I tend to avoid the third street promenade like the plague. But last Friday, sandwiched between an 80-hour workweek and the wedding of my ex-boyfriend, I traversed the five blocks between my apartment and the famed street in search of a dress. Something classy but still sexy(er than the damn bride.) And I did find one that fit the bill. And my behind. Nicely. But the dress, hot as it may have been, was not worth the knowledge that came along with it. Because, as I walked down the promenade, avoiding kind-faced people with clipboards and that one street performer who always berates me violently for cash, I noticed something was amiss. Gone were the Midwestern housewives and irate East Coasters. Gone were the throngs of Asian tourists with cameras that cost more than my car. Gone were the highlights and flip-flops and shiny, well-managed teeth. And in their place? Europeans. These were no Forever 21 knock-offs or gussied up Renee Zellwegers. It was the real, live, genuine stuff. Everywhere I went: French accents, Manchester flags, hairy thighs (his and hers). Fanny packs. My promenade was their runway.
At first, I couldn’t figure out what was going on but, then, as I gazed upon a lithe, brunette mother-daughter pair in matching bike shorts, loaded down with shopping bags, something clicked. I’d seen this all before… (Specifically, freshman year, through the bottom of a recently-made-wormless bottle of alcohol.) This freedom, this air of superiority. The unique brand of excitement that comes along with the realization, “OMG THAT’S SOOOOOO CHEAP!” We are Europe’s Mexico. We’re the no-brainer. The all-you-can-eat vacation destination, complete with half-price designer souvenirs. Screw culture and cuisine. You might check out a museum or hit up some ruins but, really? It’s a place to get drunk. To pick up a few pounds and, hopefully, a fine piece of ass. But there’s a the bright side. We may be the new Mexico, but they are the new Americans. Except worse. Because not only do these travelers feel no need to respect the locals or speak the language, they also don’t feel any pressure to wear deodorant while they do it
You might think it’s the bums. But it’s not. Fortunately for us, if this newfound situation ever gets to be too unbearable, we can always just hop out the window on over to Russia. Joey and Dawson-style.
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