Five kind of tourists
Even though all of us at one time or another has been guilty of being a tourist or acting like one, allow me to dedicate a few lines to answering the question: What in heaven’s name is a tourist?
1) Anyone who’s ever ordered an “authentic” serving of sangría or goulash. You know the type, he or she feels they’re getting down with the locals cos they stopped off somewhere to sample the most typical dish at the most typical place. Truly “authentic” dishes don’t advertise, they sell themselves, and don’t serve as a pretext for opportunists to charge more and offer less. Do your home-based favorite haunts –regardless of which city you come from– ever announced their authenticity? Do they put out flyers or people on the street to draw you in? The question is a rhetorical one. We know the reply: Of course they don’t!
2) Anyone who treats those places visited as if they were monuments, part of the landscape, or interacts with others as if they were hostesses hired by the local tourist bureau. Tourists love to stroll and act/react surprised. They will observe: “Look at that half-naked, undernourished child. Poor thing! Let’s take a snapshot OR “Look at that smartly-dressed exec. I’m sure he’s the director of some top bank.” Living a city for this kind of tourist is no different than visiting a zoo.
3) Anyone who hits the ground running — and heads straight for the local souvenir shop to pick up his “I was in Lanzarote”, “J’taime Paris” or local football team T-shirt. Regardless of what you think of someone who falls in love with a city he or she has just met, a T-shirt does not denote your kinship with a city; on the contrary, it has the opposite effect. You’re sending signals to all who see you, informing them that you’re a tourist which is how they’ll treat you.
4) Anyone who would never list photography as a hobby, but suddenly fancies his or her natural talent for capturing the most touching and tender moments on film, including grass growth at some public garden. This kind of toruist is so busy leaving no stone un-photographed, posing before/beside/behind any monument as proof of the good time he or she is having, that they never quite get around to even knowing which city they’re in.
5) Anyone who when meeting up with a local, say a taxi-driver for instance, asks the same two questions (usually after having knocked back a few). First on the list is: What’s your favorite team? And should the listener play along, follows up with a second question that usually centers on: “Hey, just how pretty and hot are the girls around here anyway?” When this unsuspecting tourist gets hit with a fare three times the going rate, seismic shocks take over. Then again, he may be too tipsy anyway to consider the fact that perhaps a local might not be up for chit-chat which debases the resident female species.