Traveling styles

While catching up on blogs, I came across an entry by Polly about traveling with her husband and not killing him. In the comments, people began to reminisce about the terrible travel partners they’ve had…

My most dramatic travel partner disaster was when I ditched a friend in the middle of the Louvre. Literally just walked away from her, in crowds that ensured she wouldn’t find me. We were a week into our Eurotrip and I just couldn’t do it any more. Her travel style had grated too much and my patience was finished. For example, she is an only child and insisted on always having the first shower or the window seat or the better bed. I’m easy going, but even when I made it clear that I actually had a strong preference for once, she would ignore it. She also had a boyfriend at the time, with whom she enjoyed long conversations whenever I was trying to fall asleep. And she had a habit of zipping along as fast as possible, without reading signs or paying any attention to my pacing. Which made it extremely easy to lose her…

It was a cruel move on my part to just disappear. She had no means of contacting me and is an extremely worrying person. I was perfectly fine wandering the streets of Paris without an aim for a few hours, but when I went back to the hostel, she was sitting there scared out of her mind, as I had cruelly expected. (It was extremely fortunate that we were meeting up with a buffer friend for the rest of the trip.)

My most significant travel partner disaster was my exboyfriend because it likely contributed to our breakup. (The first breakup. This was two years ago.) He hadn’t traveled much when we went off to Thailand for a vacation, while I’d seen plenty of tropical islands. So I let him hold the reigns in terms of what we did on the trip…. It was out of control. He wanted to do every single thing we saw. Island tours, snorkeling, canoeing, wind surfing, bike riding, shooting range, ping pong shows, strip shows, animal shows. And he wanted to talk to everyone and ask them their life stories. And he wanted to eat everything and drink everything and take everything. And he wanted to spend all the money and then some.

I was so tired, so soon. And he was so enthralled, by things that I found absolutely mundane. (If you’ve seen one elephant stand on its hind legs, you’ve seen all elephants stand on their hind legs.) I understood why he wanted to do all the things, but I definitely did not. And when I tried to tell him to go without me, he would be so clearly upset and offer to pay for it himself and all sorts of things that guilted me into changing my mind. Or he would just be so childish and pouty that I would grudgingly agree to yet another island tour. Every hour, of every day, every possible activity ever. It was extremely trying.

Which is not to say that I am an angel to travel with either. I’m very moody if I don’t eat often or if I’m without sleep, both of which are bound to happen when traveling. I also lack enthusiasm for most activities. I am extremely jaded to tourist attractions, for example (if you couldn’t tell.) I hate guided tours or anything that includes a gift shop. If you wake me up because you want to go on an exhausting tour that ends in a gift shop, I will want to kill you (i.e. every day of Thailand.) I also expect people to be considerate, so when they are not, I will want to kill them too (i.e. every day of Eurotrip.)

But I am also interested in pleasing people, so I won’t say anything the first five times, just drop a few hints. Then I will be direct, but gentle. And then, when whatever I mildly chided you for happens again, I will lash out in an overly dramatic way, like leaving you at the Louvre or breaking up with you in two months.

Really, I’m the worst.

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That time I went to Sri Lanka

IMG_0154I spent the past nine days in Sri Lanka. Hikkaduwa to be exact. On paper, I did very little during the vacation. But it was heavenly.

Every morning I would wake up and sit in the shaded beach restaurant of our hotel to watch the beach. Eventually I would order breakfast. Eventually I would be joined by various friends. (I traveled with six, saw countless acquaintances (all of Abu Dhabi was in Sri Lanka, it seemed,) and made two new friends.) We’d discuss the previous night’s events and make vague plans for the day. After breakfast I might get up and go for a swim. Or I might go read my book in another shady spot. I got sunburned on the first day, so I was in love with shady spots. Or I might start day drinking with whoever was up for it.

As the sun went down, we would all turn towards it. After the show, we might wander to the supermarket or into a few clothing shops. Or we’d decide where to get dinner. Then back to the beach for evening festivities. A few nights we managed to make it to other bars, but mostly we didn’t leave our hotel.

I was told there is much more to see in Sri Lanka than the little beachfront spot where we were. But for this trip, that was all that I needed.

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I should be packing or something

Tomorrow I leave for Sri Lanka.

Today a friend offered to bring me sustenance and I responded, “Nah, there’s half a burger somewhere near my bed.” He responded, “You are the worst type of person.”

Last night my friend threw me under the bus. “He’ll bring us food and alcohol….” Yes, yes he will.

And then he will drive you home.

“But let’s just go for one drink first….”

I woke up convinced that my phone was at the bar. But we tore the couch apart looking for it without luck and it was nowhere in his car. Thank god for Facebook and my friend having the brains to let me know she had it.

And thank god for my driver going to pick it up for me. And thank god for making people do fajr before they go to sleep for the night.

(I had to ruin his new relationship. Because it’s not fair to her.)

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This is my life

Yesterday I went to my friends house, ate some chicken nuggets, drank some liquids and got in the car to drive to Dubai. When we got there, we had to meet up with a friend and her boyfriend, but his phone was dead and homegirl wouldn’t answer hers consistently. Somehow, likely with the aid of magic, we managed to find their location.

Unfortunately, none of us were fit to be driving to the actual event that we were in Dubai to attend. And Dubai is shit for getting taxis. So homegirl decided it was an awesome idea to stop a random car and ask the random man driving it if he would be willing to drive us to the event.

He agreed, which later led me to question his sanity… So the five of us crammed into his coupé BMW. When we got to the event, we bought our driver a ticket and all entered the most amazing event ever.

holi2

Holi!

Colored powder everywhere. Flying in your face, in your mouth, in your ears. Strangers ambushing people from behind, who don’t even realize until they see the person they’re talking to burst out laughing. Instant friendship with whoever has color left. Then immediately sharing right back any color you might stumble upon. Finding someone with glitter and freaking out with happiness that they will share it with you. Getting surprise hit with elusive white powder, king of all powders. A face that is barely recognizable under all the layers of color.

holi

Please note my blue mouth. I spit blue for an hour. I do not actually have any idea who the other girl in this photo is, but she had glitter, so we were besties.

After party at the driver’s house and the most delicious pizza that has every graced my mouth. Then back out to the bars, looking a-fool, and getting in trouble for standing on a garbage can that someone else had knocked down. A reunion going on across the table. A flirtation going on on the other side.

Waking up at the driver’s house, with your phone and your friend’s phone, without a clue where that friend is. Glimpsing, out of the corner of your eye, the powder staining the driver’s couches and pillow. So many random numbers appear on the call log. Hearing the doorbell ring and seeing your friend show up with the address scrawled in blue pen on her arm. Reminiscing over Arabic food about the amazing, ridiculous, magical night that was holi….

If you have never been to a holi event, you are missing out. Find one. They host them all over the world.

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The waiting time

There are two weeks and two work days between me and my spring break. I cannot wait.

My classes are currently doing research papers. I am so burnt out. I feel as though I am writing a hundred research papers simultaneously. Giving ideas on how to make theses arguable or advising routes of research or helping to organize outlines. And the worst bit is that once I finish helping them to create the papers, I have to sit and painstakingly grade them all.

I’ve been living for the weekends and they have not disappointed. But I would like to get back to the point where I am motivated during the week too. Back to when my energy wasn’t all sapped by the boredom of theses and evidence and citations.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that time will happen until these damn papers are finished.

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