It has dawned on me that the younger Asian tourists of whom there seem to be mainly girls travelling in twos or threes, are just as likely to be from South Korea as Japan and indeed, I suspect, an increasing number from mainland China.
These girls are mostly still petite and have an addiction to clothing and travel accessories that are a combination of pastel candy colours.
A typical “package” is dressed in an egg shell pale blue miniskirt and fairy floss pink top. They invariably have carry on bag on wheels, which may be in pale yellow or lime.
They then “ice the cake” with an array of miniature stuffed toys. These adorn their wrists, their hair and their luggage. Bows, ribbons, hair ties and bracelets again in soft pastel shades abound. Finally their smartphone is clothed in a glove of lipstick pink fur, some of which appear to ears!
They overall appearance is a cross between an innocent prepubertal school child and a geisha.
What stimulated me to put pen to paper (or in the modern sense, finger to phone), was the presence of several such groups on the return ferry from Hallstatt. I sat next to 3 young asian girls and an older English couple. A conversation struck up between the girls and the English tourists. It was quickly established by the rather jovial man, that the girls came from Korea. The next obvious question was “north or south”? It hardly needs pointing out that the ONLY legitimate tourist from North Korea, seen anywhere in the world in the last 70 years has been their illustrious leader and “Ruler of the Universe” – Wha Yu Bang. Everybody else is a genuine refugee, unless you land in Australia.
The English wife smiled and asked “what is the weather like in Korea, NOW?” There was so much emphasis on the word “now”, that the confused Korean girls, I think assumed that the English couple were asking for the weather forecast in Seoul for Monday 16th.
So flummoxed were they by this question, that I considered turning on my iPhone and looking up the current world weather for Seoul to help them out of this inclement predicament. It was not needed as the English man quickly moved on to, as it turned out, even more troublesome topics (In case you were wondering, it was drizzling in downtown Seoul yesterday!)
Anyway, having established that the giggling girls came from South Korea, the English tourists thought it only right and proper to return the compliment.
With ernest intent, he explained that they were from Wales and embarked upon a brief lesson in geography, explaining that the United Kingdom comprised three countries: England, Scotland and Wales. (He omitted Ireland). At the same time he drew in the air an outline of the UK and punched the air where Wales was.
The giggling geishas were suddenly deathly silent! Then it dawned in me! The airy outline of the UK could be misinterpreted as a breaching southern right whale! That together with the word “Wales” had no doubt convinced the poor girls that the intense Englishman was criticizing Korean cuisine.
By this time, thankfully the ferry had docked.
I rest my case , literally and figuratively!