Nico - Photos of signs / Souvenirs
Here are a couple of photos of signs that I would like to share- we took these during our trip to northern India last summer.
First is this sign at Alchi, a village about 70kms from Leh, the capital of Laddakh. Small, beautiful and in the middle of nowhere, it has become overcrowded with tourists-the economy of the village is based on hospitality for European bus tourists and Israeli backpackers. We saw this sign next to our guest house.
Second is this sign found on the Manali-Leh "highway" after about 15 hours on dirt roads up the himalayas in a jeep cramped with 8 other people in 6 seats. Amidst the chaos of the jeep situation, the sensory overload created by the magnificience of the surroundings, and the shortness of breath linked to the altitude, this came as a relief/joke/anomaly. Unbelievable is not it?
Reading Stewart, I was reminded of Brunner in Culture on Tour. Brunner says that while living the experience, the tourist is already preparing the post-tour narrative. We attach such importance to bringing our trip home with us that we often forget to experience the trip itself. When the souvenir can be used to "discredit the present" (Stewart), we often romanticize our own involvement in the past (the trip) and forget that most of the time was spent then unconsciously preparing for discrediting the future.
I just received a postcard from a very good friend. it was from Mauritius, the image is of the beautiful beach, there is a nice note on the back, but something felt strange. I could not put my finger on it, but them I realized: my name and address were on a label. He obviously had prepared labels before leaving, and I found it fascinating that he would have thought about this so methodologically before the trip- not only planning the trip but also how to recount it efficiently.