The desi tourists' guide to desi tourists

During a trip, it might be a little disconcerting to come across the antics of different kinds of tourists at some popular destinations. At least here in the Bay area, I'd say at least 50% of the tourists are Indian whichever ride/spot/drive you might be at. To make your tour experience a little more enjoyable and a little less scary, here is the guide to your fellow brethren at said locations:
The newly-weds:

By far the most obvious type. Draped all over one another with a coy smile on the girl's lips, they somehow tend to be lost beyond the instructions of the tour guide or the park ranger. You might happen to catch the dude giving a beleaguered stare at his bride after watching the young punk rock American teenagers make out like there's no tomorrow. If so, don't forget to catch the bride in turn returning a cold big-eyed admonishing stare that could make little children wail for no apparent reason.

The stag party:

Usually a bunch of recent graduates or interns from universities exploring the wonders of Caali-phour-nia after getting their first jobs. Some of them have been huff-puffing through random 50-pound weight exercies in the gym over the last two weeks and wear sleeveless T-shirts. The others show off their macho-ness by loudly discussing beer, Mardi Gras parties or the Large Hadron Collider, not necessarily in that order.

The gaggle:

The counterpart of the stag party. Freshly graduates from the universities who travel as a boisterous group laughing at jokes only they can hear among themselves. They are extremely interested in the malls around the area they're visiting, the souvenir shops or the cute stuffed toys. Their pictures always compose of three or more people hugging each other cheek-to-cheek and barely fitting in the frame of the picture. Some throw sly glances at the stag party and giggle among themselves, much to the confused delight of the latter.

The pack rats:

Typically a family traveling with 6-7 people, they firmly believe that they should leave the house with enough cooked food to last them in case they are marooned on an island and cast in the next season of Lost. This is also accompanied by clothing for every weather condition that might arise during the trip. They chuckle to themselves when they pass others pulling over into McDonalds or Wendy's on the roadside. Upon reaching their destinations, they open smelly and leaking jars of achaar and damp aloo parathas and stuff them down their throats with liberal amounts of free water from the fountain.

The two-and-a-halves:

Typically couples with one or two kids, traveling with another such couple. They take turns clicking pics of one another. The hapless toddlers are forced to pose in front of flowers, flowerpots, or dirt dunes with flowers sketched on top. When the women tend to the wailing children, the men discuss how the mortgage rates are fluctuating and which investment markets are opening up. When the men go out to catch a smoke, the women start a competition to find out who has the worse share of luck in trying to balance their life with the hubby, the kid, the in-laws and their own parents. Usually, the one with her own parents visiting wins.

The grad students:

Usually visiting the place stuffed with five people cramped in a two-door coupe car rented at the cheapest nearby location. The lack of a GPS and the sole dependence on free printouts of google maps has ensured that the original four hour drive has become five hours after being honked at in the road at least five times for random lane changes to go from one highway to the other. Conversations are usually interpsersed with "Machi", "Saala" and discussions about which Prof would be hiring for the next fall term. One of them has invariably spotted a Taco Bell ten miles back which they head out for lunch after a tiring hike.

The ex-macho men:

Easy enough to spot - they're still getting accustomed to their pot-belly and can be often seen trying to hold their breath and tuck it in after they realize that it has bulged off during one of those unguarded moments. Halfway through every hike and turn, they are seen huffing and puffing and telling each other how they miss the gym because they don't have time. Always keep reminding the young ones how life suddenly changes after marriage. And they always try to prove their sea-worthiness by ending the hike with a long puff of cigarette smoke and the call from the "headquarters" that serves as the perfect excuse to go home midway.

The poster boys:

My favourite category. They always take photos in front of prominent landmarks to show at home proving that they visited the place, even if for half a day. And they show off bravery and (very) late teenage angst and revolt by taking one more photo that seems to make them break the exact rules posted in notices. Hanging off branches from trees that say "do not climb"; attempting to jump off the railings from bridges, waterfalls next to notices saying "careful" or "danger"; grabbing cameras, books etc from statues; etc. One little reminder from the nearest park ranger generally makes sure they stop posing for such camera bravados.

So there it ends from my side. Care to add to the list?


  1. Welcome to Bay area! Seems you went site seeing :)

    I know one more group as I often belong to this one. The camera group: usually consist of photography students or member of local photography club. Easily identified by the number of SLRs they carry among themselves and their camera-shyness. They smirk at other tourist's attempts at photography. They are awestruck if one of those tourist happens to carry a better camera than them. The usual discussion among the group member relates to light, angle, shutter speed, aperture and lens they are using.

  2. What about the "College Gang". the most feared group of them all. They arrive in a large horde at some helpless budget hotel and then raise hell on the first day until firmly but politely told by the proprietor not to make noise at midnight and not descend on the breakfast table in the morning like a bunch of locusts, scaring off the other guests.

    This group also pretends to be cool by drinking free beer on flights and vomiting in the airport afterwards, but usually consists of at least one person who is a "true" alcohol lover who enjoys a glass of Scotch quietly and without fuss.

  3. Richa, :) thank you! Oh yes I can imagine the camera group. Unfortunately I haven't met a "group" of that kind yet, although individual samples - yep, a lot of 'em.

    Hari, oh yeah... the poorer equivalent of the stag party! I know exactly what you mean. :) Thanks for the addition!

  4. hahahaha.. wonderful read and made my mood kinda jolly after i woke up with a sad note! :))

  5. Tanwistha, glad to know this was of help! :)

  6. Hilarious read, your trademark style.

  7. The humour in this post seemed to me to be more of a pinching, making fun of in a not-so-good way type; rather than the good natured humour your posts usually have.
    You may have meant it in an entirely fun sense, but it came across as a bit barbed.

  8. Anonymous, I am not too sure if my humour was barbed. But most of my (funny) posts have a little edge that can pinch. Oh well... until the next post then. :)

    BTW, if you haven't commented before, welcome onboard :)

  9. very nice! it was fun to read although many of the groups are the kind you see around Indian tourist locations as well. The major differences I reckon would be wearing sports shoes instead of chappals (:D) and generally trying to behave more sophisticated on account of the fact that they are in white-people-land.

    This group also pretends to be cool by drinking free beer on flights and vomiting in the airport afterwards, but usually consists of at least one person who is a "true" alcohol lover who enjoys a glass of Scotch quietly and without fuss. this is too funny.

  10. Haha!loved the post!
    You made my Sunday morning a lot better,thanks! :)
    I'd like to add another character to the list "The solitary traveller" ;not very entertaining,but worth a mention,nevertheless.He's always plugged into his mac book or is mouthing the words to some song while he chews on gum relentlessly.Efficient and armed with all the latest tech thingummajigs!Prefers to travel alone and refuses all the food that the two and a halves and the gaggles offer him.


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