Everyone knows the worst thing about tourist destinations, right? Say it with me now… TOURISTS.
Tourists are the reason intrepid travellers, intent on freedom of spirit – the kind of freedom you get from carrying your whole life in a rucksack – get stuck with shoddy vistas like this:
Wonderfully crumbling, history-steeped ruins in the background…. garbage bin in the foreground. And all because tourists can’t be trusted to take their detritus with them.
Or you might get a scene like this:
Because tourists like to climb things and then fall off them. Like that Korean couple Chua Hwei told me about who fell down this:
You get this too:
Because apparently tourists like to crawl under things as well, and then act all surprised when thousand year old masonry caves in on them and crushes them into arrabiatta.
Relatives are never too thrilled about these events. They tend to be annoyed at not being invited on what turned out to literally be the trip of a life time and, in a fit of pique, sue the state back into the bronze age.
The most utterly depressing thing about all this is that irreverence is infectious. I found myself brashly munching an apple while gazing out over this:
And casually parking my backside on things like this:
In my defence though, it’s useless to try for awe, it really is. Take for example this scene:
I was really having a crack at breathing it all in, feeling that peace which rises up out of the ground in places of human significance. Places that are haunted by the footsteps of others, others that have strode by where you stand, others that have paused in the same wonder you do. Hundreds of years’ worth of humanity hangs palpably about you. Up through your feet rises a feeling of belonging, a shadow of the men that dug the foundations beneath your trainers. As you raise your head toward the heavens and gaze at exquisitely, patiently, lovingly carved stone, which has withstood an age of wind and rain to stand before you as breathlessly imposing as when first it was built, it is as if all the lives this place has seen coalesce about you and you are, truly, a part of the great striving mass of man that seeks for greatness.
Until you notice that the woman in front of you is a fool. And that the navy blue panties she has imbecilically picked out that morning are clearly visible through her white shorts.
It’s tough to feel much pride in your fellow humans when they can’t even pick their knickers properly.