25 March 2014

Tourist Trap Tourney: Cities & Squares & Markets, Round 1

The first round of the Tourist Trap Tourney concludes with the Cities & Squares & Markets regional, featuring several closely-watched match-ups, like the Piazza San Marco against famous imitator, Disney World. 

Great Wall of China v World’s Largest Truck Stop (Walcott, Iowa)
Mascots: Earth Dragons v Bulldogs

With both teams in it for the long haul, this was a match-up for the ages. The Earth Dragons’ defense was a bit shoddy in places, contrary to the reputation, but no matter, they lived up to their reputation as a dynasty to watch, and truly one of the world’s rising superpowers. The Bulldogs suffered breakdown after breakdown, and had continual problems driving the lane.

Piazza San Marco (Venice) v Disney World (Orlando, Florida)
Mascots: Gondoliers v Ridiculous Lines

As many an observer has noted, Disney World copies many of its signature moves from Piazza San Marco. But nothing compares to the real deal, and the Gondoliers in their trademark striped shirts glided right past the slow-moving Ridiculous Lines and their cartoonish ways.

Las Vegas v Asakusa (Tokyo)
Mascots: Sinners v Scarlet Gang

The Sinners are renowned for their secretive if wild ways, but enigmatic as they are, they’re a solid bet. The Scarlet Gang looked great down low, and clearly picked up some samba style pointers from the Copacabana Tan Lines, but just couldn’t compete with the Sinners’ stacked deck and penchant for rebounding.

Red Square (Moscow) v Blackpool (England)
Mascots: Embalmed Lenins v Peerless Piers

The Embalmed Lenins are known for their long line of stoic strongmen (and, it must be said, for their creepy mascot), and their current leader follows the trend, claiming territory and ceding nothing despite pressure from all comers. It’s all slash and no flash—unlike the Peerless Piers, who showed a razzle-dazzle flash of a million watts in this close contest, leaving the ticket-buyers giddy and sated.

Angkor Wat (Cambodia) v Mall of America (Minnesota)
Mascots:  Dancin’ Apsaras v White Walking Shoes

Pity the Dancin’ Apsaras, who clearly tried to take the moral high road when the White Walking Shoes offered up all manner of steals—to prey so much undoubtedly seemed like bad karma. And yet the gentle giants from the Midwest insisted, evidently believing that it would pay off in the long run. Not so. The Dancin’ Apsaras don’t have the mass of the White Walking Shoes, but they’re towering nonetheless.

Times Square (New York City) v Thamel Shopping District (Kathmandu)
Mascots: Bright Lights v Singing Bowls

Despite shedding its longtime reputation for dirty stuff, Times Square still has its detractors—some of whom miss that old grit. In any case, the Bright Lights stole the spotlight from the Singing Bowls, in spite of the latter’s laudable cooperative efforts and artistic moves.

Dubai v Medina of Fez (Morocco)
Mascots: Shiny New Stuff v Labyrinth

Another close battle here—the trendy Shiny New Stuff, who are generating buzz for their make-no-small-plans boldness, versus the truly timeless and multi-faceted stalwarts of the Labyrinth. Dubai’s efforts seemed unsustainable, but the Moroccans couldn’t start their engines at all, and at times looked lost out there.

Machu Picchu (Peru) v Bến Thành Market (Saigon)
Mascots: Altitudinous Alpacas v Hagglers

In this surprisingly tight match-up, the Hagglers showcased an impressive stinginess, using a series of cunning moves to keep the Altitudinous Alpacas at a disadvantage and shuffling between twos and threes. Once the Peruvians settled in, though, it was a clinic in precision work—truly masterful. 

* * * 

Through our first round of competition, here's where things stand: 

Click for larger version.

Don't forget: You can still submit your picks, which maybe possibly will affect the outcomes of the remaining games. Fill out your bracket right here and email it to doug@douglasmack.net.


  1. Your punning skills have reached an all new height. You missed your calling; you should have been a master of ceremonies.

    1. Hey, I'm just calling the action straight-up.


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