Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cultural Adventures with Hotel Reviews

I've been doing a lot of Internet research on hotels in Poland, helping some acquaintances to plan a trip to Poland. This involves going to some of the hotel review sites such as Trip Advisor. I get amused with what I find there sometimes. It is clear that some travelers arrive in another country with the expectations of what they have or find at home. An example is the frequent complaint that in Polish hotels there are no mattresses on the beds. Most simply fail to understand beds are different in Poland than in the United States, for example. Yet I've slept perfectly fine in seven different places in Poland on Polish beds during my intermittent stays that now add up to a bit more than 4 months of time in Poland. In fact when I did some shopping for a new bed in the United States, I put a mattress on the bed, but went to IKEA to get the duvets that I became familiar with in Poland. I've slept much better for going to that pattern rather than the U.S. pattern of a top sheet, blankets, and a bed spread.

I wish travelers would try to celebrate the differences and uniqueness they find in travel, rather than complain or worse,diminish a culture because of these differences.

On one experience I had with Global Volunteers I was with a team in a very small town in the United States. One of the volunteers was very upset because the local grocery store didn't have arugula lettuce. I tried to help her understand that even if the grocer could stock it, doing so would probably cause his local customers to think he had gotten just a bit too "big town." Since then I've called it my Arugula Rule: If you want everything to be like it is at home, stay home.

1 comment:

Global Volunteers said...

Lori: This is such good advice. thanks for attempting to offer some sanity on the subject. I'd like to post your reflections on our blog with your permission. Is that okay with you? Michele Gran, Global Volunteers