Reading about your own city and country in a lonely planet book is a strange experience. The shift in the point of view to that of a tourist’s is a bit disorientating. Yet makes for a fun read. Whenever I come across a copy Lonely Planet Sri Lanka I can’t resist flipping through it.
Recently I came across the Lonely Planet Sri Lanka 10th edition. Only had time to flip through it in a hurry. One of the interesting parts is a description of crossing over into LTTE terrorist controlled areas via the Omanthai entry/exit point. Another is a familiar thing about Sri Lankans being gentle and friendly. 🙂 Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain wrote something similar when he dropped by a century ago.
The fact is that Lonely Planet books are never meant to be a native eye view of the place. They are simply practical pointers to basic conveniences. Aimed at helping the primarily for the first world traveller to encounter another country – without being shielded from it by the tinted widows of a monstrous air conditioned tour bus.
During my days as a global nomad, I depended on the Lonely Planet books to get me oriented in each city I moved to. It served me particularly well in places where Sri Lankans, let alone brown faces and English are a novelty.
For the native, Lonely Planet books offer a strangely detached, slightly prickly, and definitely interesting outsider’s view of your home. Particularly when places of significance to local sub cultures are refered to in blandly utilitarian terms. Haven’t had a chance to fully read through the latest edition yet. Or I’d be able to pull out a few juicey samples. Like I have the time for such indulgences. Instead I’ll leave that up to you.
Share some of the interesting/funny things the Lonely Planet says about YOUR home town + country.