Sunday, December 14, 2008

Italy: Fashion Capital

Your correspondents diligently stopped by all the main tourist sights, such as the Pantheon (quite cool) and the Spanish Steps (uh...) and the Trevi Fountain. It certainly is an interesting spot, monumental and ornate. But it's one of those sights that doesn't exactly continue to reveal more of itself upon extended viewing. Nonetheless, the square around the fountain was bursting with tourists, all taking pictures of each other and throwing coins in the fountain and doing your normal tourist things. The staff photographer and art director both agreed that photos of our fellow tourists taking pictures of each other would be more interesting than any picture of the fountain. The pictures were mostly not that interesting, it turns out.

That is, until this couple emerged from the crowd and took approximately five million pictures of each other, all with a pocket camera. No harm, no foul, right? But their shots grew increasingly ridiculous, as they worked their way to an uncrowded corner of the fountain, and then started posing, staring off into space, lounging on the fountain, as if they were going to submit these pictures to the next issue of Vogue. The guy took his turns and didn't lounge so much as strike manly poses in his sunglasses and leather jacket. Still, their vacation, they can take whatever pictures they want. But the utter seriousness with which they did it was kind of mind-boggling. The staff photographer took so many pictures of the whole process that it was inevitable that at one point the subject would notice, as seen above. In a remarkable demonstration of their seriousness, she flashed only the briefest glance of recognition, and carried on as if what they were doing was completely normal.

At that point, they seemed odd, but admirable for their lack of concern about what anyone else thought about how they got their kicks. Then we ran into them again, walking away from the square, apparently with two assistants carrying their shopping bags and luggage for them. The picture was growing clearer. Then we saw them again making a public scene at another fountain in another square, with one of the assistants taking pictures with the pocket camera and the woman screaming her head off as the guy picked her up - maybe threatening to throw her in the fountain?

We didn't hear them speaking much, but we have a pretty confident guess on where they were from and why they were acting like they owned the city and all the other tourists were there to see them, which it would be impolitic to print here. I'll just say we hope if we ever have the money to have an assistant carry our shopping bags around town, we'll do so somewhat more discreetly.

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