I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: I hate this place.
Maybe I’m in the wrong frame of mind, maybe I didn’t get enough to eat on the way here, or maybe I didn’t sleep enough the night before… who knows. All I know is my time here sucked.
Unless you’ve got the money to hire a pirogue (which I certainly don’t), it’s not even all that pretty here. So it’s natural that the only people you find here are rich European tourists/families, who do have the money for that kind of thing.
It’s also logical that following this, you would find a village culture that has been completely taken over by this trend. You can’t walk anywhere without being harassed by someone, and it’s so small that they all know you by name. Each time I encounter this type of small-village-overrun-by-desperate-tourism, I get moody. I want out, ASAP. In the cities, I don’t mind; I can play along, join in the banter, and go about my business. But in these little places, it drives me nuts. And then I tear myself apart for not enjoying it.
On one hand, it feels like such a shame. We’ve destroyed the communities we came to here see. And on the other hand, it just feels so damn invasive that I can’t stand it. I literally had a breakdown trying to by a fanta yesterday (after failing miserably to find something for dinner that didn’t have horribly inflated prices – it’s like you’re just scraping by, and suddenly the prices in your new town, for Kraft dinner and McDonald’s, triple. You know it shouldn’t cost that much, you’re just in the wrong place.)
On the bright side, even though my ever faithfully wrong Lonely Planet guidebook, completely misguided me on the existence of a guesthouse to fit my budget, the lovely man running the place gave me a deal so I could at least afford to stay here!