There was a risk that in travelling to Thailand first, we would just end up meeting a bunch of Poms or Aussies at every corner we turned. Thailand beaches and cities are renowned for enticing travellers from those two countries because it’s inexpensive, close enough to Australia that Australians can visit for short amounts of time easily, and Poms can stop by on their way to or away from Australia, where they’ve been supporting Englands cricket team in the Ashes. Which I don’t wish to talk about, by the way.
But I’ve been surprised in the past 2 weeks to not have met a single Australian. Not a single one. The very closest I’ve come was meeting a German girl that lived in Australia until she was 10, and still speaks perfect english, but only has a German Passport so doesn’t count. I was close again the other day, meeting a Kiwi girl that has lived in Byron for the past few years. But unlike what we Aussies have done with Russell Crowe and Crowded House, I won’t be claiming her as Australian.
Without a single Bonds singlet wearing, southern-cross-tattooed body in sight, you might wonder if we’ve met anyone at all. And we have – mostly Germans. It would seem that if you’re in Germany, and looking for a 2-3 week holiday, then south east asia is your place. On our cooking class there were three Germans, on our bus yesterday there were four, on our day visiting the elephants there were countless. It would almost make more sense to greet fellow travellers with ‘Guten Tag’ instead of ‘Hello’ because there are so many German folk here.
If they’re not German, they might be Canadian. We’ve met a few Canadians already, all of them from Vancouver, and all have been very friendly and keen to tell us more about the city we hope to be living in by the end of this year. We’ve also met travellers from Norway, Denmark, Spain, France, Belgium, Borneo, USA, and only a couple from the UK – not nearly as many English as I expected.
It’s been a nice change to meet people from all over the world. When I say I’m from Brisbane, 90% will mention the floods, so it’s nice(?) that little ol’ BrisVegas has finally made it onto the map – even if CNN can’t properly place Queensland when they reported on the status of Cyclone Yasi a few weeks ago.
We’ll see how much longer this trend lasts for. As we make our way south, into Luang Prabang, before heading east into Vietnam, who knows – I’ll surely come across an Aussie at some point, and might even be pleased to see the southern cross tattooed across his/her chest. Not likely, though!