In many “developing countries” with gorgeous natural resources, there are mini tourist-only playgrounds (some say “backpacker ghettos”) nestled in delicious strips of beach or hills. The idea is that tourists with money come to play… and want to be waited on or left alone.
“For your safety” is a cloaked reference to pickpocketing, prostitution, scamming, and the general cultural mistrust that comes with a gaping socioeconomic disparity. It is also blatantly racist and classist.
This tourist-locals love-hate dance is constant, and deserves reflection. An example: Every morning at 8am in this awesome $6-a-night bungalow village, slamming hammering and sawing wakes us. The Thai owners of the tourist complex are erecting ten more beach huts! I was irked at first, not gonna lie, but that hammering means: 1) the owner is successful and her business is growing, 2) the tourist infrastructure will be even more delightful in a few months, and 3) there are people sweating and working all day while others (ahem) laze about like jellyfish. In the end, you gotta love the hammering.
Like this beach bungalow village, the intercultural dance evolves each month.* So far, this article has been read by ... fans. Share it around! *