The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Travel Writer Cliches

A friend and I were discussing the common travel writer cliches that are used when writing about Vietnam. The one that drives me up the wall like nails on a chalkboard are the writers that go on about the “smiling, friendly, innocent, shy, gentle, child-like” hilltribes as though the jungles of Vietnam are populated by tribes of retarded gibbons with philanthropic tendencies… or all that noble savage crap as though the natives are autistic tree-huggers that would sooner have their village bulldozed by evil loggers than hurt the environment. What a load of bullcrap. I mean take a drive through the mountains for 5 minutes during dry season—anywhere Vietnam or Loas, and it rains ashes from all the burning forests that those naughty minorities (and Vietnamese) set ablaze. Don’t get me wrong—I love Vietnam’s minority groups—I just hate how “travel writers” portray them.

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