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David Sedaris; Amsterdam
Sedaris has written extensively of his travels in Europe, including long stints of living in a farmhouse in Normandy and taking French lessons in Paris. However, it was an essay that he published in The New Yorker almost a decade ago about a trip to Amsterdam that relays the grotesquery inherent with the cultural tourism that's intertwined with, you know, actual tourism. I don't want to ruin this essay for you—it has to do with the Anne Frank museum, competitive real estate markets, and snitches. Anyway, read it. Sedaris also shines when talking about traveling in the US, noting, "Traveling across the United States, it's easy to see why Americans are often thought of as stupid. At the San Diego Zoo, right near the primate habitats, there's a display featuring half a dozen life-size gorillas made out of bronze. Posted nearby is a sign reading CAUTION: GORILLA STATUES MAY BE HOT. Everywhere you turn, the obvious is being stated. CANNON MAY BE LOUD. MOVING SIDEWALK IS ABOUT TO END. To people who don't run around suing one another, such signs suggest a crippling lack of intelligence." Sedaris also has this to say about traveling in Europe: "In Paris you're always surrounded by French people." Which, you can't argue with that.