The Tourist

I hate feeling like a tourist. Even in my home country I feel dirty for following the masses in lining up for a shot on the London Eye, or Madame Tussuads, and feel even dirtier doing it in my home city of Glasgow or Aberdeen, when stumbling into a tourist trap-like attraction that is designed to gentrify the subject that I feel like I should know more about than I actually do.

So when I entered the Cowboy boots shop at the weekend with a mission to leave with a pair (or two) I felt so uncomfortable at first. The overwhelming size of the place was quite beyond my imagination - more shirts, tassles, belts, stetsons, boots and leather chaps than I could've conjured even on the highest grade hallucinogen. It was like a kid in a sweet shop*, but a kid that has never seen sweets before and has only been told of their significance through movies from a generation ago. The cowboy died a long time ago, or at least the classic style of a cowboy and the Old West, but there are still cowboys around. It felt liek the kind of place that even with my fear of feeling like a fucking idiot walking about places that I don't know about and don't feel like I belong, the place was so foreign that it felt okay to be wide eyed, mouth agape, muttering "Fucking Hell" as I wandered amongst the experts and the mountains of western paraphernalia.

The members of the store that helped us with our considerably pricey purchase where all wearing blue stone washed Levi or Lee jeans, shirts with the top few buttons undone and a wide brimmed stetson had on. There was a station where they measured your head and steam-formed the hats into the correct shape.

The one thing that I will mention about the boots that I ended up purchasing was that for all their expense and the joy I got from trying loads on, I have never tried a pair of more comfy feeling boots in my life, and I've wore a lot of boots; hiking and work boots being well worn members of the boot family. These are shin high leather Ariat boots, golden leather and a classical pattern to them. They add 3'' to my height finally pushing me well and truly through the 6 foot barrier for the first time. The feel like they will last my life time.

With my recent trip into the Old West via Red Dead Redemption I feel like I was destined to get a pair of these. Now, all I need for the future is a stetson, spurs, and a southern drawl, just in time for my March trip...


*When I first wrote this post, I had written Candy Shop. I changed it after signing Flower of Scotland and standing in front of my two flags on the wall in my office, the Saltire and the Lion Rampant.