20 Things I’ve Learnt From 7 Months in Asia

Buddhist flags in Darjeeling, India

Buddhist flags in Darjeeling, India

A small compilation of things that I have learnt – usually the hard way – since being on the road.

(1) If something sounds to good to be true, it is – especially in India

(2) Travelling as a couple? Not all attached bathrooms have walls to the ceiling. Your relationship will change after Delhi belly and a shared bathroom

(3) Tuktuks are always a rip off and if they are not, prepare to be encouraged into a shop working with commission and without decent prices

(4) People you meet on the street always have an ulterior motive. The motive is money. Or just some ear fondling – more on this later

(5) There will always be (at least) one thing wrong with your room: when you have a laptop, camera and phone to charge there will be only one power plug – or no power plug if you’re really lucky. When it’s cold there’ll be no hot water, or it’ll only be turned on for an hour a day at 6am – you know, that hour of the day that you’re sleeping. There’ll be no blanket on the bed: fine if you’re like most travellers that take a sleeping bag, not fine if you’re like, well, me and don’t. There’ll be no toilet seat. There’ll be six taps coming out of the wall but the only one connected to the hot water is a foot off the ground – not ideal for showering splashing yourself clean. The tap won’t turn off. You have a squat/western toilet combo. The plug from the basin is not connected to a pipe – you may as well just spit the toothpaste straight on your feet. The fan doesn’t work. The bed isn’t actually a bed, but a piece of solid concrete – I’m kidding, but sometimes it really feels like it is. Your mattress is home to mice, spiders, and ants – I’m not kidding. And your room is home to rats. Geekos. Spiders. Scorpions.

(6) You will always pack things you don’t need. Umm, yes I do need a box of different shaped bandages

(7) Never leave Angelo in control of a kayak

(8) Not to eat large meals before an overnight train journey

(9) Drinking 1L of Thai iced tea from a 7eleven is never going to end well

(10) Laundry soap exists in a bar. Revelation! – Seriously, I didn’t know this

(11) There are still a lot of people who have no idea what or where New Zealand is

(12) Squat toilets are far more hygenic than western toilets: there’s no skin contact and dirt is easier to deal with when it’s on the floor and not on the seat. But you may pee on yourself at the beginning – there’s always that

(13) Toiletries exist where you are going – don’t waste the weight – BUT, razor blades for your dearly loved razor may not. Take a good supply. *sniff, RIP Gillette quattro*

(14) Good insect repellant is just as good as anti-malarials – and you don’t have to deal with the side effects like sensitive skin – hello sunbathing

(15) A fake wedding ring can come in handy

(16) So can pretending not to speak English

(17) Beer in New Zealand is outrageously expensive. A swapper bottle in Asia costs approximately $1-3. Be outraged

(18) That eating indoors or even in a nicer restaurant doesn’t necessarily mean the kitchen will be any cleaner than a street stall. Also, don’t be surprised to see people bathing, or brushing their teeth on the premises (India)

(19) There are plenty of dogs on the streets in Asia. However, there’s a suspiscious lack of cats

(20) Toilet paper can be incredibly hard to find in some places. Oh, and using your left hand may be considered offensive – three guesses why that might be…

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