A Modern Pilgrim
– Arrives by plane or high speed train as not to burden the feet too much
– Is offered a full package of 6 night’s accommodation including breakfast and dinner and participation in all the fun stuff for a maximum of 210 Euros. To keep the price so low, the host city generously offers to take care of the bulk of the charges, despite the worst economic crisis since the start of democracy.
– Receives a brightly colored back pack full of literature, city guides, hats, t-shirts, rosaries, crosses and alcohol free beer (…) so generously sponsored by national companies who get a 80% tax reduction in return from the same government (economic crisis anyone?). And if the pilgrim then wears that backpack and t-shirt day after day like the good and obeying lamb he/she is, they will not be made fun off by the locals, at least not in public.
– Gets all kinds of goodies like exceptionally low rates for public transport (isn’t it great to be generous with money that you do not own, city of Madrid?) and heavily discounted menus in restaurants local people can only dream of but have no access to because they do not happen to share the pilgrim’s beliefs.
– Does not even need to use that discounted subway card, since the entire city centre is closed for traffic anyway during more than a week, a phenomenon not seen since the civil war. However, if the need for subway still exists, the locals will be more than patient to keep giving directions despite the specially designed metro plan for pilgrims and will promise not to laugh when despite all the help the wrong train is still taken by the pilgrim.
– Arrives in great numbers, as in 500.000 or more, in order to have safety in numbers, overwhelm the local fauna completely and to get away with everything their clean and innocent minds can possibly think of since it will be impossible to sweep Sol clean with such a number of people on it.
Now, my Dear Pilgrim: can you please have the decency to
– Not sing and scream in the street after midnight, especially not songs that contain the words ‘pope’, ‘benedict’ or ‘christ’ because some locals still need to work the next day and strangely enough cannot live on the faith of others alone. It is clear that you want to share your joy with the world but please do so during the day. In short, do not do here what you would not do at home.
– Not go into the neighborhoods full of immigrants trying to convert them to your religion. That is just rude.
– Not try to enter subway carriages with groups of 50 or more people in one go: it scares and annoys the locals. Also, keep the singing down to a minimum and do not sit on the floor; other people would like to move around as well and not have the feeling they have their underwear examined.
– Not, never ever, block a protest that was approved of by the host city, even if the protesters aim to object to all the privileges you are given with money that the host city does not really have and that the locals are actually paying. This is called freedom of speech: everybody can express his opinions, just like you can sing yours. Also, please do not stay and watch how the square is cleaned of protesters shortly after by riot control police, not because the protesters were actually doing something wrong, but only because the police grew tired of waiting for the protest to run its course (because the road was blocked by…yes,pilgrims) and decided to end it.
– Not tell the locals how they should live their lives. Remember, you are a guest and basically live of your host’s pockets. Let them live however they see fit.
Lastly, I kindly request the host country to become a real lay state as soon as possible. It is time: this whole pilgrim thing is not what it used to be.