Sneaky Tourist Traps

And we were married in the morning.

We all know of the geographical tourist trap, in which suckers are lured somewhere and forced to buy a chewed pyramid eraser for five dollars.

Though this is the most common understanding of the phrase “tourist trap,” there are other, non-geographical tourist traps. This picture, taken at an ancient Egyptian temple in Aswan, demonstrates two of them.

Trap #1: Looking like a fool

If you’ll notice, the man standing next to me in this picture is wearing a pith helmet and a long sleeved khaki shirt that is ideal for archaeological excavation or rainforest trail beating. I can’t remember what he was wearing on his bottom or feet, but for the purpose of this discussion, let us believe he was sporting long shorts and thick soled boots.

Carefully selected according to internet research and documentaries based in the early 1900’s, this man’s attire clearly identifies him as a colonizer, an imperialist, and an unpleasant reminder of a confusing and difficult time in Egyptian history.

Though the costume is well chosen for archaeological excavation circa 1920, not only it is horribly outdated, but it is also ill-suited for his main tourist tasks, which are taking pictures and eating out 3 times a day.

Many tourists, when traveling to areas perceived as “exotic” or “developing,” will unfortunately resort to donning adventure wear. The reality is that even countries like Egypt, Ecuador, Morocco, and Jordan—to name a few—have major cities in which the inhabitants wear clothes that resemble the latest H&M threads more than the outfits European explorers wore a century ago.

The entire adventure clothes industry thrives off of selling people the very cargo pants, shirts with zip-off pockets, and shoes with built-in canteens that will make them look like idiots. In order to drive home the point that these people are clueless, the travel wear company might as well sell big foam fingers for more noticeable pointing and ankle bells to alert locals when a tourist is coming so they can look “native.”

Trap #2: Tourism-Induced-Sleepiness

Another lesser known tourist trap is the trap of tourism-induced-sleepiness, as exhibited by the young people on either side of my head. In my own experience, drowsiness attacks me the very second I enter a historical site, particularly one with open spaces, marble floors, and an appropriately cool atmosphere—museums are particularly perilous. After three historical visits in a row, I enter a very sleepy danger zone. The only way to cure this condition is by taking a long nap on a soft, white, hotel bed, or getting a latte. Either way it’s a win.

The sleepiness is not necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, adventure wear—except for joke purposes–is always ill-advised.

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26 thoughts on “Sneaky Tourist Traps

  1. Julian Seethal says:

    The guy looks cool.

  2. SB, I thought that guy over your right shoulder was trying to catch some dragonflies or something. Holy sh*t, I hope his jaw didn’t lock. Cute pic!

  3. angell98 says:

    So funny!

  4. curm says:

    I’m guilty of wearing Fred McMurry dork patrol attire, but then my wife dresses me. In CO. we have gazillions of mountain tourist traps, with coffee cups, enameled spoons, T shirts, caps, and old candy. Your dream destination, when you make it back is twice as bad. I think it’s universal. I can’t stand museums, lectures or Opera. You write very, very well. Unlike many, it is an easy read. Too many people just simply not relate to the reader. You have the knack. Make sure you post Roly’s LOL award.

    • edrevets says:

      Thanks very much! I’m an Colorado-phile and have made quite the few visits there over the years. I have to admit I love the old candy stuff and the ghost towns….probably just because it reminds me of childhood. Thanks again for reading!

  5. Either they are yawning, or they’ve been killed by the ghost from The Ring

  6. I can really see your points here, and you’ve made them well. Fashion is often the realm of overblown and excessive fantasy that promotes clothing designed to appeal to people’s hubris and vanity.The goal is to induce them to spend large amounts of money on overpriced and impractical clothing, by convincing them that this clothing is their bold fashion statement. A statement that will impress others and validate their sense of self importance.

    But a statement that when accurately translated, announces that the clothing wearer is a fool who likes to spend lots of money to end up looking foolish, and as you mentioned, someone who looks like an easy mark for the next scam artist.

    When my wife and I travel, it almost always involves outdoor adventures and activities, so we try to choose clothing that is comfortable to wear, and practical for whatever climate and conditions we’ll be encountering in the places we’ll be outdoors, and often in wilderness environments.

    Love how the two young people to your left and right in the photo are both open mouthed yawning… I can see that the dangers of tourism induced sleepiness are quite real. Lol

    • edrevets says:

      I only wish that the third girl on the far left had also been yawning—that kind of stuff is perfect for the meme-world of today.

      I don’t care much about fashion, but I definitely care about durability and practicality and not looking like an idiot all the time, so I definitely agree with your points.

      • Yes, a three for three yawning would have been great, but I guess we can’t always have it all.

        And you strike me as anything but fashion delusional, which in my eyes is a good thing, and cause for my admiration.

      • edrevets says:

        Well I’ve worn some pretty ridiculous things, but in my defense I almost always knew when they were ridiculous. That has to count for something.

      • It counts for everything. Being knowingly ridiculous is being a humorist. But being unknowingly ridiculous is being material for a humorist… and the result is not flattering.

  7. Roly says:

    hehehe Pith helmet and khaki shorts. Very David Livingston 🙂

  8. kelsgonebush says:

    Love it. I live in Darwin Australia where everyone who visits dresses up in their best cowboy hat and a T shirt to tell the world which pub they got drunk in. Complete with Buffalo horns as the logo. Everything up here has Buffalo horns in its logo .. 😉

  9. tedstrutz says:

    adventure wear… I love it! I do the opposite and try to not to look to… anything standoutish. One thing is certain… no adventure wear… or turquoise shirts with inane sayings on the front for me.

    That is a pretty stylish pith helmet though.

  10. Audrey says:

    Awesome photo and love your commentary on it! You’re so right, I have to duck my head and laugh when I see these getups. Hilarious!

  11. tomwisk says:

    Pith helmet, ah. brings me back to my youth. Doing government mandated drills in the Texas heat. Wearing a pith helmet of course. I guess they thought if you looked stupid you wouldn’t be a problem.

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