Hello from one of those fun countries! Recently we travelled to Italy and our tour guide started to warn us of pickpockets etc until he realised we were from Africa “Aaah! I should have looked in your eyes first! They are completely awake!” I couldn’t have said it better if I tried!
Our members of parliament dress in overalls and sing in protest inside parliament! It sure ain’t boring! I agree with you 100 per cent and it is an excellent observation you’ve made.
When we travel to the clockwork countries, we notice how alert, observent and interactive we are. We can easily pick out who else is from one of those fun countries too. We are the one’s who are aware of who is around them, we clutch our bags and are interested in everything and willing to engage and chat with others. We find the people from clockwork countries seem to be so used to comfort and safety that they almost disengage from everything including those around them. Our first time on a train in London, we smiled and greeted everyone- only to have people stare back blankly at us or lift their newspapers up as a screen.
For the first few days in any of the clockwork countries we revel in the eficiency and safety. Then we start to get restless. When the man tells you to step back because your toes are over the red tape at the front of a queue; when before being allowed in the building to visit a relative at his work, we have to watch a 10 min health and safety video. When everywhere you go there are signs stating the obvious- “beware stream/bridge/rail!” These things start to irritate!
So we come back home with happy hearts to find a very inefficient queue but a broadly smiling official who greets you with a “sauwbona (a local greeting)— welcome home!” The taxis are chaos, the streets are noisy and everybody hoots, you have to lock your car and watch your bag, but you can also chat to anyone and they will smile back and engage with you. Bright colours, sunshine and singing and you feel alive!
So many people(even those from the fun countries!) Travel and want the same as what they have at home. We once traveled with a group of Americans; every time we stopped — they would make their way to the nearest Macdonalds instead of exploring the local cuisine . My countrymen were much the same when we were in Turkey, an array of the freshest, tastiest food I have ever tasted, was rejected and the waiter was asked if there was chicken. Where is the fun in that! An Australian couple simply wanted to stay at the hotels and swim in the pool. Seriously? Can’t you do that back home? There’s an adventure waiting for you!
Having said all that, I do think that people from the clockwork countries should also be more aware and careful when visiting the fun countries. They do have a tendency to expect the same standards of safety as they are used to, in other countries and this can make them naive, vulnerable and easy targets. (And I’m not talking about just being ripped off by a taxi driver here) Always talk to locals and the staff of where you are staying to find out where it is safe and what advice they can give you. I do that in any country(fun or clockwork) I visit as a rule.
Lastly, thank you for encouraging others to visit the fun countries — your tourism is one of the major revenues for so many of these countries! Happy and safe travels!