Odd Observations: 5th Edition

In Asia, especially in their big cities, where many foreigners (aka Westerners and most specifically white people) walk the streets, many hawkers and touts sell a variety of things and know all too well how to gain your attention. They try to sell you on their food at their restaurant, the random wares that they carry with them which are usually total tourist crap like sunglasses and photocopies of travel books, motorbikes in Saigon, their own food stall, and hell even a marijuana joint without even going into the sexual services they can arrange for you. The list goes on and on and boy are they persistent. I used to feel bad and try to act as polite as can be by giving them my full attention to say no with a lighthearted smile. Eventually that move turned into a look with a side to side head turning motion to get my point across that I simply wasn’t buying but eventually enough head-shaking gave me a headache. From there I delved into total commitment for the blank stare ahead of me as if their presence or their voice did not even exist. They are used to this and still want to get my attention! I have now created my very own Dikembe Mutombo finger wag (as humorously displayed in a Geico commercial) to really drive the point across, plus it is fun! Heck, even if I pass the same guy five times he will still try to convince even as the dismissals and the counts of rejection add up. It may sound rude to you but after enough time out here you get sick and tired of the continuous charade when you just want to be left alone. I would rather buy from someone who is simply going about their job while paying no attention to me but the task at hand. It truly feels like a record stuck on repeat with ‘sir’ or ‘friend’ replayed over and over and over every few meters you walk. I love and anticipate the countryside when they don’t view you as a dollar sign but rather a real person wanting to learn more about their people and country. My heart lies outside the city in the villages and rural areas with these down to earth people rather than the chaos of the city. Although I do appreciate the energy of a city with its many activities available. Can’t have it all in life! 


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