You’re minding your own business on some beautiful beach in Southeast Asia, when a group of locals come up to you and politely ask if they can get their photo taken with you.
Has anyone else experienced this? It always makes me feel like I’m some sort of minor celebrity, and not just another sunburnt tourist.
Somewhere in Southeast Asia right now, there are likely dozens of people with photos of me. Not compromising ones, thankfully – just photos of me and them, at the beach or in front of some tourist attraction.
One time, Mrs Man vs World and I even featured in an Indonesian couple’s wedding photos. We just happened to be walking along Kuta Beach at the time and, well, we just couldn’t say no to the happy couple and their family.
I’m flattered that people want to have their photo taken with me. I really am. I mean, I’m definitely not famous and, let’s be frank, I’d never make it as a male model.
Seriously, even my friends and family don’t particularly want to be photographed with me.
It only ever happens to me when I’m travelling in Asia.
I can only think that some people in some parts of Asia like getting their photos taken with tourists like me because it’s still something of a novelty to see white people in their midst.
It surprises me in this day and age, with increasing globalisation and the proliferation of social media and cheap airfares, that white tourists like me are anything special. We’re not. In fact, in some resort towns in Thailand, for instance, it feels like the tourists almost outnumber the locals.
In these places, pretty soon the tourists will be taking photos of the locals.
I’ve got some questions for you:
- Have you had this experience?
- Can you tell me if it’s the same situation in other parts of Asia that I haven’t visited yet, including China and India?
- How do you feel when you’re asked for a photograph?
- Should I be charging money?