Saturday, 23 February 2008

disappear 6


What makes a tourist different from a traveller is that the latter has the luxury of time. To me, the thought of visiting the Pagan ruins in an hour is certainly intolerable.

For some, travelling simply means being there physically with a tag that proudly proclaims “I have been here”. But you can’t call yourself a true traveller unless you are fully immersed in the place you visit.

You need time.

Take time to explore and get familiar with those little side lanes. You will discover a lot more than just the usual tourist spots on the map.

Take time to find one of the best local restaurants for an authentic meal. It’s where you can avoid the tourist crowds and tourist prices.

Take time to visit a museum or a gallery. You will never appreciate a country’s beauty without first knowing its glorious past.

Take time to speak to a local and who knows, he might end up being your personal guide and offer you insider tips on shopping and dining.

Take time to peruse the detailed structure of a temple or a church or a mosque. It’s those details that will make you believe that God, in whatever form, still exists.

Take time to sip a cup of tea or coffee at a local café. Chance acquaintances always appear in such relaxing places.

Take time to visit a local bookstore. With a bit of luck you may come across a good book that enlightens you.

Take time to pen a postcard to your loved one or simply to yourself. Because postcards are the best mementos to rekindle your travel memories.

You just can’t rush a seasoned traveller.

Lijiang at dawn before tourist invasions.

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