“Hell is other people” (the tourist trap)

It’s not just history majors or art geeks here. Nor is it just the gamer fans who remember climbing on this cathedral while playing Assassin’s Creed. (Guilty…)

An arsenal of selfie sticks wielded by all ages search for the perfect angle, while accidentally bursting through each other’s personal space bubbles. It’s midday at the famous Florence Cathedral. It’s bloody hot, and a bit chaotic.

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The least populated side of the church

Opposite the cathedral is a really pretty door that I know nothing about, but people seem desperate to get a photo of. One peaceful looking couple in their fifties stood a fraction too long in front of it, unaware they were spoiling the shot for grumpy old Uncle Borris, a toad of a man who spent way too much on his DSLR to have the view blocked by anyone.

“Ey move! Shooo!”

This cranky old bastard literally shooed them away. I couldn’t believe it. He skipped ‘excuse me could you please move’ and went straight into fuck-off mode. Though visibly startled by his rudeness, the couple graciously moved on.

“Hell is other people.”

Recently I’ve seen some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world like the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, and the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. Whether they’ve exceeded or fallen short of my expectations, the only certain thing is I wasn’t the only one who wanted to find out for themselves.

The sticks. The instagram photoshoots. The guided tours. The lines. The catch-22 of 10,000 people wanting to see a beautiful, serene place at the same time. Lastly, the complaints. Usually from fellow travellers back at HQ…

“Oh it was too ‘touristy’.”

I can’t stand this. When people complain about world famous, historically significant stuff being busy, it makes my corpse roll over in my grave and I’m not even dead yet. I’m talking irritated on some Hodor/Back to the Future level. I try explaining politely that they’re embodying their own problem.

It’s the same people that complain there are too many sausages at the fest, while they themselves have a cheerio. Or the people who sit in traffic at peak time complaining of the cars in front of them, oblivious to the fact that they are the traffic to everyone behind them.

In between tagging up gift shops, Banksy said it better than I ever could:

“There are no exceptions to the rule that everyone thinks they’re an exception to the rules.”

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Stumbled upon a Banksy exhibit in Rome. This is a real Banksy that I wasn’t allow to photograph, but if any artist wants you to break the rules…

I’ll happily admit I’m a selfie stick wielding, popular attraction attending antichrist. I usually do my best to be considerate, while inevitably accidentally existing in front of someone. Since I know what I am, I don’t get mad or look down on people who go to touristy places. It’s not a bad thing.

It’s not a bad thing to enjoy a place other people also enjoy.

Yes people can be rude and inconsiderate. Yes with higher concentrations of people these places can become hectic and it can be hard to move around. Often I’ll have to dodge people who just stop in front of me to take photos. It becomes a maze. But I also recall stopping to take a photo without thinking, causing someone else to play the maze game.

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Pretty sure it was this one. Doesn’t look like a lot of thinking is going on.

Harden up travellers, you are in these exotic places doing what millions, if not billions of people would want to be doing right now, yet you complain and excavate negativity because unfortunately other people are alive and are living just as vivid a life as yours.

A very famous French philosopher Jean-Paul-Sartre once said “Hell is other people.” Maybe he meant that without an exterior opinion, your life would be exactly the way you want it to be. Or that all hurt in the world is caused by humans.

Or maybe someone just blocked his view of the pretty door.

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4 thoughts on ““Hell is other people” (the tourist trap)

  1. No photo of the pretty door, a great read though. You know me, I cant drive around the Lyn Mall car park without getting frustrated. lol

    Like

  2. Pingback: Shawn vs Wild – Slovakian Mountains | Shawn Cleaver

  3. Pingback: The short history of my 11-country Eurotrip | Shawn Cleaver

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