#2273 The facts of life

Photo: Haw-lin

1. Before I left the States, I was surprised by the amount of people who went out of their way to tell me how much they’d hated India the first time they went. I dismissed their gripes as first world problems and thought nothing more of it until I flew in and spent some time there myself. I’m not entirely sure how you’re supposed to prepare yourself for what is probably the most extreme culture shock this planet has to offer, but I was immediately overwhelmed by the sights, the sounds, the colour, the smell, the lack of waste management! There were days when I didn’t want to leave the hotel. But like Buck, I played on.

2. The upsides: All you can eat Indian food; the most genuinely friendly, enthusiastic and hospitable people I’ve ever met; strange men coming up to my girlfriend and taking photos on their cellphones without asking (so many LOLz! maybe not for her though); losing my concept of personal space; five star accommodation for under 80 bucks a night; swimming in oceans that don’t give you goosebumps; buying Indian princess outfits for my toddler niece; the rickshaws!; shopping in actual Indian, not-for-the-tourists retail districts and using my boss-like negotiation skills (until a fellow customer turned around and told me in perfect English that there’s no bargaining in this mall); the head waggling; the word Namaste.

3. The downsides: Food poisoning! From a god damn piece of lettuce! At my god damn five star hotel!; the burning piles of rubbish on every street corner; the pollution; that strange feeling you get when somebody tells you yes but you’re not 100% sure you can trust that they don’t actually mean no (this applies to everything from taxi drivers knowing the route to your destination, to a hotel receptionist telling you that he has logged your wake up call request for your 5:00am flight the next morning); every single thing that happens at the airports.

4. I just got mad with my cousin Nikau for making me hang up my washing outside instead of putting it in the dryer like a normal person. I’ve been gone too long.

5. The good news is that my mother and sister both graduated today with a PhD and a Masters, respectively, alongside Graham Henry, who was given an honorary PhD in Education. The bad news is that I am now the least qualified member of my family.

6. So… Wave Park Surfing is not the walk in the park I imagined it to be.

7. Tip of the hat to Sean Hotchkiss – my former partner in crime on the Like the Boys series – for scoring the greatest menswear writing job known to man: Reviewing bespoke suits. As you’d expect there’s only one way to review these bespoke suits… Enter The Suited Man. Well played, sir.

8. Why is it that I can travel all around the world without ever worrying about getting beaten up by drunken idiots, then come back to New Zealand and be terrified by every card carrying member of the male gender. Kiwi men are so fricken aggressive! It freaks me out! I want my Mum.

9. Song of the week! Ain’t nobody fresher than my mother******* Clique.

10. Katherine‘s selling a special limited edition never seen before colourway of our THUGGED OUT SINCE CUB SCOUTS tee shirts at Arcade next week. Get in the game.


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  1. jim says

    4. normal people hang cloth to dry. Dryers ruins cloths and for some reason have always been taught to think they cost a lot to run…. wonder if that’s true

    5. Amazing achievement

    8. i am glad i am not the only one that feels this way. but to be fair its not New Zealand, i feel fine down Wellington.

  2. wow says

    wow. you just lol-ed about your girlfriend’s stolen image being used as fodder for misogynistic Indian men at their own pleasure…most of which are probably married to wives they treat like shit. What a great man you are…oh wait you’re a Kiwi.

  3. isaaclikes says

    At the risk of throwing fuel on the fire, aren’t you being a little prejudiced calling these men misogynists who treat their wives badly?

  4. wow says

    I am a woman so my perspective is just naturally from that perspective. 1) If a bunch of dudes are running around snapping pictures of someone else’s girlfriend on their phone they are displaying misogynistic behavior and are jack asses 2) What exactly do you think they are doing with those pictures Making Christmas cards!? 3) The statistics of domestic abuse and mistreatment in India are staggering. Mathematically there is a huge chance a wife beater was in that group. 4) Just because it is a ‘developing nation’ doesn’t mean they are immune from criticism for fear of you seeming racist. 5) Your girlfriend was being sexually harassed by definition whether you or she want to adit it or not and you lol-ed and listed it as an upside. 6) you said MAYBE NOT for her…did you even ask or just sit there laughing! 7) You have probably not been sexually harassed everyday since developing boobs in fifth grade but for women this is something we have a spidey sense for. I lived in NZ and I thought your blog was different than the typical Kiwi I encountered but this just got to me a little. I am not trying to speak on her behalf just my own.

  5. isaaclikes says

    Fair enough. I was being facetious when I listed that one as an upside, it was an attempt at comic relief that obviously failed to get any laughs from you. It only happened once and yes we both thought it was pretty weird, but I have a habit of making jokes out of situations that make me cringe or feel uncomfortable because in my experience, those make the funniest anecdotes. I’m sure you’re right on all counts, I was simply having a laugh. But now that it’s gotten all serious I’m not sure if I’m still laughing or just storing up this set of comments for a future anecdote about that time I tried to make a joke on my blog and got told that my attempt at comedy was, in fact, perpetuating sexist behaviour. And I think we all know there’s nothing funny about that. So… Can we still be friends?

    • Anonymous says

      Well put, I didn’t find your anecdote sexist. They were taking photos because your girlfriend is a babe and looks like a Bollywood star! Having travelled India extensively, I don’t think there was any ill intent in their actions, hence why you found it funny over alarming.

  6. Farang says

    I generally hate to disagree with anyone throwing out some girl power, because if there is one thing I am not into it’s THE MAN. However! I spent a few weeks travelling in an area that saw very little tourism and I didn’t see another white person in my entire time there – and I couldn’t believe how many people snapped pictures of me without asking. I didn’t at any time feel sexually harassed, I think that people seeing people that look different to the people they see all day every day arouses that kind of interest (I’m assuming the girlfriend was any race but Indian – could be wrong). To get worked up about it being sexual harassment makes me wonder if maybe your calibrator is a little off. Maybe it hasn’t ever had anything a little stronger thrown at it to reset the scale.

  7. wow says

    What does ‘girl power’ have to do with anything…my issue was him laughing and not even slightly considering the potential danger. My issue was that India has extreme violence against women and they were lucky: http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/mp/15714331/india-gang-rape-victim-extremely-critical/

    Maybe spending over a year in NZ as Black woman with creep ass old White men following me, calling me princess, attempting flirty-racist banter at bars (how they managed to think of that is beyond me), people staring, taking pictures, saying horrible things when I walked down the street, or trying to pet my hair has offed my calibrator. You’re right, no sarcasm intended. But it’s the Pacific…everyone indigenous to that corner of the world is some shade of brown so how many issues can you count with that? Don’t be so naive. Most of the time it’s sexual so please don’t kid yourself we just have to be more cautious. Maybe I’m seeming tightly wound or maybe you just haven’t lived through enough. I just think people should have more awareness when they travel because a lot of tourists around the world get hurt or go missing or get killed and the logistics of getting justice is insane. Human nature is universal.

  8. Anonymous says

    Yeah, I’m well aware of the violence against women in India. I find equating taking photographs of someone without permission to gang rape quite offensive, regardless.

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