We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington. There were meadows and apple orchards. White fences trailed through the rolling fields. Soon the sign started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site. There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot. We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing. All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits. A man in a booth sold postcards and slides -- pictures of the barn taken from the elevated spot. We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers. Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book. "No one sees the barn," he said finally. A long silence followed. "Once you've seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn." He fell silent once more. People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced by others. We're not here to capture an image, we're here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies." There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides. "Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We've agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism." Another silence ensued. "They are taking pictures of taking pictures," he said.
Tourists came around and looked into our tipis. That those were the homes we choose to live in didn`t bother them at all. The untied the door, opened the flap, and barged right in, touching our things, poking through our bedrolls, inspecting everything. It boggles my mind that tourists feel they have the god-given right to intrude everywhere.
TO BE A TOURIST is to escape accountability. Errors and failings don't cling to you the way they do back home. You're able to drift across continents and languages, suspending the operation of sound thought. Tourism is the march of stupidity. You're expected to be stupid. The entire mechanism of the host country is geared to travelers acting stupidly. You walked around dazed, squinting into fold-out maps. You don't know how to talk to people, how to get anywhere, what the money means, what time it is, what to eat or how to eat it. Being stupid is the pattern, the level and the norm. You can exist on this level for weeks and months without reprimand or dire consequence. Together with thousands, you are granted immunities and broad freedoms. You are an army of fools, wearing bright polyesters, riding camels, taking pictures of each other, haggard, dysentric, thirsty. There is nothing to think about but the next shapeless event.
I sat on a toilet watching the water run thinking what an odd thing tourism is. You fly off to a strange land, eagerly abandoning all the comforts of home and then expend vast quantities of time and money in a largely futile effort to recapture the comforts you wouldn’t have lost if you hadn’t left home in the first place.
David Attenborough has said that Bali is the most beautiful place in the world, but he must have been there longer than we were, and seen different bits, because most of what we saw in the couple of days we were there sorting out our travel arrangements was awful. It was just the tourist area, i.e., that part of Bali which has been made almost exactly the same as everywhere else in the world for the sake of people who have come all this way to see Bali.
There was no Disney World then, just rows of orange trees. Millions of them. Stretching for miles And somewhere near the middle was the Citrus Tower, which the tourists climbed to see even more orange trees. Every month an eighty-year-old couple became lost in the groves, driving up and down identical rows for days until they were spotted by helicopter or another tourist on top of the Citrus Tower. They had lived on nothing but oranges and come out of the trees drilled on vitamin C and checked into the honeymoon suite at the nearest bed-and-breakfast. "The Miami Seaquarium put in a monorail and rockets started going off at Cape Canaveral, making us feel like we were on the frontier of the future. Disney bought up everything north of Lake Okeechobee, preparing to shove the future down our throats sideways. "Things evolved rapidly! Missile silos in Cuba. Bales on the beach. Alligators are almost extinct and then they aren't. Juntas hanging shingles in Boca Raton. Richard Nixon and Bebe Rebozo skinny-dipping off Key Biscayne. We atone for atrocities against the INdians by playing Bingo. Shark fetuses in formaldehyde jars, roadside gecko farms, tourists waddling around waffle houses like flocks of flightless birds. And before we know it, we have The New Florida, underplanned, overbuilt and ripe for a killer hurricane that'll knock that giant geodesic dome at Epcot down the trunpike like a golf ball, a solid one-wood by Buckminster Fuller. "I am the native and this is my home. Faded pastels, and Spanish tiles constantly slipping off roofs, shattering on the sidewalk. Dogs with mange and skateboard punks with mange roaming through yards, knocking over garbage cans. Lunatics wandering the streets at night, talking about spaceships. Bail bondsmen wake me up at three A.M. looking for the last tenant. Next door, a mail-order bride is clubbed by a smelly ma in a mechanic's shirt. Cats violently mate under my windows and rats break-dance in the drop ceiling. And I'm lying in bed with a broken air conditioner, sweating and sipping lemonade through a straw. And I'm thinking, geez, this used to be a great state. "You wanna come to Florida? You get a discount on theme-park tickets and find out you just bough a time share. Or maybe you end up at Cape Canaveral, sitting in a field for a week as a space shuttle launch is canceled six times. And suddenly vacation is over, you have to catch a plane, and you see the shuttle take off on TV at the airport. But you keep coming back, year after year, and one day you find you're eighty years old driving through an orange grove.
There are people who look forward to spending their sunset years in the sunshine; it is my own retirement dream to await my death indoors, dragging strangers up dusty staircases while coughing up one of the most thrilling phrases in the English language: "It was on this spot..." My fantasy is to one day become a docent.
But nothing will persuade me that the mere fact of being in a place is enough in itself to justify the effort of getting out of bed to become a tourist, or even a traveller. I don't have the slightest wish to be intrepid. I don't want to prove myself to myself or anyone else. I don't care if no one thinks me brave or hardy. I have no concern at all that I did not have whatever it is I should have had to take a dive out of a plane or off a building. None of that matters to me in the least.
There were waves of genocide that overcame indigenous populations of Oceania and do we have a library of books or films to tell our story? No. We have tourist hula shows and commercials where the natives tend to tourists like indentured servants with plastic, lifeless smiles. It’s not such a charming picture, is it? The truth is ugly, but so is ignorance or denial of such atrocities and pain.
As I see the world, there's one element that's even more corrosive than missionaries: tourists. It's not that I feel above them in any way, but that the very places they patronize are destroyed by their affection.
I was hungry when I left Pyongyang. I wasn't hungry just for a bookshop that sold books that weren't about Fat Man and Little Boy. I wasn't ravenous just for a newspaper that had no pictures of F.M. and L.B. I wasn't starving just for a TV program or a piece of music or theater or cinema that wasn't cultist and hero-worshiping. I was hungry . I got off the North Korean plane in Shenyang, one of the provincial capitals of Manchuria, and the airport buffet looked like a cornucopia. I fell on the food, only to find that I couldn't do it justice, because my stomach had shrunk. And as a foreign tourist in North Korea, under the care of vigilant minders who wanted me to see only the best, I had enjoyed the finest fare available.
Though most tourists accepted the occasional comic misadventure, it was important to them that overall their vacation should be pleasant. When you spend money on a holiday you are essentially purchasing happiness: if you don't enjoy yourself you will feel defrauded.
I wore only black socks, because I had heard that white ones were the classic sign of the American tourist. Black ones though,- those'll fool 'em. I supposed I hoped the European locals' conversation would go something like this: PIERRE: Ha! Look at that tourist with his camera and guidebook! JACQUES: Wait, but observe his socks! They are...black! PIERRE: Zut alors! You are correct! He is one of us! What a fool I am! Let us go speak to him in English and invite him to lunch!
Obinze imagined him, dutiful and determined, visiting the places he was supposed to visit, thinking, as he did so, not of the things he was seeing but of the photos he would take of them and of the people who would see those photos. The people who would know that he had participated in these triumphs.
We had a crisp, oily salad and slices of pink country sausages, an aioli of snails and cod and hard-boiled eggs with garlic mayonnaise, creamy cheese from Fontvielle, and a homemade tart. It was the kind of meal that the French take for granted and tourists remember for years.
Wśród naszego rodzaju utrzymuje się zdumiewający pociąg ku temu, co "ostatnie" i "utracone". Wartość przeżycia czegoś, z czego również przyszłe pokolenia będą czerpać radość, nie może się w żaden sposób mierzyć z wartością zobaczenia tego, co później popadnie w ruinę. Ten widzi, kto widzi ostatni. Podobnie rozpowszechniony jest zwyczaj kłócenia się krewnych i przyjaciół o to, kto ostatni zamienił słowo ze zmarłym. W miarę zmniejszania się naszej planety i odkrywania przez przemysł turystyczny coraz to nowych nisz i nisz w niszach wróżę świetlaną przyszłość nekroturystyce. "Zobaczcie wymarły Bajkał!", "Jeszcze tylko kilka lat, a Malediwy znajdą się pod wodą!", "Ty możesz być ostatnim człowiekiem, który oglądał żywego tygrysa!".
As I see it, it probably really is good for the soul to be a tourist, even if its only once in a while. Not good for the soul in a refreshing or enlivening way, though, but rather in a grim, steely-eyed, lets-look-honestly-at-the-facts-and-find-some-way-to-deal-with-them way. My personal experience has not been that traveling around the country is broadening or relaxing, or that radical changes in place and context have a salutary effect, but rather that intranational tourism is radically constricting, and humbling in the hardest wayhostile to my fantasy of being a real individual, of living somehow outside and above it all. (Coming up is the part that my companions find especially unhappy and repellent, a sure way to spoil the fun of vacation travel:) To be a mass tourist, for me, is to become a pure late-date American: alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have, disappointed in a way you can never admit. It is to spoil, by way of sheer ontology, the very unspoiledness you are there to experience. It is to impose yourself on places that in all noneconomic ways would be better, realer, without you. It is, in lines and gridlock and transaction after transaction, to confront a dimension of yourself that is as inescapable as it is painful: As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.
After a day on Mykines, I changed my mind about life not going on. A sort of life was going on, beating with a reasonalbe version of a pulse, but that life consisted for the most part of travelers like myself. There were maybe a dozen of us -- one third of the island's population. Our tribe could only increase as the Mykines tribe dwindled away, a few falling down steps, most simply emigrating, until there would be, sad to say, only our peripatetic selves. We were the future of all places condemned by remoteness to a lingering, photogenic death.
...the Northern Rockies region is a rapidly changing part of the United States. Ironically, in many areas today's number-one threat is not clear-cutting, overgrazing, or destructive mining practices. It is something more insidious. Well-meaning people, many of them former visitors who were seduced into moving to the glorious region, are loving it to death.
Into Happy Havens is a 1st person fictitious story of an ambitious young hotel manager (Martin Hammond) who has learned a great deal about running hotels but has not yet mastered the art of managing people. His story is told with warmth & humor to show the daily routine of a young man learning to cope with the day to day routine of running a 24/7 management dilemma. His self esteem is high and he believes that he can solve all the problems that he meets head on. Can he win through? Or will he burn out before he gets there?