I took a parlor car tour of parts of the American West, starting in Rapid City and ending in Salt Lake City. It was good; I enjoyed the sights; but my strongest memory was actually the on-board tour guide warning us that when we stopped for lunch we inevitably were forced to congregate in the gift shop before we left. The wonders of Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, the Tetons, Jackson Hole, but always tainted by the imported curios in the local gift shop.
I was watching Tony Bourdain taking his No Reservations travel show to Egypt and he regularly reminded the viewer and the Egyptian guide that he was in Cairo but he wasn’t going to see the pyramids. True, you could see them from the hotel balcony off in the distance, but how could you go to Egypt and eschew such impressive and ancient monuments? Well, Tony made a good point by suggesting that he didn’t want to exit through the gift shop. After all, what does Tony need with chotchkes when he’s in search of good food (and a cold beer).