A teacher’s trip to Paris would be so much more relaxing if it didn’t require wrangling a pack of high school students, trying to interest them in language, art and history, and occasionally bribing them with les Big Macs.
Identifying call: ‘You do that again, son, and you’ll be on the next plane home!’
Illustration by Simon Letch, graduate cum laude of the University of Life. First published Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age 2015.
In towns that offer public bicycles, you may spot pairs of these intrepid visitors, uncertainly reading instructions and pressing buttons at the parking stations, then wobbling unsteadily through speeding traffic on their clunky steeds.
Identifying call: ‘Are you sure we’re allowed on the autobahn?’
Illustration by Simon Letch, who seldom wobbles unsteadily. First published, Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age 2015.
Hosts are always upbeat about their outer suburban ghettos, enthusiastically referring their guests to fascinating 40-minute strolling routes to the nearest public transport and hip little joints serving the best Chinese takeaway in Kazakhstan.
Identifying call: ‘You’ll love it here, guys; this is a cool neighbourhood the tourists don’t know about.’
Illustration from the outer reaches of the far-flung Simon Letch. First published, Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald, 2015.
Any public sculpture in vaguely human form, preferably naked, attracts pairs of these playful, imaginative creatures. One imitatus cleverly mimics the artwork’s pose, while his or her mate points the camera.
Identifying call: ‘Ha, ha, ha – that’s perfect – ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!’
Illustration by the playful, imaginative Simon Letch, first publication by the deadly serious Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age, 2015.
Identifiable by a shuffling gait, designer sneakers, rhythmic hiss escaping from earplugs and fingers tapping at phone screen. Pubertae may appear solitary, though closer inspection often reveals related adults walking ten paces ahead.
Identifying call: ‘Why did you bring us here, Dad? What’s so good about Florence?’
Illustration by Simon Letch. First published, Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age 2015.
Like a leopard stalking a young antelope, he lurks, lip curled in a knowing sneer, as novice campers take three tries to back their caravan into a parking spot, consult the tent assembly manual and futilely twiddle knobs on the gas BBQ. Then he pounces.
Identifying call: ‘You need a hand with that?’
Illustration by Simon Letch, and thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age for continuing to publish our contributions each week.