Friday, 18 April 2014

Alfama: Good Friday

Yes, good Friday for another cruise ship, the MSC Orchestra.

So you’ve got eight hours top get back to the ship. You’ve read about Alfama. You’ll get over there on one of those three-wheeled conveyances, get the driver to cruise along Remedios and stop when you see a great photo, which you take from the seat of your conveyance, down some set of stairs.


This is grab-and-run tourism, that treats a neighbourhood as their amusement park (and river their parking stall, waterfront their audio field, city their mall, but let’s keep the focus local). So they tour up and down the streets, gawking. No photo op = no interest, no interest = don’t give a shit that people live there. The walkers get their bodies in gear, at least—cradling the lens of their camera in their left palms, hungry for the next shot. There, a playground. Let’s lean on the fence and take pictures of the kids playing!

These tables need some serious turning. For my part, I’ve glared at tourists, talked to local business owners about tourists, stood watching and taking pictures of tourists. Next, guerrilla action against the conveyances, and a stern talking-to I’ll deliver to the bridge of the Orchestra by sundown.

To be fair (about time!), I’m a tourist myself. And these small linguistic pics/tics I offer are my version of grab and run, usually more of a sit and watch. I’ll take my pics home and edit them a bit, I suppose, as they will theirs. I did feel a moment of fear for the tourists, when I saw a local guy bomb downhill on his motorcycle, his kid behind him, no helmets, along the route the tourists prowl.

Why should I have to hear the ding-dong that precedes on-board announcements on the Orchestra? Why, in Alfama, should people have to feel that their lives are on display for the consumption by a few hours’ worth of a visitor?


Brenda Schmidt said...

So where's the border between local and tourist? How far would the so-called local guy have to bike to be considered a tourist?

Gerald Hill said...

To the suburbs.