Observations and lessons from my Paris and Rome trip

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Armanius, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Some of my observations. Sorry, if some of it sounds chauvinistic or stereotypical!

    Photo related stuff

    - Asian tourists used a lot of mirrorless cameras -- primarily NEX. Saw 3-4 Olympus, a couple of Panasonic, one Samsung, 3-4 Nikon 1, and two Fuji X's
    - Majority of Asian tourists still used Nikon or Canon DSLR's
    - Majority of white tourists used Canon DSLR's, with some Nikon's
    - For white tourists, females tended to be the ones using DSLR's
    - For all tourists, the males tended to use a bigger lens
    - I saw only one Leica M (not sure if it was a M or some type of M) while inside the Vatican Museum
    - Came across 2-3 people carrying Billingham bags - one was the Leica user, one was carrying a Sony A7, and another was using a Fuji X-Pro1.
    - While most people were fairly courteous about getting into another people's way while taking photos, there were a number of jerks. The jerks were primarily Asian tourists from Korea and China, and middle eastern folks, who did not mind running over people to get better vantage points
    - Too many people not respecting no photo or no flash photo rules (quite upsetting, as I expect people to respect rules that are designed to protect the art)

    Travel related stuff

    - Reports that Rome tourist locations would have less crowds around Christmas time were wrong. Places like Colosseum, Vatican Museum, St. Peter's, and Trevi were ridiculously crowded!!
    - At the Louvre, if you want to see the Monalisa, go in the later afternoon. There was still a crowd, but nowhere as ridiculous as I've seen in some people's photos
    - Next time, I need to be in better shape for all that walking (particularly up to the dome of St. Peter's and up the Arc de Triomphe)
    - French drivers don't seem to mind running people over
    - There were ambulance sirens at least 4-5X per day in Paris
    - Way too many smokers in Europe
    - There were less panhandlers than I expected. Did not come across any in Paris, and came across 3-4 in Rome. They were all gypsies.
    - Rome tour guide and flower sellers were pushy and annoying
    - Paris sellers of Eiffel Tower replicas were less pushy, but equally annoying due to their sheer number
    - Rome has much better food than Paris
    - Worst service was a cafe near the Eiffel Tower. Had a late dinner there, and the waiter was a jerk.
    - Gelato in Rome was not better than here in the US
    - Coffee in Rome is better than here in the US
    - Italians are nicer than French


    - I enjoyed Rome more than Paris. When we left Paris for Rome, I was happy to leave Paris. I was sad to leave Rome for Houston

    My apologies to all that I may have offended!
    • Like Like x 12
  2. christilou

    christilou Legend

    Jul 13, 2010
    Sunny Frimley
    I don't know what to say but really enjoyed your observations :big grin: Living in the Euro zone I suppose I'm more familiar with people smoking, particularly in Spain where they positively enjoy flouting any kind of Euro related directive ;) Here in the UK we observe all the Euro rules in a sheepish fashion I'm afraid. I had the worst steak of my life in France, it was inedible and I demonstrated that it wouldn't even cut with the steak knife, a shrug of the shoulders followed. I'm glad I'm not the only mad person who notices exactly what camera everyone else is carrying....... :reface:

    Oh, I didn't mean to imply that you are mad!!!
    • Like Like x 3
  3. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    No offence at all, but then I' not included in your post. For what its worth, I had the most horrible experience in France (As a whole) Padstow in Cornwall and Gloucester.
    The Best experience was Amsterdam, Birkenhead and Glasgow Oh and pretty much anywhere in the north east of England.
    I dont usually look at other peoples photo gear. I have a Billingham bag but its over 16 years old and looks like sh1t !
    Coffee. I like it dark brown with 2 sugars . I'm an ex smoker (6 yrs) but dont mind others smoking.
    I'm quiet and follow rules. I have also (with extreme prejudice) removed people that have jumped my queue. Its just plain rude.
    I had to look up panhandler.
    I like Italians and all the Americans i've met have been first class dudes.
    I loath and detest anyone that is/are cruel to animals.
    EU. I'm not a big fan. Far to many stupid rules creeping in.
    I really want to go to Norway :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  4. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    lol funny to read your observations :biggrin:
    the flash thing really upsets me too, those people should be removed from the location immediately... or have their cameras thrown off the eiffel tower, if that weren't so dangerous:eek:
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Speaking of people cutting lines (or jumping the queue), we experienced that once while lining up for the midnight mass at St. Peter's! Two Italian women cut in front of us and two British women we met while queuing. We asserted ourselves by bypassing them, and then pointed out to the Argentinian folks behind us that the two Italian women were not there before. So the Argentinians then confronted the Italians, who plead ignorance before sheepily moving out of the way of the Argentinians. It was very irritating!!
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Petach

    Petach Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2011
    UK, Essex
    Peter Tachauer
    LOL.....don't you know? It has long been said that the French hate those from Paris. Whilst those from Paris consider the rest of France to be uneducated oiks I visit France numerous times a year for day trips and holidays. By and large I have found them to be cordial if you try to communicate in their mother tongue and not shout out in English adding "O" at the end of each word....."Canno youo tello meo the wayo to the pub-o" That is, generally, how many Brits speak "forrin'" when abroad. Coupled with "glottal stop" and "Estuary Twang" it is most unedifying to behold and makes me ashamed.

    My ideal would be a pretty French woman who spoke fluent Italian with an interjection of French expletives!

    My Father in law, bless his soul, was Old Empire. We took him to France for the day. many years ago. I speak reasonable Restaurant French. "Poulet et frites et deux vin blanc monsieur, s'il vous plais"
    Pops shouted out "You speak English mate? Chicken and chips and two dry white wines"
    The waiter sloped off huffily. Pops said "Bleedin' foreigners, why can't they speak English like wot I can".
    "Pops" says I, "we are in France"....
    "well, we saved them in 2 bleedin' wars.......should all speak English in bleedin' gratitude".

    It was also he who said; on hearing the news that a Korean Cargo plane had crashed at Stanstead airport.....killing all on board..........."Why can't they crash their bleedin' airplanes in their own country instead of comin' here and making a mess"

    One brilliant one liner I heard of involving the French. There was a play of the Ann Frank story in a Paris theatre. The actress who played Ann was so appalling that when the gestapo burst into the house, a member of audience stood up and shouted "She eeze een ze attic"

    The moral here is.....different strokes....different folks. I look in the mirror of my country sometimes and don't like what I see, whilst I am often pleasantly surprised by others .
    • Like Like x 8
  7. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Pete, I can't stop laughing!!! Thanks for sharing!!!
  8. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    maybe when the lawyering business starts to slow up, you could get a job as a racial profiler?

    disappointing, i'd have expected better of you Armando.
  9. retow

    retow All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    Traveling requires embracing diversity and differences and a mindset not calibrated into "better or worse", but rather into "different". There is not one single trip I did not enjoy.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. NickLarsson

    NickLarsson Veteran

    Jun 24, 2013
    Paris, France
    Too bad you didn't enjoy Paris Armanius.

    You can have very nice food in Paris, but the rule is usually to avoid touristic places indeed.
    It's true that you can usually have good food for cheaper in Rome though.
    It's also a pity that most of the waiters here are just *ssholes.

    But what about your gear ? Did you make the right choices finally ? ;)
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    I did enjoy Paris. But five days was plenty enough. Rome was just so much nicer that I found very difficult to leave. I went into the trip expecting the opposite -- that I'd enjoy Paris more than Rome.

    Gear choices were good. 20mm was wide enough for Trevi Fountain after all!! Wide is more important than long for sure, in both Paris and Rome.
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I love both cities. I tend to go to new places and try to examine myself by local standards rather than judging the locals by mine. A good perspective check that way, and generally makes for a more pleasant set of interactions. And then when the experience is soaking in over time, I'm sure some of my own prejudices cloud my impressions, but not until later and probably not by as much...

    I'd love to see some photos Armando...

  13. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Standards of common courtesy may vary from place to place. But none of my observations were devoid of personal experiences that I encountered at the trip. My standard of judgment is based upon my value, which is to treat others nicely. The truth is that there were those that were nicer than others. And those who weren't. Pushing people out of the way is not nice. Jumping the queue is not nice. Stepping in front of people while they are taking photos is not nice, if they saw folks getting ready to take photos. Making faces at patrons is not nice. And the truth is that some of the behavior noted above, whether or not acceptable by folks from different countries, were more prevalent from certain people. Nothing more and nothing less.

    That being said, some seem to be taking my observations as if I had this horrible experience, and I'm complaining about the trip. For the record, I enjoyed the trip a lot. But I enjoyed Rome much more than Paris. The end.
  14. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Well, you can either recognise and try to accept/understand cultural differences, or you can ignore them, pretend they don't they don't exist, and just think the worst of people instead. I'm going to go with option 1.
  15. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Right, people.

    This thread is two-thousandths of an inch from being locked.

    We do not all experience the world in the same way, nor do we think the same. Our cultural frames of reference differ. Where we have a meeting of minds is in our respect for one another as members of this forum.

    I expect decorum and courtesy, nothing less.

    Thank you for your attention.

    Carry on.

    Sent from another Galaxy
    • Like Like x 5