Tuesday, 21 August 2007


It's funny really how you live here and therefore no longer consider yourself a tourist or even a foreigner. You even find yourself disgusted with the tourists (or is that only me?!)

No, I am only joking, well only a little bit anyway. I am meant to love tourists as that is my job, but I tell you, having to be nice to tourists all day is hard work. And English tourists at that. Sorry to all my English friends out there, you know I love you all, and your country. I lived in London for so many years - it's true! I love poms. Well most of them. Here are just some of my random memories of thoughtlessly stupid things tourists have said and done:

Picture mount entna: the largest active volcano in Europe and the 10th largest in the world. You tell people they will be walking a volcano. You tell them it can get cold at 3,300 metres, you tell them to wear comfortable and warm clothing. WHY oh WHY then do some of them:
    Come dressed head to toe in their white 'I am in Italy look at me' outfit.
    Wear shorts so their already white legs turn purple once the day is over
    Wear ridiculously high heels, with open toes so that bits of volcano get wedged between their white toes, and sometimes the unstable volcanic ground even breaks their heels.

    Get angry and ask you why there is no ATM, cashpoint or money withdrawing facilities on the volcano.
    I have witnessed this: When they are walking around the active craters, they try to go beyond the roped off sections. Now let me explain about the roped off sections. They are roped off because behind is an active crater. Where lava may pour out at any moment. It is compulsory to have an Etna guide when you are up this high, and they lead you safely around the craters. When I was there some tourist had small children, much to young to be trekking an active volcano. To make matters worse the small child's hat flies off into the active crater. Rather then cut their losses and keep going, the father of the group proceeds to lift the rope and walk towards the active crater. Thankfully he only walked one step before guides came running from every direction to stop him...and to save his life.

    Away from Mt Etna my favourite source of entertainment is when I am out with friends people watching. You can see the people who have purchased 'Under the Tuscan Sun' outfits for the holidays. I cannot tell you how many white flowing dresses and big sun hats I have seen here. I love it! There are so many of them. The men on the other hand like to go for the 'cool Italian look' and team their pasty white arms and legs with a mafioso looking hat, a pink shirt, suit jacket and shorts. I have seen many of these combinations before. Very amusing.

    And it is not just the English who make me laugh, but everyone when they come here on holidays! People lose their common sense. I would like to ask everyone this one important question:
    At home, where ever in the world you live do you walk down the street in a bikini (if you are a lady, or a man I guess who fancies that) and if you are a man do you go shopping in your speedos, a t-shirt and that's it?

    I think the answer would be no.
    Why then when you come to Taormina on a holiday, and are in the ancient town 700m above sea level do you proceed to walk around in the above stated clothes? I really wish someone could answer that question.
    I must stop now, I could go on and on about tourists. But I will save some more stories for another day. I have 2 days off to go to the beach and be inundated with well...tourists!


    Anonymous said...

    Aussie Aussie Aussie...Oi Oi Oi! Now are we the most adaptable people on earth, or is the gypsy part of your genetic coding... Maybe the communication medium has changed from air waves to e waves?? Love the blob..LOL.....can't wait to see the island. Cioa

    Leanne in Italia said...

    Good question...I think it is a combo of both adaptability and gypsyness (if there is such a word.)

    LaLa said...

    I'm a year late but I like to start from the beginning.

    It's definitely not only you when it comes to tourists. When I moved to Pennsylvania Dutch Country (Lancaster, Pa) I spent the first 6 months getting to know my surroundings. But once I got into the day to day living the places I did my errands were teeming with tourists. I remember hating weekends and summer vacation. But I made peace with it eventually.

    Leanne in Italy said...

    Hi Lala,
    As they say 'better late then never!' You do have to make peace with the tourists after a while don't you??