For some people, it is easy to switch from one extreme to another. Certain people are able to be completely serious at one moment, and then have you nearly peeing your pants as they tell you their array of knee-slappers. Other people can so subtly mix being stern with being your friend.
Removed from character traits, some people have the ability to jump from one lifestyle to the next. One minute they may be a ruthless defense lawyer, and when the bell tolls, they are the most caring family men or women their neighborhood has ever seen. Regardless of your ability to adapt from one idea to the next, when going from developed to developing countries, the change isn’t so subtle. Here are some huge tells that you are back in Southeast Asia.
Local offerings to local deities: While specific religions dominate each country, what has been so amazing to see while traveling is the local spin taken on well-known religions. In many of the countries I’ve been to in Asia, even though Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism are the main staples, small excerpts of local sprits, gods, or prayers will still surface as a part of the main religion. Keep your eyes open while traveling to see indigenous add-ons to what the majority religion is of the place you are visiting.
Abundance of free WiFi: Places catering to tourists are getting really good at catering to tourists, and the Southeast Asians are some of the best at it. We all know one thing westerns love is free WiFi. Internet access is ubiquitous in Asia, and after coming from Australia (which apparently doesn’t believe in WiFi), it has been great.
7-Eleven or small convenience stores: Believe it or not, they are absolutely everywhere. While 7-Eleven is dominant in Thailand, small, knock-off convenient stores are literally all over tourists stops all throughout Southeast Asia. I can’t actually prove this fact, but I’m going to assume that the introduction of the 24-hour store is the result of night owl tourists.
Ridiculous westerners: Though you traveled halfway around the world to get some culture, one of things that will definitely be ubiquitous on your trip to Asia is seeing ridiculous western tourists. Depending on your destination, you will either see those who are out to party, those who are out to find freedom from the western world (i.e. hippies), those who are completely immersed in the culture and will no longer acknowledge westerners, or my personal favorite, those whom you suspect of dodging doing time for a crime by coming to Asia. Be careful of the last ones, they may come off as friendly, but as soon as a large group of westerners show up, they will disappear in a flash.