Directions need direction!

This communication post is motivated by my experiences in Asia where little communication and therefore direction is given to me and other ‘tourists’ about what is goibg to happen and when/why whilst moving place to place i.e. travelling the continent.

For some reason the local ‘travel agents’ and drivers don’t appear to recognise a need to tell people where to go to get the right bus, when to go there and where it will drop us! They book the ticket for Name: A and take the miney, say be here at (time) …then nothing more. On the day, at leadt half an hoyur to an hour later than directed, a bus will show…but is it mine? or the other three or four uncertain, bewildered potential passengers around me?

tuk tuks and drivers in control...?
tuk tuks and drivers in control…?

We look at each other, then at the agents ( we think anyway) and then the driver who gets out, says hi tomhis colleagues – and nothing to us.

Is this me to go? Put my own bag in or will you? Are we going to the same place or maybe a drop off on the way? ( if you’ve experienced this before and the possible outcomes of):

(a) All going to the border/town together – can share the ride…or

(b) Some going to the border, others to a town near the border or further on from there – can arrive the same time and place and then swap vehicles, wait for another ride to the next place you have no idea about or when (i.e. ask specific question) and watch others come and go with little idea where you fit in and bond over this with other lost travellers!

(c) Arrive where you are taken by tuk tuk and not the promised minivan? Show ticket when tuk tik driver goes to desk as you now know to follow him as he has your instructions to pass on from the agent! you get it stamped, bored look from authority figure and get ticket back or new slip – and no indication what happens next. Driver leaves you in their capable hands …

(d) Sit down, wait as instructed…notice a bus ready to go and people on it, almost time for your bus to leave – ah ha, think to ask if that’s where I should be – yes it is! Lucky I noticed AND asked!

So as communication is important to me, this is new for me! I like to know where to go or be, when and why and most certainly where! The drop off point is sometimes past the point I could have got off for my hotel if I’d known where we were/were going!!!

This applied to our ‘mini adventure’ on Saturday, 5th Sept au Do Det….tuk tuk, boat for dolphins, trek, tuk tuk, lunchbreak (for guide), boat then bike tuk tuk to watefall – each step became clear only as it appeared to us when the next step was developing!! No warning, direction or explanation at all, nor a goodbye and thanks from the guide/ service provider! Bizarre.

mini adventure by boat and tuk tuk!
mini adventure by boat and tuk tuk!

They are abrupt people too, direct and minimal words admittedly in a foreign language, so forgiveness is easy and it’s amusing (as long as you dont miss your bus/stop/town because they often dont tell younwhen youve arrived so you dont know where you are but are expected tomresoond accordingly – get off if this is your destination, stay put if continuing on or swap rides for next place!

Communication is likely difficult between fireigners, I get it. But how do they expect others to know if they are visitors, new to your land?! Similarly when you ask tompay and they look at you until,younask ‘how much?’…

Yet, they chatte, instruct, direct, discuss and tell each other from theirvtone of voice, gestures and responses. Why is it different for us when we dont yet know their customs and culture?

Perhaps we are as intolerant and with litle awareness tomour visitors, telling them what we know and assuming they know the rest. I know I will be more patient, understanding and clearer with people now, including fellow travelers who don’t feel sure of what’s happening next..

Ready and willing to go where and when I’m told


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