WEATHER »

Have tourists to America changed?

I seem to recall a time, not that awfully long ago, when you could spot a tourist from a mile away: Their clothes would be different than ours; Their complexions would be pasty, if they were from Europe, or frightfully sun-blackened if they were from anywhere else; They would be weighted down by a brace of cameras and other paraphernalia and, more than anything else, they would be polite and curious.
Nowadays tourists seem to dress pretty much like we do, as if they were given American clothing before disembarking from the plane and their complexions, no matter where they come from, are pure Southern Californian. Gone are the bulky cameras, replaced by micro-miniature, digital camcorders and all the other micro-equipment that modernity has bequeathed to the world and gone is the innocent curiosity, to be replaced by a kind of bored familiarity, due, I'm sure, to the fact that they've seen this all on T.V. in their own countries and the reality is more-or-less what the fantasy prepared them for...america, just as I've spelled it, with a small "a".
I'm not sure wether this reflects badly on us or them or wether it speaks badly of world-culture as a whole but when curiosity wanes in a people the end is not far off. Marco Polo kept detailed records of his travels in the East, modern travelers from the East text their friends a couple times a day and leave it go at that. My only question is why they bother to visit at all...
I left one of my observations till the last, I began by saying that tourists used to be polite and curious. I've already observed that modern tourists seem to be lacking in curiosity but are they polite? Again, measured against my memories I'd have to say "no", not like they used to be. Nowadays you are just as likely to be elbowed off the sidewalk by someone from Serbo-Croatia as you are by someone from Bakersfield and God help you if the guy from Yemen can manage to rent a car. Just avoid cross-walks, that's all I have to say, avoid cross-walks, Mcdonalds, anyplace that serves alcohol and the Harbor: Tourists seem to flock to the Harbor in droves and it always leaves me wondering if they aren't staring whistfully across the waters wishing they were back home. If they are, if they are dreaming of the day that they board that big 707 and head back to their respective countries then I must admit, in that way at least, we are in total agreement.

event calendar sponsored by: