DISCLAIMER: This is essentially a long winded rant to enable me to have the mental space to write the happy entry, which will shortly follow. It consists entirely of whinging, so you may want to skip ahead...
WHAT NOT TO DO ON A HOLIDAY:
First off, I really cannot stress this enough- never, EVER travel with someone who either doesn't travel much, or doesn't really WANT to travel.
I have just spent the most frustrating 11 days of my life in a situation that should have been awesome. Should being the operative word there...
It all started in Milan where she basically just didn't listen to me when I was speaking. Like obviously not listening, looking around the room and stuff. This was to be a recurring theme, even with important shit, so that I constantly had to check that she actually heard what I said/was paying attention to you know CHECK OUT TIMES and other vital pieces of information.
I think this was part of the whole process of just opting out of having to do anything. Like I got all the maps, I figured out where we were going. Which she would get shitty with, so I would give her her own copies of maps- which she would then not look at, just ask me where something was. Fucking ridiculous.
This did not of course stop her from questioning everything. I do mean EVERYTHING. She had absolutely no faith that I could actually sort shit out, it really really really pissed me off because a) I have travelled quite a bit, mostly on my own, I'm pretty good now at figuring shit out in foreign countries and b) Even if that wasn't the case, I am quite possibly the most organised person on the planet, way more so than her (by her own admission), there is no way I would just walk into a situation without prepping like a demon.
This meant completely retarded things like me having to check my e-tickets for the french TGV, not once, but THREE TIMES, despite the fact that it SAYS on them that they just need to be shown to the conductor- which is also on their website, and in the email that I also printed out, just in case.
What made it even more irritating was that she seemed to believe all of these other fucking random people, who have done hmm, maybe a quarter of the travel that I have, rather than me"Oh blahblah says we have to take first class trains...blahblah says it's not worth doing X ..." etc.etc. FUCK what they say, this is MY holiday! And excuse me, but I actually know what the fuck I am doing, mostly because I HAVE DONE IT BEFORE.
Classic example- because someone that we both know from highschool was a moron and left their purse etc. in their bag and then left said bag in a baggage rack on a 2nd class train in Italy, which subsequently got pinched (big surprise), this meant that we had to take first class trains. Oh and because someone else told her that people are allowed to smoke on the 2nd class carriages- which is total bullshit. Maybe 10 years ago, but not now!
We were taking trains for only a couple of hours, both in daylight, it would have been FINE. I took a second class train in Italy, with absolutely no problems- because I am not a fucking dumbarse and kept my handbag on me. But anyway, this meant we had to pay for these expensive tickets, for no fucking difference in travel really.
This wouldn't have bothered me if this had been due to a general attitude towards money whilst travelling- that it is worth the cost if you have a good time- but unfortunately this was not the case as she was a complete tight arse in every other way. She didn't want to ever go and eat out. EVER. So I basically lived off of supermarket food for almost 2 weeks.
Do not get me wrong, I like to self cater sometimes, particularly if you can do to markets and get fresh produce from the area, then it's awesome, but I don't like doing it all the time, just to save cash. I also think that going out and people watching at a restaurant is not only way fun, but also an important part of being in another country and experiencing their culture- food is a massive thing, particularly in Italy and France!
Which brings me to another big thing: If you speak the language, or even bits of the language, USE IT. This was possibly the biggest bone of contention, as I speak maybe ten words of Italian, but studied French for 6 years- as did she, that is where we met, ironically enough- and I attempted to use both where I could.
She took issue with this as according to her "They all speak English." (No, they really don't. Some people do, but not all of them.) and...goddess, I don't even know if I can type this..."They should learn a global tongue." (That particularly gem was in reference to SPANISH P.S) but the worst was definitely "We shouldn't have to speak anything else, because English is universal and we already speak it."
Yes, she actually said those things, word for word and I was horrified. The worst bit though is that she wouldn't settle for just not speaking the language (even in France, when her French is actually passable and she understood everything) herself and deliberately speaking English, even when they clearly didn't understand, but she got pissed off with me when I didn't.
She constantly niggled at me for making an effort. I explained that she could do what she wanted, but that wasn't how I was raised, I always make the effort to learn a smattering of basic words wherever I am, because it is a politeness thing. She refused to accept this, constantly berating me because I only knew a few words in Italian and "They know the same words in English. So what's the point, it doesn't actually help you to be understood."
Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes it is just reassurance/confirmation, but mostly it is just respect. You are in THEIR country, why the fuck should they be expected to speak YOUR language?? That attitude is just ridiculously colonial. You may as well have a flag! (Heheh, Eddie Izzard).
- Me making too much money (that I supposedly don’t deserve because I have only been out for a few years).
It drove me fucking NUTS! She was just so judgemental, it was actually crazy. And what made me mad was that my lifestyle is fine, I don’t hurt anyone, including myself, I am healthy and providing I am traveling, I am happy. She on the other hand is the one who has gone back into an affair with a married guy, who has two children and who is also incidentally kinda her boss. And I do not judge HER for that, which frankly is much more worthy of judgement as opposed to making decent money (which I have never slept with anyone for, just so we are clear).
So boys and girls, what have we learned?
1) If someone tries to usurp your preplanned holiday, just say NO.
I’m sure there is more, but I have bitched for like 2 pages, so I will leave this here. The nice sunshiney update will be written soon, I promise.