Friday, May 11, 2012

Tourists Do the Darndest Things

The tourist who has his nose in a guidebook instead of enjoying the sights around him is a cliche. In truth, some of us lose touch with reality long before we board that plane or train.

In the days leading up to my family's recent trip to France, I had plenty of work to do. Nevertheless, I convinced myself that weeding and putting down 76 cubic feet of mulch would persuade potential burglars someone was home—and likely to emerge with a roaring leaf-blower if anyone messed with the locks. (Update: No one broke into the house while we were gone. Was mulch the major deterrent? Hard to know for sure.)

If I acted like a tourist at home, you know I stood out in France. Like many others, I caught jump-in-front-of-monument disease—a virus that spurs visitors to leap into the air when posing for pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame.

At home, it's rare that all my family members are seated and ready to go at the beginning of a meal, so it's pointless for us to raise our glasses in a toast, especially one glass is bound to be empty while another is so full it will slosh out its contents if lifted. In France, at every meal except breakfast, we toasted our luck in being together in a breathtaking country. Some onlookers probably considered us goofy. Other might have thought us easily pleased. No matter. We were together and in France—reasons enough to celebrate.

What about you? Ever do something nutty in the name of home security? What's the most touristy thing you've ever done?


Eden Mabee said...

*laughs* I wonder if it's even possible to go to a foreign country and not act like a tourist.

It's been 23 years since I was in Paris... and I know I stood out like a sore thumb. It was a school trip. Worse yet, due to my mother's clothing choices, I didn't even look like the teenager I was--I looked like a frumpy 30-something on holiday.

But despite that, and my more recent exploits in England, I wouldn't change any of my tourist foibles if it meant changing my experiences. And I imagine, you can say the same.

Lynette M Burrows said...

I am so glad you had a great time, Pat. You know, sometimes I look like a tourist not far from home when I'm out taking pictures of stop signs and lamp posts and all sorts of weird things. As for homeland security? I expend a lot of pre-vacation energy scrubbing the house. I say it's so I can come home to a clean house, but ten seconds after we're home, the house is littered with suitcases, piles of clothes and all the souvenirs that we've collected. Maybe I'm really driving away potential robbers - eek! that house is too clean! LOL!

Lark Howard said...

I love the photo of all of you jumping, Pat!!

Touristy? Every time I take someone to London or Paris for their first time, I insist we do a half-day guided tour so they get to see all the mandatory sights I wouldn't visit otherwise. And I always go to the Tour Eiffel if I can when I'm in Paris, even if it's just for a drink in the bar.

Jennette Marie Powell said...

I just take pictures of all the typical, touristy things. And no jumping, just the typical, dweeby smiles! As for security, I'm leaving my husband and two Rottweilers home while daughter & I go to France. I think it will be quite effective!

Sarah Andre said...

How fun! You guys look like you had a GREAT time! Instead of "The Jump" we do the "Hold the building up with one finger" camera perspective. Very silly...very fun.

Husband just went to Leon (sp?)on a business trip so he didn't have time to do the touristy thing but what he did seee enthralled him enough that I have a sneaky suspicion I'm getting "A Trip" under the tree this Christmas.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You're so right, Eden, I wouldn't change any of my tourist foibles if it meant missing out on an experience. The mulch? I'd skip it.

Will we get to hear about your recent exploits in England? I smell a story.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Lynette, I once knew a woman who vacuumed the rooms by her front and back doors EVERY day before she left for work. Once back home, she figured she'd be able to spot an intruder's footprints in the otherwise smooth pile.

Like you, I also cleaned my house before taking off on vacation. Why? I gave my neighbors the key in case a tree fell on my roof. Heaven forbid they come over and find dust under the tree!

It's fun to act like a tourist at home, isn't it? Now I want to take pictures of stop signs and lamp posts, too.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I didn't have a drink at the Eiffel Tower bar, Lark! Thanks for giving me another reason to return to Paris.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Rottweilers versus mulch? I'd feel more secure with the dogs guarding the house, too, Jennette.

Typical, dweeby smiles are the best. Ooh, and tell your daughter that Converse sneakers are very popular with French teens right now.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Lyon? Sarah, that's exciting!! (I'm jumping up and down.)

Your family's "Hold the building with one finger" pose sounds fun--but the posers have to be able to take direction, a problem for certain Rosens.

Karen McFarland said...

Pat, I know how you feel. It is such a rarity for families to get the opportunity to travel like that together, especially when your children are older. Although it's when they're older that they appreciate the experience. We took our two sons with us to Ireland. It was the best family trip we ever took together and we still talk about it and it was fourteen years ago. Glad to know there was no burglaries while you were gone. You stinker! I was reading the post and thinking, oh no, oh no, don't tell me. Yes, you lead me on. I fell for it. LOL! :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

What, Karen, you weren't confident mulch would thwart burglars? Here I thought I was so clever.

Seriously, I was happy and relieved no one wanted to break in and steal my Pyrex storage dishes and lifetime supply of binder clips.

I'd love to hear more about your trip to Ireland.

Ginger Calem said...

Another great post, Pat. Love the Eiffel Tower picture. And I think toasting is vastly underrated! :)

Most touristy thing I've done, and one that can't be every done again … spray-painted on the Berlin Wall back in 1986 when of course, there still was a wall.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You spray-painted on the Berlin Wall, Ginger? Best. Touristy Thing. Ever.