Hit On People Like An Anthropologist
Some of my friends think that traveling is about three things, great views, good food and entertainment. Though I totally agree with this idea, there is still something missing in this pyramid, talking with strangers. Which is, actually, to explore as much as possible through “chatty with locals, other visitors and so on.
In a private tour, the information one can get is vital yet limited. From the most basic things like where to live, eat to which places to visit and which not, along with some sophisticated appeals like getting to know the local history, tradition and culture, all these things could be the last straw of your tour. However, our college education do not teach you how, instead, an anthropologist will.
Here is an example;
Several years ago, I visited China with my college friend who speaks fluent Chine. On the bus to Red Land, Yunnan Province, we started to HIT ON people. Since we did not know whether this guy is a visitor or a local, that is how we started,
“We are on our way to Red Land, are you?”
“No, I am heading to Niu Street.”(Niu is Chinese for cow.)
“Niu Street, isn’t that an animal?”
“Sure it is. There is also a Ma Street nearby.”(Ma is Chinese for horse.)
“So many animals. Any particular reason name those streets after animals?”
“According to the elderly, the streets were named after Chinese Zodiac animals, all of them.”(There are twelve animals altogether. We also realize that he is local.)
“So there are Gou Street and Shu Street, I suppose?”(Gou and Shu is Chinese for dog and mouse.)
“Sure, there is even one Zhu Street not far away.”(Zhu is Chinese for pig.)
“Niu Street and Ma Street look pretty nice.”
“Those two are the best ones. Some other streets are not as lucky , no on live there any more, except children would go there for an adventure something.”
“I suppose we do not need to visit them , right?”
“Totally. I would recommend the Snow Mountain, it is quite a view.”
“We googled it before, but people say it is much more beautiful in winter.”
“Not that much different. Azalea is in blossom now, you should visit it if possible. The snow used to come around September, it is kind of hot this year however, so maybe October.”
So much for the conversation. If I were planning to visit all the streets, if I liked flowers and did not plan to visit the mountain, this conservation means a lot!
As for tips when we hit on people on the road? First, try not to engage anything private or personal. Imagine that, random guy asks you a detail-personal question, how much are the odds that you will give him a proper answer and would you like to continue the conversation? Second, respect. No matter what they tell you, it is how it is, respect others’ culture, views and policies. Third but not the last, be grateful. Smile and thank you will make you a decent person even though you do not get information right.