Vacation shots put shoe on the other foot

I’ve become the “slide show” guy.
Remember, back when you were a kid, when your family was invited over to a friend’s house for dinner? Then afterwards, the projector and screen came out, the lights were dimmed, and you had to sit through an hour-and-a-half of their vacation slides.
And when the lights were turned back on, everyone looked like they just woke up.
It was boring, not because where they had been wasn’t exciting or beautiful, but rather by having to sit through a dozen pictures of so-and-so getting their big toe wet in the ocean, or of a statue or something.
Let’s face it, the Eiffel Tower looks the same in the third picture as it does in the 14th. Yet do people take one picture of it? Oh no, they’ve got to shoot a whole roll, and then put their family and friends through the following misery:
“Oh look, everyone, here’s the Eiffel Tower.” Click.
“Here’s another one of the Eiffel Tower. It’s big, eh?” Click.
“Here’s another. Look, see, that little speck there is Gertie standing by the base. That’s how big it is.” Click.
“Here’s a close-up. See, it’s made of metal. And as you can see, I couldn’t get the whole thing in the frame. That’s how big it is.” Click.
“Oh, I took this next one while standing directly underneath the tower. You can’t really see the pattern the metal beams make but it’s pretty big, eh?” Click.
“And these next five or six I took from the back side. ’Course, it looks pretty much the same from there.”
Sounds moronic when put that way, right? But when you’re on vacation, camera in hand, somehow your brain goes dead and you end up coming home with pictures that can best be termed, “What was I thinking?”
And described by family and friends as, “Zzzzzzzzz.”
Case in point our trip last month to New Orleans (which, by the way, is pronounced New Orlins down there, and “Nawlins” after several hours of bar-hopping on Bourbon Street). We went to attend the 20th anniversary reunion of my high school class from Brussels, Belgium, but spent a full week there to enjoy all the “Big Easy” had to offer.
Oh sure, we shot a lot of good pictures–the view of the Mississippi River from our hotel window, me standing at the back of the paddleboat “Natchez” with the sunset in the background, “Vicki,” the 12-foot alligator, eating marshmallows right next to the air boat on the swamp tour, Cheryl drinking an iced coffee at the Cafe du Monde, Cheryl eating strawberries with brandy-cream sauce at the Cafe le Madeline, Cheryl having her portrait sketched by a street artist on Decatur Street in front of Jackson Square, and the old gang partying it up at the Acme Oyster House.
Then there’s the “others”–you know, those that seemed like a good idea at the time. For instance, a pigeon posing along the shore of the Mississippi, or six pictures of a cat sitting besides statues of cats inside a gallery window.
In the latter case, to make matters worse, only two of them turned out (the flash didn’t go off for some, the flash was out of sync in another, and, of course, the cat had its eyes closed in one of them).
And then there were the pictures of the gang chatting over drinks before dinner at Antoine’s, chatting over the shrimp bisque, chatting over salad, chatting over the Chateaubriand, and finally, chatting over the Belgian chocolate mousse.
There also were about a half-dozen pictures of me looking over an old yearbook with Carol (see Eiffel Tower example, above).
Exciting stuff, eh?
Well, maybe not to anyone else. But for us, those pictures–even the ones that didn’t turn out all that well–will hold lifelong memories of a great trip in an incredible city. Which is why, over the past several weeks, I’ve become that slide show guy we all hated as kids. I can’t wait to show off our snaps to unsuspecting family, friends, and neighbours.
And why not? They’re not boring. Oh no, not our vacation pics. They’re all awesome.
Okay, okay, next time we’ll pass on the pigeon.

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