“When in Rome, do as the Romans do!”
That’s what my friend Jan told me right before he ate his second helping of crickets that he had ordered from a random vendor at the street market in the jungles of Cambodia.
“We’re not in Rome. They don’t eat crickets in Rome. A Roman would look at you like you were nuts if you tried to feed him a cricket.”
I’m not eating a cricket. I could be lost in the woods for days… Better yet, a desert. A dry desert. Devoid of food or water. I could be DYING. I’m still not eating a cricket. Not in Rome, not in Asia, I’m not doing it. I saw people in Asia eating things that just aren’t supposed to be food. I respect their customs as much as the next guy, but I’m not doing it. I’m not eating scorpion, or tarantula, or snake. No. No, no, no. The f#ck out of here, homie. I mean, if the Roman’s had a custom of jumping off a 700 foot tall cliff, would you still be talking all that “Do as the Romans” nonsense? Probably not.
Which brings me to Jake’s Travel Tip #2: Don’t feel like you always have to “do as the Romans do.” But ALWAYS BE RESPECTFUL.
You should respect people’s culture. Always. But if you aren’t comfortable doing things that are locally accepted, be respectful of it. Don’t say things like “What’s wrong with you crazy bastards? Crickets? Have you lost your minds?”
It ends up that people don’t like this kind of a thing. Boy did I learn that one the hard way. This Cambodians can punch pretty hard for little fellas!
So tip number two? No matter what happens, no matter what kind of customs you run into that may seem strange to you, always be cool. Be respectful. Because to locals it’s YOU that’s the strange one with the odd customs. Respect the locals.
Jan, John, and some kid who tried to rent us a jungle compound for 3 hundred US dollars per month. Complete with bar, kitchen, guest rooms, and monkeys.