If there is such a thing as the travelling companion from hell, I would not be surprised it that thing mutated into the form of a desi journalist on a junket. After spending the greater part of August and September writing more words than I knew existed in the whole wide world, my office decided that it might be a good idea for me to spend some time in the bosom of our great, big neighbour to the East, or as Prakash Karat calls it, home. I have been to the land of the Dragon before and must admit I really enjoy travelling there, not just because I have a soft spot for Tsingtao beer, but I genuinely like eating good food. I mean the non-spiced up bastardised stuff we get here, which is a great cuisine in its own right, but you know proper Cantonese grub.
But, here is the funny part, you always get stuck on the trip where the folks see the food and decide that they want good old ghar ka khana out in the Peoples Republic (and what a Republic it is!). There are time you don't know what to say, why on earth would someone want Cantonese Roganjosh? But, then again, I thought I was being the prick out here, because I was the twit with an open mind and open mouth. And I know I can find my way around a city, its a city after all and I always end up going to the seedy part of every city I visit, though in the Peoples Republic, there were no seedy places - though there were a lot of hookers. But on that front, I believe I'm a good boy, plus my mother and assorted senior journalists also do occasionally read this blog.
Anyway, its not just about food, but sometimes the level of intelligence of some journalists completely befuddles me. Prejudiced and occasionally judgemental and sometimes purely racist, I could never get their logic, they insisted on certain things and of course, the food played a major part. Language was another, bemoaning the fact that no-one spoke English too well (not that my friends had great English either and screaming out doesn't usually help people understand any better). It wasn't me imploring that you need to travel with an open mind, you just can't seem to get through to certain people. It doesn't help when the person accompanying you has the IQ of an ant. What worries me is that, journalists of all people should have the most open mind and at least be slightly erudite, but in this era of mass-factory produced clowns, god knows what the profession is ending up with. Well, its ending up with illiterate idiots and liars.
Usually on every trip I travel on, I scout out one person I can get along with, this time there just happened to be none. No-one interesting or intelligent enough to hold a conversation with, no-one I could drag along into the city and say, lets have a drink. I didn't mind going out alone, but I'm a slightly gregarious person and because roaming rates were silly expensive out there, I didn't even try texting home too often. But then again, I had a decent time, my credit cards are wrecked and the booze was good, and heck, the squid balls and braised octopus on the streets of Hong Kong was fantastic!
Anyway, I should be a bit more regular over the next few days...