Home: Die Werkstatt Südafrikablog: Kom die Kaap na!

12.5.08

Terrourism

When you cross Charles Bridge and clamber up the hill towards the Hradcin, leaving the crooked streets and red tiled roofs of the Golden City below you, you will come upon a cheap looking restaurant on your left hand side. The brightly chalked menu boards will scream tourist-trap, the music emanating from the dark interior will be that of cheesy radio stations, but because your feet are tired and your stomach empty, and because surely one restaurant up here will be like any other, and anyway, the throngs of tourists pushing past you have filled up nearly all the other places, and, oh well, you for once want to dodge the self-inflicted expectations of the experienced shoe-string traveller, who supposedly always finds the best deal in the most romantic places, you pull up a rickety chair and opt for the tourist menu.

A trip to the toilet gives a first warning that in this food joint guests are not treated without a certain contempt - the fat bartender only nods you through after the assurance from the haggard waitress that in fact you already ordered. Once your food arrives the nagging doubt that you may have been nurturing turns into certainty, as the dumplings are stale as styrofoam and the goulash has a garish aftertaste of tinned sausages and MSGs.

Before you have even finished your beer, the check arrives, leaving you wondering where the fifty crowns worth of cover charge have featured in the service, and with a slightly upset stomach and the sour feeling of indigested indignation you re-integrate into the steady flow of camera-waving visitors.

This graffito from Barcelona says it all.

The dilemma of the traveler lies exactly here, where making the distinction between consumer and discoverer stops being merely an instinct but becomes a conscious effort. Prague is a stunning city, and I should be able to feel family history reverberating from every niche and corner – and yet, I have to admit, I myself contribute to the unweaving of the magic, to the masses of feet dragging over the ancient cobble-stone, and degrading the awesome sights to just another checked box on my agenda, yet another snapshot.

In that case, getting ripped off in a cheesy restaurant is probably the just revenge.

1 comment:

Lieschen said...

aber sonst ist es doch ganz schön, oder?
viel spaß und einen schönen Aufenthalt wünscht ihnen
Lisa

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