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View Full Version : Tourists - *** Victor Meldrew moment alert ***


pdk42
21st October 2015, 08:25 AM
As you may have noticed from my recent posts on Foto Fair, I was in Rome for a few days. I left yesterday - and TBH, I'm quite happy about that. The place itself is wonderful, and the Italians themselves are (mostly) wonderful too. The problem is ... the tourists!

The Colosseum was like a cattle market and I've never in my life seen so many bloody selfish sticks. It seems the entire objective of most people (esp the Chinese) is to take pictures of themselves with historic monuments in the background. I'm wondering if it's some sort of status symbol. The monuments themselves have no intrinsic meaning for them - all that matters is the grinning smile in front of St Peter's, The Colosseum, The Forum etc etc. They can be so damned rude too - shoving the stupid things into your face as you try to get past.

Then there are the pretty girls, dressed to the nines, who shuffle between the same tourist locations with boyfriend/friend/mother taking endless shots of them pouting with said icon as the backdrop. I can sort of cope with this, but when said boyfriend/friend/mother starts asking you to move out the way (almost impossible given the number of other tourists), it gets very irritating. That some are using iPads as cameras adds some light relief to the situation!

Then, there's the complete rip-off/disorganised mess that's the Vatican. We paid €62 ahead of time to buy tickets for the four of us so that we could "beat the lines". When we arrived at our allotted time on Mon morning, there were thousands of people (literally) queuing around the perimeter walls. Having brushed off a half-dozen people trying to sell us "upgrades" to improve the experience, we arrived at the entrance. It was complete chaos; hardly any signs, a sea of people trying to work out what the hell was going on and no guides offering any help at all - apart from the previously-mentioned sellers trying to up-sell (another €100 if you please). Then we learned that you actually have to queue twice - once for the Vatican museums and then again for the Sistine Chapel. In the end we gave up - €62 down the drain (worse actually - €62 to the Catholic Church!).

We later read some reviews on TripAdvisor about The Vatican and there are lots of very poor reviews there. In a way, I'm glad I only spent €62 and not €62 plus 5 or 6 hours of my time!

Ross the fiddler
21st October 2015, 08:57 AM
I'm sorry to hear you've experienced such an uncomfortable time there with such annoying tourists (& the waste of money at the vatican). I know what you mean with some people groups as a certain group (I don't think Chinese but near that region) that visit the Blue Mountains on coaches often stop on the way down at Todarello's Fruit House in Faulconbridge (http://www.whitepages.com.au/business-listing/the-fruit-house-940265/faulconbridge-nsw) & I've been paying for my fruit & veggies with them pressing around trying to push to be served. They backed away when I yelled at them "Hey, back up! Give me some space!" *yes

Graham_of_Rainham
21st October 2015, 09:12 AM
So basically nothing has changed in the two years since we were there. :(

Although we didn't have that many people using "selfish" (I love that) sticks

We too completely gave up with the Vatican as it was just as you describe it.

Castel Sant'Angelo was very good. We got there as it opened and virtually had the place to our self. The Doria Pamphilj Gallery was absolutely brilliant. For 5 extra I was given a wristband that allowed me to photograph whatever I wanted.

As you say a great place ruined by tourists.

Zuiko
21st October 2015, 09:23 AM
Now, now, Victor - some of us would gladly embrace the problems you describe in return for the opportunity to visit a location such as Rome! I must say, though, that your Vatican experience does sound like my idea of Hell (rather ironic as they are meant to point you in the other direction). I suppose the moral of this tale is that nowadays the only true god is Money; we certainly worship it above all others.

As for the selfie sticks, that's a modern plague of Biblical proportions. I think the problem is that photography has never been easier or more accessible to everyone than it is now. It seems that virtually everyone (except me) has an iphone or smart phone that incorporates an excellent camera, which they carry everywhere. Unfortunately, most people have no artistic concept of photography, no appreciation of light or mood, and not an inkling of what makes an interesting subject or a good composition. The only use they can think of for their impressive cameras is to take pictures of themselves and what could be better than a portable device for extending the reach of their arms? This modern rebranding of the humble (and rather geeky) monopod to "selfie stick" must be one of the most inspired and successful buisiness ideas of all time!

As for Chinese tourists, they epitomise the irony of a communist country in which the divide between rich and poor is greater than in most capitalist countries. No wonder Jeremy Hunt aspires to a Chinese-like society in Britain, but I digress. The point is that relatively few Chinese can afford to travel to exotic destinations such as Europe and proof, in the form of a photograph, that they were there holds important bragging rights for the new breed of Thatcheresque orientals who are riding high on the wave of new wealth for the exclusive few.

Perhaps the best way to deal with the tiresome selfie sticks is to carry a Benbo Mk2 tripod, a stepladder and wear a hi-vis safety jacket. Oh, and if you have a companion who can carry a couple of lighting stands, so much the better. These may not be important for the type of photography that you want to do, but will help form a physical and psychological barrier between you and the ignorant hordes.

snaarman
21st October 2015, 10:51 AM
Sounds pretty much like our flying visit to Rome two years ago.

I have to report a shed load of selfish sticks at Petra last week. Why would you want yourself in every holiday photo? Beats me.

When we crossed from Israel to Jordan amongst a load of armed security, there was a sign enforcing the no photos rule in immigration. So there is a kid doing the stick selfie thing of him and his dad at the immigration desk. Grrr.

Pete

Otto
21st October 2015, 10:58 AM
Why would you want yourself in every holiday photo? Beats me.

Me too, but 'twas ever thus. Gurning tourist stands in front of attraction while partner takes photo. Then they swap places. At least with a selfish stick they can do both at once and get out of the way quicker!

Ross the fiddler
21st October 2015, 12:13 PM
And even when they leave they still use it! :rolleyes:

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/507/S7176331-cr-s.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/87170)

*chr

Grumpy Hec
21st October 2015, 12:50 PM
I've never in my life seen so many bloody selfish sticks

Love it. I shall refer to them thus for ever more *chr

Hec

sapper
21st October 2015, 03:46 PM
We were in Rome earlier on this year and was surprised at the amount of litter about, the bins were overflowing everywhere.
But, I take your point about the selfish sticks.

Naughty Nigel
21st October 2015, 06:17 PM
Bishop Brennan (of Father Ted fame) doesn't have any difficulty getting into the Vatican.

Maybe its the girls he takes with him? :D

David M
21st October 2015, 09:57 PM
Living in a tourism area I'm in Victor Meldrew mode a lot of the time. At the moment they're randomly stopping to take photos of the autumn colours, usually by sticking their phone out of the car window.

Naughty Nigel
21st October 2015, 10:09 PM
I am working in Genoa, Italy at the moment.

The taxi driver who was taking me to the shipyard spotted the remains of the Costa Concordia, and just stopped in the middle of the road to take some photographs whilst drivers of following cars and lorries hooted at him! I gather this is by no means unusual.

She really isn't a pretty sight, but there seems to be a morbid fascination about her, with hundeds of people stopping to take photos, and yes, selfies of themselves standing in front of her huge, rusting and twisted hulk. :(

(I should add, the wreck is currently located in a secure port area, where the is no public access unless on business, but this just seems to make things worse, as those who gain access, for whatever reason, feel the need to take photographs. I guess it would be the same if the Titanic was ever raised from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.)

drmarkf
21st October 2015, 10:57 PM
Living in Cambridge, all this seems entirely normal to me...
Frankly, most of the world's sights that feature in popular guidebooks are worth avoiding nowadays for around 10 months of the year.

A catapult plus a supply of medium-calibre lead shot are quite effective against phones on selfie sticks once one gets one's eye in.

I'm booked on an urban/street photography workshop in Rome next April: I'm told we keep well away from the tourist honeypots!

ringneck
21st October 2015, 11:00 PM
I can drop into a Victor mood at the drop of a hat but not in this instance.......as I do not have a passport so unless they want to come and see me in the middle of a field I will be safe. :)

Naughty Nigel
21st October 2015, 11:20 PM
I am always amazed by the numbers of people who still feel the need for a selfie before getting on an aeroplane. I can just imagine them passing the photographs around the coffee table!

"Well this was the Ryanair plane we took to Malaga, and this was the plane we came back in. It was a bit bumpy that day. Oh, and this was the EasyJet we took to Benidorm, and this was the one we came home on." :D

DerekW
22nd October 2015, 02:56 AM
and this is the pic that Tony and Guy took before they boarded flight MHL 370, so nice to have a pic showing them to be so happy on their way home. They must have SMSed it just before they boarded

George Dorn
22nd October 2015, 05:55 AM
Eww... that's the trouble with forums - there I was enjoying a nice, self satisfied sneer at the plebs and then something iffy pops up :D

Naughty Nigel
22nd October 2015, 06:54 AM
and this is the pic that Tony and Guy took before they boarded flight MHL 370, so nice to have a pic showing them to be so happy on their way home. They must have SMSed it just before they boarded

Point taken, but if you really feel that way perhaps we should all take selfies before we drive anywhere. After all, the road is one of the most dangerous places to be, with the domestic kitchen not far behind.

Anyhow, I have to go. I have a flight to catch. :)

pdk42
22nd October 2015, 07:04 AM
I went to San Gimigliano yesterday - same problem. I was planning on going to Florence, but I'm seriously thinking otherwise. I fear it'll be another tourist honey trap and I've had enough this last few days. I think I'll get out and enjoy the countryside instead!

al_kaholik
22nd October 2015, 07:34 AM
I used to work above Leicester Square station. You get used to tourists pretty quickly. Lunch hour was taken at around 1030 by the time I finished there to ensure that I could get out, get something and get back without fighting my way through!

The selfie is just an adaptation on having someone else take the picture for you, the constant need isn't so justified.

Naughty Nigel
22nd October 2015, 08:02 AM
But what actually happens to the billions of selfies and other touristy photographs that are taken around the world every year?

Many will end up online, to be 'liked' by Facebook followers for a day or two, but then they'll be forgotten. How long does Facebook keep images for I wonder?

Very few people keep family albums these days, as they seem to have been replaced by mobile phones at the coffee table.

On the one hand it is good (or perhaps not) that we can document every step of our lives so easily, with GPS coordinates thrown in, but will our children and grandchildren ever get to see these images I wonder?

Naughty Nigel
22nd October 2015, 09:36 AM
Point taken, but if you really feel that way perhaps we should all take selfies before we drive anywhere. After all, the road is one of the most dangerous places to be, with the domestic kitchen not far behind.

Anyhow, I have to go. I have a flight to catch. :)

Maybe I spoke too soon. We have just aborted take off from Genoa owing to an engine malfunction. :eek:

Ross the fiddler
22nd October 2015, 10:06 AM
Maybe I spoke too soon. We have just aborted take off from Genoa owing to an engine malfunction. :eek:

Better to be on the ground than up there when it happens. :rolleyes: Anyhow, I'm happy my daughter returned home OK (after tripping around around the UK before being elsewhere on the globe) & especially when it was highlighted that the flight path was across the Syrian conflict zone. :(

pdk42
22nd October 2015, 10:09 AM
But what actually happens to the billions of selfies and other touristy photographs that are taken around the world every year?

Many will end up online, to be 'liked' by Facebook followers for a day or two, but then they'll be forgotten. How long does Facebook keep images for I wonder?

Very few people keep family albums these days, as they seem to have been replaced by mobile phones at the coffee table.

On the one hand it is good (or perhaps not) that we can document every step of our lives so easily, with GPS coordinates thrown in, but will our children and grandchildren ever get to see these images I wonder?

The issue of viewing digital photographs in years to come is a real problem. I read something recently where some expert academic on archiving was urging that we produce paper or silver halide versions of images so that we stand any chance of archiving them. Mind you, 99.999% of the junk shared on social media is probably best left to its digital decomposition!

pdk42
22nd October 2015, 10:12 AM
Maybe I spoke too soon. We have just aborted take off from Genoa owing to an engine malfunction. :eek:

I got nearly all the way from Stansted to Dusseldorf some years ago in a BAE 146. One of its four engines developed an oil pressure warning light (according to the captain) and guess what? - we turned back! Apparently the maintenance facilities were based at Stansted so it had to go back there. A 1 hour flight ended up taking most of the day!

Imageryone
22nd October 2015, 10:37 AM
Just to add to the debate, try taking night shots in London.
Camera and tripod all set, meter readings taken, shutter delay set, shutter pressed. 20 chattering Japanese with selfies appear between camera and scene. There was only 15" between the lens and the fence. I hope they learned some very basic Anglo Saxon that night.....

ian p
22nd October 2015, 03:01 PM
I think it's terrible these people go to those sights to take selfies! I have a picture of my mug that I slap on pictures I take off the internet, and save myself the trouble of going there.

CarolE
22nd October 2015, 03:21 PM
Selfie sticks seem to have taken over, I was in Venice in May and they were everywhere. Venice used to feel special but it's now so overcrowded I don't think I'll bother in the future.
I once visited the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, it is huge but the amount of people in there totally spoilt the visit, but I would go again.

drmarkf
22nd October 2015, 07:03 PM
Know your enemy.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5661/21185478545_9f66b51bcf_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/yh67Ft)P1000933 1 (https://flic.kr/p/yh67Ft) by drmarkf (https://www.flickr.com/photos/78755319@N02/), on Flickr

Zuiko
22nd October 2015, 08:40 PM
Know your enemy.

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5661/21185478545_9f66b51bcf_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/yh67Ft)P1000933 1 (https://flic.kr/p/yh67Ft) by drmarkf (https://www.flickr.com/photos/78755319@N02/), on Flickr


His trousers seem quite baggy - I wonder how many would fit? *devil

Naughty Nigel
22nd October 2015, 09:09 PM
Better to be on the ground than up there when it happens. :rolleyes: Anyhow, I'm happy my daughter returned home OK (after tripping around around the UK before being elsewhere on the globe) & especially when it was highlighted that the flight path was across the Syrian conflict zone. :(

Thanks to BA I made it back to jolly old Blighty in one piece, but it was a scary moment.

Thankfully Genoa has quite a long runway for an A320, and we aborted comfortably before V1, but its surprising what goes through your mind in those few seconds of not knowing what has gone wrong. :eek:

Ross the fiddler
22nd October 2015, 09:53 PM
Thanks to BA I made it back to jolly old Blighty in one piece, but it was a scary moment.

Thankfully Genoa has quite a long runway for an A320, and we aborted comfortably before V1, but its surprising what goes through your mind in those few seconds of not knowing what has gone wrong. :eek:

It wouldn't make me feel comfortable either. *pnc I wonder how many ended up with brown stains in their pants? :rolleyes:

PeterBirder
22nd October 2015, 11:26 PM
Thanks to BA I made it back to jolly old Blighty in one piece, but it was a scary moment.

Thankfully Genoa has quite a long runway for an A320, and we aborted comfortably before V1, but its surprising what goes through your mind in those few seconds of not knowing what has gone wrong. :eek:

It's even more scary when things get out of shape just before touchdown.
I had a couple of bad experiences (apart from the self generated ones when I was training for my Private Pilots Licence:rolleyes:).
The first was in a BA Trident at Aberdeen in a westerly gale giving a massive turbulent crosswind off the Highlands. I was looking out of the window almost straight down the runway. The captain managed to kick off the drift just as the main gear touched down but was rather too far down the runway and we came to a stop past the last turn off and needed a tug to push us back.:eek:

The second was at Manilla in a BA 747 when the captain had to abort the landing just over the airfield boundary. The preceding landing aircraft had got to the turn off taxiway and then stopped with it's tail across the runway. Massive roar from the engines, nose up sharply, loose items of hand baggage that passengers had "hidden" under their seats wizzing down the cabin and the sound of crockery flying around and breaking in the galleys.

Regards.*chr

David M
22nd October 2015, 11:53 PM
Just to add to the debate, try taking night shots in London.
Camera and tripod all set, meter readings taken, shutter delay set, shutter pressed. 20 chattering Japanese with selfies appear between camera and scene. There was only 15" between the lens and the fence. I hope they learned some very basic Anglo Saxon that night.....

I'm sure some tourists around here have learned some new language. With only one petrol station and one supermarket in our nearest town I don't tolerate tourists trying to jump queues.

Naughty Nigel
23rd October 2015, 10:46 AM
It wouldn't make me feel comfortable either. *pnc I wonder how many ended up with brown stains in their pants? :rolleyes:

What made it slightly more scary is that we were taking off in the WNW direction, which needs a tight circle over the sea and a steep climb over the mountains directly ahead of the runway.

Whenever I have departed Genoa previously we have taken off in the opposite direction (ESE), which takes you over open sea - once you have cleared the dockyard cranes, steelworks chimneys, yacht masts and so forth!

There is only one way in to Genoa (owing to the mountains), and I had thought only one way out, but it seems I was wrong on that one! :)

Harold Gough
30th October 2015, 08:53 AM
Maybe it's self-selection, for when the cull comes? :D

Harold