You spot them, can’t you? The Foreigners. Maybe not at The Met/ Eiffel Tower/ Westminster/Vatican, because you expect them to be there, because you presume they all are, so you aren’t paying particular attention. But walking down the street in an inconspicuous neighborhood? Yes, you can.
I live in a central, not touristy but expat-heavy, part of Moscow, and I can tell right away. It’s not their clothes, or their faces, or even audible conversation in a foreign language. It’s their pleasantness.
I went on a neighborhood stroll this afternoon, camera in tow. I was photographing church domes and windows of old buildings. Fairly high up, all of them. And yet, They stopped. To make sure They didn’t interfere with the shot. Even though a giraffe could walk by and not get in the frame. They could tell, of course – I was aiming really high. But, just in case, They stopped. And smiled, when They caught my eye. Waited for me to wave them off, politely, to indicate that really, it’s no problem, they can keep walking, they weren’t interfering. Then They nodded and smiled again, before proceeding.
This is why, though Russian-born, I feel like a foreigner in my Motherland. Because, God forbid, there’s someone trying to take a photo in the middle of my path anywhere. I will stop dead in the tracks until they are done, and, more often than not, will offer, unprompted, to take a picture of them with whichever sight they are photographing.
Some photos from my walk-about: