ZGW 01 - 22 - 2010

Each city visited has a different world perspective to offer. Sevilla and Avignon still rely heavily on their historical past for identity whereas Barcelona pushes itself into the social and design future. Each one is beautiful in its own right. Our time spent in Monaco, however, was different than that of the other cities. The beautiful buildings laid against the dramatic landscape made for a picturesque scene. After entering and touring the city it is obvious that there is a power keeping everything in control. The gardens and fountains are perfectly manicured and the buildings have a recently-renovated yet historic feel. Despite all its splendor and opulence, I was not overly attracted to Monaco. The city as a whole has a slightly false appearance. The designs are too rigid, the appearance too strict. The principality bases its entire income off the earnings of the casino. Catering to only the elite crowds ensures the city will maintain a high standard of appearance in living, but it also means that it loses a certain base-class identity. The come and go behavior via helicopter and yacht of the rich requires that the living and working subgroups within in the city never show their true heart. There was no place that seemed accepting of the average. A cheap tourist could fair well at the vendor stands as a millionaire could in the harbor, but the true life of the city was suppressed. An assortment of "don't" signs and security cameras spread throughout the city serve as a constant reminder of the government enforced image of the theme park-like attraction. Living in Monaco would be surface deep. Spending money would show everything the principality has to offer. There is no grunge, there is not heart, and there is no soul.

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