Stephen Tapply Photography
The Joy of Travelling

You know you've been travelling too long in Asia when ...

You prefer to eat spicy instant noodles for breakfast instead of cornflakes and milk.
You put chili sauce on your pizza.
Your favorite restaurant is a table covered with a tatty plastic cloth by the side of the road.
It's normal to have to repeat your order six times in a restaurant that only has four things on the menu.
And it's just part of the adventure when the waiter repeats your order perfectly, then the cook makes something completely different.
You think the best part of a chicken is the crunchy stuff on the end of the leg bones.

You won't eat Uncle Ben's rice because it doesn't stick together.
You get upset with inflation because the buffet in an Asian five-star hotel now costs nearly six pounds.

When you buy something, you have to do a currency conversion to work out how much something costs...
...only it's a conversion into three other currencies, none of which are your home currency, to see if you're getting value for money compared with neighbouring countries.
You have problems using US dollars, because they're not colour coded.

You're no longer capable of driving a car without sounding the horn.
Only you no longer pay any attention to someone sounding the car horn.
Getting fifteen people or more in a car seems perfectly normal.
And you think a Honda Kinetic is an ideal family vehicle for two adults, three children and a dog.
You look left AND right several times before crossing a one way street.
And before crossing when the pedestrian light is green.
You consider a city 500 miles away to be "very close."
You know what the name of the small asian family car means.
You know someone with the same name as a small asian family car.

You're willing to pay to use a toilet that you would never dream of using at home.
You can shake your hands almost perfectly dry before wiping them on your trousers.
You can kill cockroaches with your bare feet.
You aren't surprised (or worried) when there are footmarks on the toilet seat.
Or ... worse ... they're YOUR footmarks!

There may be 75 pairs of flip flops on the floor outside the temple you're visiting, but you know exactly which pair is yours.
You get to see most major Hollywood films about a week before their premiere.
You keep dreaming of a green Christmas.
You think the air smells funny in Singapore.
You find nothing wrong at all with throwing bottles or rubbish out of car or train windows.

It's normal to stop just before getting on the escalator, in order to plan your day.
And one fun game is to try to get into the lift before anyone can get out.
All Indian people do not look remotely alike, nor do Asians ... but Europeans are a little difficult to distinguish at first.

Back in the UK

You try to bargain the price down in Marks & Spencers.
You recognise the Indian Defence Minister or the Indonesian Finance Minister on TV, but you don't recognise the Leader of the Conservative Party.
You can't believe how clean the toilets are in petrol stations.
You suddenly realise you can understand the conversations taking place around you.
You're disappointed that you can understand the conversations taking place around you.


Copyright © Stephen Tapply