Les miserables (otherwise known as backpackers on the backpacker trail)


Meet the most miserable Tây ba lô (backpacker) in the history of the Vietnamese tourism industry EVER. He outlines why he hates Vietnam with this short and snappy seven hundred paragraph-long-rant. You know, the first rule of blogging is why stop writing when you don’t have to? (Second rule is there are no more rules).

You wouldn’t have to get out of bed too early in the afternoon to realise that this guy didn’t have a whale of a time with a title like “reasons to hate Vietnam”. Nice of him to try and shit on the deck before he abandoned ship though.

We also love the way he pretentiously quotes Aldous Huxley in the top right of his travel blog, called Travelvice: “For the born traveler, traveling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding of its victim’s time, money, and the sacrifice of comfort.” As if he is a tortured soul, cursed, nay, doomed to traipse the earth eating banana pancakes in hostels for eternity. This from a man who moans about crossing the road in Hanoi and having to walk up eight flights of stairs in the skinnymalink hotels. Hearts won’t weep.

He swings from those petty grievances to describing the Vietnamese language as sounding like ‘meruughh-meowruugh-rruughh’ — who is this erudite and witty travel blogger? — then he has a pop at the entire male population who when speaking sound “like a recording of mentally handicapped person with a mouth full of Novocain, making an impression of a goose, played in reverse”…

This lily-livered weak-willed bigoted bollocks also doesn’t like how he has to pay for a visa or how it’s a a “pain in the ass” to get one and I’m sure Vietnamese people just pop the Russian champagne with joy at the bureaucratic ease of applying for, being interviewed for, paying for and receiving a US visa; hand delivered post haste from the local consulate, of course, with complimentary freedom fries and a baseball cap.

He eats in some crappy seafood joint and complains. He says only Vietnamese food outside Vietnam is good. Seriously. He doesn’t like the small Lilliputian chairs. He accuses the entire race of having a “general lack of intelligence” and quickly concurs with himself: “Yeah, that’s right, Tatiana and I think most of the people are genuinely below average in the mental faculty department. “Many are nice, but they’re dumb as rocks”, oft says his dearly beloved. High five baby.

But then he goes on thereafter to describe how he’s too gormless to find a supermarket or market with a mortar and pestle for sale.

It truly beggars belief and of course this kind of crap can be found here, there and everywhere floating on the ungovernable sea of the blogosphere, but we just found this one particularly gallingly and audaciously vituperative as he appears to be under the delusion that he’s ‘open minded’ and some kind of restless-travelling soul and that Vietnam is the problem.

He pretends to encourage others to try Vietnam for themselves by saying: “go to Vietnam for two or three weeks, and return home with enough horror stories to choke a small horse.”

And he’s out there somewhere, still, on the backpacker trail (today he’s in Turkey according to his blog), probably still moaning about Vietnam whenever he gets the chance, probably still rolling his eyes at the thought of how he was overcharged by a taxi driver, and well, you know what they say, wherever you go, there you and your banana pancake are.

My advice? Well, as William Sutcliffe once quipped, “The best way to avoid hassle is to never go anywhere.”

Over spill links

  1. Tay Ba lo – Vietnamese for backpacker, though also a loose term for scabby badly dressed foreigners
  2. William Sutcliffe, that funny man who wrote Are you experienced?, the book written for backpackers that slags off backpackers, explains why even former backpackers hate backpackers: “Backpackers are obsessed with the idea that, wherever they go, they get unfairly hassled. This “hassle” usually takes the form of local shopkeepers trying to make them buy things. Given that all contact with locals, other than the purely commercial, has as good as been wiped out by the traveller lifestyle, this seems a bizarre complaint – as if even outside the confines of their exclusive hotels they expect the locals to steer clear – as if any intrusion on their western privacy is an offence.”
  3. William Sutcliffe — encore une fois! — from the archives with a theory: “A popular obsession among travellers is the worry about being ‘hassled’. As a general rule of thumb, the more someone smokes, the more they are obsessed with hassle and how to avoid it”.
  4. If you think the noise pollution in Hanoi or TPHCM is bad, try Cairo for size. It’s been called the “city where you can’t hear yourself scream”.

5 Responses to “Les miserables (otherwise known as backpackers on the backpacker trail)”

  1. seems the link to the main rant is broken… wouldn’t mind reading it for a laugh. i’m hoping we’re allowed to leave comments…

  2. will check it now, hang on…

  3. Elliott-o san… think i have “FTFY” as they say. Let me know if it’s not working for you… it’s worth a quick look for it’s outrageously outlandish obnoxiousness…

  4. 4 thedition

    Jesus. What a an ass. I’ve been to Vietnam twice, and loved it. I can see some people not liking it, but this is a bit much. I’ve never understood the hatred of dual pricing–as the western world rips off much of the rest of the world on the macro level, its understandable when those people have to do it on the micro level.
    The thing in that douchebags hand, by the way, is a mantis prawn. And by far the greatest irony, is including hating the “Vietnamese cultural insensitivity.” You’re in their country, not the other way around–usually you show cultural sensitivity to the country that you are in.
    I’m ashamed this guy is an American.

    • Yes — there’s a classic bit in Austin Powers when Austin Powers Senior, played by Michael Caine, utters: “There are two things I hate in this world. Firstly, people who are intolerant of foreign cultures and secondly, the Dutch.”

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