Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Why Tourists are a pain in the arse

Talk on the Radio of the drop in the value of the American dollar! My mind immediately switched to tourists. I know tourism makes a big contribution to the UK economy but tourists are such a pain in the neck. It could be any town or city which is a tourist attraction, (York, Canterbury, Edinburgh, Dublin, Cardiff, etc.) but I take London as an example, and just one part of London - Westminster Bridge.

Starting on the South Bank. First you have the London Eye and the other tawdry attractions in the former County Hall. The tourists and buskers in this area makes it difficult to walk unimpeded along the embankment. The top of the steps onto the bridge is blocked by a tout for Big Bus Tours. Walking across the bridge is impeded by tourists taking photographs - they expect people either to stop or walk on the road while they take five minutes to take a photo of the Eye. Then there are the sellers of honey coated peanuts, the Chinese selling smuggled cigarettes (why hasn’t the police acted against these). And the most ridiculous of all, those who bend aluminium coat hangers into names.

(I can just imagine in thirty yeas time an edition of “Cash in the Attic” on - ”well what have we here?”, “its Aunty Mary’s postcard holder made from aluminium wire”, “how interesting”, “what’s it worth?”, “on a good day, with the right buyers at the auction, 3p”, “ho wonderful, that will make a big contribution to the costs of our planned Caribbean cruise”.)

The steps down to the north bank Embankment are always blocked by tourists who have decided it’s an ideal location to hold a meeting to plan the rest of their lives. Tourists are oblivious of everyone around them; they block stairs, entrances and walkways. And they shout if they are talking in a foreign language.

A point in their favour, the majority don’t spit.

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