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札哈哈蒂：建筑還有一個層面，是大家忘記的。建筑應該令人喜悅－－在一個美妙的地方，令人覺得喜悅。一間漂亮的房間，大小并不重要。大家對于奢侈經常誤解；奢侈其實和價格無關。這是建筑該做的事情－－以較大的尺度讓你感到奢侈。（Photo Appreciation: MAXXI Museum by Shahrzad Gh)
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（To be Con't）In this respect, autoethnographical research shares grounds with performance studies, symbolic interaction, feminist research, and similar schools of thought, both recent and traditional, within the social sciences.
Further, autoethnography is unique in that its power lies within its discursive, written mode. It is a text. The term literally entails the definition of the inquiry procedure: the researcher addresses herself or himself (‘auto’), as a subject of a larger social, cultural or institutional group (‘ethno’), by ways of revealing research and writing (‘graphy’, Ellis, 1997, see also Bochner & Ellis, 2002; Ellis & Bochner, 1996). The autoethnographic work aspires to tell of those constitutive dimensions that in conventional sociological research are erased or
play a backstage role. In addition to personal, lived experience, autoethnographic research explores voice, emotions, processes (rather than results or products) and embodied senses and knowledges, as a part of ‘the guerrilla warfare against the repressive structures of everyday lives’ (Denzin, 1999: 572).
Often, autoethnographic research investigates the relationship between researchers, their fields of inquiry and their informants, thus supplying innovative perspectives on the underlying assumptions and discourses of various academic disciplines, as well as on the process of socialization and disciplining in academia (Jones, 1998; Noy, 2003). As a method that is centered on the scholar herself or himself, autoethnography is inescapably an emotionally painstaking exercise, a type of ethnography that ‘breaks your heart’ (Behar, 1996).
The evocative and provocative effects accomplished by autoethnographic work, are mainly due to the genre’s literary form(s), including poetry, fiction, novels, personal essays, fragmented and layered writing, and more (Ellis & Bochner, 2000: 739). These forms are tailored to the social and cultural reality that is being studied – tourism, in the present case. Hence through a poeticized and personalized case-study, autoethnography forces the tourists – ourselves – to inquire into and to challenge our experiences, which would otherwise be dismissed as ‘recreational’, ‘superficial’, ‘fun’, and so on, in a reflexive and informed manner.
Autoethnographizing our tourist experiences soon reveals that there is more, indeed much more, to the sphere of tourist experience than leisurely experiences or other types of positive experiences. Rather, this type of critical and reflexive text forces us to admit to how much of tourism-endowed experience resonates with feelings of sadness and alienation. It seems that as tourists, i.e. people performing tourism, we are not permitted to feel or to acknowledge alienation or despair. While it is legitimate to occasionally admit to a sense of disappointment – as one traveller once revealed, ‘India was much warmer and humid than the pictures I saw show’, – or to cathartically experience powerful feelings of collective mourning and grief, such as is the case in dark tourism, expressing more mundane alienated feelings is almost a taboo.
Furthermore, regardless of the different type of tourism involved, in the capacity tourists are performers, they are constantly under the gaze of other people, such as tourists, locals, and tourist operators, and their behaviors are constantly regulated and monitored so as to avoid ‘improper’ expressions (Aitchison, 2000; Fullagar, 2002). While the show on the stages of international tourism must go on, ‘deviant’ behaviors, emotions and experiences are effectively, even if subtly, sanctioned. Lastly, because the autoethnographic text presents highly personal, perhaps intimate moments of lived experience, and because it is ideally suited to explore the relationship between researchers and their disciplines, it is potentially a delicate endeavor. Autoethnography has the capacity of revealing and rearranging academic institutional relationships by illuminating the normative, taken for granted axioms of various fields of research, with which researchers comply, which they resist, and with which they engage in alternative ways (Jones, 1998; Noy, 2003).
Nathan and I The present exploration addresses a poem I wrote, that describes a short family excursion to the resort city of Eilat, located in the southmost tip of Israel (by the Red Sea, on the way leading to the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula). After presenting the poem, the paper turns to interpretation – integrating academic discourse and further personal recollections and insights in the aim of creating a rich and informed account of the trip’s experiences and the meanings they bear.
The poem, ‘Quiet Eilat’, is a naïve piece. It was written in the winter of 1994, before my academic career had led me to research tourism (and before I became reflexive about tourism discourses and research). Since I am not an accomplished poet, the piece is best conceived as a stylized journal entry, a part of a travelogue aesthetically depicting memories and feelings I had after spending an off-season, December excursion in a nearly empty resort city. It is a product of a literary form, and may thus be viewed, at least partly, as a tourist performance of the type of ‘reminiscing’ (Edensor, 2000: 135–148), revealing the emotional ‘lows’ of tourism.
Crucially, the journey took place during the winter, clearly an ‘off-season’ in Eilat. Although Eilat is located in the southern-most, warmer part of the country, it is windy in the winter and quite empty of visitors. This emptiness creates a sense of desertedness, which also radiates desolation. Furthermore, the traveling family included several family relatives, including Nathan, who is particularly dear to me. Nathan is five years younger than me and since I was an only child (and much closer to my mother’s side of the family), Nathan was as close to being a brother to me in my childhood as I could ever have. We spent many enjoyable summer vacations together, both during the years he lived in Israel, and later, after his family emigrated to the United States. We usually made fun of our unmarried maternal aunts, would build ‘pillow houses’ in their living rooms, and would go together to the Kfar-Saba beach and have ‘sand fights’.
During Nathan’s college years, an acute and degenerative mental illness irrupted. (Actually, the first irruption
occurred while he was visiting Israel.) This chronic illness, with its various medications and long periods of hospitalizations, bleakly colors Nathan’s young adulthood years. Although Nathan felt better during our trip to Eilat, and was able to travel, we were concerned with his health and well-being.2 Nathan’s illness, though in a latent state then, had colored the experience of the trip, and combined with the effect of an ‘off-season’, empty resort city, had created a melancholic sentiment. Finally, as I read the piece while preparing this paper, I realized it was addressed to him, then 21, as a birthday gift (which I never delivered).
Playing table-tennis with Nathan in Eilat
in Winter-time Eilat
Muddy remains of floods
that swept across town
from the red-granite canyons in the East
to the deep marine-blue canyons in the gulf.
The air is fresh and the breeze is cool
Neta is happy-angry
Ruth is relaxing
Meira is not (she’s being Meira)
At night we walk. All five.
Our silhouettes on the promenade are reflected in the dark water
where noiseless fish glide swiftly
You and I at front, marching an invisible colorful
pam pararam pam pam pararam pam pam
Playing table-tennis with Nathan in Eilat in the
gusts of wind divert the light white ball.
We face south
to where our memories of Sinai are distant but crystal:
the striped red-and-white legendary air-mattress
floating gently atop the tide by the shore
a flaccid penis of a red-burned nudist lying outside our tent in Dahab and
I’m worried – when will my aunts wake up…
later in the afternoon
a nude couple walking hand in hand between the palms and the sea line
Nathan finds the beach exciting but
we drive into the mountains
to look back at the view: sparkling blue Red Sea
to find a Spring that the book says should be there (‘volume: four cubic meters’)
Then we drive north on our way back home
We drink ‘Yotvata’ chocolate milk at Yotvata
We have a lot of fun
transformation of fun into memory
transformation of memory into a poem
transformation of a poem into a present
Languages of tourism
What initially struck me about the poem is that it is written in English. Although for none of the persons mentioned in the poem English is a native tongue (albeit Nathan has been living in Los Angeles since childhood), the poem is nonetheless written in English. I take this point to be indicative of, and relating to, the subject of the poem and to the realm from which it is extracted. Writing in a different language is in itself an estranged experience, reminiscing through the act of writing the sense of foreignness evoked in the tourist trip.
English is the lingua franca of globalization and global capitalism, and in this capacity it is also the international language of tourism. In performing tourism, people symbolically depart from their daily habits and from the languages of their everyday lives and assume different modes of representation and being: different languages, experiences and identities (Clifford, 1997). In other words, suggesting that tourism offers vocabulary and syntax for behavior and experience can be a literal matter at times, which can assume the form of writing and talking in ‘international English’.
This is most salient when at stake are non-Anglo-Saxon and non-Western tourists.3 Indeed, this ‘translation’ into the international language of tourism occurs even when the tourist excursion is not of an international nature, but of an intra-national nature; still, the experience is that of foreignness and distance.
As Nathan Zach, one of Israel’s foremost contemporary poets writes: ‘we met outside our lives/in Eilat’. English, then, symbolically amounts not only to language but also to space: a foreign, unfamiliar and perhaps deserted space that lies ‘outside’ lives, much like the resort city of Eilat. Hence, in and through discursive representation the author’s voice evokes different spaces which have different experiential hues. Writing a sullen poem in English echoes the feelings of being a ‘sad tourist’, employing the means of tourism – divides of spaces and languages, in order to communicate an alienated experience. Put differently, translation is in and of itself a medium of communication, one which is ‘never entirely neutral; it is enmeshed in the relationships of power’ (Clifford, 1997: 182). Obviously, this discussion pertains to the writing of this The Poetics of Tourist Experience 147 paper as well, where translation is never complete and continuously frustrating.
The title of the poem, ‘Quiet Eilat’, as well as the phrase ‘Winter-time Eilat’, present an expression that is oxymoronic. Being a resort city, the experiences related to Eilat are associated with summertime, amusement parks, golden, sandy beaches, ice cream cones and other such components of recreational times and experiences. Yet off-season, this manic state is reversed, and the noisiness and verbosity tourists produce is replaced by the quietness their emptiness leaves. This feeling is captured in the first stanza, where ‘Muddy remains of floods’ are mentioned, alluding metaphorically to floods of tourists who rush through spaces of consumption during the high times of consumption (the ‘tourist season’). Visiting such sites out of season means encountering the ‘trace’ or the ‘signature’ (in the Derridian sense, Derrida, 1988) of masses of tourists. As Toni Morrison writes, ‘a void maybe empty but it is not a vacuum’ (in Bhabha, 1994: 77). That is, what is not present but somehow apparent bears powerfully on experience. While the tourist season represents the experience of being ‘in the right place in the right time,’ visiting Eilat during off-season amounts to being inthe right place’ yet ‘in the wrong time’. Remains or leftovers of high times, of the ‘right time’, are clearly visible. A bi-polar effect is experienced, where no middle grounds are available: either high-season mania or off-season depression.
The remains of other times are crucial in evoking and in echoing an affecting sense of alienation and aloneness. They translate into an experience of being ‘out of synch’ – and also ‘out of place’, with other people, with the ‘normative tourist’ who travels at the right time. More concretely, the visibility of ‘Muddyremains’ indicates the obvious fact that during periods when no tourists or visitors arrive in Eilat, the mayor and council of the city are not concerned with the town’s appearance. A sense of being in an empty ‘ghost town’ emerges. Yet this sense is complicated by the knowledge that Eilat is not truly a ghost town, butthat its 44,000 residents are nearly invisible, even in the eyes of their chosen local council.
Thin strip of sanity—The geographical scene at which the family arrives is of a dramatic nature: on one side, barren granite mountains of northern Sinai, on other side, the gleaming Gulf of ‘Aqaba. In between these canyonsides a short coastal strip of plain extends, on which Eilat is built (Azaryahu, 2006; Lavie, 1990: 47). While the description is realistic and true to the region’s topography, it also reveals the twofold social tensions the poem evokes: a thin stretch of ground between the steep mountains and the underwater canyons indexes a thin stretch of time that exists between touristic ‘highs’ and ‘lows’. Also, a thin stretch of inhabitable sanity exists between emotional extremes, a stretch of equilibrium on which Nathan, and all the rest of us, are pacing. In the capacity touristic sites and places, such as Eilat, are symbolic or of symbolic dimensions (Edensor, 1998), they possess unique qualities: they can come to mirror and embody their visitors’ state(s) of mind.
Historically, such symbolic roles played by natural landscapes have early antecedents, which are located at the very moments of the emergence of tourism as a system of symbols encompassing nature. This occurred in the Romantic era, quite sometime before mass modern tourism appeared and commercialized the association between experience and nature (Tobias, 1979, 1995). In a book that poetically inquires into the relationship between nature, art and modernity, Tobias observes Shelley’s description of scenic, mountainous landscape. The following short extract was written in the summer of 1811, upon the English poet’s visit to Wales, where he compared the landscape to a ‘situation of the mind’:
This country of Wales is excessively grand; rocks piled on each other to tremendous heights, rivers formed into cataracts by their projections, and valleys clothed with woods, present an appearance of enchantment – but why do they enchant, why is it more affecting than a plain, it cannot be innate, is it acquired? (Percy Shelley, in Tobias, 1995: 182)
For Tobias, Shelley’s writing represents a unique moment of emergence of a type of awareness, wherein the relationship between the ‘external’, the ‘internal’, and the social, are forged anew. Somewhere during the 19th century, physical travel has become experientially informative, or, in a word – transformative, in a familiar fashion. Hence arriving at Eilat on a tourist excursion brings together the triadic interrelation between physical scenery, the sociality of the travellers – us five, and the realm of personal experience both evoked by and performed in the poem.
Walking and remembering on the promenade in Eilat On the promenade (‘above the surface’) in the darkness of the quiet evening, the family is engaged in what tourists commonly do, in what tourists are supposed to be doing: enjoying ourselves walking, strolling, partaking in ‘anactivity central to tourism . . . [whereby] symbolic sites are negotiated via variouspaths’ (Edensor, 1998: 105). Moreover, we engage in a particularly playful(ludic and reflexive) tourist behavior which is, literally, a performance: Nathanand I are generating noise, which is amplified by the content of our play –a dandy marching band, in order to overcome the closing quietness. We aregenerating movement in order to divorce stillness. We are playing the roles ofthe missing masses of tourists, evoking the jolly noises of how the placesounds in high season, mimicking melodies and rhythms that we cannot hearbut only recall (‘pam pararam pam pam’). Although it is a tacky NorthAmerican band that we are mimicking, the ‘post-tourist’ type of parody isnonetheless enjoyable and reassuring (Feifer, 1985). We are also alluding tothe acquired North American identity of Nathan and his family (a point to which I will return later).
During all this time Nathan and I are playing or rather trying to play table tennis. The uneven tick-tack of the hollow ball on the wooden table-board is akin to a broken metronome, and a metaphor for interrupted interpersonal communication. Although we try, we are not successful in establishing stable patterns of communication: as gusts of wind interfere in intra-traveller communication, physical reality and the reality of the social are entwined. This holds true for our interrupted interpersonal relations outside the domains of poetry and tourism – I have not been able to establish communication with Nathan, and our once close ties are severed for a number of year.
Perhaps due to frustration at our ineffective attempts at playing-communicating, I recall (by way of psychological compensation) other journeys we had enjoyed, in more or less the same familial composition. These trips were held some 15years earlier, during the late 1970s. In those trips we did not end our journey in
Eilat, but rather crossed it on the way proceeding southward, to the famed beaches of Sinai. The Sinai Peninsula was conquered by Israel in 1967 and evacuated by in 1982. In the late 70s, when it was still under Israeli occupation, it played a unique role as a truly liminal tourist space (Cohen, 1987; Lavie, 1990).
Sinai’s primordial landscapes, imbued with mythical significance in the national memory, and its spectacular beaches, had been popular destinations and places of escape for many. This is wherefrom the memories originate. The legendary red-and-white striped air mattress, about which we often reminisced years later (and about which I wrote several poems), and the nude colony: so new, fascinating and shocking for me (nudity was always strictly prohibited in Israel, cf. Lavie, 1990: 7–26).
Recollecting our earlier travel experiences introduces yet additional spaces and times. It suggests that the present excursion to Eilat is hued by our individual and shared (familial) travel biographies and recollections thereof, stretching from the time Nathan and myself were young children; from the time Nathan was still living in Israel, and his younger brother and sister – Ophir and Naomi, not yet born. And, crucially, these memories stretch from the time Nathan was well, prior to the eruption of his chronic illness. In other words, the tourist family’s retrospection is colored by major events that have transpired on the family’s stages. Our memories of our childhood excursions to Sinai amount toa story within a story, a trip within a trip, a distance within a distance. Memories of spaces are unfolding within each other, generating a disoriented, post-colonial impression.
Within the context of tourism, remembering is performative. As Edensor (1998: 137) reminds us, ‘[c]ollecting memories is part of the common-sense understanding of what holidays are for’. Indeed, this is true of all tourists: their accumulated tourist biographies both unfold and expand with every trip (Neumann, 1992, 1999). On this occasion we did not pursue the Sinai experience, but halted our trip in Eilat. Although we travelled south, we chose not to ‘break through to the other side [of Israel]’, as it were, to places that generated memories of nearly mythical quality for us, and stopped short at the southmost point under Israeli sovereignty.
Down south, beyond and ‘under’ the borders of national sovereignty, the present, and the social taboo, the ‘tourist body’ is powerfully present (Crouch & Desforges, 2003). It primarily takes the form of a naked Scandinavian male body, with what then seemed to me to be a huge flaccid penis, next to two nude
female companions (I realize in hindsight, that it was the first un circumcised penis I ever saw, as well as the first vulva). The physical proximity to a foreign and adult male body left me shocked, and aroused pre-pubertal anxiety: I remember how concerned I was with the thoughts, ‘when will my aunts wake up? Something must be done about this.’ The blurring of social borders in this heterogeneous space – between the normative and the transgressive, the clothed and the unclothed, the Bedouins (native), the Israelis and the Europeans, was of a liminal quality and left a powerful imprint in my memory (Noy, 2007b). Other memories had a more latency-period type of content, such as the striped airmattress, on top of which Nathan and I lay, snorkeling the truly amazing reef sat Dahab for hours, getting serious sunburns on our pale backs.
Gradually, from the evocation of the marching band to the childhood memories of our trips to Sinai, the ‘tourist present’ is becoming richer with echoes, shades and shadows. Furthermore, as I write these lines it occurs to me that Quiet Eilat is a piece in a string of descriptive travel poems which revolve around my relationship and interaction with Nathan in different spaces and times: from the backyards of apartment buildings in the towns of Herzliya and Kfar-Saba, though the beaches of Sinai in our childhoods, to the wide and alienated avenues of Los Angeles in our young adulthood.
Day excursions: Hindsight, reflexivity Although Nathan ‘is excited with the beach’, that is with the mundane, perhaps ‘secular’, recreational Eilatian experience, after a couple of days near the beach we decide to drive westward, spiraling up and away from Eilat and from the beach, into the granite mountains soaring behind the town. Like disciplined tourists, we favor a day with a guidebook in the mountains, rather than the ‘shallow’ experience of/on the beach, searching for a small spring. In this daytrip, we leave the urban setting of Eilat for the mountains, wandering off into the barren and rocky wilderness. Again, at stake is an excursion within an
excursion, a ‘second order’ trip. The major destination – Eilat – is transformed into a temporary home from which we depart to experience nature. A star shaped type of itinerary emerges: tourists depart from and return to the major destinations repeatedly, each time to a different mini-destination (Löfgren, 1999; Noy, 2005: 130).
These mini- intra-trip excursions supply an opportunity for an excursion-typeof reflexivity. By this term I mean that the tourist can view the destination froman additional perspective, by which she or he can then tell stories and recollectionsabout it, about leaving Eilat and returning to it. As the travellers ‘practice’repeated departures and returns in their trip, reflexivity and narrativity emerge,and tourists tell stories of the excursions they undertake. This is the same reflexivitythat underlies the tourist photography mania: taking pictures requires but alsoconstructs a symbolic, ontological distance between the tourist and the attraction.
It creates reflexivity, or a narrative distance between the viewer and theviewed (Sontag, 1990). From a narrative perspective, taking a picture meansone can now tell a story about the attraction. Looking (or overlooking) back atEilat from the mountains, our eyes have become photographic [as Handelman (2003) observes of television viewers].
Although we traveled by ourselves, with no guides to direct or confine us, the family is complied closely with the requirements set by the tourist role. While Nathan enjoyed the beach and wished to stay near it, the rest of us felt we needed to fulfill an obligation which is to checkmark a ‘day-excursion’, and so we left to the mountains. We followed closely a ‘tourist bible’ of sorts, which told us that somewhere in the mountains a spring exists, of which exact (scientific) volume is that of ‘four cubic meters’. It is as though we were making the following argument (before Nathan): ‘tourism is hard work. We cannot stay here by the beach, doing nothing, wasting valuable time. We need to engage in something more dramatic, something about which we can later tell stories; we need to accumulate more travel-related knowledge; we need to be on the move
perpetually.’ In this hypothetical utterance, the family assumes the authoritative plural voice (the authority imbued in the ‘we’), while Nathan is regarded in the single person and occupies an oppositional position.
The next move the poem describes concerns the return home, which is both a concrete and a symbolic gesture that bounds the time and the space of the trip. As we are northbound, heading back to the heartland, we stop and rest on the sides of a torturously long, dry and mind-numbing road leading from Eilat, through the Arava Desert to Jerusalem. Different tourists have different homes, and different senses of what home means for them and what the sphere of everyday life that is associated with it means. Hence heading back home, and heading back to one’s everyday spaces, means different things to different travellers. It was mentioned earlier
that Nathan and his family were no longer living in Israel. They emigrated to the United States in 1980, a transition which was quite traumatic for the small family.
At the time they emigrated, leaving Israel was a near taboo. Emigrants were notoriously referred to as ‘descenders’ (yordim), individuals who deserted the national Zionist ideal and the spaces in which it was embodied. Although Israeli emigrants established large and lively communities abroad, leading social and cultural Israeli exilic lives, alienation colored and problematized cross Atlantic communication (Shokeid, 1988). Hence, when we leave Eilat and ‘head back home’, we are actually heading to different homes, located in different continents; and the everyday divides and distances between us sadly re-emerge.
Aunt Meira returns home to her one bedroom apartment in Tel-Aviv (which looks like a crowded family museum), I return home to my parents’ spacious apartment in Jerusalem, and Nathan and his family return home to their suburban home in the San Fernando Valley, where they have been living since they emigrated to the Unites States.
For our family, tourist spaces and activities are important places where we meet and spend time together. Somewhat paradoxically, but perhaps typical of the lives of modern families, we often meet only to travel more, and to spend time and place together outside our everyday times and places. The literature on family tourism accords with this observation. Following Smart and Neale’s(1999) work on ‘fragmented families’, Haldrup and Larsen (2003: 26) discuss the roles reflexivity, narrative, and photography have in ‘performing family’ in tourist contexts. They observe that tourism ‘becomes a drama of acting-out and capturing photographically conventional scripts of the “perfect” family in an era of “fragmented families”’ (see also Johns & Gyimothy, 2003). Furthermore, while Urry’s (1990) gaze is directed at ‘material worlds’, Haldrup and Larsen observe that ‘the “family gaze” is concerned with the “extraordinary ordinariness” of intimate “social worlds”’ (2003: 24). While the poem ‘Quiet Eilat’ does not refer explicitly to photography, it lends itself to the photographic eye and imagination. One can easily imagine a picture of Nathan and myself playing table tennis near the hotel’s pool (then empty), or a picture of the family walking pleasurably at night on the promenade, or a panoramic picture with the view of the Gulf of ‘Aqaba from the mountains. In these instances we are indeed‘ choreographing tourism places into theatres of family life’ (Haldrup & Larsen,2003: 32). Although travel writing is a verbal medium, under the semiotics of tourism it is also a visual or at least a vision-inducing medium. The verbal form, then, should not be confused with the medium, which is context-related: a poem describing a trip can supply a visual, picturesque experience by which it may actually be construed as a visual medium.
On the way back our mood is joyous. We are satisfied because everything during the excursion to Eilat proceeded well and no eruptions had occurred. In other words, we are content because we fulfilled the tourist role successfully. We did whatever was expected of us: playing table-tennis, strolling together on the promenade, reminiscing, and doing a day excursion, and we can now claim the cultural capital embodied in travel for ourselves as individuals and as a family. Perhaps we are also pleased that Nathan’s illness has not broken out or otherwise hindered the trip in any explicit fashion. Stopping at Yotvata on our way back, and engaging in one, last tourist pleasure, suggests Yotvata’s famous chocolate and mocha drinks are a dessert
for us. Stopping for sweet drinks further symbolizes – this time gastronomically –that the trip is indeed soon to end. After all, sooner or later after serving dessert, diners eventually leave the dinner table. In performative terms, diners/tourists end their performance and recede or continue from the tables or the stages of their social performances into their mundane lives. In this vein, the stop at Yotvata in both directions (to and from Eilat) amounts to passing through a culinary gate, functioning as the entrance to the departure from a space of tourist recreational consumption.
Concluding translations and transformations While the trip ends, the poem does not, and further translations and transformations take place. In the concluding stanza, which is meta-performative (dealing with the very process of composing a performance in the form of a poem), a different type of distance is described. It is an experiential distance that lies between the ‘narrated events’, embodied in the spaces and times of the excursion to Eilat, and their poetic and performative evocation. As noted by Edensor: Selected sights and moments from holidays are recorded so that they can fit into personal life-stories, and provide stimulating and satisfying memories . . . . They are acts of recording, concerned with the compilation of memories that will be used at a future date. (Edensor, 1998: 137) Travel literature concerns precisely the processes of ‘recording’ and ‘compiling’, which Edensor discusses. The recordings supply shared biographical ‘substance’, on which people – in this case our family – can later reminisce and romanticize. In the words of Haldrup and Larsen (2003: 39), tourists ‘desire to arrest time and make memories’. These memories ‘fit’ – to use Edensor’s term, into personal life-stories in many different ways, as the poem demonstrates.
The transformations described in the poem are threefold: first, a transformation of events into experiences in the particular form of hindsight recollection takes place. By narrativizing the memory of the excursion, the experience is reconstituted as a biographical ‘event.’
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