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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 19-Mar-08

 


Wednesday 19-January-08

Tourist confusion

I work in London and often get stopped by confused tourists, looking for Covent Garden, Parliament or some other landmark. Recently, however, it was me who was confused when a lost-looking laddie in Green Park asked me in the usual stilted-but-credible English, "Excuse me, could you tell me where all the tourist attractions are?"

I paused and went a bit glassy-eyed as I tried to build a quick map with all the attractions. I was so distracted he could have pick-pocketed me in that moment, but thankfully he did not. Instead I turned around and pointed at Buckingham Palace, which was about a hundred yards away.

It's easy to complain about tourists and I certainly mutter when they clog up the pavements and act as if everyone else is invisible, but they contribute a lot to the local economy so I don't bother that much. Indeed, it's a timely reminder to see all that open-mouthed wonder. It's too easy when you work in a marvellous city to become immured to its glories. I also know that tourists pay taxes and that I'm a part of 'Brand London'.

So come on tourists, visit our great city. And come on Londoners, let's see even more of that great British civility and kindness. Together we can make it a nicer place to be.


Your comments


Hooray for an enlightened attitude to tourists. The only time I've ever had a letter published was about 30 years ago when, in response to a complaint from a Londoner (complaining about the 99th person to ask, coincidentally, how to find Buckingham Palace) I responded on lines similar to your blog.

Furthermore, I did wonder how those complainers would react if treated rudely when the situation is reversed, and it's they who need help in a foreign city.

-- Laury
 


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