on racists and travel buddies

It’s been roughly 2 weeks since I went to bali with my adoptive landlord. Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of beaches, and until now I don’t know how she managed to drag my ass to one. Anyway, my lack of enthusiasm most likely led to a highly forgettable (and unfortunate) trip, highlighted by two things:

AUSSIES HAVE AN UNFORTUNATE REPUTATION FOR BEING RACISTS—AND I FINALLY EXPERIENCED THEM

I’ve had some encounters with people from down under over the years. None gave the hint of being racists—the offending kind (after all, “everyone’s a little bit racist”). While on the subject, I’ve never met any offending racist in my life. And then I met Aussie Alan from Sydney. OK I concede—Racist Alan is more appropriate. Let’s not generalize based on one stupid person’s behavior.

Since my travel buddy’s Tinder date was concerned over me because I was just drinking at the balcony of Sky Garden looking at the Bali “skyline” not talking to anyone, he was nice enough to find me someone to talk to. Although I seriously didn’t need anyone to talk to; free flow beer is enough company I need.

I quickly wished he wasn’t concerned; I was in no mood to talk, and I hate small talk. Anyway, because of social shit and being nice and all, I started talking to him: what are you doing in bali; how long have you been here; have you enjoyed yourself, how’s business, blah blah.

After a few minutes, I bummed a smoke from my travel buddy and started smoking. Take note: I’m in Indonesia, probably the smoking capital of the world, at a smoking area in a drinking place. And then he started talking off:

  • Why are you girls smoking?
  • Do you think you look cool by smoking?
  • You didn’t even have the decency to ask me if it was OK for you to smoke
  • This would never happen back home

Then why don’t you just go back home? But again, I concede: he was right, and smoking is bad for me and the planet. But not having anything else to do, fine let’s start talking again.

We ended up talking more deeply about working in Bali and working with Indonesians. He was sensitive enough to look around him to check out if he there were locals around (there was; a server was behind him), and then he just let himself go:

  • I think they’re stupid cunts
  • I think they’re good for nothings
  • (Screaming while standing up, pointing down the balcony) If it weren’t for us, these fucking pigs will be nothing! (my personal favorite)

God knows what else he said. At one point I was so incensed that I said: yeah, and I’m Filipino and the Americans fucking raped our lands. But yeah, Indonesians are stupid and they owe everything to you

That got his attention, though thinking about it now I don’t know what my point was. I think I just wanted him to know my country’s history is no different from Indonesia’s. He stopped his tirade, and said: well I’ve travelled the world, so I know.

You’ve travelled the world and you’re this insensitive??? How lucky I am that I am not well travelled.

And so, despite still wanting to drink, I told my friend it’s time to leave, and I called it a night.

And that night, unfortunately, set the tone for most nights in our short bali trip.

TRAVEL BUDDIES MAKE OR BRAKE A TRIP

I am well acquainted with this, as I’ve already had one experience with one. But that’s the thing—you don’t really know who will turn out to be the best and worst travel buddy until you’re actually travelling together.

But I guess, one way of filtering them out is to find out what your travel objectives are. While I had none (see first paragraph), my adoptive landlord/travel buddy had one specific activity in mind: hook up.

I didn’t mind at first; hell, hooking up at clubs and bars can be fun (just not my cup of tea, but I’ve had my moments here and there). I just, until now, have yet to experience the sheer power of Tinder.

So when she first said that we were meeting up with her potential Tinder hookup, I didn’t think much of it. Who would think it was awkward? In the very dated tradition of guys approaching girls at bars and clubs, this can be fun, and can lead to a very interesting conversation. It may or may not lead to a hook up, and that’s great. One still has time to back out. We might earn a friend or an amazingly awkward story to tell later on. But in the age of Tinder, most often that not, you have a singular objective. And it’s awkward if you don’t go through with it—or if your Tinder date shows up with another person who (1) is not the one he swiped on and (2) not down for a threesome.

Wait, maybe it’s not awkward for them but awkward for the third wheel (aka me)?

And it was hard to sustain a conversation when everytime me and travel buddy sat down, she’s Tindering. Sigh. I think I would have enjoyed bali more if I went by myself

I almost lost my shit the last night. Because seriously, I prefer being alone than being in another awkward Tinder date with me as the third wheel. And I ended up a third wheel again. And I immediate knew it would be awkward when I saw the guy. The guy was on a mission.

To exacerbate the situation, my travel buddy was particularly indecisive that night. She thought we could all just hangout without hooking up.

Erm, no.

It took them such a long time to decide. I offered our shared room as their fuck pad while I go to this bar with an awesome crowd. I was expecting them to leave me alone, but no; they followed me.

Eventually, they decided to rent a room nearby, and left me alone at the bar. That was when people started talking to me, inviting me to hang out with them. I even got myself an invite to Brisbane if I ever was in the area (my goal in life: free couch. Score!).

Perks of travelling alone.

Anyway, yes, if ever you guys are planning to go on trips with other people, it’s important that all of you have the same agenda in mind. Otherwise, it has the potential to end friendships.

And I probably need to exorcise my bali experience from my body for some time before I go back

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