Thursday, July 29, 2010
Whenver I visit somewhere, I always take the time to have a look around, to see whatever local sights there are and to get a feel for the place. Even when I go to a convention, I go out and have a look around. I take the view that, if I have taken the time and trouble to travel somewhere, it seems wrong to spend all day and night in the one building. I might just as well have stayed at home.
In a way, I feel I am doing the place I am visiting a disservice or even insulting it by not seeing at least some of it. Here is a fabulous new city to see, filled with buildings, beautiful or otherwise, rivers, art and people. It deserves better than to be ignored.
I know that not everyone shares this view. I often get the bus from Trafalgar Square up to Tottenham Court Road. At Leicester Square, a large group of Chinese tourists board the bus and get off at the same stop as me. Every single one then crosses the road and goes straight into the casino.
I have a horrible feeling that they spend all day there before going back to their hotel and coming back the following day. They are here in London for a gambling holiday.
I've been in a casino. It wasn't that exciting and certainly wasn't worth getting there for nine o'clock in the morning. It also wasn't worth ignoring a culturally rich city that I'd travelled halfway across the world to get to.