Take the picture or enjoy

I always wonder if it is appropriate to take the picture.

I travel to explore, for an adventure. Sure taking pictures and uploading them to facebook is great, other people love to hear about your trips and sometimes the pictures help you remember all that you did. I love reminiscing on my trips when I am stuck at work or in a snowstorm and pictures are a great way to do that.

But..

Sometimes you see those people who hiked a huge mountain, or are watching fire works or a show and they insist on taking non stop pictures, and watching the view or performance through a screen. I wonder what those people have as motivation to even go? Can’t you just google a video or picture, do you really need to be there then? Maybe our generation is so enthralled with our phones or camera’s that we don’t even realize we are doing it… we see one thing that is cool and we automatically want to snapchat it.

Then you get to the places like war museums, Auschwitz, Pompeii, places where really horrible things have happened to people like genocide, or being sold as slaves, and you see people taking photos. I understand to a degree, you may want to go home and show people you know will never go what it looks like in Auschwitz. I myself have a photo of my friends and I in Pompeii where they sold the slaves.. I don’t think we planned it at the time “cool, they bought and sold people here.. let’s selfie” I think it was more like “finally we don’t have a crowd around us, let’s take a picture”. But looking back, was that really appropriate?

There was a man who wrote an article and attached photos he found online of young people posing, or taking “profile pictures” in these types of places. He then photo-shopped in the background pictures from history where the Jews were starving to death, skin and bones, with this girl in the front doing a yoga pose. It really surprised people I think. The overall reaction was “how could these kids take those kinds of pictures in a place like that”, but unless he put the historic pictures in the background would you have ever though twice before?

The tourists that pay money to the locals that have a monkey or a snake on their shoulders to hold that animal, take a quick photo then give it back drive me insane. A huge snake, a monkey, all these animals do not want to be held. They are not our photo props, they are wild animals. How do you think they are treated when they are used soley as a pay cheque? They are stolen from the wild, drugged, and forced to be passed around like stuffed animals so that tourists can have a profile picture of them holding a monkey. It’s not right. Again, most people would not even think these things, they would see an opportunity and take it.

Off topic: I am an animal lover, completely. I grew up with dogs and I want to cuddle and hold literally anything that has fur. The biggest lesson I learnt when it came to animals was when I bought a pet rabbit. Rabbits are prey animals that hate being cuddled and held. I had to learn that my rabbit shows me affection way differently than my dog does.. she just wants to be in the same room as me, maybe sit on my lap for a head pet, and that was good enough. We can’t just assume all animals are the same as our household pets. 

I have a love hate relationship with electronic devices and I am not sure where I stand all the time on it, I flip and I flop.. But I try to remind myself when I reach for my camera or phone… is this really necessary and appropriate?

Do we travel to take profile pictures ?

These views

Ping Pong shows – Travel mistake

Pets on holidays

Are we really travel savvy ?

Can you believe this beach

Ping Pong shows – Travel mistake

Sounds fun, right? A ping pong show… I watched Forrest Gump, is it THAT kind of Ping pong show? No. 

I don’t know the whole story about Ping Pong shows

and I am afraid to find that out. All I can do is tell you my experience and hope that deters you from making the same travel mistake.

I traveled to Thailand in 2012.. basically a fresh 18 year old (where I live 18 is the drinking age), so I was ready to continue my bar star days in another country with my friends. We had been traveling around for about 6 weeks when we ended up back in Bangkok for a few days before traveling home. We were in a group of about 21 people at this time, only a few had already been to Thailand before, most this was their first time.

We had all gone out to a very fun dinner where the drinks were flowing and we all wanted to continue our good time. Being in Bangkok, and just off Khao San road at that, we had constantly heard of these Ping Pong Shows that go on. There are many local men, including tuc tuc drivers, that will walk by you asking if you wanted to go to one of these shows, and then make a pop pop sound with their mouths. I don’t remember who I asked but they had described these shows sort of like Strippers.

They said it was like the strip club you would go to back home.

Having gone to a strip club before and having a fun time with my girlfriends we decided that would be a fun way to end our trip. What we should have noticed was that our group became torn on whether to go…. the people who had already been to Thailand before this trip were staying back *red flag*

The rest of us went to Khao San road, found a tuc tuc driver and all went to this Ping Pong show. We had to barter our way into the “club” as they were asking for such a high price ! By the time we all got in we all felt we had paid too much, but we got a free drink ticket so we were happy. When we arrived inside the place was fairly packed so we walked on the other side of the stage, far away from the door. The place looked really dingy so we all decided to not have our free drinks. We sat down and noticed that 99% of the crowd were white… assuming all tourists. But they weren’t rowdy young backpackers like ourselves, they were business men, creepy looking men, and….. a few older ladies (I couldn’t tell their ages, but they had grey hair).

Once the show started…

We all got very uncomfortable, very fast. It started out KINDA like strippers back home… I guess. The girls were on stage dancing on the poles… but there was one VERY big difference. The strippers back home have huge smiles on their faces, they put in a lot of energy and look, for the most part, like they are having a great time (they may even talk and laugh with you if you are sitting up close). These girls at the ping pong show had no energy, they did not smile at all, they looked absolutely miserable, and most of them looked completely out of it. I won’t go into detail on everything that we saw but you don’t want to know anyways.

We all wanted to leave once it started, but because we were such a large group and so far away from the door, we felt we had to stay until the show was over. When we left, not a single one of us made eye contact or talked until we got back to our hostel.

 

These shows are not like strippers. They are run by the sex trade… We… I… paid money into the sex trade.. into keeping those women there. From the little I found out AFTER I had gone, some of these women were sold by their families to pay for debt, or they were stolen, or they were forced into this trade. They are mostly kept sedated, and you could tell the ones that weren’t… I had never seen such embarrassed women in my life.. the ones that knew what were going on had tried their best to cover their faces the entire time with their hair.. they didn’t want to be seen. This is one of my biggest regrets and I hope I can deter at least one person from making the same mistake.  

Are we really travel savvy ?