A lot of my travels seem to be spent
at rock shows walking around and just plain looking at foreign cities. I don't really like doing the traditional 'tourist' thing, you know, seeing museums and churches and what not. I mean, many of them are beautiful and I go see them (at least some). But for me, travel isn't about that. It's about the city itself, the heart of it, the weird, quirky graffiti you see on a tight side-alley, the guy selling old magazines on the corner of some busy street.
And in my latest travels, I spent a good time doing that, wandering around. And I will write about that in a future post, but in doing that, I couldn't help but wonder if my own city, Bucharest, s quite so marvelous in a tourist's eyes. Or maybe not marvelous, but mysterious, exciting. Foreign.
Yesterday, I indulged in a little experiment, I allowed myself to wander the streets of Bucharest with no actual destination in mind. Might not sound like much, but we almost never do that when it comes to our home town, do we? There's always a place to be, a destination to get to. There's always worries and responsibilities. When in a foreign city, there seems to be endless time and little to worry about - perhaps catching the next train. Getting on a plane to somewhere else.
But that's about it.
I took a trip through the killer heat down the historical center of Bucharest. The tourist area, with all the bars and clubs and beautiful streets. I stopped to look around me and take photos of things I normally wouldn't.
A favorite "hip" attraction seems to be this downtown bookstore. Beautiful, I'm sure you'll agree, but also quite overpriced, in my opinion. I don't normally frequent it, but if I were a tourist here and didn't have this notion about it, I would've definitely spent a good few hours in there and come out with a book or two under my arm. I have a thing for beautiful bookstores when abroad.
Next, I hit up this lovely antique/handmade fair. It's always there, in some old building downtown. The prices aren't even that high, considering what you find in most stores at the mall. But who has time for a painting, even a beautiful one like these below?
I looked around.
I took off my headphones and listened to the busy streets. I tried to forget I know them all so well and saw them for the first time. I'm a local in this city, but I need not be.
I listened in on conversations and sudden shouts.
Did I accomplish my goal of being a tourist in my own city? Maybe. A little. Not fully, because that would be impossible. Maybe we're doomed never to see our hometown anew, simply because too many memories bind us to it. And surely, the locals in the cities where I traveled and marveled, why, they're not so impressed either. Just another boring day for them...
And it's strange to think this is all in the mind. That you could, if you wanted to, change it all. Change the way you see things, change the way you walk. You could be anyone.
Thank you for reading,