Monday, March 11, 2019

Original vs. Copies

Last weekend I was in Venice. The real one as in Venice, Italy. I have not counted how many times I have been there in total (15 perhaps?) but it is one of my favourite cities and every time I arrive, my breath is taken away despite the gazillion tourists and tacky souvenir stalls. Since Venice is so close to my native Klagenfurt and not that far away from Vienna either, I have never really stopped to appreciate how lucky and privileged I am for being able to visit for very little money. For other people, visiting Venice remains a lifetime dream because they live far away or don't have the time or financial means to travel there. Just how much of a dream city it is, I realised when I encountered two fake Venices, both in the form of a hotel/mall/casino complex owned by the Sands chain, one in Las Vegas (where I actually stayed at the hotel for a conference) and the other in Macau. Unlike in the real Venice, the gondolieres there must be trained opera singers as they belt out "O sole mio" quite impressively. Also, the "canale grandes" there are of a swimming pool turquoise (and smell of chlorine) unlike the murky grey of the actual Canale Grande Even so, no copy (be it Venice, Hallstadt, or another city) can ever live up to the real thing and I am forever grateful for having the original Venice within easy reach. And I won't be condescending to those whom the fakes make happy, either!


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