But you know what? Sometimes I just love doing this stuff too. I am a travelling contradiction. Just a quick flick through my photo albums will demonstrate that.
As did the Tokyo version, a few years later. In fact, I enjoyed the Tokyo version even more because what could be better than regular Disneyland than a version staffed by the most polite people in the world?! It was also a bonus when queuing up for rides that I was taller than nearly everyone so I didn't ever feel claustrophobic.
And then there's my keen interest in a certain Seattle-based coffee shop chain. I'm very big on avoiding fast food (when possible ...) when travelling and sourcing local-style food instead. Of course, in this picture I'm in Seattle, home of Starbucks, so stopping in here is actually an example of sourcing local-style, isn't it?! But I find that wherever I am in the US (our honeymoon in New York springs to mind), I love to stop in here for a drink and a chat. Heck, I've even visited them in Japan and Germany. Not so authentic in those countries, I suppose!
Now the interesting thing that has only occurred to me mid-way through this post, rather than during the planning, is that the kind of places I put on my "suspect" list as "tacky touristy" tend to belong to American culture. When I lived in Japan and occasionally ate at MOS Burger, a Japanese chain, I never felt that I was being particularly unauthentic, but on reflection, I was.
So what is it about American culture that makes me put it on the don't-visit list? I know that part of it is the feeling that culture must be something that has a tradition going back hundreds or even thousands of years - sushi in Japan, castles in Europe, cave paintings in outback Australia. Which means it's not just American culture that is the culprit, but certainly Australian modern culture too (harder for me to avoid though, since I live here), and anywhere else that has adopted brand new cultural habits on top of much older or even ancient ones.
I guess that means I've been being a bit hard on the "tacky tourist". After all, locals also visit these places, and locals work there too; perhaps it's just an authentic experience of modern culture. Just because something isn't old and rooted in long-standing tradition, doesn't mean it's not worth seeing, doing or eating. Hmm. Am I changing my theory? I think it still needs some more thought.
What's on your tacky tourist list ... and do you avoid it, or not?