Friday, March 28, 2008

Stupid, Despicable Tourists

When I first traveled to Brazil, I spent a month living in a hostel in Rio, and this past December, we also had a Finnish friend of my wife stay with us for several days in Rio, so I'm not just makign this up when I say the following: European tourists are not nearly as "enlightened" and innocent as they think they are. From my own experience, they still have a very strong colonialist mentality in which the world is their playground for them to romp on the beaches and stare at the poor people some in order to be more "enlightened" before going to hang out with other tourists at the tourism-based nightclubs, living it up and complaining about the lack of amenities in whatever locality you are in. They are there to gain status in their home countries, buy some stuff as proof they were there, and that's it. (And lest I be charged with being unfair, this isn't random opinionating - I lived in a hostel for over a month the first time I was in Rio, and you constantly had to deal with tourists, generally European, there).

Every time I think maybe I'm too critical, stuff like this happens:

The angry mayor of Easter Island says he wishes the Finnish tourist accused of chipping an earlobe off an ancient statue could have his own ear clipped off as "justice." The 26-year-old Finnish tourist [Marko Kulju] has issued a public apology through a Chilean newspaper. He says he regrets the incident that has caused an uproar on the South Pacific island, a Chilean territory.

What the hell is this idiot thinking? No, wait, I know: "Hey, how cool would it be if I cut a piece of this historical statue off and took it home to show my friends? History shmistory; culture can go to hell. It's the ultimate tourist gift!!!" Honestly - tourism by its very nature is exploitative, but this is just sickening. Cutting off the guy's ear isn't enough - Chile should strip him of his passport and send him home. Words don't describe what a loser this guy is. Honestly...