Indonesian Chronicles - Day 5, 17/8/2018 - Impressions, Facts & Stories

Over our years of travel together, L and I have developed a fondness for Trip Advisor[1]. For all of its flaws, its poor User Interface, erratic search and inconsistent experience across mobile, tablet and desktop, Trip Advisor is the only app we use before, during and after our trip. Before: to pick where to go and stay; during: to decide where to eat, how to spend our time and to post fresh reviews; after: as a log book to remember to recommend the best places we found to selected friends, ‘just follow my trail by looking at my reviews’.

In exploration phase, we look at Trip Advisor to look at travellers’ photos and compare them to the official photos. We mine reviews for mosquitos, bad smells or noises, we look for deviations and divergences, and small disappointments. We edge our bets and choose carefully. And once we have chosen, the confirmation bias kicks in….we read reviews of the elected place with anticipation, we share snippets of delights, promises of wonderful vacations, and forget about the little imperfections and low signals we were so eagerly trying to uncover once. Once there, in case of disappointment, we sometimes wonder if we have overlooked some hidden messages, we re-read reviews, perplexed, often surprised that reviewers omitted to mention some huge defect and seem incapable of seeing the forest from the tree. None of the raving reviews of the last place we stayed in Java mentioned how close the house was from the village Mosque, with continuous prayers 4 times a day, including at 4.30 am…I woke up thinking the chanting was in in my bedroom, observed sleepy A. after our first night in the new house.


[1] TripAdvisor, headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts, is the largest travel website in the world, with more than 315 million reviewers (active and inactive) and over 500 million reviews of hotels, restaurants, attractions and other travel-related businesses.