Posts Tagged ‘multinational corporations’

Backpacking in the News

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Link to article: Have a Happy Meal in a Pagoda: McDonalds Invades Scenic China

mcdonaldspagoda

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Backpacking in the News

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Link to article: 10 Things Backpackers Do But Don’t Often Talk About

stolentp

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5. Available Multinationals

Monday, May 18th, 2009

mcdonalds-russia“I just need to get away from it all” is standard rationale for departing on a long backpacking adventure. You want to switch it up. You envision exploring new lands, meeting fascinating people from all over, interacting with locals, experiencing foreign culture and at once absorbing the jarring visceral stimuli that surround you.

While all of those objectives may eventually be met, a few common hiccups occur. A few examples:

  • Coca-Cola: So charming in that timeless glass bottle.
  • McDonalds: Sushi in Japan, deep-fried camembert in France, who says this stuff isn’t local?
  • Marlboro: Even if you don’t smoke, you will. “It’s so cheap here!”
  • 7-Eleven: Everything you need. Condom labels you can read. Gatorade for that hangover. Mmm, Pringles. Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestle, Pfizer – only the essentials.
  • KFC: Regardless of religion, race or creed, people like fried chicken. Not just black people. All people.
  • Starbucks: Combine elements of otherwise conflicting yuppie and backpacker culture in a modern and urban setting! Also available in fair trade blends for the most delicate of consciences.

Ironically, most backpackers stay close to the herd. The beaten path is by no coincidence dotted with the above brands and companies. The convenient access to all these familiar flavors and comforts makes it nearly impossible for backpackers to resist temptation and indulge in them.

Doing so, however, runs contrary to the idealistic tenets the prototypical backpacker ascribes to, such as respect for the environment, leftist ideals, support for local economies and equitable labor practices. Sanctimonious, tree-hugging and bleeding heart principles the likes of Greenpeace, Habitat for Humanity and Adbusters want you to believe in.

marlboro-thailand

That's NOT Manny Pacquiao.

Thus, most members of the backpacking community are conflicted. It’s understandable. You didn’t drop two grand on a plane ticket to eat the same noxious crap you can buy at a strip mall in your hometown.

But you get homesick. You tire of local food or rolling the dice on substandard hygenic conditions. You just want something familiar for a change. No surprises. Besides, how could something so corporate and evil taste so good?

So you swallow your pride with a super-sized Coke to wash it down. You resign to the notion that globalization is an inevitability in our forever capitalist, commoditized world. One little purchase can’t hurt…

Globalization is a bitch ain’t it? It’s like the atomic bomb – somebody else invented it. Not your problem. Enjoy your Bic Mac. We’re no holier than thou. We all savored ours.

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3. Where are the Hot Girls?

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

female-backpackers

Not backpacking, that’s where. It’s a known fact that hot chicks don’t rough it. Granted, there are exceptions to every rule, but make no mistake: The vast majority of good-looking women will refuse to strap on a massive rucksack and throw caution to the wind. The ladies you meet on the backpacking circuit are of two predominant types – more on that later.

So why don’t the hotties pull a Sir Edmund Hillary? Come on. Think about it. The prospect of spending months overseas, on a tight budget, sleeping on shoddy trains, ferries, buses and dorm bunks, washing sparingly, shaving legs and armpits rarely, abandoning make-up, hairspray and nailpolish, trading designer handbag (or clutch) in for cumbersome moneybelt and being away from Facebook for inordinate periods of time simply doesn’t appeal to sexy bitches. Oh and I forgot to mention getting hit on FULL TIME by a constant lineup of desperate, broke, smelly dudes. And getting harassed by local pervs at every turn, who, in some countries, will go so far as to masturbate as you walk by in your bikini. Happy trails.

That’s bullshit, you say. There are plenty of babes out there backpacking. Yeah, there are. With their boyfriends.

Hot chicks travel with luggage. Rolling luggage. They drop the S out of the word “hostel.” They take cabs, not rickshaws. They don’t like being away from essential amenities and services, namely Starbucks (although it’s basically integrated with backpacker culture nowadays; see 5. Multinationals), a 12-lb. make-up crate, a blowdryer and hair straightener, and real-time gossip technology. They prefer rich, well-dressed, groomed men. They choose luxury over practicality seven days a week and twice on Sunday. Most of them pretend to care about world issues, politics and poverty, but they really don’t give a shit. They do, however, know everything about The Hills.

Yet some exceptions do exist. Consider women in the military or lady cops. Not a lot of hot ones. It takes a certain mental constitution to really get dirt under the fingernails, to tear the meat off the bone of traveling. Backpacking is like farting. It’s raw, curious, savage and, at times, inhumane. It’s generally more of a guys’ thing.

Indeed, some hot chicks are adventurous. Some will brave the aforementioned perils (and let go of their familiar comforts), without a b.f. in tow, to try something new. And that something new is Europe (see Star Picks Backpacking Over Work or Taken). Or Australia. The developing world? Sure, but preferably with a girlfriend or two… and expect tension if not a mid-trip parting of ways. Yeah right, a smokin’ hot broad rolling solo in the developing world. Now, you’re really pushing it.

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