Monday, 12 January 2009

Tourist (2)

Today, wandering around Colonia, I got the ‘Paris effect’ again, the one I wrote about earlier. As pretty as this place is I soon wander out of the old town and ask a guy on the street selling jewellery where I can get some lunch at a less exorbitant price. He tips me off very well. I get a decent salad in an arcade for a quarter of the price offered in the old town. I enjoy the banter of the locals as if I am back stage at a play entitled ‘The Art of Tourism’. The engine room that feeds the troops and feel the quiet sense of exuberance only a bargain can give me.

I do however defer my post lunch coffee for a location that befits my status and wander back to the old town. There are a few well situated places close to La Plata that are really quite ‘nice’, but mysteriously empty. Another place close to a main road and from what I can tell, has nothing in particular to commend it, is full. I’m struck for a moment at tourists’ strange gravitation to particular places. As if a collective sense of being ripped off somehow alleviated its individual instance. Everyone discreetly acknowledging their ‘stranger-ness’ in a unanimous display of geographical ignorance. As if to say ‘yes I don’t know my way around either’. I don’t know, maybe the food was exceptional and they know something I don’t but, as I hesitate outside thinking this stuff, the street seller who had given me directions passes by and he’s wagging his finger at me vigorously.

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