Posts Tagged ‘tourists’

Going local, spotting the tourist

5am Singapore

It looks like it’s been over a year since the last post here and since this is my 5th trip to Singapore in that same time, I thought I might as well make some posts. I’ll be here for a month which will double my “on the ground” time here and likely start giving me enough local knowledge to start offering some advice to newcomers, and if nothing else this will be a fun place to keep track of travel notes and thoughts. And if it ends up breathing some live back into this blog, well, even better.

I had resisted posting here before because my trips were pretty short and usually single purposed, where as this time it’s definitely more just ‘living here,’ even if for just a brief period. At Metblogs we’ve used the “you can’t post on a site unless you are going to be in a city for more than a week” rule because when people are traveling somewhere for only a few days (even if only a few days on several occasions) their posts, and I include myself in this, sound like that – like someone passing through looking for locals to help. Since we want the sites to be interesting for locals, well, you can see the problem. We don’t want a site full of tourists.

Speaking of, when I travel somewhere it’s very important to me that I don’t stick out too much and generally try to blend in. This is more effective sometimes than others, but I usually ask friends in a city how they spot tourists. We all do it, in every city, without even trying you can walk down a busy street and easily point out the people who aren’t from there. This is because those people aren’t blending in and don’t match the “social baseline” of the residents. Sometimes one simple action can be the tell. In Singapore, it’s wearing sunglasses. On my second trip here I started asking friends about how to spot tourists and they all said “anyone with sunglasses is a tourists.” I started paying attention to this then, and while there are tons of sunglasses shops around, it does seem that almost no one wears them on the street, except a few folks who accurately don’t seem to be from here.

What are your tips for spotting tourists? What advice would you have for someone like myself trying to blend in a little better?

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