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LIVING AMONG THE LOCALS
My first date in college and I once exchanged our views on the way we travel. He said that he liked being a tourist going to visit a place as an outsider. I preferred being inconspicuous and living among the locals. Perhaps that's why he was only my first date and not my last.
In Thailand, I lost my way in the countryside and had to hitch hike back to Bangkok on a motorcycle. Because I was dressed like the locals, wearing a local sarong, the motorcyclist assumed that I was a mute country girl.
It was much harder to pass for a local in Italy. Thankfully for my black hair, no one pinched me.
Living local means being one of the family. When I visited Hiroko and her family more than five years ago (almost six!) in southern California I did just that. When I visited Kenya earlier this year, I was part of the family.
It was thus very refreshing to find an article of the same title in the Sunday Times (22 Oct). If my home was bigger, I could offer a vegetarian English bed and breakfast. But that would hardly be local or traditional!
Bedouin tents in Arabia trip to Sinai and the red Sea
Mountain villages in Spain: Rural Tourism is a co-operative in southern Spain keeping the traditions and culture of Andalusian villages alive. Call 01373 836 070 from the UK
Longhouses in Borneo: the traditional heart of a Sarawak village, no electricity. Contact Magic of the Orient
Rorbu in Norway: north ov the Arctic Circle where puffins, eagles, and guillemots outnumber people. A rorbu is a fisherman's cottage. Inntravel: 01653 629 010
Sheep farms in New Zealand: you'll be outnumbered by 45 million sheeps. Contact New Zealand Farm Holidays, Rural Tours, or Rural Holidays
Traditional settlements in Greece: historic houses without tourists. Contact Sunvil for fly-drive holiday: 020 8568 4499 from Britain.