The blog about what we experience in our everyday runs

Saturday, December 10, 2011

General Tso's Squirrel...say what?

101 Days — 

When it comes to tourists, D.C.'s got 'em.

Natives of every city can easily spot tourists — the cameras, the fanny packs, sensible shoes and the 'I Heart [insert city name here]' shirts.

As I have run through the D.C. streets, I have noticed some variations that are completely unique to the District.

First, our tourists love the Segways. They love traveling in Segway packs. They love taking pictures of everything, including their Segways. And on the tourist scale, the Segway ones think they are the coolest. (They may have overlooked the deadly factor. Just ask the Segway inventer. But that's beside the point.) 

Second, and to the inspiration of this post, tourists, especially the Asians, are fascinated with D.C. squirrels. They are so fascinated with the furry creatures, that they crowd around them on the Mall, are entirely amused when such a creature climbs on a bench and I think I have even heard a few making squirrel noises.

I can only imagine the dialogue when one of these tourists shows the photos of his vacation to his friends: — "oh there's the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and Nutsy the squirrel. In fact here are 500 pictures of Nutsy and we even tried to bring Nutsy home but customs denied the request."

There were so many people taking pictures of just squirrels on the Mall it's as if a squirrel's natural habitat is the District.

Besides the humor there is in watching a grown man, surrounded by his dorky kids, bend over to get the perfect angle of a squirrel eating lunch, this could be an entirely untapped and profitable industry. We've all heard of the agro-tourism business (thank you Schrute Farms), the eco-tourism business, whale watching and dolphin watching.

But I don't think anyone has ever heard of "Squirrel Watching." If today is any measure of interest in this untapped field, then I think I know my next career move.

Watch out D.C., "Find your Nuts Tourism" may be the next Sight in your Nikes.

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