I just want to have a leisurely walk around your Old Town on this, my day off. I don’t want a postcard. I’m OK without any bananas or pineapples or mangoes or whatever that is you’re frantically pointing to in your basket by the market. My name isn’t “Hey You” or “Hey Man”. I’ve already had lunch; it’s 3pm. I won’t be taking a tour today. And no, I’m not interested in a cyclo ride. Or a motorbike ride. Or a tailored suit. Or shoes. Or bracelets. I don’t want anything with flashing lights. I don’t need an umbrella or a toy that flies into the air when you pull its string.
I’d like to have a nice dinner overlooking the river at Mango Rooms, but I’m afraid to sit outside. You’ll attack me. You’ll assume I want peanuts, or candied ginger, or dried fruit. Maybe all of the above. I don’t. I want to eat in peace and enjoy the view. I’ve come to accept that this isn’t going to happen, so I’m eating inside in the corner facing a wall. I see the walk back to my hotel as a sort of gauntlet or obstacle course more than anything else.
I don’t think you care where I’m from. I don’t think you really want to know my name. It’s just the beginning of your pitch. Your shop looks nice but I’m not interested; there’s no need to follow me down the street. You’ve made me bitter and I don’t like that. Even when I purchase something–like when I bought batteries the other day–it isn’t enough for you. You want to add on a digital camera or a guided tour or a bus ride or a small child. I think you’d sell me your left foot if I inquired over the price. (Not interested.)
I used to say “no thank you” and smile, but now I just stare at the ground and hope you’ll let me pass. I don’t think I’m the only one. Lots of people will come to your defense, and you won’t listen to me anyway. You’ve always been a bit stubborn. But you know, I think we should see less of each other. It’s not you. It’s me. Or well actually I think it is you. I’ll send you a postcard if someone will let me buy it on my own terms.