Thursday, October 26, 2006

Busy, busy day today. Too bad I couldn't take pictures of most of it.

Here's the pesceria, the early-morning fish market. It's the only thing in Venice that's easy to find, mostly because it reeks long after the vendors have gone home.... Even though Venice's economy lives on tourism, I felt kind of weird taking pictures here. It's interesting from my point of view, but these are really just guys at work. I don't think I'd appreciate some asshole tourist coming into my office and taking photos of me while I was trying to work.

A delicious... I mean, enormous swordfish.

Here's the Basilica di San Marco in the early-morning haze (similar to the lunchtime haze, the mid-afternoon haze, the early-evening haze, or the nighttime haze). The building is spectacular, with golden mosaics on just about every wall and ceiling, just like Jesus would've wanted.

The basilica has signs scattered throughout: silencio in five languages, plus the universal "camera with a slash through it" sign for no photography. So I don't have any pictures of inside the basilica, and if you want to see what I'm talking about with those mosaics or the vaulted dome or the gilded and jeweled alterpiece, you'll just have to do a very brief Photobucket search for every other tourist who thought they flew too far and paid too much for the rules to apply to them. (...Okay, I just ran that search, and it turns out that you can't, which sort of ruins my whole thesis here.) I didn't see anyone get in trouble for their flash photography, and I don't know which I hate more: my conscience, or the lax enforcement of the rules turning the church into a human Skinner box.

This is a good time to mention that tourists – myself included – suck, but I don't understand why Americans in particular have such an awful reputation. (At least I don't understand why we had such an awful reputation prior to January 20, 2001.) Venice, it seems, has twenty or so residents and a million fucking tourists, and no one's exactly shy about being a foreigner. I hear more English in Venice than I do in New York (less Spanish though), and the ratio is about sixty-forty British to American. Maybe I'm stereotyping things, like if you're Hispanic in New York, then we'll just make up a shorthand and say you're Puerto Rican, but it's pretty easy to listen to inane tourist yak and figure out where everyone's from – America, England, France, Germany, Italy, or Japan – and it's pretty clear to bigoted me, that if anyone deserves a reputation as obnoxious, loud-mouthed, self-absorbed clods, it's the Brits. And the Milanese, but I don't see too many of them around.

Americans, I've noticed, limit their conversation to pretty retarded things: i.e., "Are you sure you're holding the map the right way?" or "The payphone ate my Telecom card!" The British think they're intelligent, and they think it a little too loud. Like, Nigel, the whole piazza doesn't need to hear why you think the Peggy Guggenheim Museum underrepresented Orphism in favor of Futurism. Just because you have that accent that drives women crazy doesn't mean you're saying anything worthwhile. I get the feeling I've bitched about this before.

I'm just bitter because it's hard on a lone traveller, and I don't have anyone to explain my theories on the fall of Orphism to. Also, I don't have any theories on the fall of Orphism.

Anyhoo, more pictures. From outside.
Piazza San Marco from the roof of the basilica.

The Doge's Palace, also from the roof of the basilica.

Piazza San Marco is like the psittacosis capital of the world. You wouldn't believe how many people are here, scattering roasted nuts on the ground, trying to get a Hitchcock film to descend upon their toddlers for the perfect photo op. In a related story, last time I was in Venice, a pigeon landed on my mom's head and she flipped out. It was awesome!