Washington, D.C. tourists are a bit mistreated, possibly

Were it not for the Segway, this photo wouldn't bother us one bit. (Photo: Flickr/wharman)

We all know the problems with tourists — they ride those awful Segways, their tour buses clog the streets, and worst of all, they stand on the left on Metro escalators — but they really are well-meaning and excited about being in our nation's capital, which is more than you can say about us.


Terry Miller, a teacher in Centreville, Mich. who brings his students to the District every year, told NPR: "I've always been treated with respect. But you know, I know I can see the look on their face, though. Oh, here comes another group of tourists walking our sidewalks and I got to get to work."

In case you're wondering, here's what Centreville looks like, complete with one traffic light and a Subway (the restaurant, not the mass transportation system):

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WaPo columnist John Kelly also followed Miller's students around for this lengthy report about "going non-native" — that is, to see D.C. from a tourist's perspective. It wasn't easy for the native Washingtonian:

After all, tourists crowd our sidewalks. They gawp at our motorcades. They clog our museums and keep “Shear Madness” in business at the Kennedy Center. They don’t stand on the right.

Worst of all, tourists penetrate our self-obsessed bubble, reminding us that America is full of places that aren’t Washington, places such as Centreville, Mich., population 1,425.

The tourists who flock to the District may annoy us to no end, but they're nothing compared to what we have to deal with on a daily basis. Plus, they shower our city with about $600 million in tax revenue and employ some 61,000 people. Think about that next time you're laughing at some poor guy's fanny pack.