Why Its Just Plain Wrong To See a McDonalds Restaurant Across From The Roman Pantheon

Why Its Just Plain Wrong To See a McDonalds Restaurant Across From The Roman Pantheon

I have a bias that doubles nicely as a pet peeve. I detest McDonald’s. My campaign to destroy the golden arches began the day that I almost up-chucked the hotcakes and sausage combo on the flight from Los Angeles to back home. This was strange. I’d feasted on those flapjacks and pig parts a few times in my eating career and up to that moment, never had any ill effects. Trust me when I say, it is beyond embarrassing when the flight attendant has to hook you up to the oxygen mask so that I won’t deposit the contents of the last meal on my neighbor who I was sure would gladly end my suffering if I did.

Always a glutton for punishment, I told myself that it was an isolated incident; that the meal simply didn’t agree with me that day. I proceeded to illustrate that I was a prime candidate for a Darwin award by purchasing the same breakfast and (whaddayaknow) got the same result. Lesson learned. Never will I darken the doorway of that god forsaken place again. I don’t care that they sell their cappuccino for only a dollar, I’m not going. Fast forward two years into the future. I am in the beautiful city of Rome. I’ve just visited the Roman Pantheon and right across the courtyard is….a freaking McDonald’s restaurant. After, dunking my head in the nearest fountain to put out the flames coming from my eyes and ears, I refocused and confirmed that I wasn’t seeing a mirage. There was a freaking McDonald’s restaurant a stone’s throw away from a treasured landmark. That was at least three kinds of crazy!  I knew it was time to lodge a complaint at the American Embassy.

Roman Pantheon

Ok, perhaps, I am being inconsiderate to deny my Italian brethren the pleasures of American fast food, but if I wanted to see that abomination, I could have stayed home and literally threw stones at it. And please don’t think that my disdain is reserved for the arches. I hate seeing anything that will remind me of home when I’m in a foreign land. When I book a room in Paris, trust me, it won’t be at a chain hotel that’s headquartered in the states. I enjoy immersing myself in the beauty of little-known chalets, B & Bs, mom and pop hotels when I travel. There’s something special about experiencing a bit of culture outside of the one that I am used to. The only thing that I want to remotely remind me of my home is finding someone who can speak the English language.  I’m not hating on America, motherhood and apple pie. I’m just saying if I went through the trouble of crossing an ocean……..

I guess there is a light at the end of this tunnel. So far, I’ve seen no evidence of a Church’s Chicken cackling on foreign soil. If god forbid, you do come across this restaurant, you would have a more enjoyable experience (and the same result of) being hooked up to an IV filled with bacon fat. No one should have to wring out grease so that they can digest a piece of chicken.  No one.  But I know my campaign is futile.  I will have live with the fact that these chains will be everywhere before you know it.  At some point, you’ve got to realize when you’re outgunned.  So, I’ve finally reached the last stage of grief: acceptance.



Renee King
[email protected]
  • Jade
    Posted at 15:36h, 30 January Reply

    I totally understand and agree that you (and I) have to just accept it. Plus, not going to lie… when I’m dying for a diet coke, sometimes only Mickey D’s will do! Also… that just keeps filling their pockets making it easier for them to build them everywhere… ugh- it’s because of me! I’m so sorry Renee! 🙂

    • Renee
      Posted at 10:01h, 31 January Reply

      I’m not mad at ya, Jade. I understand thirst…boy do I! Don’t be sorry…….I was just venting over something that is more silly than not.

  • adventureswithben
    Posted at 17:48h, 30 January Reply

    I avoid McDonald’s at home, but actually try it abroad, to see if it’s any different. In Singapore I tried the Mega Mac (Double a Big Mac and that’s it!). It was gross. Never again.

    • Renee
      Posted at 10:00h, 31 January Reply

      Mega Mac…that’s a new one to me. It’s obviously larger than a big mac….wow.

  • David
    Posted at 18:19h, 30 January Reply

    While I gotta admit, that McDonald’s in some countries can be almost decent (US not included), it makes me want to torch the place when I see any kind of corporate brand (Mc Donald’s, as well as other chain restaurants, as well as any chain really, clothing, etc) in or near historical landmark…
    However, fear not, Church’s Chicken is unheard of abroad (actually, when I lived in the US I never saw it either, and I didn’t live to far from you (northern Florida)).

    • Renee
      Posted at 09:58h, 31 January Reply

      LOL….I hear you, David. It’s a weird juxtaposition to see something so decidedly ‘modern’ next to a cultural and historical icon. You are lucky to have not darkened the doorway of a Church’s restaurant.

  • Migrationology
    Posted at 21:26h, 30 January Reply

    I’m on your side. I didn’t grow up eating any sort of American fast food and I can’t get myself to eat McDonald’s, even with force.

    What I have found quite often in other countries is that, the American fast food is located in the heart of the city or the busiest district, when you start getting away from the center, you can often avoid such things…and not even see them!

    No McDonald’s or any other American Fast Food chains in Nairobi!

    • Renee
      Posted at 09:25h, 31 January Reply

      Great point…they do seem positioned in the touristy areas. I guess that’s by design….so I will just focus my energies on being away from the city center.

  • Kyle Morgan
    Posted at 00:59h, 31 January Reply

    It almost ruined the Sphinx for me when I saw the KFC/Pizza Hut combo right across the street.

    • Renee
      Posted at 09:24h, 31 January Reply

      Kyle, we will grieve together. ;-D

  • Christopher
    Posted at 03:23h, 31 January Reply

    Hi Renee!
    We call McDonald’s McPiss because it’s the public toilet when we travel to a new city. I’ve taken pictures of beautiful McDonald’s signs in cities that won’t let McDonald’s use its usual signs. Very funny.

    • Renee
      Posted at 09:23h, 31 January Reply

      Christopher, that is actually two good points. A lot of foreign restaurants did not have public restaurants. Also, I did notice that some of the signage is totally different overseas.

  • robin
    Posted at 06:01h, 31 January Reply

    I hate seeing these outlets marr an historic site and it’s maddening to see Spanish kids, the inheritors of some of the world’s best food, flock through the golden arches…

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:34h, 31 January Reply

      Agreed 100%, Robin. It’s like howling at the moon, because you can’t unring a bell. Once they build one, it grows exponentially from there. All you can do is groan, wave a white flag and keep moving when you come across it.

  • inka
    Posted at 06:20h, 31 January Reply

    Basically I agee with you, but I’m with jade on this: when you need a Diet Coke Mc will not disappoint and, most important: there is always a free and clean rest room.

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:28h, 31 January Reply


      Christopher mentioned that point about the bathrooms….very true. And Jade’s point is well taken too.

    • David
      Posted at 09:43h, 31 January Reply

      You should try the bathroom of McDonald’s in Mongkok.

      • Renee
        Posted at 10:01h, 31 January Reply

        Ok, I’m afraid to ask why……

        • David
          Posted at 10:15h, 31 January Reply

          Ok, I haven’t been to many “dirty countries”, but the bathroom in the Mongkok McDonald’s (or one of them at least, I don’t know how many are there) is possibly the dirtiest bathroom I have ever been to! My assumption -seeing the lines to get there- is that it’s the only public bathroom in all of Mongkok (actually we went to McDonald’s that day for that very reason too)

  • Todd
    Posted at 07:32h, 31 January Reply

    There is a McDonalds across from the Sphinx as well! I don’t eat it when I’m in the US but every once in a while I’ll eat it abroad. That being said, I don’t think we should be blaming America for this one…just the big corporations that put crack in their food as additives.

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:27h, 31 January Reply

      Hey Todd,
      No, I wasn’t blaming America….I’m blaming the McDonald’s Corporation…sorry that wasn’t clear. This is simply my (tongue in cheek) opinion, I would never I condemn anyone who chooses to eat it abroad either. ;-D

  • Adam
    Posted at 10:14h, 31 January Reply

    Hahaha, great post. It always kills me to see McDonalds all over the world. I don’t have quite the disdain for it that you do, but I’m not a big fan. I usually eat it about twice a year, whether at home or abroad, and it’s usually because of a nasty hangover. I almost always immediately regret it.

    We were intrigued by all the McDonald’s in India, so we went into one in Mumbai. They didn’t even serve burgers, which I thought was HILARIOUS! They had some interesting menu items in that one.

    Most do have free wifi though, so that’s a plus.

  • Laurel
    Posted at 13:04h, 31 January Reply

    Inka echoed my sentiments exactly. I don’t like the place, but have been guilty on occasion of giving them my business (this was especially true when I lived in S. Korea and didn’t really like the fod)

  • The Dropout
    Posted at 11:30h, 01 February Reply

    There’s no McDonalds in Vietnam! They do have KFC and Pizza Hut and a KFC-like Korean chain called Lotteria, but no McDonalds. They also have no public toilets so you can see why McDonalds would have a niche market if the Vietnam government would ever let them in.
    Having said that… after a very liquid tour of the Heinekin factory in Amsterdam, the sight of the golden arches was sheer bliss for my bladder. Even though you had to buy something to get access to a key and the toilet had no seat and was lit by ultraviolet light — so you couldn’t get comfortable or shoot up. I loved Micky D that day.

  • The Dropout
    Posted at 11:31h, 01 February Reply

    Err… not for shooting up though. Just because after 6 big glasses of beer at 10am I REALLY needed a toilet.

  • Cathy Sweeney
    Posted at 11:46h, 01 February Reply

    I hear you, Renee! Seeing McD’s or any fast food place near historic sites or in foreign cities, etc. always bothers me, too. It’s not that I hate or never indulge in fast food, but it does take away from the travel experience. It’s like t-shirt & souvenir shops that clutter up really wonderful travel destinations — just the way it is, I guess.

    • Renee
      Posted at 12:22h, 01 February Reply

      Great point about the souvenir shops, Cathy. I would be ok with the usual bazaars, but the others…not so much.

  • Norbert
    Posted at 11:59h, 01 February Reply

    Lol… I avoid McD when I’m home and try to avoid it too while abroad. But, I admit that it has been a savior in many times when I need a free wireless connection or a bathroom. Sometimes I also look to eat something familiar and that’s when I fall into McD’s hands. lol

    • Renee
      Posted at 12:09h, 01 February Reply

      Points well taken, Norbert. I do agree that Mickey D’s comes in handy in both instances. very true!

  • Andrea
    Posted at 23:29h, 01 February Reply

    I feel your pain…while McDonald’s has never made me sick, I did get really I’ll last year from eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and I refuse to ever go back. Seems like everything is a chain these days, not just the big ones anymore. There is something icky about seeing them in beautiful historical places, I agree.

  • Kristy
    Posted at 06:38h, 05 February Reply

    Let’s just say after working at McDonalds while in High School it is a rare day that you will find me ever in the Golden Arches. I know to much… let’s just say, I have seen some things. That being said, hitting McDonald’s in Beijing in 1992 after 3 months traveling through Thailand and China with no western food I ate a Big Mac and loved every bite.

    • Renee
      Posted at 13:58h, 05 February Reply

      Hey Kristy, I’m not mad at you….sometimes you do what you’ve gotta do! ;-D

  • Gray
    Posted at 12:28h, 08 February Reply

    LOL, this is great. I agree, McDonalds is normally to be avoided. Yet, I’ll admit that the times I do stop there are when I’m traveling. It’s nice to know there’s a place with a bathroom I can use, a place to get a quick iced coffee, and a place where I can get a quick meal in a menu I understand. I’ve never gotten sick from it, thank God, but knowing just how many fat calories are in pretty much everything they serve is enough to keep me away most of the time. It is rather disappointing, though, when your picture of a famous historic site is ruined because there’s a McDonalds in the corner of the picture. 🙁

  • sarah wright
    Posted at 12:55h, 29 October Reply

    It’s funny because I also don’t like mcdonalds. I think it’s one of the worse places to eat, even the smell from inside the store gives me a headache. i think it’s best to avoid that place!

Post A Comment