When does a walk become a hike? When does a hike become a trek? Is a hike or a trek bigger? Is hiking just walking off-road? How pretentious do you have to be to call it hiking and buy a headlamp and walking sticks and then tell everybody you’re going hiking?
‘I’m not gonna be able to fit everyone on, ay.’
It was the first logistical fuck up I’d encountered in my two weeks in New Zealand. Everything had been efficient, well ordered and polite. Even the transvestite bus driver was amiable and full of stories of varying degrees of interest. But now high season in the popular Bay of Islands tourist destination had got the better of a fledgling tour company and 20 people were lining up on the dock to fill five remaining seats in the high speed ferry. After a Chinese family pushed their way past the other patient customers to take the spots I asked how long it would be to send another boat.
‘Well. I’m the driver,’ he said tucking his shirt in to his high pants, ‘and the other driver’s here too, and the boat’s docked at the island. So, at least an hour.’
If Singapore was a person it would be an overbearing mother. One with multiple bachelor’s degrees and qualifications from a life spent studying hard and working harder so she can provide for her children and expect more in return. She would have nets around her children’s trampoline, plastic on the furniture and gates around the stairs. She would petition to have contact sports banned from schools and sporting participation would be more important than winning and subject to grades and completion of homework.
Penang worried me. Eating was becoming the main pastime and I finished each meal already contemplating the next. I had even taken photos of some of my meals and had almost delved to the lowest depths of travel blogging desperation by posting them. This is what I tried to avoid while travelling, an obsession and fascination with food that overshadows everything else on offer. The purpose of eating is to not be hungry anymore so you can continue on with the rest of your life. It’s not meant to be treated as art or leisure.
I’ve been sensing a few grudges and a lot of ill-will towards travel guidebooks coming from the self-appointed ‘travelling elite’ such as professional travel bloggers and ex-pat tour guides who are basically guidebook writers themselves who would be desperate to get a fraction of the success of Lonely Planet.
I just became aware that magic mushrooms are now banned (or close to being banned, I’m not sure of my sources) in Amsterdam which was a little upsetting because they were my fondest, and basically only, memory of my time in the Netherlands.
Many people avoid Chile when visiting South America, or just give Santiago a token visit before flying away. Reasons are usually that it’s too expensive or too far out of the way. I think it’s because people are idiots. This was day two in San Pedro de Atacama. All photos are taken with a ‘camera.’