When I set out on this adventure, I anticipated challenges. These have included:
- language barriers
- difficulties with maintaining my diet
- difficulties staying healthy in general
- moments of loneliness
I did not, however, anticipate the characters that I’ve encountered on my tour of SE Asia!
Character number one, whom I called “a walking night market” due to her penchant for piling on LAYERS of clothes (i.e. several skirts, tops, Adidas track jacket, ball cap, crazy fake jewels, furry things, etc. etc. ALL IN ONE OUTFIT) and an addiction to shopping, departed the trip a few days ago, to the relief of the group. Besides questionable taste and a lack of fashion sense, she was NUTTY. Didn’t listen/misheard/imagined conversations, fought at every opportunity with our poor tour leader and her roommate (who are both lovely and couldn’t have been more accommodating with her). Honestly, she was nuts. It was draining waiting around for her to show up late every day and then complain about not having enough time to do things, that we weren’t speaking to her, that the tour leader was treating her like a child, whilst she short-changed locals during the bargaining process (or “baby entrepreneurs” as she called the kids trying to sell her bracelets) and bought the most RANDOM crap of all time. Strange foods from vendors? Check. More skirts to pack into an exploding suitcase? Check. Fake fingernails that we saw during traditional Thai dancing? Check check. She also seemed determined to seek out trouble, which was evident by her frequent late-night walks on her own. At any rate, it was a RELIEF when she finally gave up and bailed on the tour, as she’d seemed hell-bent on getting our tour leader to quit first.
So one nut down. On to my roommate.
She’s a quirky old lady. Sometimes we laugh. I am trying to be respectful and appreciative of the age difference. However, when I forked over my money I didn’t sign up to be a 24/7 caregiver with the following grievances:
- I wake up every morning, before my alarm goes off, to her alarm clock, which is an old-school one that RINNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGS for five minutes before she figures out how to turn it off. The clock itself I have no problems with, save for the fact that it is perpetually 15 minutes slow. We discuss this EVERY DAY, yet she winds it up again and is puzzled why it’s “not the right time, eh?”
- The constant use of “eh”.
- If the clock doesn’t get me first, her immediately picking up a conversation with me does. This also happens when I am falling asleep. Full-on outdoor voice.
- The snoring and/or random yelling in her sleep. And if she’s not snoring, I think she has mad sleep apnea because I lie awake waiting for another breath to ensure she’s still alive. This in turn is likely giving me a sleep disorder.
- Pam. Everyone is named Pam. Except NO ONE on the tour is named Pam. It started with one woman. Then I became Pam. Our tour leader, Mr. T, is called Mr. Lee, Mr. B, but never the right name either. Who is Pam?!
- Her refusal to chew with her mouth closed. Personal pet peeve.
- Her refusal to accept that Asian cultures enjoy spicy foods, and therefore foods here will indeed be spicier. We almost resorted to a muay thai boxing match this evening over this, and I nearly lost my mind as she hasn’t eaten dinner in several days and is beyond stubborn about it. Don’t insult the locals by sending food back or demanding other things when there’s a language barrier – their concepts of westernized food will obviously be different! I have had a stomach virus for four days but am still willing to try stuff!
- She gets angry so easily. The other night we were going to look at something and she brushed the idea aside, insisting that our tour leader immediately “get her a truck”. It is a walking tour! Physical fitness is a requirement. As is general courtesy/kindness to others!
- Granny pants hanging in the bathroom. Me going in with glasses off and getting tangled in granny pants. OH THE HUMANITY.
Honestly, I am trying really hard. I think I am a very patient individual. I don’t like venting about others but I know that she won’t ever read this as she can’t use her debit card and didn’t understand what a cell phone was, so I think I’m safe. Send kind thoughts. I need wisdom on how to survive this (without resorting to violence, please).
Otherwise, the rest of my trip I’ll be eating these to relieve the stress (and my clothes are already getting snug):