There is an interesting phenomenon amongst traveling foreigners in Southeast Asia, of which, I am guilty as well. When you see the rare American (or at least Westerner), instead of a glint in your eye and a smile on your lips, instead of a familiar ‘Hi!’ or a much missed conversation in English, there is aversion. Avert your eyes, avert your gaze, walk the other way.

I am willing to concede that this may be a phenomenon only meant for me and the people I come in contact with; but, to the last, whenever I come across another American, we all just pretend like we don’t see each other. And I think it’s because we’re embarrassed. Americans have a bad international reputation, and for good reason. People travelling alone in Asia are, I think, acutely aware of this and do their best to blend in as much as possible, and distance themselves from other potential international incidents.

At least that’s my theory.

Maybe they’ll think I’m from Europe.

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