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Ponderings on all aspects of travel - both at home and abroad.

Tim Roxborogh: Holiday moans

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A weekly ode to the joys of moaning about your holiday, by Tim Roxborogh.
The tuk-tuk driver who wants to give you a ride when you've just arrived. Photo / 123RF
The tuk-tuk driver who wants to give you a ride when you've just arrived. Photo / 123RF

1: The tuk-tuk driver who wants to give you a ride when you've just arrived
Surely the lyrics to a lost verse from Alanis Morrisette's not-overly ironic 90s smash Ironic, this quirk of travel in Southeast Asia is so ubiquitous I've decided it's more fun than annoying. But only fractionally. The scene goes, you've just arrived at whatever temple, market, historic landmark, restaurant, bar or beach you've chosen. No sooner have you disembarked from one taxi or tuk-tuk then there's another one ready to take its place.

"Hello sir, where you going?"

"I've just arrived! You saw me get out of the tuk-tuk!"

"Yes but where you going? I take you."

Trying to convince your new friend that you're now at your destination and any further movement for the time being can be done on foot draws puzzled expressions.

2: Taking until the end of a holiday to understand American food portions
I was recently in the States for a couple of weeks with my fiancee and despite being repeat visitors, the notion we could order one dish between us at restaurants and still need a doggy bag took some bedding in. After each meal, we'd stagger out having made no visible incursions in the mountains of food on our plates. Order pancakes and you'll be delivered a stack the size of your head.

A saloon-style sports bar on Sunset Strip in LA was the most spectacular. The Cajun Chicken Breast I ordered turned out to be three large breasts. As for my lovely lady's chicken pasta, she ate what she could, I did my best to help out - having polished off my three breasts - and we piled the rest into a box the size of a KFC bucket. We had lunch and dinner the next day from the doggy bag by which stage the chicken pasta seemed to have taken on mythic qualities akin to Jesus feeding the 5000.

A day or two out before flying home, we did some vigorous self-back-patting having ordered just the one plate for the both us and being fully satisfied. And then the reality of the money and food wasted the past two weeks hit and the back-patting eased. Next time!

3: Making fun of overly cautious travellers and their massive medical kits
During my 20s, I used to get all smug about fellow travellers who'd heave around these massive medical kits in their backpacks. I'd try to keep my smugness to myself, but it was occasionally hard to hide my misplaced arrogance about an ability to stay healthy in developing countries.

"I didn't even bring any plasters!" I'd brag, basking in the glow of thinking I was more iron-gutted and worldly wise than I really was.

It's some glow, but when you're so ill you're literally crawling on your hands and knees to the room of the backpackers who'd let slip at dinner they had pills and potions for every known sickness to mankind, that smug glow has definitely faded.

The old adage: travel with a medical kit. The other old adage: don't eat the pizza in Burma.

Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's The Two, Coast Soul on Coast and iHeartRadio and writes the music and travel blog RoxboroghReport.com.

- NZ Herald

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