In a previous blog I've told about my one and only visit to New York (1969) and the very first time I went out of the hotel when, within a couple of minutes, I was menaced for money by a gang of youths who surrounded me, one holding out his hand with a big grin on his face, knowing they had got 'easy meat' - which they indeed had. In my naivety, I'd gone wandering out alone, camera hanging round neck, looking up in wonder at this famed place, which everyone knew of and, at least at that time, few non-Americans had visited.. I was a sitting duck - and I'd advertised it..
That was an unpleasant lesson which I've never forgotten. Ever since then I've tried to look as inconspicuous as I can and walk purposefully, even if it's in a place where I've never been before.
However, there have been experiences less alarming, though not particularly edifying - like my first visit to Amsterdam when, again after leaving my hotel for the time to take in the marvels of the city, the first 'marvel' to greet me was the sight, in broad daylight, of a man having a wee into a canal.
I walked out of the station - and lo!.....there, facing me, chalked on a wall in clear letters at least two feet high, was a somewhat unsavoury graffito. And what did it read? It read:-
F U C K O F F
I was nearing the statue from the side, my heart thumping in anticipation. But I had to get a full-on front shot first. So, camera poised, I moved to the front. And there - below the glorious name of 'Ludwig Van Beethoven', was spray-painted in large red letters:-
" .......IST EIN ARSCHLOCH"
(Translation: "........is an arsehole".)
Well, all I can say is "Is nothing sacred? Really!!!"
3 hours ago