Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

cultural cross


Lake House with a View , Lake Como, Italy © Jim Korpi

“Food and art are the only two things that make me proud to be Italian,” an acquaintance admitted over a beer at an American-style bar with its menu in English. The bar sits outside the ring road of a small agricultural town in Italy.
“I like to travel to places where people appreciate what they have,” he continued. “Even something as simple as a rock. They build a monument around it, admire it, and are proud of it.”
Years ago I sat in a crowd of Dutch at a cultural event in the Netherlands where the music hired for the event was a Johnny Cash cover band. Those around me sang along in English to Folsom Prison Blues. Did they know they were singing, with their children present, about shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die? Do they know where Reno is?
Recently, in the courtyard of an Italian villa, I listened to an outdoor concert. The band played only eighties rock in English. The crowd sat in white plastic chairs, still and seemingly confused.
My conversation at the bar, combined with the setting, reminded me of a story told by Thomas Friedman in one of his books on globalization. The story goes something like this:
A Chinese woman and her young daughter board a plane in Beijing bound for Los Angeles.
After the plane lands in LA, and they go through the processes of arrival, they pass a food court area where the daughter sees the familiar logo of McDonald’s. “Mom!” the daughter says as she tugs on her mother’s shirt. “They have McDonald’s in America too?”