Friday, 22 August 2014

Cautionary Travel Tale

I enjoy travelling, and I've generally had pleasant experiences while visiting places far from home.  However in recent times it has become difficult, even dangerous to travel to places that once were relatively welcoming to visitors.  There's a 1948 Bugs Bunny short in which Bugs finds a genie and wishes he could visit Baghdad; he's promptly transported there and treated to a romanticized and stereotypical version of the city that looks nothing like the place it is today.

A long-time family friend was a frequent traveller for his volunteer organization's conferences.  He rarely encountered difficulties during his jaunts, but there was one story he told me that made me think twice about certain exotic destinations.

This particular trip was to Singapore, and one of his connecting flights was through Calcutta, India which is one of the largest cities in the region.  The flight itself wasn't the problem, but the people who boarded the plane there.  According to my friend, these passengers were filthy, noisy, and didn't seem to understand how to use the plane's facilities properly.  After the plane landed in Singapore, there were reports that the interior of the plane had to be practically gutted and disinfected because the Indian passengers had blocked the toilets, soiled their seats, and left trash everywhere.

It wouldn't have surprised me if this were standard practice for Singapore - the health regulations there are so strict that people can be fined hundreds of dollars just for spitting in the street.  However my friend implied that only the flights out of India were treated in such a manner, because the sheer poverty and overpopulation in that country were not conducive to a particularly clean lifestyle.

It's my understanding that general conditions have improved over the last 20 years but I think the closest I'll ever get to Asia is the West Coast.

1 comment:

  1. Well I hope things have improved in India because my husband probably has to take a trip there next month