A little while ago, I shared some of my top travel experiences. Today, I want to share the awkward times which is humorously common during international travels. Well, there's no better way than to get right into it.
So! Here are...!
Top 5 "Awkward......" Travel Moments
1. I'm an XXL.
Whuaaaa? No, you read that right. And, no, it's not what you think. I'm talking about the pants size for my jeans. In Taiwan, a very popular night market is located in the suburb of Shih Lin. The Shih Lin Night Market is perhaps one of the most popular places for the youth of Taipei city. It's basically a county fair, combined with all the best local eats, combined with entertainment, and, lots of shopping. Well, I was told by a friend that getting expensive jeans here was a great deal compared to buying them in the United States. I thought, why not? So I went to a recommended jeans store and they asked my size. I said I'm a Medium. Well... they brought out the medium sized pants and they didn't even come up past my knees. That was just the beginning.
We went into Large, Extra Large, and finally XXL. Each subsequent time, I kept embarrassingly asking the girl helping me out for a larger size of the same length. She kept giggling and even asked me, what's wrong with the fit? I had to keep updating her. Well, this one made it mid-way up the thigh. Or, finally, they are around my hips but I can't walk. By the time I finally squirmed and squished into, out of, and upwards to the XXL, I finally fit into a pair that I could walk and sort of squat. Well, I wasn't going to embarrass myself any longer. I got the pants, had them hemmed and darted out.
Sadly, when I finally got back to the US, I tried on the pants and they were basically tighter than skinny jeans. I guess what happened was that after trying to fit into all those wet-suit tight jeans prior to the XXL, the XXL felt so roomy that I just finally went with it and said to myself "screw it..." I'm getting outta here.
2. Big Wave in Ken Ting!
Since we're on the Asian side of the globe, let's have another Taiwanese story. Down in Ken Ting, the southern edge of the isle of Taiwan, there's an area called Ken Ting which is basically a resort for families and young people. It's known for a, some what better, area of Taiwan to surf. Comparatively to southern California, it's pretty shoddy. In any case, there were lots of tourists there, primarily from Taiwan itself coming down for a vacation. Nevertheless, in one of the bays, I tried to get a body board to do some boogie and/or body surfing. Sadly, the waves were barely a foot high. When a two foot wave came along, an entire row of tourists would yell "BIG WAVE!" and scrambled to get to a safer depth of water.... as in, knee high water. As for me, I would just duck dive under or try to ride it. It was basically hilarious as the "big waves" came in, everyone tried to scramble out of the water while I was the only one in the "deep." As a surfer (at the time) who rode overhead waves... it was pure comedy.
3. How You Doing? In Africa.
Soooooo! In Africa, it is apparently highly desirable to have children of fair skinned, straight & delicate hair, gentle complexions. It's a rare thing. Well! Throughout my trip in Africa, I was constantly getting propositioned. I'd go into more detail but... well, this is a family show. Suffice to say, I've never been hit on so much all my life. The people I was with who actually spoke Swahili kept giggling when women were talking to me. I, of course, didn't understand what was going on. Then they told me... way late into the trip. Thanks a lot, guys.
4. Where is "A Boot?"
EH?! Yep. This is a story about Canada. I was pretty young for this one... probably before I turned 20. I was up in Canada and in an area where the North American English accent was quite different than the one I was used to from Southern California. People kept talking about "A Boot." In fact, they kept asking me where my boot was. Or, where my boot was. *Sighs* It basically took me half the trip to realize what it was all about. Suffice to say, there were many awkward conversations.
5. I Speak Eng'rish.
I guess for my last story, we're going back to Taiwan again. I was going to talk about Africa, but, I've shared plenty of stories about my trip to Tanzania in other blog posts. This one is about being a native English speaker. So, in my late teens and early 20s, I was thinking about going down the route of teaching English internationally. It's still a big business over 15 years later in Asia and I thought just to try out a walk-in interview. So, back in Taipei, I went into a fairly well known brand English tutoring company. I spoke Mandarin quite well back then. I went up and asked how they selected their English tutors. They said, they needed to be native speakers and have a college degree. After a little bit of banter, I busted out the English and said: Well, I was born in America, I speak perfect English, and will be graduating from a 4 year university soon. Do you think you'd hire me?" .... something to that effect. They were speechless. And then, they said they wanted someone "more American." For any of you who know the subtleties of communicating in the Asian languages, this basically meant they wanted someone "white." Sadness.
Well! That got real! Those are my top 5 awkward travel moments. Keep your eye out for more on this fun series. After which, I'm hoping to dabble into some relationship advice and some realistic talk on academics, career paths, jobs, and much more.