Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rules of the Wild

One of the best things about travelling is talking to all the different people that you meet. Some folk you meet leave lasting memories and others just an awkward silence. It is important to know what subject areas you can and can't talk about when chatting with these near-strangers around the campfire..or table. My friends and I made a list of subjects deemed as inappropriate chat whilst travelling -I will call them 'Forbidden subjects':
  • The 'BEST'- this could be best beaches, hostels, caves, game etc- travelling is not a game of trumps!
  • Ex-boyfriends/girlfriends/partners-this just makes all the listeners feel rather uncomfortable-too much sharing for strangers!
  • 'Africa' and 'Africans' - this is specifically on the Forbidden list for people travelling around Africa. Funnily enough 1.2 billion people don't easily fit into a collective noun.
And last but not least...
  • Safaris! I hate to say it, but talking about safaris should not be allowed. We all know what a zebra looks is black and white...or is it white and black.!!??Nonetheless, I have seen a lion on television and in the zoo-big deal!!?? (well...) 
So now we know what we can't talk about whilst travelling..what is left to discuss!? Well, plenty...everything else! Favourite subjects for my buddies and I whilst travelling (mostly with each other mind) were; the recent bombings in Uganda, the joys of shopping in a first world city (Nairobi), Karen Blixon, transportation, roads and BOOKS! The last is particularly interesting when all travelling buddies read the same book..which we did! This led to many discussions on whether Denys Fitch Hatton just used Karen Blixon or whether Karla in The Believers got off the train at the end of the novel .

We couldn't get over the excitement of shopping in Nairobi...
we could never get sick of this subject! I even found hummus and Dorset cereal!
Whether the people you meet travelling are strange or super nice, wonderful or weird, many stories arise from your short encounters!Like the owners of the villa we stayed at that brought us daily gifts from the garden and encouraged us to eat radishes. Or the fresh faced overlander (a unique species of creature) that when he found out we were just in Kenya to do a beach holiday, innocently inquired after which overland company that 'did that'!

Even though most people you meet whilst travelling are just passing through, they become part of your stories and you part of theirs.