After checking in at my hotel in Agra, the Indian city known for its majestuous Taj Mahal, the reception guy looked at me and said with hopeful eyes: “If you have time, we can make friendship.” He could have been interpreted quite the wrong way, but in this case it was more the fruit of language barrier than any intimate offering on his behalf. It made me smile… it seems quite easy to strike a friendship in this part of the world!
As a matter of fact, it’s been very easy to start conversations with strangers – locals and foreigners alike, men and women of all ages – and thus develop new friendships throughout my travels. Approaching a stranger for a random chat was most times – if not always – welcome and unquestionned. Quite a different scenario to what we find in the big, independent and westernised city of Sydney. I bet you that if I went to someone at a bus stop, on the street or at a restaurant just to have a chat, they’d think I’m weird or I want something. If this person was a man in his thirties, then he’d probably think I’m trying to hit on him. Right?
The traveller’s social barrier are much much wider. Why is it that it’s hard to find such openness in our daily life? Or am I completely missing the mark? Are people open to random chats, it’s just that not so many of us give it a shot? What do you think?
I might have to do a small social experiment when I’m back in Sydney… Watch for that weird chick who comes towards you at the station and says: “Wanna be my friend?”. 🙂