More puff than smoke.
Sometimes when you’re clueless about a subject, it’s almost automatic that you turn to an expert for advice. However, expert advice is, I find, usually not guaranteed.
I asked a ‘family friend’ for travel tips on my upcoming trip to Bangkok, seeing that they go to Bangkok on a bi-annual basis. I expected hotel recommendations, tips on moving around Bangkok, insights on good un-tourist areas, you know, the works. What I got was a half hour lecture on the Thai language.
You see, they know the place so well, street names and subway stops mean alot to them. But for a Bangkok virgin, Mochit and Asoke sound more like Japanese brand names to me. Yes, they do tell me where to go, and where to get off the BTS, but without looking at a map, it’s hard for me to organise my mind. Okay, so I’m a visual person.
Then, comes the frustration. These ‘experts’ are nice people. I know they’re just trying to help. However, every decision I (or my travelling partners and I) have made gets shot down by them. When told about our choice of budget airline (there was this $9.90 thing going on few months back), they said “Wah so cheap, that’s good. But the plane very small, seats very congested, bad service, and no seat allocation! SQ better. We are on their frequent flyer programme.” When asked, they have never travelled with said budget airline before.
When I asked them for hotel recommendations, they gave a few. “Oh this, this and this is good because of their convenient location. But the hotel very old. Or you get that hotel. But too expensive for you lah.” After much tribulations, my friends and I finally paid a travel agent for a room in Hotel E. Their response to this was predictable. “Oh that hotel’s facade is very pretty, glass and all. But actually, the rooms are very old. The service apartment where we usually stay at is better. But that one belongs to my Thai friend lah.” When asked, they have never stayed at said hotel before.
And then they went on to give similar(very depressing) comments on the price we paid for the hotel, and our planned itinerary. I was smiling when listening to all this, but behind my lips, my teeth were almost gritted smooth.
Total waste of their breath and my time.