In Vino Bad Tourists

April 24, 2018

Raise your hand if you’ve never done anything stupid whilst drinking? Yeah didn’t think so. It can’t have escaped your attention Dear Readers that I am a bit of an idiot AND that’s just when I’m sober. Man, when I’ve had a few, largely depending on the company I’m keeping (ahh yes I’m looking at your SheSociety staff) I can be an absolute twit.

For example I like to prune my indoor plants and trees when I’ve been on the gas. Similarly “Drunk Haircuts” is another one of my favourite games. See Exhibit A and Exhibit B. I enjoy dancing and singing along to obscure 60’s and 70’s songs (anything by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Nana Mouskouri and Una Paloma Blanca by George Baker – the Pride of Holland) and I also go a bit deaf when I’ve enjoying a bevvie. I found out recently that a friend’s partner did not in fact work at Audi but ALDI which would explain why she 1) knew nothing about their multiples car industry wins for outstanding features and use of technology and 2) gave me weird looks whenever I asked her about work and then started banging on about cars.

Exhibit A- This is me and my friend Matt who I gave a drunk haircut a few years ago. I gave him a Mohawk.

I woke up one morning with a shocking hangover in my late 20’s only to find I’d written myself a note and left it near the phone in the lounge room of my share house at the time. It read “Dear AB, do not – I repeat – do NOT eat the Chiko Rolls from Harry’s ever again. Hope you had a good night! Cheers AB”

I’ve still got that note somewhere. I kept it as book mark to remind myself of how much of a moron I am sometimes. Although I never did have another Chiko Roll from Harry’s – or anywhere else now I think about it – so at least the note was effective.

And that’s just domestically. Internationally it’s far far worse. I’m lucky to be even allowed back in New Zealand.

I was recently impressed to read about a drunken tourist in the Italian Alps who ACCIDENTALLY CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN whilst trying to get home from the pub. Wow. That’s impressive. I wonder what he was drinking to not know he’s ACCIDENTALLY CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN? How drunk was he? Boris Yeltsin drunk I’d say.

According to the local paper the tourist who only had to walk a short distance home took a wrong turn – a VERY wrong turn – and then realised too late he was ascending a mountain. As luck would have it at an altitude of 2400m, he stumbled across a bar, broke in, had the foresight to rehydrate, then made a bed out of cushions and went to sleep. The bar staff found him the next morning before the police and fire fighters who had formed a search party to look for him did.

Apparently “drunken tourism” has become a big problem. A couple of years ago Spanish officials asked the British government to send their own officials to help deal with the drunken yobbish Poms so great was their number! Not that alcohol is the only problem. I remember reading a story about some American tourists who were arrested for carving their initials on a wall in the Colosseum and then took a photo with a selfie stick! Other tourists saw them and dobbed them in (good on them). That’s just vandalism. And a Russian tourist was fined something in the order of 20,000 Euro for the same thing. Ouch.

Maybe that’s the way to stop it? Hit people where it hurts – in the wallet. Apparently some cities already have. Barcelona has had tourist taxes in place for a while and many other European countries do the same. I was intrigued to read that Copenhagen has “quiet zones” and has made an effort to integrate tourists, rather than cater to them. That’s a very Danish concept when you think about it. Note to self: Probably best not to go to Copenhagen. I nearly got thrown out of the Vatican (Sistine Chapel) for making noise. True.

My Besties and I went into the Sistine Chapel and the Pontifical Swiss Guards keeps going “SShhhhhh!!” every few minutes, which only made me giggle and they always seemed to be right in my ear not matter where I was standing in the chapel. Then when the crowd became too loud they’d yell out “SILENCE!” which made me laugh my head off.

I think we should install a boom gate at Byron Bay and make loud, noisy, yobbo tourists pay a special levy. We would clear the national debt in weeks. Thoughts?

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Alexandria Bernard
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.

Alex's voice and face may be familiar to you from her voiceover and television commercial work. She has been featured in national radio and TV advertising campaigns, corporate videos and has been a regular MC for major events.