I used to enjoy watching, The Amazing Race. As much as I liked the show, what often bugged me about the show was the entitlement and the lack of respect demonstrated by some of participants. For example, when these individuals traveled to non English-speaking countries, they would automatically expect the locals, with whom they came in contact to speak English, as if it was like an obligation. If the locals were not able to communicate in English, they would them stupid.
This is an example, where the lack of respect and sensitivity for another, perceivably inferior, culture in full display.
An article in Metro Montreal, titled, Les Touristes Doivent Faire Preuve de Sensibilité, makes me want to revisit the basic tourist etiquettes, of which are predominantly centered around cultural respect and sensitivity.
I totally agree with what some of the people mentioned in the article did, in regards to taking proper steps and making the necessary self-adjustments to respect a foreign culture and its sensitivity.
For example: When Heather Greenwood Davis, Toronto journalist behind the travel website, Globetrotting Mama, was asked to cover up her revealing chests before visiting a Buddha in Thailand, she did.
According to Simon Vaughan, a journalist for the magazine, Outpost, it is important for all tourists to do some research before visiting a tourist attraction in a different country so that we can understand how it came to be what it is that we see today, as well as its ancient and cultural significance, which I think it is a wonderfully feasible suggestion, considering how easily accessible the World Wide Web is of today.
As often as and as much as appropriateness and respect are preached in our world, inevitably, there are always going to be some idiots, who are willingly getting themselves into a mess for having tried so hard to be cool and be a tourist attraction of their own. Lindsey and Danielle Petersen, a pair of siblings from Saskatchewan, Canada, got themselves into trouble with the local authorities, on top of a sacred mountain Kinabalu in Malaysia, for posing nude in their own souvenir pictures. Their indecent exposure was not only indicative of their ignorance and self-entitlement, but more importantly, of their lack of respect for a culture they knew nothing about.
As summer traveling season is about to kick off, wherever we travel to, what we should never leave out of our travel luggage is our respect for a new culture and its pertinent sensitivity.