We just got back from a 3 day tour to the Mekong Delta. An organised trip is a great way to see a lot in a short amount of time and be transported from place to place without having to think about it.
All good, except that unless you pay extra for a private tour you share the experience with the hell that is other tourists. I fully agree with Jerry and Elaine on Seinfeld: “I hate people. They’re the worst.” And they were talking about people in general, not tourists, who are especially abhorrent.
For example, on our Mekong Delta trip we were joined by a couple from Belgium. Young active types who treated every activity like their own personal fitness camp. As an aside, all young backpackers now look like Love Island contestants. When did that happen?
The Belgians were unhappy with the duration of our bicycle ride on day 1. The itinerary mentioned 1-2 hours of cycling but we did less than an hour.
Did they discuss this with our lovely, friendly guide Tien? No, they emailed the tour company to complain. Who then called me to ask about my experience of the trip. I couldn’t have cared less if the cycling lasting ten minutes or indeed, zero minutes. When it comes to physical activity I’m not a demanding customer. Shade, a hammock, a drink and my kindle are all I need for complete satisfaction.
Nor do I compare the sample itinerary to what we actually do which is always dependent on the weather, time available etc.
I did my best to reassure Tien’s bosses that Bernd and I were having a great time and had no complaints. Hopefully that kept her out of too much trouble.
I didn’t speak to the Belgians much after that. Not that they would’ve noticed, since most young backpackers are also completely self involved. Perhaps I should try to be more like that, so things like this would bother me less?