To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
I agree a lot with this. A big thing in developed countries is the belief that Muslims don’t like white people and want to destroy them. Sure, there are some radical Muslims who believe that way, but as a whole, the Muslim people are very peaceful and kind. I’ve spent the last 8 1/2 months living in a Muslim country and have seen firsthand how the people are. Sure, some don’t like white people very much, whether it be because they were raised believing that white people hate them or because they’ve had interactions with white people who are not very nice to them. I see a lot of that here. Foreigners here tend to have a superior attitude and treat the locals like they are beneath them. I’ll admit I’ve had my moments when I’ve looked at the way things are done here and thought that the American system is so much better. But, this is their way and outsiders being mean about their way of life isn’t going to change anything.
Something else this quote makes me think about is that when I told my mom Troy wanted me to come to Malaysia with him, she seriously thought we were going to live in a rustic house with dirt floors. lol. We’ve seen quite a few of those here, but Malaysia is very built up in the cities and isn’t too far behind the Western world in regards to technology.
As Troy and I have traveled around to Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam, we’ve seen different parts of each country that don’t get talked about much. Not all Vietnamese hate Americans. Sure, a lot of them do, but some find us fascinating. Some Vietnamese people can be quite charismatic and friendly and don’t believe American’s are trying to destroy them. Some actually support the Vietnam War and wish we had done more the help them.
Myanmar isn’t all military rule and oppressed people. Sure, there is a lot of oppression and abuse by the government, but a lot of the people we saw there were genuinely happy people. The government is actually trying to stimulate tourism and bring in more USD, so there is a huge campaign by the government that promotes tourist safety and details that all foreigners are to be treated with courtesy and respect. We were treated fairly well while in town in Myanmar and aside from some of the shop keepers being a bit pushy and a bit greedy, we didn’t have too many problems. Not sure if I want to know what the punishments are for locals who violate those guidelines, but those guidelines are more than other countries have.
As for Cambodia, that country was a lot different from I expected. This was the country where I was expecting a lot of people to be in abject poverty and everyone to be super dirty. Well, I was wrong. Partially. The country is pretty poor, but the people are clean and well-mannered. I was kinda expecting people to be on us constantly about buying trinkets and things, but it wasn’t too bad. There were a few adults who would follow us for a minute or two, trying to get us to buy bracelets or postcards, but they’d leave us alone after a bit and they were always friendly. The gangs of kids, though, were what we expected. Sort of. They weren’t all crying and begging us to buy their trinkets. Most of them laughed and played and just wanted to talk to us……………..and get candy. lol. We had a lot of fun with the kids.
I don’t think I had any preconceived notions about Thailand. I always imagine The King and I when I think of Thailand and their crazy shoes, but that’s about it. Nobody wore the crazy shoes outside of the cultural shows, unfortunately. I guess one thing I had expected when visiting Thailand was for the people to be honest. Most Thai people are Buddhist and Buddhists are generally honest people. Wow. We totally got blindsided by that one. As in every religion and culture, not everyone follows the norm. We did get taken advantage of big time while there and that is unfortunate.
All in all, though, when visiting other countries, you will learn that not everything is exactly how it is portrayed. You will never learn the truth of a country or a culture until you spend a bit of time there and really get to know how things are.