NAOMI BUENO DE MESQUITA
Before coming to Prague I had some ideas and assumptions about how local residents, annoyed by the tourist hordes in the city centre, would try to escape them. During the last three days I had the good fortune to have long conversations with six local residents from Prague 1. I asked them about which routes they took or what practices they had adopted to avoid the many tourists and found that their answers were evidence more of surrender than escape. Most of the people I interviewed said they weren’t bothered by the tourists or even liked having them around (maybe as a tourist I am more inclined to be annoyed by other tourists than locals are?). However, as the interviews progressed, it became apparent that the residents were unconsciously escaping the tourist hindrance. Ariana, a women in her seventies living right next to the Charles Bridge, did not, at any point during the two hour conversation, mention the bridge. Another student I took a walk with, guided me through the sidestreets he often used to take shortcuts and as a venue to meet or socialise with friends. Places where homeless people congregated tended to be avoided because of the smell but somtimes these routes were preferred as thoroughfares because they were less busy. I asked the people I interviewed if they could draw a map or outline the strategy they used to circumnavigate the tourists. Here are some of the maps.