Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Today I'm starting with this little gem that has been doing the rounds of various social media sites for some years. It is entertaining, you will most likely laugh, even if you have seen it before. It is quite astonishing the depth and breadth of the ignorance of a hopefully small percentage of the population. Read, enjoy, and I'll get on with the blog when you reach the end:

20 astonishing holiday complaints

5th September 2011
Presented to you, for your entertainment and pleasure – 20 of the most outrageous, ridiculous and stupid travel complaints made to tour operators
A recent survey from Thomas Cook and ABTA reveals 20 of the most ridiculous complaints by holiday-makers made to their travel agent.
1. "I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts."
2. "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time - this should be banned."
3. "On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food at all."
4. "We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels."
5. A tourist at a top African Game Lodge over looking a water hole, who spotted a visibly aroused elephant, complained that the sight of this rampant beast ruined his honeymoon by making him feel "inadequate".
6. A woman threatened to call police after claiming that she'd been locked in by staff. When in fact, she had mistaken the "do not disturb" sign on the back of the door as a warning to remain in the room.
7. "The beach was too sandy."
8. "We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure.Your brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white."
9. A guest at a Novotel in Australia complained his soup was too thick and strong. He was inadvertently slurping the gravy at the time.
10. "Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women."
11. "We bought 'Ray-Ban' sunglasses for five Euros from a street trader, only to find out they were fake."
12. "No-one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled."
13. "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England it only took the Americans three hours to get home."
14. "I compared the size of our one-bedroom apartment to our friends' three-bedroom apartment and ours was significantly smaller.."
15. "The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the accommodation’. We’re trainee hairdressers - will we be OK staying there?"
16. "There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners now live abroad."
17. "We had to queue outside with no air conditioning."
18. "It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel."
19. "I was bitten by a mosquito, no-one said they could bite."
20. "My fiancé and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked."
It's funny, it's silly, and it's also a symptom of ignorance and intolerance. In some people, ignorance is a choice - they know better but they choose to be ignorant or in other words arrogant. In others it is environmental, educational, cultural - or a blend of all three. Intolerance is an attitude often (but not always) fuelled by ignorance, a complete lack of empathy and a sense of entitlement. 
I will say right here that I am not an expert - I am not an anthropologist, I am not versed in political science, I have no letters after my name, no higher education on people and how they think and react. I am a writer of fiction, and as a writer I observe. It is in my capacity as a writer and observer of human behaviour that I write this blog. I do not have qualifications to state anything with any sort of authority, but I think and I observe. This blog today is my own personal opinion with which you may agree and you may not. I hope I write sufficiently eloquently so that you think on what I have said, even if it is to vehemently disagree.
noun - the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.

That's not so bad is it? I don't mean unwillingly put up with what you consider to be somebody's misguided opinion or way of life. I mean accept that your view, your way of life, your way of thinking is yours alone. That someone else thinks differently does not necessarily mean they are wrong, just different. I should say here that I am not including psychopaths, murderers or other people that cause harm to others. I am talking about people that are trying to get on in the world in their own way. 
We are all strange, all skewed in some way, all shaped by our environment, our culture, our own individual experiences. Ask any siblings, you will see that each of them remember their childhood differently, even have different perceptions of their parents. Not one of us has the same experiences and not one of us has exactly the same belief system. This also of course means that each person interprets the belief system of their culture in their own unique fashion which is a whole different subject and not one I'm going into tonight.
This world is full of different cultures, different races, different religions. Isn't it arrogant for any culture to think their belief system is the only right one? Of course it is. Every race, every culture, every religion deserves respect and tolerance. If you don't like the way some people live, don't go to their country. 
I am not one to voice my opinion to all and sundry - even though that is exactly what I am doing right now. What I mean is that I do not consider my opinion to necessarily be agreed with or approved of by everyone else and I have no wish to force it on anyone. If you don't like what I'm writing, well you stopped reading several paragraphs ago! 
Of course everyone has an opinion, everyone is entitled to an opinion and everyone has the right to their own opinion. If you think someone is wrong, by all means enter into a discussion with that person about it. By discussion I do not mean say your piece, wait for the other person to stop talking while you rehearse in your head what you will say next and then say more. I mean have a discussion and actually listen to what the other person has to say. Maybe that person is wrong, maybe you are wrong, and maybe you both have different opinions and you must each and tolerate that and accept it. It's not the end of the world, or the end of your friendship. It's just a difference of opinion. How boring would it be if we all had exactly the same opinion on everything.
Going to a foreign country? Read up about it. Learn about the culture, the religion, the lifestyle. Show some respect when you are there by trying to use the language, don't wear clothes or exhibit behaviour that may be seen as offensive. It's nothing more than good manners. Be well mannered, not a bratty child. It's not hard, and it's nothing more than most of us expect from visitors to our own country.
Think someone has done something inhuman, or inhumane? Of course this happens, but before you judge try some empathy. Try to really put yourself in their shoes. Really try. Consider the parents of six small children in a poverty stricken country. They have another child, not because they are irresponsible but because they have no recourse to basic medical treatment, let alone birth control. All of the children are starving, the mother has so little milk the baby may not survive. They make the difficult but perhaps in their world the not uncommon decision to sell the baby to a couple that is desperate for a child of their own. In return they can feed the children they have left, and they have the understanding that the baby will not only survive but will be able to live a better life than they could provide. Is that wrong? Self serving? Are they bad parents? Or are they making a decision that will save all of the children. Can you really judge people unless you put yourself in their skin and try to see life from their perspective.
That is what I mean by tolerance. Educate yourself about different societies, travel with your eyes open to learning new and different ways of living. Before you judge anyone, put yourself in their skin and try to understand how they think. Chances are you will grow and become a better person yourself simply by trying to understand others. 
We are all connected, we are all part of the whole. This earth is a big rock orbiting a massive fireball. There's no escape. What hurts the planet hurts us. What hurts other people hurts us even if it is indirectly. It is beyond the time when all humans on this planet learn to live in tolerance and acceptance, and work together to keep our planet a viable living option.
Lecture over, next blog will as usual be all about me, as I continue my own personal journey, and because hey I'm fascinating, right?? Right?? Hello? Anyone left reading??

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