Monday, July 14, 2008

Tina and Brendan: Meta Tourists

San Francisco is generally cold. In summer, it's generally a little bit colder. Unfortunately, it's also in California, which conjures up visions of palm trees swaying in the warm humid breeze.

This means that when tourists arrive in the city, they are, almost without fail, under-dressed and cold. The result is that roughly half of the tourists in San Francisco at any time end up wearing large hoodies or jackets, emblazoned with "San Francisco" because this is the only souvenir you can buy which will also keep you warm. You can purchase these hoodies almost anywhere, even Walgreens (a convenience store).

For the past couple of weeks, Tina has been saying that she really wanted one of these tourist hoodies as they are such a symbol of general San Francisco streets. So while I was in Chinatown buying eggs, I decided to pick one up for her. You can buy them from around 15 different shops all down the main street of Chinatown and its alleyways, and the price is almost always $14.95 as if agreed upon by committee. The problem was finding an extra small on a very busy day. The style I wanted was apparently the most popular, and no-one seemed to have anything less than a small (which looked just a little large for Tina, even considering the fact that hoodies are supposed to be loose).

The last shop I went into was run by an Indian man. He was calmly informing a woman that she was not allowed to return her hoodie. The woman was not quite so calm. Apparently her partner had bought it for her and it was too small (guys, remember, always err on the side of too large). And, as it turned out, it was an extra small and it was the exact style I was looking for. So when she came out of the shop I offered her $10 for it, and she accepted. She was not particularly happy about it, but she accepted and seemed to think $10 was fair enough.

So there you have it, we bought our tourist icon from a tourist.

Here's Tina looking happy with her new hoodie. Not included: photo of the woman looking unhappy without her new hoodie.


Tina said...

I wanted to note that I will NOT be wearing this hoodie in San Francisco, since it screams "Tourist!" And it is extremely warm!

Ida said...

dirty tourist!