India – lost in translation?

lost in translation

Travel brings many trials and tribulations, many of which can be attributed to language barriers.

Hand gestures and pointing only goes so far… especially when it comes to finding a toilet… awkward.

What we found in India is how detrimental ‘lost in translation’ situations can be – specifically when it comes to Trip Advisor reviews.

When reading reviews before going to India I picked several spots based on glowing reviews from happy travellers. What I failed to take into account was who was writing reviews… and what they are trying to say versus reality.

So for your viewing pleasure I’ve picked some reviews about places I ended up visiting that weren’t quite what they were made out to be:


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Translation: This review is about a bridge in Mumbai. I mean it’s a nice bridge… but it’s a bridge. I wasn’t excited.


chennai copy

 

 

 

 

Translation: If you find peace and happiness in being stalked by hawkers, threatened, attacked by flying animals (these things are too big to be described as bugs) and eyed up by disease carrying stray dogs, then sure… you will find a shit load of peace and happiness and happiness here.


jaipur copy

 

 

 

 

Translation: “Good natured but persistent” is truly the most diplomatic description I’ve ever heard. This person must be a politician. I watched the hawkers here bully tourists and literally jump on the back of a moving vehicle to try and sell their shit, scaring the bejesus out of visitors.


marble copy

 

 

 

 

Translation: “Great shopping experience”, “For Sale” and “great demo” are interesting perceptions of this marble shop. After watching very talented craftsmen make marble art, we were locked in a room and forced to buy before we could leave. Then were told the owner is a mean alcoholic who is horrible to his staff… So in this case Great shopping experience = forced purchase from slave labour.


So friends, when it comes to Trip Advisor buyer beware… top tips:

  1. Look at where the reviewer comes from – perception is everything and people from different regions of the world to you may have different perceptions.
  2. People are welcome to have their own opinions – even if they are shit and wrong. Don’t take everyones opinion as gospel.

Ok that’s all for now… More actual tales from our actual trip to come soon. For now, rant over, thanks for listening 🙂

London – The divider of opinions

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London – You either love it or you hate it

For the record I love London. The tube, the history, the endless choice of fun activities – it’s all a bit of me. But some people don’t love London, those people are idiots, but they have a right to their opinion (even if it’s wrong).

london1For a bit of fun I’ve written two poems – one from the perspective of those who hate London, one from those who love it.

I want these contrasting poems to remind you that no matter where you travel, people will give you their opinion about it. Take it with a grain of salt, it’s just their opinion, go forth, travel and form your own opinions.


Poem one from the haters:
Oh god London… it’s just so old. And goodness me isn’t it cold!

Using public transport to get everywhere,

It’s a bit common don’t you think my dear?

It’s ever so busy – people everywhere,

For my own safety I sometimes fear.

The coffee is rubbish, the food is bland,

And wow I’ve spent more money than I planned.

London I must say you’re not my cup of tea,

Just not somewhere I want to be.


Poem two the lovers:

Oh god London, the history,

And donning a winter jacket is a bit of me.

Jump on the tube, or a double decker bus,

Getting you where you want with little fuss.

It’s always bustling with so much to do,

A show, a meal, a bit of shopping too.

A curry on brick lane, or a market stall dish,

With so many cultures you can eat what you wish.

London I must say, I really do love you,

You’re everything I want – that is true.


 

Planning your pilgrimage:


There is SO much to do in London, but here are just a few of my favourite spots:

Big Bus tour

Red Bus Tour

 

√  I always take the Big Bus tours in every city I go to, it’s such an easy way to get your bearings

√  The London one is particularly great and hits all major stops! Worth doing.

 

 

 

 

 


Portobello Markets

Portobello 2 

   √  Saturday morning, get yourself to the Portobello markets, full of vintage goods, knick knacks and food – but most importantly brimming with good vibes as travellers and Londoners alike go about their shopping. One of my favourite places in London.

     √  Also right up from the Portobello tube station is a Banksy painting, the council respect it so much they’ve covered it with a perspex box. So ace.

 

 

 


Camden

camden     √  Want to see an edgy side of London, buy cheap goods and eat street food? Camden is for you.

√  Camden is the epitome of London for me… a melting pot of activities, culture, food, and people – and it’s buzzing all the time!

     √  Make sure you walk the canals – heaps of great Banksy paintings 🙂

 


Hampton Court Palace

hampton court2 

   √  Hampton Court Palace was a favoured residence of King Henry the 8th.

     √  Now I’m not one to tell you to go to historical homes, however this one is boss. The guy had a fountain that flowed with wine (as seen in the pic). I think him and I would have got along.

√  I’m sure the word extravagance was invented to explain this palace – go check it out.

 

 

 


See a show

See a show     √  What am I saying – go see 10 shows. You are spoilt for choice and they are all just incredible.

     √  Obviously hit the big ones that tickle your fancy (Jersey Boys was a personal fave of mine) but I’d also recommend getting along to one in a smaller theatre like ‘The Woman in Black’ – a quaint show like this really puts you in the action.

 

 


Oxford Street

Shopping√  Top Shop. H&M. Need I say more?

√  Oxford street is always insanely busy but for good reason, it is a shopping mecca.

√  My guilty pleasure will forever be Primark – floors and floors of cheap yet moderately fashionable goods.

 

 


Drink pims at Southbank or Covent Garden

Drink

 

     √  If it’s a sunny day get yourself to South Bank or Covent Garden for a drink, Londoners swarm to these spots and the vibe is brilliant, as let’s be honest it’s not sunny there often so when it is people get amongst it.

 

 

 


Tate Modern or National Art Gallery

     √  Get your culture on and hit at least one of these Galleries, have a google and see what’s on – last time I visited the Tate they had a fantastic Lichtenstein exhibition.


Get out of London

out of london

√  Finally my best tip for London, get out of  central London. I love the place but there’s nothing better than a drive in the English countryside.

√  If you have time invest it in a trip to Harrogate, a quintessential English country town.

 

 


As I say there is plenty more to do in London than I’ve mentioned – so as with any travel, go, try it out for yourself and see what you can fall in love with in London 🙂

5 Reasons Reviews are not a travellers best friend

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The internet – it’s given us so much joy. Videos of cats and kids doing cute things, online shopping etc.. It’s also let any man and his dog voice their opinion through reviews.

Everyone has a right to their opinion, but not everyone’s opinions are right. So when it comes to researching your next trip, remember reviews AREN’T always your best friend and here are my five reasons why.

Note: unfortunately all examples given are REAL reviews from real people… god help us all.

5) Tourists expect to be told everything, and I mean everything:

Pilgrim with a plan brochure

Example:

•  “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”

•  “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”

 

ARE YOU SERIOUS?


4) People don’t take responsibility for themselves or their actions:

number 4 good

Example:

•  “My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

 

IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT YOU’RE HORNY.


3) People are ignorant:

number 3

Example:

•  “When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”

•  “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”

 

READ A BOOK PEOPLE, READ A BOOK!


2) Some people just like to moan:

pilgrim with a plan 2Example:

•  “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”

•  “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”

FIRST. WORLD. PROBLEMS!


1) The number one reason? People are stupid:

Pilgrim with a plan

Example:

•  “No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”

•  “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”

•  “It’s a great beach, just too sandy”

SIGH.


Ok ok, so with that said, I do always read reviews before booking – however I’m proving a point… all reviews you read should be taken with a grain (or 10) of salt! Happy researching!