Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Asian tourists.

There are fewer joys of traveling greater than that of watching the Asian tourists. I remember my first time going to Egypt, and my first time seeing a bus load of Asians(likely Japanese)disembark a tour bus at the Great Pyramids of Giza. I had expected to see this, however the reality is much greater than the dream! Giant cameras, giant hats, giant sunglasses, khaki shorts and button up shirts, fanny packs, you name it. The best part is watching the groups being led like cattle to the watering hole. Often times the groups wear the same color t-shirt and follow a flag bearing tour guide. They pay attention to this tour guide as though he or she is giving them the secret to eternal youth. It's unintentional comedy at its finest. Being in Asia and watching these lovely tourists on their home turf is like double the fun!

Hong Kong boasts its own version of the Walk of Fame called the Avenue of Stars. The Avenue of Stars celebrates the greats of the Hong Kong film industry, and there is no greater star from Hong Kong than Bruce Lee. Not only does Mr. Lee have a star, he has his own statue. Naturally the Asians long to be as badass as Bruce(don't we all share that sentiment?). The above photo proves that nobody can possibly be as badass as Bruce, though the great effort put forth by our video camera wielding buddy deserves a round of applause.

One of the funniest things to watch the Asians do is to take photos of damn near everything, and no less than fifteen photos of every single thing to boot. The three pictured above are actually taking pictures of each other taking pictures of each other. It went something like this: they stand in a triangle, pose, focus, shoot, argue in Chinese, pose, focus, shoot, argue in Chinese and again and again and again. This scene carried on for a good few minutes giving me ample opportunity to stand back and take my own photo of Asians taking photos of Asians. The best part about this, I took this photo at a street fair where there was plentiful things to take photos of. However, Asian tourists are wonderful to take pictures of and can easily distract from the task at hand.
Not only do the Asians take photos with their own cameras, they give much business to the photographers at any and all touristy sites hawking their high quality prints to those needing a souvenir photo to accompany the 1500 photos they have already taken that day. I absolutely had to poach this photo of the old Chinese couple. The lack of expression and the clothing are relics of a time long past. True nostalgia in the most modern of worlds, Hong Kong.
This Japanese couple in Okinawa have gone so far as to rent costumes for their own tourist shot at the Shuri Castle in Okinawa. A far cry from the real deal old Chinese couple in Hong Kong, these two just fake it to look authentic. And though they look handsome and classic, what I wouldn't give to have seen some Asians dress as authentic ancient Egyptians all those years ago!
There is only one way to train a proper Asian tourist, start them young. Here we have a fine example of Asian parenting as daddy is squatting down to the level of his adorable daughter in order to show her how to make a shot that you will shoot no less than twenty-five times. As we can see, she is at the advanced stages of learning how to be a tourist as she has already perfected the look of shock and wonder. Good girl, now go out and buy the biggest external hard drive you possibly can in order to store the 30,000 photos from this week alone.

Being amongst the Asian tourists in various locations in Asia has been a real treat. Seeing them in awe so much puts a smile on my face. It's easy to get jaded sometimes at the frustrations of traveling abroad, but when I see the Asians ooing and awwing at a street lamp, and all of them stopping to snap some photos, I am reminded of the simpler things in life and appreciate where I am that much more.