Following Bob the Tour Guide, Guardian of Google Maps, across Google Maps - Travel Week


Time travel may not be possible, but if the last several billion years of life have taught us anything, it’s that traveling around space is a decent, if not necessary alternative. Whether by airplane, car, moped, or FTL-powered spaceship, traveling around the physical realm of known existence gives us brutes some real purpose. These days, however, we are beginning to entertain the idea of a digital reality as a sufficient substitute for physical reality, and as a result, many of us have found a global home in front of a screen.

Fortunately for all you world travelers too lazy to storm the digital ramparts of your perpetually linked-in imprisoned existences, BTR has put together a photo-list of the greatest Google Maps vacation spots you can simulate experiencing in between the meaningless stressors of your pointless jobs. Google Maps also provides us with a guide, Bob, who appears blur-faced in the following photographs but is nonetheless real. Bob is a real tour guide, on Google Maps.

Screenshot of Google Map Street View of Stonehenge.*

Stonehenge, England

Say hello to English Bob, who will be on non-stop watch at Google Maps until Google decides to send in the drones, at which point English Bob will have to swear his allegiance to the drone lord sith by violently mating with (read: being mated by) the princess drone virgin. Until that happens, it is best to stare at Stonehenge as if it were a human creation, which, according to nothing but conjecture, it is not. It’s a true wonder, the Stonehenge wonder, because no one knows why the aliens built it other than to say “What’s up Earthicans! We made this clunky bullshit with a few low-powered phazers in like 25 minutes, but go ahead and worship it for all we care. We’re aliens and we rule space.”

Screenshot of Google Map Street View of New Orleans, Louisiana.*

Preservation Hall, New Orleans, USA

Good ol’ Preservation Hall. I remember back in ’61 when this place opened up to ward off the devil, who had at that time taken the form of British pop music. You won’t see Bob on the streets here, because he’s been on trombone duty in a few spots around town, but if you ask for “Bob the Bone,” a local will point you in the right direction. Be sure to head down Bourbon Street afterwards, because there’s a great big Budweiser truck hanging around that could provide one hell of a Grand Theft Auto story. Remember: Always laisser les bon temps rouler.

Screenshot of Google Map Street View of Paris, France.*

Museum of Eroticism, Paris, France

It’s the return of Bob on the streets! English/American Bob, fired from his guard duty at Stonehenge, and exiled from Bourbon Street, has been re-located to Place Pigalle in Paris to perform as an undercover security guard for the Musee de l’Erotisme, or the Sex Museum. He will henceforth be known as “Bobby French,” and will only give croissants to those in need. Get in some quality people watching at the cafes in the area or click down to the seedier parts of town, which is what you really want to do anyway. Say hello to this man, who is busy ogling a blurry lady’s backside and pretending to read the newspaper, which is an authentic French activity.

Screenshot of Google Map of Bogota, Columbia.*

Bogota, Colombia

Fondly thought of as the “most dangerous city in the world,” Bogota can be quite a beautiful destination if visited from very, very far away. No Google employee has actually gone in to street-document this place, leaving the digital tourist with nothing but a scattering of postcard-fodder photographs with setting suns and rolling hills, but the silver lining is that you will never be kidnapped just by looking at pictures. As a tourist, you of course have the right to blissfully ignore the political realities of your chosen spot, because without your money there might be no more “place in question” (the Tourist’s Prerogative). Bob, who now calls himself “Roberto,” is nowhere in site. There are no known photographs to indicate his whereabouts in Colombia, and we are worried he has fallen victim to the dreaded super cocaine spell of Devil’s Breath. Please send your donations to to help get our friend home.

Screenshot of Google Map Street View of Red Square in Moscow, Russia.*

Red Square, Moscow, Russia

It’s a miracle! Well, sort of. Bob’s lower body is currently being held hostage in Bogota, but luckily for us travelers, his upper body has managed to escape to Russia. As a guard – no, as a man – a man who has survived the horrors of English and French lifestyles, overcome the temptations of American excess, and survived disembodiment in Bogota, Bob’s survival speaks volumes to the profound injustice of human existence, which chooses whomever it pleases to further its singular mission of survival in the face of our contrived codes of morality. Bob may now be seen at the Lenin Mausoleum, where he will remain until Google figures out a way to institute real-time video surveillance of the entire civilized world.

*All screenshots copyright and trademarked by Google, 2012.