"No, the hotel doesn't have a tennis court." "But I can see it out the window."
I've told so many yarns about my largely futile pursuit of a decent bowel motion while in India a couple of a years ago that I worry people think I didn't have a good time. I loved it.
Really and truly and I'll definitely be back. And when I return, I'm determined to play that game of tennis at a hotel in Madurai.
Any time the topic of lying comes up, the southern Indian city of Madurai pops into my head. The cliche of dusty, chaotic Indian streets rang true and navigating them in a tuk-tuk was the greatest theme park ride I've never had. Finding a beautiful old hilltop colonial property converted into a four-star hotel, I wanted a game of tennis to burn off the starchy good times of two weeks of naan and roti.
Ringing ahead, we were told we could use the tennis court and the pool for a fee.
Evidently that staff member then clocked off for the day and by the time we'd successfully tuk-tukked across town, he'd been replaced by the chap who uttered the immortal line, "No, the hotel doesn't have a tennis court."
On learning that the court was visible out the window, he insisted it was under maintenance. With a net in place, painted lines, clear surface and surrounding fence, this seemed dubious.
2. Western backpackers who hate other Western backpackers
Khao Sanh Rd, Bangkok, 2004. I was 22, having the time of my young life and well aware I was walking down arguably the most famous (or infamous) of all the world's backpacker haunts. Slugging watermelon ice-shakes, shopping for knock-off clothes, avoiding sidling pimps and laughing in the face of con-artist fortune tellers — "Hello sir, you look very lucky today!" — I still remember this one fellow backpacker.
Dressed in the compulsory uniform of the tourist in Thailand who's trying not to look like a tourist in Thailand — loose fitting "fisherman" style pants — a very sweaty European man about my age came stomping down the road. Agitated, he started ranting to anyone who wanted to hear that he, "didn't come to Thailand to see so many white people! This was meant to be the real Bangkok!"
Well bucko, this is where Google or Lonely Planet can come in handy. And the "real Bangkok" is many things, many of which you'll find about one or two streets away in any direction you like.
3. Hotel porters who take your bags and take ages to deliver them
"Let me take your bag, sir." It appears such a pleasant offer, but the last thing I want when I check into a hotel is for someone to take my bag off me. For starters, having wheeled the bag into the hotel, I'm quite capable of wheeling the bag into my room. Secondly, I never know how much to tip. But it's the third one that gets me.
You set aside the tipping money and you wait. If you're in a new city you want to get changed and go explore, but your bag is still downstairs. So you wait a little more. Then you realise you really need to use the toilet in the kind of way a long flight tends to induce. But what if you're on the toilet when the door knocks? The stress! I'd rather tip the porter to let me take my own bag, making everyone a winner.
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's The Two, Coast Soul on Coast and on iHeartRadio and writes the music and travel blog RoxboroghReport.com.