Lucas Enrique Fernandez

Gill’s A Profile of London


In A.A. Gill’s A Profile in London, through his expansive knowledge and witty down-to-earth word choice, Gill provides the reader an explanation of why it is better not to do the most touristy things in London. Instead of idling at these tourist attractions, he recommends a plethora of other spots that locals prefer.

We all look at the crowds of tourists on the Mall and think: What is it you see? What do you get out of this? Like every Londoner I know, I’ve never seen the changing of the guard. It’s an inconvenient traffic snarl-up every weekday morning.

This quote captures part of the essence of why many despise tourists. They are a nuisance that takes up space and are so fixated on “sightseeing” that they never actually see anything about the place they travel to.

Another main point in Gill’s article is that many outsider’s perception of London is incorrect and formulated from an old lens. When you go to London you see that it is more diverse than you would imagine and many of your preconceptions about the area end up being false. I believe this holds true for travel across any place. When people travel, they do so often for the purpose of fulfilling a desire to see the old preconceptions of the intended area they made up in their heads. This is why people want to see The Great Pyramids or the London Eye. These landmarks are remnants of past times that do not change, so the tourist will fixate on these things rather than the changing area and culture that surrounds them. This is why I agree that the tourist should take it upon themselves to stray from the tourist attractions and preconceptions in their heads and “think like a local” so they can go to areas where they will see another type of beauty and experience culture.

Simona Barca

Bourdain Vituperation

Bourdain’s video about food tourism in Cairo was very interesting to watch and one-of-a-kind but he is also actively against what he sees as basic tourism of going to see the pyramids up close. His disdain for the basic tourist attractions in Cairo is palpable. On the one hand he is against the self-serving, self-centered, consumerist tourist experience where tourists visit famous places and pollute them with their tourist-y-ness: tour buses, selfie sticks, and basically reducing the experience to photographic proof that they were there. That, however, seems extremely hypocritical when you realize that is exactly what Bourdain does when he goes camping in the desert for one night. He rents a whole caravan of vehicles to take him and his crew into the desert. He is not responsible for anything; his guides take care of driving, the food, sleeping arrangements and even entertainment with the sticks game. And in all this he only stays in the desert one night, and has everything pre-prepared and catered to him. In his zeal to avoid basic self-serving consumerist tourism, that is exactly what he ends up doing.

Phillip Wade Wilson

Anthony Bourdain No Reservations – Chreia

In the Anthony Bourdain No Reservations episode where he eats his way through Egypt, I found his tourist gaze to be quite unique. Throughout the entire show he makes references to the pyramids and other famous tourist destinations, yet also includes that he will not be visiting because they are touristy. A common theme among “travelers” but he seems to be unfit of this categorization as well. While he is the host of a television show, so his itinerary is most likely created for him, the way he goes about his Egyptian travels is more along the lines of Iyer than one fully immersed in the tourist gaze.  

A few things led me to this conclusion. First, was his way of talking about delving into the consumption of local delicacies even if they seemed unappealing at first. The pigeon eating, I found to be closer along the “rats with wings” description he gave yet once they showed the preparations my thoughts changed. It looked delicious with all of the spices and rice and even his own description (visual rhetoric at work). The second was the way he went through all walks of life and their consumption of food. He went to the city to eat with businessmen and city folk, then to the rural areas to try local foods from a different Egyptian region, and even to the desert to eat with the Bedouins. All three were very different styles of food, and even more different to the way food is served and eaten in America. 

Nathan Ryan Reeves Uncategorized

Anthony Bourdain, and Cairo

The legendary food-travel writer Anthony Bourdain never fails to entertain me with his ways of writing. The video was constantly descriptive while being a little tongue and cheek at the same time when inconveniences would happen, like when the sailboat ran into the bridge and making them stuck in the river for a couple of hours.

The thing I liked the most out of the video was the rawness of its content. Bourdain makes jokes about not going to the pyramids and that he feels bad later for not going, but then immediately doesn’t feel bad about it at all. It reminds me of the theme of being a tourist, and finding a way to find something authentic, rather than something that is made up, hence him not wanting to go to the pyramids in the beginning, and overall avoiding them and leaving Cairo for dinner.

While the show is mainly about food, Bourdain still finds a way to finds the authentic pieces of society in Egypt. Centered around the different foods he visits cafes, farms where they raise and kill their food, and a funny joke is said at the café when the older gentleman Bourdain is talking to says that young people wouldn’t like the traditional café and that they want things a little more modern, and internet connectivity. I think it’s funny because it reminds me of the “generation complex” where older generations don’t think fondly of what younger people like, and if it isn’t traditional, then they don’t want it, but I digress.

Bourdain shows more than I expected from a 37-minute show. The episode was unexpectedly fast-paced, while not affecting the experience since I was able to retain the information with his impeccable narration. Bourdain’s background of being a chef in the past gives a good perspective on being open to foods, and had never said a bad thing about what he tried, all he would say is that “it will be good”. Openly saying that different cultures food he had never tried before is delicious if you have the desire to try it. Even when spending a night in the desert with a group of people, he says that he knew they were going to kill the goat for their dinner, and came back after just seeing the alive goat, smelling it covered with seasonings. I was not caught off guard, I guess his reaction just comes with years of culinary experience.

Maybe the reaction in the back of my head is caused by the American society that I have been used to, which is way more capitalist and materialistic centric compared to other cultures.

Finally, the last piece that had my attention the entire time was the authenticity at the end. Spending a night in the desert, he explains that this is someone’s open area to reset and that some people that are attracted to water, or the forest, and analyzed and said: “no wonder why the Europeans found this place so fascinating”. Implying that when you travel to exotic places they tend to have a unique identity, that can reset or change a person in their experience. Overall I absolutely loved this episode.

Samuel James Conroy


Encomium Progymnasmata

            Anthony Bourdain is one of my favorite TV presenters. Bourdain was a chef and travel documentarian who would travel the globe to introduce people to cultures that are not as commonly known as others. My personal liking of him came from Bourdain’s will to try anything and everything. He did not care about the country, the food, the activity, he would try it. No Reservations and Parts Unknown are in my opinion two of the most important shows in the last 20 years. Americans are known for not getting out of the country and most of the time we do not even have passports. This is quite odd to the rest of the world and especially Europe where they travel with ease from country to country and voyaging is a part of their culture. Bourdain attempted to show Americans how unique and interesting other countries are through his TV adventures.

Bourdain would go to popular tourist destinations and not so popular destinations. You can look up where he has traveled, and it is just about everywhere. You can see him going throughout the United States to New York City and Los Angeles, then you can see him eat in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. In the Egypt episode that we watched for class, you can hear him say throughout the episode that he wasn’t going to see the pyramids. This would strike most people as quite odd, yet Bourdain simply did not care. The goal of the program is to show the common viewer parts of the country that are not as frequently visited or known about. Going to the pyramids would ruin the point of the show as you could find 1000s of videos of others doing the same thing, but you won’t find another like Bourdain. Bourdain is in the same category as an Andrew Zimmern, another fantastic food documentarian who would show viewers the most interesting dishes that different cultures have to offer. Overall, Anthony Bourdain is a hero for tourists and was one of the first and maybe the first to truly cover the entire globe in trying to bring other cultures to the common American.


Paula I Arraiza

Good Food and Good Memories

Type of Progym: Narrative

Watching Anthony Burdain eat an array of unique dishes in Egypt is certain to make anyone hungry and extremely jealous of him in the best way possible. I’m sure everyone right now would love to be in a foreign country having a delicious meal they wouldn’t get anywhere else. Seeing him have such an array of food had me reminiscing on all the delicious meals I’ve had during visits to other places. While I would give anything right now to have some cochinillo in Segovia or bratwurst in Berlin, my mind can’t stop thinking about the exquisite food I had at a random restaurant in DC. A couple of days before starting college, I met up with a friend who lives near DC before she left for college in New York. She found a Spanish tapas restaurant called Estadio, which neither of us had heard before but we decided to try out anyway. It was probably the best decision of our entire lives. We didn’t realize it was a tapas place, so we accidentally ordered one dish each. Not only did I make a fool of myself by trying to order a drink and then realizing I wasn’t of age (where I come from it is legal to drink if you’re over 18), she was extremely confused by our small order. I had the garlic shrimp and my friend had grilled calamari, which were both extremely delicious. While we were shocked to see such small plates come back, which we had already been warned about, we still enjoyed them more than anything. After finishing our seafood, both of us decided we wanted to try more things. Still not following the “rules” of a tapas restaurant, which is to order dishes for the table and share them, we both got the exact same thing: a classic Spanish bocadillo, which is just a sandwich with Serrano ham and Manchego cheese. Once again, even though it was a simple sandwich, it tasted like nothing we had ever had before. I’m a huge chocolate lover and dessert person, so I had my eye on the flourless chocolate cake served with caramel ice cream. I’m normally not a fan of caramel, but the way it paired with the chocolate-ness of the cake made it perfect. It was so good, both of us still constantly think about it. The cake had us wanting even more, so we ended up ordering another piece, which may seem extreme, but it was completely worth it. While we left completely full and with a “food baby”, we didn’t regret a thing. To this day, it is still one of my favorite meals I’ve had not only during my time in DC but in general. If I had pictures of what we had I’d include them, but we were too captivated by our meals to even think of photographing them. I may be overselling this place because I’m extremely hungry right now, but it was still an amazing meal we both still think of more than a year later.



Aongus Mui

My London, and Welcome to It – A.A.Gill

My London, and Welcome to It – A.A.Gill

Progym: Description

To an outsider London is one of the most refined cities in the world. But to the natives it is just another day in life. One of the common thoughts we hear about London is the changing of the guards. According to Gill, he never actually witnesses this. But to tourists this is one of the details we pick up on. One may ask why this is, but the answer is quite simple. The things you see everyday become to blend in and you stop noticing them, but when you see something out of the ordinary it becomes new, something you’ve never seen before. Just as Gill mentions the loud shouting on the streets of New York, a New Yorker may see this as a common occurrence. The difference between a local and a tourist is as different as it gets. Gill menations how the people in London are not very nice. Although this may very well be true, a tourist may see it differently due to underlying stereotypes such as “English teacup manners” and the “exaggerated please and thank yous.” Gill does a good job illustrating the differences between a local’s point of view and a tourist’s point of view. The local is much more likely to notice the smaller details that they may describe as a pet peeve. Whereas, a tourist is much more likely to overlook these little details because of all the good things that they may see in the place. In Gill’s writing he notices all the minor flaws of London, something tourists are likely to miss

Ehren Joseph Layne

Everybody Looks the Same? – Response to A.A. Gill


44% of London’s population consists of Black and Brown persons, yet A.A. Gill composes a picture of a city that is woefully and unwaveringly white. This, I must be honest, pisses me off. It is too often that travel writers or travel critiques write in a way that completely excludes Black and Brown persons (unless, of course, they’re are writing about Africa or South America). Black people(which I happen to be: go Black people!) are never given proper representation in travel documentation unless we are the spectacle that is to be seen by tourists. Besides such spectacle, Black and Brown persons are presented as non-existent – with the reason being that due to our lack of “history” in mainly white cities, we hold no value to the physique or aura of said city. I will have Mr. Gill know that Idris Elba was born in the U.K., and he is one hell of a Black man. He is a Londoner, and much like Mr. Gill, Idris Elba matters. He matters to the history of the U.K. He matters to the U.K. entertainment business. He is another Black Londoner whose struggle has been interwoven into the current U.K. mainstream entertainment that white Londoners have enriched themselves off of. So before you talk about your city and its rich history, that history better include Black people.

Catherine Dodd Corona

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain

Progymnasmata: Encomium


If you do not know who Anthony Bourdain is. I suggest you get to know him. Personally, that is no longer possible since he tragically committed suicide in 2018. But it is still possible to become closer to him and his message through his books, essays, and travel shows such as No Reservations, Parts Unknown, and The layover. Bourdain will whisk you away to diverse cultures and educate you on the cultural facet of each destination. He is very good at his job and makes anyone interested in adventure itch for travel. I also recommended making something to eat before you watch him stuff his face with mouth watering hot, and spiced meals. 

Even though the aim of the shows he hosts are to vicariously travel, Bourdain makes these episodes unique. His experience in the kitchen, and his practice in analyzing cultures for his writing gives him the merit to observe and judge different cultures. Unlike many travelers, he approaches each place, as exotic or not, as a unique place worthy of thoughtful interpretation. This appreciation of the known and unknown, the simple to exotic is in my mind the most wonderful aspect of Bourdain. I am not saying Bourdain walks the streets loving everything and everyone he meets. Often he does the opposite. He is very critical and judgmental but in a way that still respects the culture, and most of the time is quite comical. For instance in the No Reservations episode on Egypt, there is a lot of seeing the alive animal in Bourdain’s dishes. This closeness to death is not common in western cultures (which frankly desensitizes westerners to death, which damages the soul), but Bourdain invites this aspect of Egyptian culture with open arms. Of course with humor, by naming all the animals he is about to eat “Ducky” or “Lamb Chop”. This ability to be respectful and inviting with a dash of arrogance and humor is such a wonderful combination that is less common in travel writers alike. 

In this same episode Bourdain never goes to the Pyramids which touches on another aim of the show. There is an emphasis to stray away, eat and find what is currently Egyptian culture. Not the culture that was popular thousands of years ago. This concept is similar to Gill’s remark in his essay A Profile of London, and Welcome to it, I doubt there’s anything I can say that will convince you that the best way to see Tower Bridge is on a postcard”. Both Bourdain and Gill are not arguing these monuments are anything less than they are. Their point is simply to find the culture of the now and not the culture of the past, because it is still diverse and enriching. This feeds into Bourdain’s appreciation of the minute and unsurprising. 

I sincerely miss Anthony Bourdain. I never met him, but it pains me that someone with his style of analysis, humor, skill, and appreciation for culture could be so troubled that he took his own life. It is a common theme with great creatives. Maybe his internal toil helped with his undying appreciation and creative juices. That may be the reason for this theme of mental illness and addiction in artists and writers. Regardless, when I hear people denote or even just solely focus on Bourdain’s issues with addiction and mental illness it angers me, because he is so much more. He is a complicated and deep character from what I have heard and seen, and most importantly is an idol for American tourists.

Samuel E Evans

“No Reservations – Egypt” by Anthony Bourdain

Progym: Narrative

“Your life: both meaningless in the grand scale of all that nothingness, and somehow meaningful again; which is to say, it’s nice, real nice,” (Bourdain, 36:40).


Backpacking is the activity of greatest self-reflection that one can engage in. It’s you, maybe a few others, on the trail, carrying all of your food and equipment, for days at a time. Each day is a routine: get up when the sun or the birds wake you up, pack your tent, cook some breakfast, shove everything in your backpack, and set out on the trail for the better part of the day. There is no real complexity to it, no emails, no text messages, generally no access to the outside world, or anything to stress you out. It’s sublime, though of course, this is my opinion.

Two years ago, with the summer drawing to a close, my friend and I planned a trip. It was just a short jaunt out, up and around our state’s highest peak, something to grasp onto those last warm days of the season, before fall and school swept in to ruin it. A two-day, 15-mile round trip, nothing to get too excited about. In comparison to various 40-milers and one 80-miler I had been on previously, this was really nothing. Just a taster to get the feeling of quiet and solitude on the trail, nothing much.

We set off late in the afternoon at the trailhead, carrying what was quite minimal luggage for backpacking, only food, water, rain gear, sleeping rolls, and some clothes. By the time we got halfway up the well-beaten state-park track, the sun was already setting. The cool, woody smell of autumn wafted its way through the forest, carried by a cool wind. We soon arrived at our destination for the night, a minimalist, though quite large, wooden lodge maintained by the Green Mountain Club. These lodges, completely bare on the inside besides the occasional wooden bunk, chair, or table, are havens for backpackers all over our state, as well as up and down the Appalachian Trail. With no insulation and only a rusted wire mesh in the windows, they are only to protect you from the rain, though at the same time they are the most comforting locale you could desire when tired and introspective at the end of a day of hiking.

The sun was breaking the horizon, casting us in a rosy light as we collapsed on the front steps of the lodge, setting our backpacks down with a crash and unlacing our boots. An evening mist was beginning to settle across the broad vista before us, and it was utterly silent. We moved our equipment inside, setting it next to the uninhabited caretaker’s quarters, and began lighting our tiny jet boil stove to cook some dehydrated beef stew, before being interrupted by a knock on the side of the lodge.

It was a friend of ours, Steven, who had been spending his summers home from college as a trail manager for the Green Mountain Club, trekking up and down the trails looking out for stranded hikers or downed trees. He joined us for dinner, and we chatted as the sky turned from red to black and the stars came out. After a while, he waved goodbye and set off down the trail, and we retreated into the empty lodge, arranging our bedrolls in the attic.

We awoke to a misty, dim morning. A thick, grey fog coated the mountainside, such that when looking out the front of the lodge the view from the night before was completely obscured. While going out to use the restroom I stumbled around, unable to see four feet in front of me. My friend and I packed up, apart from a small handheld radio I had, and then sat and ate a minimal breakfast of granola and protein bars. We listened to the radio crackle and play slightly mistuned classic rock while staring out at that shifting, morphing wall of fog before us. While I could hardly see a thing beyond the small rocky clearing before us, it was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen.

After we finished eating and upon sitting a little while longer we set out, backpacks strapped and ready, shivering from the cold, wet morning air, on the move again. Looking back now, this was one of the most worthwhile trips I have gone on, far more than I could have expected.