An ode to the joys of moaning about your holidays.
Are you allowed to laugh at your own column? I'm sure it's unbecoming, but why not? Regardless, looking back on another year of Travel Bugs has been a reminder that the original mantra of this column still rings true: that moaning about your holiday can often be terrifically good fun.
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Things kicked off in 2019 with a scandalous Kiwi summertime yarn about how caravan campers reportedly thought they were superior to tent campers. Temporary fences to segregate the warring factions were being erected by day, only to be pulled down during daring raids at night. As it was explained to me, "every evening [the caravan campers] would enjoy expensive beverages while bragging about who had the best outdoor furniture."
In February it was a tale of how I made an almighty fool of myself bumping into a man who may or may not have been Pink Floyd's Roger Waters at a hotel buffet in the Solomon Islands: "Pretending to be shy of a bun, I walked unnecessarily near to Roge's table, en route to the buffet. With bun on plate, my suspicions the man behind Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall likes nothing more than to recharge his batteries with books, wine and Honiara were confirmed." In a nutshell, men who look like Roger Waters think people who interrupt their meals in Honiara hotels are unimaginable dorks.
February also saw me complaining about those who mock how I always travel with a big bag, even on short trips, as well as a cautionary tale of trying to do too much on holiday while in Sri Lanka: "… so we made our driver navigate the I-can't-believe-these-aren't-one-way-streets between Galle and Unawatuna Beach just so we could lie in the sun, have a quick swim, take some snaps and pretend we were there longer than, wait for it … half an hour."
By March it was the inner turmoil of whether it's socially acceptable to ask for a second complimentary cookie on domestic flights, whereas April had another dilemma, that of when you ask strangers to take a photo of you on vacation and they do a dreadful job. Can you request that they retake it?
Once the weather cooled in May I was clearly thinking of warmer climates and how it's so disappointing these days how hard it is to sneak into fancy hotels to swim in their pools: "I was never someone who wagged school, I never once shoplifted and despite jokes to the contrary, I wouldn't in a million years do a runner from a restaurant. But sunbathe and do some rambunctious breaststroke at a 5-star hotel I wasn't staying at? That was my one outlet for feeling like a rebel."
June had me chastising the woman who refused to take her bright white socks off at a Fijian village while August brought one of my biggest travel bugs, hotels that lie about their renovations: "The tennis court should be up and running again next week." Given I knew there was no plan to fix this particular hotel's tennis court, the oft-repeated lie from the staff was not a hoot.
Once spring rolled around, it was Rotorua in the firing line for inexplicably not having a proper water park with heaps of hydroslides while October answered the question so many of us fear: just how awkward is it to bump into your old hairdresser while at the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama? Answer: very awkward.
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A few weeks later was a not-to-be-missed opportunity to (gently) laugh at my father-in-law for having his camera on "Video" mode for all his Alcatraz photos: "There's the initial pointing of the camera in the right direction . . . but scenic footage of a prison on an island quickly changes to rushes and muffles and darkness as the camera returns to its position slung over the shoulder. Sorry Alan.
There were plenty more and in 2020, there will be plenty more again. Thanks so much for reading, have a Merry Christmas and may your travels be safe. And if something frustrates you while on holiday, be sure to let me know.
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's Weekend Collective and blogs at RoxboroghReport.com.