See, I love to travel independently. I don't use tour guides and group package tours as much as I can. If I can do it on my own, I would. So one can say that I belong to the backpacker subculture. However, there are times when I am on the road and I see fellow backpackers, and sometimes, I just want to get away from the rest of the travelers.
The thing is, I find it ironic sometimes, that the people who identify as backpackers travel that way in "search of a unique and native experience". There is this idea that by traveling independently, one can see the unique destination, the destination as it is in the wild, the destination without the Disney-fication of foreign influences.
Now that is good and fine. However, whenever these backpackers are on the road, they act like seeing a unique and untarnished experience is not what they want.
See, there's cafes and restaurants and hotels that have it all ready for the backpacker. There's cafes that offer Happy Hours and group tours and smooth transfers and all the amenities that a backpacker can want. There's a disco ball that rotates in the dark dance floor. The backpackers hang out with fellow backpackers, instead of hanging out with the locals. I just find that ironic.
So where I am coming from with this rant?
Well, I am actually writing this in Copan, Honduras. I decided to stay in a hostel, and sure enough, I met fellow travelers, which is fine. My bunkmate is from France, and we are civil with each other. The hostel manages a cafe across town, and they gave me a free drink ticket. One day, I decided to use it, and so I checked out this cafe. I didn't like what I saw. The clientele was all foreign. The menu was in English. Everything was set up for the convenience of the foreign backpacker. Whatever happened to seeing the destination in its untarnished and original form?
I don't know. I guess I deviated from my plan, and I got disappointed. Before that, I have been getting food from the local joint, from that street stall that sells pupusas. I guess I'll revert back to that. It's a more unique experience anyway.