Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trending Now: Tourist Italy

After we left Saudi Arabia, the Mister and I met up with my sister and her husband in beautiful Italy for a 2-week vacation. We were loving being in the Western world again and the Mister was nerding out with all the European history that was around us.

Unfortunately, also all around us were TOURISTS!! I was expecting to be surrounded by hordes of once-in-a-lifetime trippers that notoriously wander, eyes aloft, cameras at the ready. We were in Italy during the high season, after all. But I've noticed that every time we got to Europe, there are certain trends in the tourists. Here is what is so hawt on the tourist scene in Italy this summer:

1. College study abroaders. Ok, so this isn't a this-summer specific trend. And being that we were in Italy, I'm sure the locals are bombarded by waves of these groups of 20-somethings who have just met their newest best friends and feel oh-so hip and global while traveling on a class field trip with 50 other Americans on a chartered coach. This summer, it's really easy to spot the American abroad: just look for Ray Bans (real ones for the pretentious, fake ones bought from the street vendors for the ones who arrived and realized they were too broke and too late to be in with the pretentious crowd but still wanted to fit in), European summer scarf tied around the neck, and a floral, high-waisted mini skirt with white tank top tucked in to the wide belt for the ladies. Soo college hip and European at the same time.

2. Jumping photos. This is not a new trend. I think it was introduced about 4 years ago, but it has sticking power. Personally, I am not a fan of the jumping photo. I have several friends who are enamored with the freeze-frame, suspended-in-mid-air, anime-esque-facial-expression-capturing type of photography, but it's just not for me. But lawd!! From college students to Asian tourists to honeymooners, tourists in Italy love them some jumping photos!! I have the feeling this will be the last summer for this trend...or maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.

3. Taking pictures with the iPad. It's really interesting how far photography has come. From tintype to instagram, I wonder what the early photographers would say if they could see us now. Maybe I'm suffering from a little case of gadget envy, but there is one form of modern photography that drives me crazy: Taking photos with your iPad, especially when you're on vacation.

All I could focus on when we stumbled upon a parade in Florence.

Here's why I don't understand it:

  • The iPad isn't small. Unless you're schlepping around a huge purse, it's not going to fit easily in any bags. And when you're traveling, you don't want to look like you're carrying around $700-worth of fancy technical magic on your person. You're just asking to be purse-snatched.
  • You look like a dork. I literally laughed out loud at a guy we saw riding in a pedi-cab across a square in Rome who was struggling to maneuver his iPad through the little back window of the vehicle while simultaneously trying not to drop the expensive piece of equipment and get an instagram-worthy shot of the ancient ruins he was riding past. He looked like a total dufus! And he could have accomplished the same feat with just one hand and a little craning of the neck if he had a sensible digital camera.
  • You take up tons of space in everyone else's shot. You're standing in a crowd. We're all trying to take the same picture as you. But because your means of recording this moment for posterity has a 10 inch screen and a flappy cover thing, I have to wait for you to move out of my shot so I can take my own darn picture! 

I'm sure this post makes it sound like the Mister and I had the most judgmental and annoyed time ever while in Italy with my sister, but that really wasn't the case. These were just some of the things that made us roll our eyes as we were strolling the streets of Rome, Florence, and Venice.

Vicariously yours,

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