I am not sure I am happy or sad about some of the jobs that tourism creates. Everywhere we have gone on our travels we have seen both the good that tourism brings and the strange developments it fosters. I am not sure whether I should feel happy, sad or indifferent about the fact that this chap in Rome needs to cavort around as someone from Ancient Rome to make a buck. Well might we say that tourism has provided him with a source of income. Well might we wonder whether there might not be better things folks like him could be doing in early Winter when tourist numbers are down. I wonder how he conceptualises it all – is it a way to make a few extra euros on the side, or is he forced into doing it through desperation and circumstances? Is it a laugh, or does he hate it to death?
Should I feel bad that I really don’t want a photo with him, even though I wonder whether I as a relatively wealthy tourist should be helping him out?
Okay, well I lie slightly, but your correspondent at far right of shot is shooting a glance back at the Colosseum in Rome as he waits to purchase a painfully overpriced panini and bottle of water from a vendor. Upon arriving at the site and admiring its site and scale, we were rushed quickly through the crowds by a student offering us a tour. Although we were somewhat sceptical and there was some initial confusion (there must be about two dozen tours being operated at the same time at any one time at the Colosseum), it turned out to be well worth it to provide a deeper layer of context to what we were seeing. We also took a guided tour of Palatine Hill, run by a frankly quite excellent archaeological student from New Zealand who made us quite proud of us antipodeans and our kiwi mates.
Rome was one of those places where it is virtually impossible to take it all in and appreciate the full scope. There’s just too much important history there, literally around every corner and on every street that you walk.