Today my boxers seem to involuntarily be in a bunch about tourist traps, probably inspired by my recent trip to the Grand Canyon but also as I needed a T word to write about this Tuesday and I certainly am not one to bash tourist (something about shitting on the hand where I feeds from, or something like that) Of course, the Grand Canyon is not a tourist trap but one of several nearby rather large chasms in the earth that I never tire of gazing at or frolicking in. [Insert your Freudian analysis here]. My gripe is not really with tourist traps by design really but more of what I feel are tourist traps by intention; a feeling of brain-washedness that we are all susceptible to whereas we almost feel obligated to perform certain activities at certain locales as prescribed by The Tourism Industrial Complex. My personal example of this is the day trip to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas; an 8 hour round-trip that I am often asked to make with out-of-town guests. While I love car trips, content to just aimlessly drive for hours (while my inner Al Gore drawls irritably on my mind), I always leave Grand Canyon after such a trip feeling like a debaucherous tourist that quickly takes my pleasures from her without proper reciprocation. I know that many people only need to spend an hour or two by the rim, (that ooh-ahh factor dissipates after a couple of views) to feel complete; after all, not everyone wants to spend hours grinding joints together and callusing their feet to explore the Canyon more fully.
A more glaring example of the tourist trap by intention is the peculiar desire for people to pose for photos by the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. It’s not even an interestingingly designed or constructed sign, but as so many movies and TV shows use it as a visual bite to signal the Vegas arrival, somehow we are programmed to believe it is some sort of significant landmark. It’s location is pretty outdated as well. Is my point making sense yet? Not a tourist trap, per se, as no money is spent here but definitely a tourist trap of intention, kind of something off of a low brow bucket list.
That is my idea of a tourist trap by intention; a place where someone goes because the travel book or television show or brochure tells you that you should but that robs you of any feeling of discovery of your destination.
I am going to try to make this one of those interactive postings, hoping that someone will comment about such a tourist trap of intention in your area, or that you’ve visited and felt disappointment about. I will start the comments with one from Spain. I’m going to feel like a total dork if no one comments, but that fine, I’ve been there before.