An open letter to the locals around the world that assume I’m foreign, so I must be rich.
Yes, I am a foreigner, but that does not mean I am oblivious. I see you eyeing me when I walk down the street, ka-ching! noises ringing in your ears. Those dollar signs shining in your eyes are visible from miles away, and I hear you snickering with your friends before offering me your services. I know what you’re thinking: I’m foreign, so I must be rich. You know what? You’re absolutely right.
Being foreign, every morning I bathe in spring water fresh from the Himalayas, carried to me on the backs of sherpas every week. I dry myself off with $100 bills–they are excellent for exfoliating my skin–which I so generously toss out the window to the ever-present beggars below. I know it can be hard to believe since I’m walking around with stained clothes that reek of sweat, carrying a backpack filled with a small desert’s worth of dirt. I make sure to roll in dust before leaving the house, so commoners like you don’t feel bad about my luxurious life. Unfortunately, mister hotelier, I already paid for my $10 room-sans-shower, but I’ll gladly consider your bargain $200/night hotel room, as long as you’re fine with me bringing my own spring water.
Being foreign, I have a different European sports car for every day of the week, though I usually pay for a chauffeur to drive it so I can use the ride to Snapchat selfies on my solid gold iPhone 7. This might not be obvious, given that you just ran into me trying to buy a $0.50 ticket for an overcrowded public bus while using a very shattered smartphone for a timepiece, but I can explain. I recently left my gold iPhone in my friend’s new Porsche after a night of too many martinis while cruising the Las Vegas strip, and I’m actually just taking this bus so I can show my Snapchat followers how charmingly rustic your country is. Your offer to drive me in your taxi for my 8-hour journey for only $100 is kind, but I’d like to avoid being seen your old Peugeot. It’s bad for my image.
Being foreign, my breakfast consists of wild berries hand-picked in the Swiss Alps, and freshly ground coffee grown on my grandfather’s plantation in Tanzania. I lunch only on the finest Russian caviar accompanied by a light, subtle French champagne. Most evenings I fly in my private chef from Japan to craft fresh sushi for my supper. It might be hard to imagine, since you just witnessed me me wolfing down $1 falafel and stocking up on unlimited toppings at the fast food joint next door. I was simply trying to stock up on super foods—I need to improve my skin for next week’s yacht tour in the Maldives. Thank you for letting me know about your restaurant next door with the $15 kebabs and mandatory 30% service charge, it sounds lovely. Perhaps I’ll visit tomorrow… is it possible to get a side of quinoa with my kebab?
Being foreign, I am the owner of a large penthouse overlooking Manhattan, despite being only 25 years old. All of its several hundred square meters are covered with the finest animal skins that my money can buy. The photos I just showed you of the apartment the size of your dining room table? I was just showing you those so you would feel less bitter about my vast wealth. I would love to take some time to peruse your very affordable $3,000 Persian carpets, dear salesman, but I’m afraid they really would clash with the endangered animal theme that I employ in my penthouse’s powder room. I’ll think of you when it comes time to decorate my next summer home.
Alas, locals, I’m afraid I have to cut this short–I need to do some retail therapy in Milan before my dinner date below the Eiffel tower. I’m glad we had this chance to communicate. I hope I leave you a tad more enlightened about what life is like in foreign countries, so you understand what you’re dealing with the next time you see a dirty young backpacker walking your way.
More like this? Check out our article on the sustainability of dual pricing!
Have you encountered this problem in your travels? How did you respond?