The Leaning People Of Pisa
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Take my hand as we yet again plunge into the depths of our kaleidoscope. It seems that today's view is one of the picturesque terracotta sea of Pisa. The Miracle Square of Pisa, to be exact. This attraction is famous for beautiful churches, one of the great wonders of the world, and you guessed it, leaning-
Don't you just love Italy? Feeling the warmth of sunlight on your skin, walking among pillars of history and the ever present clicking of cameras. Wondering around the Piazza dei Miracoli, feels akin to exploring a wax figure museum. Mannequin people stand in various positions, hands outstretched, backs bent, curled around imaginary towers. Perhaps they're all part of a cult, worshipping the leaning nature of the supreme tilted tower, by emulating its absurdity. Watching these silent figures, I can imagine what it must feel like to be Quicksilver; moving at unfathomable speeds as the rest of the world becomes a motionless frieze. Or, if we dare to believe it, our adventures through the kaleidoscope could have brought us to a place where time truly doesn't exist. That would at least explain the leaning tower. If time really is frozen, then the tower isn't leaning at all, just stopped mid-fall. But as I watched, I found that there seems to be something else going on here...
Looking through the lens, through a lens... what magic is this?!
On closer inspection, I found that these figures all seemed to be carrying the same magical artefact. I believe it's called a camera. Considering its similarities to a kaleidoscope, I have always liked the strange little things. But the people I saw around me seem to be staring into the eyes of these machines as if they hold all the answers of the universe. Perhaps these alien travellers were not devotees to the tower, but instead to their phones and cameras? Turns out there's a much less otherworldly answer to this question. Watching a couple of statue-people, I understood this bizarre ritual. They were taking selfies!
Once upon the year of 1839, an ordinary man called Robert Cornelius became a legend when he took the world's first selfie. That day was the start of an era. Now, two hundred years later, everyone is taking part in this spectacular new art of photography. I guess it's appealing in its simplicity. All you have to do it point the camera at your face and click! you are now part of the ever growing community of selfie takers. From the Queen of England, to Instagram puppies to your Grandma- everyone's being rushed by this phenomenon. But the strangest aspect of this craze is its new descendant.
(Psst... comment how long you think the last one's been posing for his picture)
pinching, poking, and For goodness sake put down the Eiffel tower!
Ever since the invention of the Landmark Selfie, famous places around the world have existed in a state of timelessness. Not because of the wonderful architecture or value of these attractions but more to do with how most of the visitors to these places seem to become glued in place the moment they take out their selfie sticks. But these people are secret wizards. I have seen them perform incredible feats of sorcery; from holding the Pyramids of Giza in their palms, to taking a bite out of the Colosseum and even kissing the Sphinx! It makes me wonder, perhaps looking through a kaleidoscope isn't the only way to travel between worlds. These Hawaiian shirt clad warlocks seemed to have perfected the art of not only voyaging to other dimensions but even changing the size of thousand foot tall buildings. Perhaps the knife sharp tip of Paris' icon has more to do with the number of photographic tricksters pinching it than anything else? Maybe the epidemic of magicians pushing the Leaning Tower of Pisa could even be why it's so tilted to begin with! Wandering between these incredible world warpers, I watched in amazement as one of the smaller witches (clad in pink with a stuffed toy familiar) shrunk the tower to the height of my knee and balanced her foot against its side. Even the tiny ones seem to have immense power, I noted as I watched some more. One man squashed the tower so that it fit snugly into his gelato cone. After making some detailed observations, I decided that to try out this strange art form myself.
Can you see the sheen of determination on my face? I don't know how that little girl managed to hold this thing up- it weighs a tonne! Of course, I've been told that apparently these tourists aren't exactly magicians, but just very clever people with cameras. I guess if you were to tilt a camera at a certain angle, you could fake these effects. But the reality is, that if these sceptics were to take a glance through a camera or a kaleidoscope, they too will see the whimsical frozen planet of wizards and building-shapers that we have explored today. After all, nothing is ever as it seems when you look through at the world through a kaleidoscope...