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The Roar of the Crowd.

What Travel brochures really mean

Bengal Tiger
The Patient Arrowhead.

For my journal,  I cut out the brochure or travel planner photos and descriptions of what I will encounter. And since it never matches my experience,  I have learned to embrace the difference.  With a little practice and a lot of writing, you will too.

From the tour company’s description of our Indian safari: …  we regroup for a second safari expedition. Though it is rare, we may see the Royal Bengal tiger, usually sleeping by day in the tall grass. A recent census showed 26 tigers in the reserve. We also see lakes that hold crocodiles and a wide variety of water birds in season.

The cautious marketing language is in boldface.

Here is what we did see: a Royal Bengal tiger.  Her name is Arrowhead.   She posed just long enough for photos, then casually wandered around the preserve just enough out of reach that our drivers had an excuse to whoop and holler and recklessly hurl the tourist-filled jeeps over potholes the size of VWs.   Not exactly a hushed moment in nature.  But it is probably better to view even an indifferent tiger from the relative safety of a crowded jeep than to face the same tiger – no matter how calm – unprotected in the wild. (Many of the tourists were decidedly more snack sized than me but we weren’t testing that today.)

Pleased with the encounter, we photographed Arrowhead and happily posted her photo on Instagram, Facebook and eventually, the holiday newsletter.

Then, unlike any Facebook post you’ve ever seen, we turned the camera around.  Against the calm tiger, a dozen jeeps lined up to give a hundred tourists, all breathless, yet chattering, the chance to frame the lone animal. Not the private moment the first photo would have you believe.

What kinds of discrepancies have you encountered?  We are accustomed to being lied to by advertising, what about brochures and travel fantasies?




Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach and author. She has published over 300 newspaper and magazine articles in publications like Modern Maturity (AARP), SF Chronicle and Santa Rosa Magazine. She was a contributor to two Chicken Soup Books and has published anthologies of her work, non-fiction works and novels. Her work has also appeared in a number of poetry and fiction anthologies. She has experimented with the self-publishing world since 2001. She has published and self-published seven books through companies like Author House, author assist companies like 3L Publishing and through traditional publishers like Write Life. Her poetry collection, Ammonia Sunrise, will be released in August 2011 by Finishing Line Press and her mystery novel, In Good Faith will be released by Write Life in 2011. Catharine holds a BA in English from UCSB and a MA in English from Sonoma State University. She is a 25 year member of California Writer’s Club. She is an adjunct professor for the University of Phoenix. She works with authors of both fiction and non-fiction to make their dream of producing a book come true. For more information on that, visit her at Catharine has lived in Sonoma County for 25 years and considers wine a food group. She is married to an adorable and very patient man who complains he’s never featured in any of her books. Her grown children who are featured in a few of her books have fled the county.

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