Thursday, 3 July 2008

I hate tourists

I have said this many times before and I will say it many time again "I hate tourist" and YES YES YES I do work for a British Travel Company and my job in Rome revolves around...well...tourists. At the moment I do not hate MY tourists however, I hate all the rest.

When I lived in Taormina last year I was inundated with possibly the worlds most stupid tourists. I even had a 'stupid tourist comment of the day' section which I have not used much for Rome. Here (thankfully) most of my clients are well read people, who have at least bought a guide book or done a little bit of reading before setting foot in this Eternal City.

What I can not stand is the other stupid tourists here, and believe me there are literally thousands.

Sometimes speaking English is a curse as I can understand what all these stupid tourists are saying. On the un-air conditioned bus the other day, sweating like a pig I was unfortunate enough to sit across from two starry eyed American students here in Rome for study. The anorexic, sun burnt blond had been here for a while and was giving her new friend a 'guided tour.'

We come to Piazza Venezia (please see the old school photo below that I took off the Internet. These days there is work being done where the grass is in the photo's to make way for another Metro Line.)

The anorexic, sun burnt blond points to the monument and says 'This is a building that Mussolini built so that he could feel all big and powerful. I hate this ugly thing.'

It was on the tip of my tongue to intervene, to set the record straight..tour guide Leanne was itching to come out and say,'Actually anorexic sun burnt blond, you are wrong. 'Il Vittoriano' was built to signify a united Italy. It is a monument to honour the king Vittorio Emanuele II, here you will also find the tomb of the unknown solider. The only connection Mussolini has with this monument is that he used to give his speeches from the balcony overlooking the masses that would accumulate in Piazza Venezia."

Tour guide Leanne however was to hot, fed up and bothered to speak.

Early that day some smelly foreigner had accosted her at the Termini station asking how to get to the Trevi Fountain. As fate would have it, I was waiting for that very same bus...The smelly foreigner then proceeded to not only get on the bus and sit in front of me, but he proceeded to try and talk to me for the whole journey asking me if I could recommend a nice place for him to take a walk, telling me it was crazy that we had no public pools in the centre of Rome and stressing out when I said I had to get off the bus and said he could not get off with me!

Alas in this instance it was my fault as when he asked me if I spoke English...I stupidly said YES.

Mai più...mai più...


Anonymous said...

I live in France instead of Italy, but I do know what you're talking about. Annecy is a rather touristy place and I get sick of the English speakers here who have no idea what they're looking at or why it's important. I used to think I wanted to work in tourism or even be a tour guide... but not so much now!

The last time I was in Italy (1999 - which is a shame since I live so close!), the only thing I hated was the tourists. Especially in Florence. It's such a beautiful place, but I don't know if I ever want to visit again because of all the people.

Kataroma said...

I actually haven't really had any 'bad tourist' experiences here apart from the very occasional bad B&B guest.

I guess the only thing I find funny is how so many Northern European tourists wear tops with spaghetti straps (or boob tubes) in this intense sun and end up completely beetroot. None of them seem to have ever heard of covering up in the sun, wearing hats or sunscreen. But I figure once bitten twice shy...

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Jennie,
You hit the nail on the head! I get so angry when people pretend to be tour guides (even just for their friends) when they have NO idea what they are talking about. Just shup up then I say - or read a guide book.

Hi Kataroma,
I think the reason they wear boob tubes it they do not want to have tan lines. Honestly - there are so many of them wearing these tops and dresses here! Come are not at the beach - wack on a little SPF...Beetroot skin is very unsighltly.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Thailand for 4 years and I agree with you, once you start to "go native" you really begin to hate tourists, no matter where you are. You hate their cultural faux-pas, you hate the lobster sun-burnt look, you hate their insensitivities towards non-English speakers. God, I could go on but I'm sure you don't want a rant here! Thanks for the post.

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi UK student,
Yes - you really do hate their sunburnt skin as this especially is relatively avoidable. And their inseneitivities to non English speakers - yes...they are so rude so many tourists!