VIP (Very Insignificant Person)

30 05 2008


I’ve always thought it would be cool to be a celebrity. To have people mobbing the sidewalk as you buy a hamburger; to have Perez Hilton beseeching your friends for juicy tidbits or to be surrounded by an earpiece-wearing, sunglass-sporting phalanx of Amazonian Bond girls for protection.


Some years ago I was mistaken for an unknown and unidentified up-and-coming movie star while dining at a restaurant near my home. The mistake was an easy one to make: a yellow Lamborghini was parked in front of the eatery and a group of kids on their way home from a Bar Mitzvah asked my friend whose car it was. He helpfully pointed to me, and said I was extremely famous in Europe. The fact that they’d neither heard of me nor recognised me was irrelevant: the siege was on.  The mob grew impatient as they watched my every move through the window – and I dined very self-consciously, trying not to make eye content with either my fans or the other patrons.  When the time came to leave, I slipped through the back door with my dignity in tatters but my anonymity intact. My brief and fallacious flirtation with fame was uncomfortable to say the least.


Adventure travel often makes you feel like a celebrity even when you’re on a budget. A meet-and-greet at Cairo airport escorted me through the Diplomat and VIP queue at immigration while hundreds of ‘normal’ people withered in the heat and humidity.  In Bangkok, I emerged into the arrivals hall at the same time as Liverpool Football Club and faced a wall of video cameras, flashes and hording fans. Their interest quickly waned when they realised I was actually absolutely no one. Elsewhere, I was so thrilled to find that my hotel room came with its own butler, I spent a sleepless night wondering what task I could hand him so that the luxury wouldn’t go wasted!


I confess that I enjoy having doors held open for me, finding my bed turned down and a sculpted towel swan on my pillow as much as the next guy…although I always feel a bit of a fraud in the knowledge that my luggage is full of hiking boots, laundry detergent, insect repellent, ‘liberated’ hotel soap, purloined toilet paper and copies of “Begging on a Budget”!


Post by: Simon Vaughan © 2008








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