Originally Posted by Merlin III
For me, some negativity is an integral part of a good report. IMHO, too many reports are like a commercial travel log where everything is fine and beautiful.
I agree, and it's part of the reason why I usually skip the writing and just look at photos.
Too many ride reports - and travel writing in general - are written by people wearing their rose-colored glasses as they go on their big trip
. They are unwilling to admit that place A is a tourist trap, place B is not nearly as remote as they make it out to be, place C is actually pretty Blah and full of trash and looks 100x better in photos, and place D is full of touts and sketchy people. In every story, we read about locals living like locals
in poor wooden shacks, but we rarely read that those same people watch USA television, follow the latest Britney Spears songs, and know the latest celebrity gossip news better than you do.
On top of all that, we are left with the impression that people in country X are all subsistence farmers with a hard life and no future. But reality is often different. You can go to many African countries to find quite a lot of people living the mirror image of your life, with the exception that they're Black. :) You will find people that watch the same TV shows, have similar jobs, play Xbox, eat at McDonald's, have very similar houses, and ride their Trek bicycles for fun on the weekends. The differences are increasingly smaller and smaller as the world develops.
If it's truly a remote area with an isolated people, I want to read about it. But I also want to read about the BS double-pricing at a hotel because the rider is an outsider, I want to read about the hard up-sell someone got because they saw he were a foreigner, and I want to read about all the BS government fees and permits to enter a park/region. I was pretty surprised that entry to Victoria Falls is $30 during the day and $50 during the night, a shitty park in Zimbabwe is $25ish entry, that Nepal charges you $100+ per day government "permit" to visit whole regions of the country, and that Bhutan charges you $250-$300/day to be in the country even though they are one of the poorest countries in the world. Things like that...
When we read most of these reports, we only get a small part of the big picture. Often, exaggerated, and sometimes outright false.