Taste for Travel’s agony aunt Sally Slaughter answers queries on travel and the dilemmas of modern manners in her column Ask Sally. Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
I got lost in Turkmenistan and asked a young bloke for directions, and he took me home to meet his mother, father, nine brothers and sisters and the family horse.
I stayed for dinner, even though I didn’t understand a word they were saying. We had soup, dumplings, and rather a lot of bread. All those carbs! Anyway I ate everything. It would have been rude not to. That made the family very happy. They were smiling at me, and smiling at their son. In fact they were so happy they gave me a pretty dress and lots of heavy silver jewellery, and made me go and put it all on, and then come downstairs and sit in a special chair.
Then their son went and got dressed up in his best clothes. I’m just waiting for him to come back, but as I type this message on my iPhone to you, I’ve noticed a lot of people have trickled into the room, and they too are smiling at me dressed in this costume thingy and the earrings which weigh a tonne.
My earlobes are going to meet my knees soon. I have this strange feeling that something big is about to happen. Please reply urgently. Lucinda.
Why didn’t you use your iPhone for directions? Haven’t you heard of Google maps? I can’t go hat shopping without it. Ask to go to the toilet immediately, and once you’re in there lock the door, and if there’s a window in there, open it, climb out (discard dress and heavy earrings if necessary, otherwise they will make nice souvenirs of your journey) and run like hell. Which will also help burn off those carbs. Otherwise I fear your future will be nine children and a horse.
Graciously yours, Sally.
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