting San Francisco?

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    1. Lived in 5 and visited 40!!! Wow. Loads of envy :)

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  2. There is so much to see in our great, big world. I think we are all tourists!

    I went to visit a friend once in San Francisco. She only went to all the touristy places because I was there. She never went to see them before that because...well, they would always be there and she could see them later.

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    1. Yes locals always have that feeling....will see later ...no hurry after all :)

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  3. True Sujatha, the hard earned money has to double up when abroad to stretch every dollar to the maximum ! Talking is easy but doing needs effort:)

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    1. Yes Sir. Agree to that point - stretch every dollar to the maximum

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  4. While your anger is justified, their comment also has some credence. I have seen many people who escape the hustle and bustle of the city and get caught into the hustle and bustle of a tourist place! If they like it, then it's fine. But many treat travel like an obligation - a sacrifice almost!

    Perhaps we could also start thinking on the lines of what I could do in this place that others have not done or what I could do that I would really enjoy. If it's reading a book overlooking a beautiful scenery for two full days - so be it.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. That would be the privilege of a select few :) the really wealthy ones

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  5. I am a little too much of touristy one.but i cant miss a famous spot if i am in the place..so many times my hubby tells me that you have seen so many places, still you are as eager as ever to complete the tour.

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    1. :) love the spirit of eagerness. It makes travel exciting.

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  6. why even bother to give a thought
    to their comments, just turn a deaf ear. .. we all spend money on travel to see new countries and its places of interest.Enjoy your travels. Nice post

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  7. When I visited Allahabad for the first time, I wanted to visit Anand Bhavan and Prayag; but the other members of the group, for reasons that I still do not understand, wanted to go for a movie instead! I had another similar experience in Kottayam, Kerala. I wanted to see backwaters, but the seniors wanted to go for shopping. After these two experiences, I made up my mind never to travel in a group. I travel alone and go to see everything upto my strength and stamina.

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    1. Some crazy choices by those people. It's very rare that we visit the same place again and again. Most of the time it's a one time thing. So really admire your decision to travel alone and explore places of your own interest.

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  8. Great article. I read this article properly. This is one of the best posts. Thanks sharing this article
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  9. I enjoyed reading.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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  10. Lol ! was it a rant? I think it was a rant for that person who dared asked you about your trip ;-)
    But anyways, it was quirky and spot on. If you go to paris, you'll definitely see the eiffel tower. Imagine someone coming back from paris and saying no I didn't see the eiffel tower, i was so busy sitting idle in a lonely park there lol !

    Great blog by the way! Cheers!

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    1. Haha you got that right ;)

      Thanks for the comment !

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