Streams

Unraveling Traveling: How Not to be an Ugly American

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wendy Perrin, consumer news editor at Condé Nast Traveler, is joining us every Thursday this May for a month-long series on travel. Today's topic: How to avoid the tourist stereotype while traveling. Plus, the pleasures of a "staycation!"

Have any questions for Wendy? Comment below!

Travel was the #1 suggestion in our Word of Wisdom segment.

Guests:

Wendy Perrin

Comments [70]

Raymond Forsch

There is so much to do and see in this great country, I wouldn't give the EuroPIGS a single dollar of my money. I wouldn't flush French wine down my toilet. Spend your vacation here with friends and loved ones and let the snobby, stuck up, haters in Europe pound salt!

May. 27 2008 04:53 PM
Raymond Forsch

I like to call people like chestinee, and superf88 embassadors of bad will. They go around bad mouthing their country and their fellow citizens because they think they will bond with europeans... "Oh yes zos stupeeed ahmericans...but I am so superior to zem you see...oh yes we are all fat and loud, except for me."

You like your Euro buddies so much then go live with them. Only don't come back when their socialist economies go bankrupt. Zen we will see who is sooo stupeeed! LOL

May. 27 2008 04:47 PM
Raymond Forsch

One sure fire way to be a guest on The Brian Lehrer show is to write a book that bashes Americans and American culture.

The French are the rudest people on this planet, Italians a close second, Germans a close third. Who cares what any of them thinks. I wouldn't visti their countries if you paid me.

[[BL Moderator Notes: This comment edited for violating the WNYC posting policy. Please remain to keep your comments civil.]]

May. 27 2008 04:21 PM
Hans from Nuremberg, Germany

Hi there

with regards to vacation/staycation you've asked whether a word or a similar term exist in other countries.

Indeed it does. In major parts of Germany we use a similar thing. If you can't go away for vacation you will spend your vacation in "Balkonien" (translates with "Balconia") means you spend your vacation at home on your balcony. It is commonly accepted and understood if you say you spend your vacation in "Balkonien".

Regards from Germany

Hans

May. 24 2008 07:58 AM
megan from Park Slope

SYRIA is hardly secular,,,,

Religions:

Sunni Muslim 74%,
other Muslim (includes Alawite, Druze) 16%, Christian (various denominations) 10%

May. 22 2008 05:15 PM
superf88

Americans are very often kind-hearted -- more so than most nations as far as stereotypes -- but more ignorant about other countries. Partly because our own is so large and we've never been colonized. Partly because (believe it or not) we have a basically well disciplined military, notwithstanding the Bush era arrogance.

The world worshipped americans for many decades, now I believe we are getting the short stick. Americans are worshipped for being nice and kind -- and our ignorance and overeating/consuming is easily forgiven.

Eventually it will balance out. This was my conclusion 9/12/01, and so far it's true.

Anyway let our worst criticism be that we give dollars rather than the yuan or whatever to the poor children!

May. 22 2008 01:58 PM
Richard from NYC

Staycation:

Consider the wealth of bicycle touring opportunities in our own back yard. Here's a good resource for one- or multi-day bike tours directly north of New York City:

http://tinyurl.com/66xrwh

Long Island and New Jersey offer similar opportunities.

May. 22 2008 12:21 PM
Robert from NYC

And not listen to WNYC! Right?

May. 22 2008 11:58 AM
Robert from NYC

i find that staycations as you call them usually fizzle out after the first two days maybe three but I end up staying home or sitting in a park and cook for myself and make my own bed, that's not a vacation.
He's right, you have to commit and stick with it.

May. 22 2008 11:57 AM
Anna from New York

Another thought: If you're going to villages or markets in the developing world, collect the reading glasses that people you know don't use and bring them along. Then find older people to give them to. If you have a guide, work with him try to figure out the right strength by fitting people with different strengths (they're marked on the frames) and communicate that they're for near and not far seeing. I've noticed that people typically look at the edge of their sleeve.

Because I collect tribal textiles, the markets and villages I end up typically are those in areas where textiles are made. Older women stop participating in this when they develop the farsightedness common after age 40. By giving them glasses, you enable them to participate in a highly valued activity AND one that often produces income. Not to mention their delight in having a cool new accessory that no one in their village has.

I give these to women (although older men will sometimes come out and shyly ask for a pair) and am thanked with huge smiles and hugs. Photos won't be an issue and you will have given something very real back to these people.

May. 22 2008 11:56 AM
stacy r from NJ

Stacation: Explore Hudson Valley: Roosevelt mansion, Culinary Inst of America, wineries - we like Cascade Mountain Winery & Restaurant, Amenia. They serve a great lunch and have a deck if the weather is nice.

May. 22 2008 11:55 AM
Vika from New York City

A stayvacation - this is exactly what my partner and I decided to do last summer. We took off one week, during which we turned off our phones and computers and allowed ourselves to do tourist things - such as taking a boat tour around Manhattan and climbing on the observation deck of Rockfeller center - and also to explore parts of NY that we had no time to visit in our "regular" NYC busy life - for instance, we had a Bronx day, which consisted of going to the NY Botanical Garden and had a great time (and dinner) on Arthur Avenue.
It was great fun!

May. 22 2008 11:54 AM
ronnie

i have traveled quite a bit and it was just amazing how generous and kind people are no matter where i have been, maybe, with one interesting exception, beijing. it was very difficult to call cabs, was ridiculously overcharged for just about everything, scammed by bicycle taxis, rudeness, and people spit everywhere... eckkkk... it will be interesting to see what happens with olympics and all those people visiting. anyway, inspite of my some negative experiences, i enjoyed my stay in beijing immensely and had some truly unique and wonderful experiences and run in with the kinder people and beautiful culture that still exists and can be found with little effort. of course, it always helps to do a little research into the culture and know a few words in the language before you go and to keep an open mind and heart without being stupid when traveling.

May. 22 2008 11:53 AM
chestinee from Midtown

I lived in Europe and continue to work there from time to time and I have always wanted to dive in the bushes when I see ill-mannered Americans, I am so embarrassed.

May. 22 2008 11:50 AM
sunday from long island

when i have traveled i have always dressed somewhat conservatively in order to be respectful in whatever way possible... as well i have asked before photographing people (& they often say no) & wherever i have been the very least i will learn in the local language is "hello" & "thank you" ... that all said for the most part people everywhere are kind & helpful when they know you are a visitor & they can see that you have respect for them & their culture... of course i have had as well the experience of being perceived as rude when i was not trying to be & i have had folks be "rude" to me in a way that i think was not intended as rudeness... it is all a matter of learning & being willing to open your perspective & being willing to share your own perspective with those who whom you meet who want the opportunity your visit provides... to travel is a gift!!!

May. 22 2008 11:48 AM
chestinee from Midtown

I can spot a european in a nanosecond in NY - they always look nice, even in casual attire - they eat better so are trimmer and their clothes are cut my mm not inch so they fit better. usually their hair is well cut - they wear minimal if any makeup and they just look nice.

May. 22 2008 11:47 AM
Anna Stern from New York

If you don't speak the local language, bring one a "point to the object" book - the two I know of are Kwikpoint and Point It! Not only do these allow you to communicate your needs without frustration but the person you're communicating with will probably find the book interesting, so it is a way of establishing a bond.

May. 22 2008 11:46 AM
jet from Union City

As Americans our reputation precedes us.

I was in Italy in 03, at a cafe looking to get breakfast. The guide/phrase book I was using listed "donuts" among the words for breakfast. So I figured I'd ask (in Italian) if they had any (I was tired of croissants). The woman said no so I ordered... a croissant. Then, from the line behind me I heard, in English, a woman say "sorry, no Dunkin Donuts here."

I thought that was unfair of her, but I suppose she had seen enough "ugly Americans" and I must have been one too in her eyes.

May. 22 2008 11:46 AM
isa kocher from Istanbul. Turkey

Hey SYRIA is officially secular and hardly "MUSLIM" any more than France is catholic or Brazil. There are Muslims there. I drove through Syria at least a half a dozen times and I have lived in the Middle East since 1986, and that comment about Aleppo was just way way way off the mark. I been through many times. Syrian women are not as a rule "covered." some are some aren't.

It is a dictatorship run by a member of the Alevi sect, where women never cover their heads. The political party in charge of Syria is atheist.

May. 22 2008 11:45 AM
Jeanne

I am somewhat dismayed that this conversation has to take place. How about good old common sense and common courtesy??

May. 22 2008 11:45 AM
Sara from Yonkers

I find it easier if you just say you are from New York, as apposed to America. Most people are very interested in the city and it always turns into a great conversation.

May. 22 2008 11:44 AM
Zach from Brooklyn

Has anyone noticed an increasing amount of French tourists this spring? They're everywhere (speaking quite loudly in French, might I add). They don't really bother me, but my roommate who is a stylist/Costume designer spends most of her day buying trashy clothing. With so much more competition in the market, her job has become more difficult. C'est la vie! I guess that's what a stronger Euro will get you. I remember reading an article in Newsweek circa 1999 called "Europe on sale." Oh, how the tables have turned.

May. 22 2008 11:44 AM
Randy Paul from Jackson Heights, NY

That if other tourists behave badly here, it doesn't give US citizens license to behave badly outside the US.

May. 22 2008 11:43 AM
Chris O from New York City

There are many good tips here on this page - I apreciate them.

May. 22 2008 11:43 AM
Harry from NYC

It is about doing right know matter who or where you are from. Sorry, it must just be my Western Christianized background that expects good respectful behavior from all traveler not just Americans!

May. 22 2008 11:43 AM
Bruce from westchester

Ambassadorship begins at home. When I see a tourist open a street map in Manhattan I walk up and offer to help in English or my OK French or not so OK Spanish. I think in my own little way when tourists go home thay say "New Yorkers aren't so bad" to their friends. It may help change the impression.

May. 22 2008 11:42 AM
m from manhattan

It's embarrassing that we are even having this conversation on how to "behave" when traveling.
It's just common sense... respect the culture you're in. Isn't that why you want to travel?? Otherwise stay at home and watch the travel channel.

May. 22 2008 11:42 AM
Robert from NYC

Two wrongs don't make a right! So what's your point?

May. 22 2008 11:40 AM
Valerie from bushwick brooklyn

I work in Chinatown and see a lot of European tourists. Many of them talk loudly to each other and take up a lot of space. They get in the way and take pictures of neighborhood residents who may not want to be photographed. I admit the "ugly American" tourists exist, and I see them. But much of what Wendy Perrin says is true of tourists in general. Does she really think we are any worse than the Australians or the Germans?

May. 22 2008 11:40 AM
Terry from New Jersey

Syria has a secular government. It's not a hard-core Muslim country

May. 22 2008 11:39 AM
Randy Paul from Jackson Heights, NY

Don't know Harry was raised, but I was always told two wrongs don't make a right.

May. 22 2008 11:38 AM
keith from hells kitchen

Travelers to NYC speak loudly in their own languages all of the time. We don't consider it rude. Why should others consider it rude when we do it?

May. 22 2008 11:38 AM
karen from Long Beach, NY

She's right. You have to observe and blend in.
Become one with the people.

May. 22 2008 11:37 AM
Jean Scully from Rockaway, NJ

I lived in Japan for almost 5 years from the age of 26 to 30, and traveled all through Asia and some of Europe. The best two pieces of advice I got were:
1. Polite and rude are totally culturally-driven concepts. Someone may not being rude to you; they may just be being Japanese. For example, if a Japanese bumps into someone physically in tight quarters, they don't apologize. Why would you care if they're sorry if they don't know you? Not being rude, just Japanese.
2. NEVER assume someone else is a representative of their whole culture; ALWAYS assume that you will be viewed as a representative of your whole culture, and act accordingly.
There were a million times I wished I could have sunk through the floor when I heard Americans bellowing at Japanese people who didn't understand them, or being dressed completely inappropriately for a given social setting, or loudly talking about how stupid or weird etc something was, never once stopping to think that not everybody DOESN'T speak English and they were offending everyone who could understand them.

May. 22 2008 11:37 AM
Paula Beckenstein from Chappaqua NY

I will always remember the experience my husband and I had in 1963 when we went to Paris for the first time. We had been warned that the French were cold and unfriendly and our government issued "smile checks" (checques sourire) to present to passers by in the street.It was very funny to watch their reaction ( or lack of). But we found that the French were extremely friendly and helpful with or without the "checks" when we spoke in French. Without exception, just reaching out to them in their own language brought an enjoyable interaction even if they spoke English.

May. 22 2008 11:35 AM
Harry from NYC

Exactly Brett,
We have to put up with smelly cabs, ugly dress, weird headgear and people who shout at you in foreign languages right here in the USA and we have to be more thoughtful when in their country?
HAHAHAHAHAHA

May. 22 2008 11:33 AM
Heilene from Manhattan

Ms. Perrin's observation about citizens of other countries separating foreign policy from the traveller is not true! I have friends who pretend to be from Mexico because they are treated better. I have another friend, blessed with two passports, who travels with the other (a British Commonwealth document) because Americans are so disrespected. My and my fiance's experience in Amsterdam was that we were asked repeatedly why were Americans so stupid. It happened at bars, stores and the B & B we were staying in. It was in 2006 and they asked about the President and Iraq war. We were just grilled. The United States is (still) a major player on the global scene and as such will also be more visible, and more examined than other countries.

May. 22 2008 11:27 AM
Katie from Forest Hills

#5 don't forget merci and sil vous plait!

Merci!

May. 22 2008 11:25 AM
Linda from Sunnyside Queens

#10 - I agree. I feel embarassed watching that show. However, there have been a few teams who were much more worldy than most. Like the small woman who spoke several languages.

I find the fact that I speak 2 languages other than English a HUGE benefit, even if I'm not travelling to countries where those languages are spoken. Just being able to tell a foreigner that I am a multi-lingual American defies the stereotype and impresses them.

May. 22 2008 11:25 AM
Brett from Financial Dist, NYC

I'm sick of hearing how awful American tourists are, all tourists are awful! I live and work on Nassau st in the tourist apex of NY between the stock exchange, the Trade Center, Brooklyn Bridge and South St Seaport and see first hand how rude and inconsiderate tourist from everywhere are. People are constantly blocking the way with their Century 21 bags, looking at maps while walking, yelling to one another in foreign languages, and throwing cigarette butts on the ground.

We are terrible, but I think we just complain less about others.

May. 22 2008 11:23 AM
jtt from jackson heights

It's not as if we're not overrun with rude clueless tourists from everywhere else (just try to get anywhere that requires crossing Canal St.) Why should we feel we have to be so super sensitive? It's like English with any accent is "charming", while an English speaker who mispronounces a foreign word is a bore.

May. 22 2008 11:23 AM
Randy Paul from Jackson Heights, NY

My dad was a civilian employee of the US Army and we lived in Germany on two occasions for several years. This is probably an even greater test of being a decent ambassador for your country. All credit to my parents for insisting that we were all guests there and must behave accordingly.

The analogy I always drew was how we would react if the situation were reversed.

May. 22 2008 11:23 AM
Anna from long island

I agree Americans should be thoughtful of their hosts when traveling abroad but don't anybody be fooled that this is an American problem.
I'm not going anywhere abroad, and I can't get UP FIfth Avenue or down, on foot, for the people I can only guess are foreign tourists who don't realize they ought to keep to the right. I wouldn't mind the totally un-New York-like leisurely pace, I understand they're on holiday while we are here just scrambling for a buck, but I get mad having to collide with one after another like a linebacker, fighting my way up the right side of the street!
;-) Love you! xxx
rant over.

May. 22 2008 11:23 AM
James from Nyack

I am an airline pilot and travel abroad often.

Learn at least basics: hello, please and thank you in the local language. Whether in France, Botswana or Cambodia, this goes a long way.

I am so embarrassed when in Paris and I overhear a loud, nasally "Exxxx-cuuuuusssse mmeeeeeee.....where's That street, CHAMPSSSS LEEES AIRRR? Loud and obnoxious, and very embarrassing.

Approaching a person in a foreign country in English is as outrageous as being approached on the any street, any city, USA, in German or French. The response would be "speak American!

May. 22 2008 11:22 AM
Dave from Manhattan

I worked for an international cruise line for years, and despite our strong advice, American tourists all over Eastern and Western Europe and would wear their precious tank tops and shorts off the boat, and wind up in bad situations - often, having been swindled or pickpocketed, ending without their cameras, wallets and passports. And assuming no one was injured, the authorities and cruise staff would shake their heads thinking, "you asked for it you idiot."

May. 22 2008 11:22 AM
Harry from NYC

Haha,
The most generous nation in the world and the world has contempt for us. Get real you dopes! The world cries we send help and let them emigrate and they don't like us? Oh, if we had socialized medicine and took more money from the working people and allowed police officers to collect bribes uninhibited, had duplicitous and corrupt leaders, etc. etc. Yes, I guess we deserve to be hated. STAY THE HELL HOME YOU INGRATES!

May. 22 2008 11:22 AM
Sandra B from Soho

"The American attitude toward travel is encapsulated in the CBS show, "The Great Race," where contestants race around the world acting as if the various foreign venues -- as well as the residents -- are exhibitions at Disney's Epcot Center"

I don't really understand where this generalization comes from. Most places that are tourist destinations are LIKE Disneyland. They have specific areas for tourists, local song-and-dance, tourist friendly markets, etc.

The idea that we as travelers have an obligation to embed ourselves in the culture is a bit disturbing. It is also nearly impossible. The reality is these people know you are not them and they want to make money off you. I think outside of that is when you border on being rude. Nosing about people's private lives.

May. 22 2008 11:21 AM
Jennifer from Connecticut

I don't travel often, but I was recently on vacation in the Carribean. My rule of thumb is the same within the US as well as outside of the US:
- remember my best manners (use hello, goodbye, please, and thank you)
- be a humble guest
- be aware and respectful of local laws and customs
- try to use the local language if possible but use English if the speaker addresses you in English
- smile and bring my good humor

May. 22 2008 11:21 AM
maria king from Brooklyn

Re: Dress

I spent many years in Africa and often had to cross land borders and present myself before immigration and custom authorities. I found that wearing business casual attire got me attention, courtesy and expedited the processing of my documents. By contrast many Americans and Europeans in shorts and flip flops and long unkept hair were asked to stand on the side and subjected to lenghtly questioning by the authorities who automatically classified them as people likely to take drugs or give them other problems.

May. 22 2008 11:21 AM
Caroline from NYC

Last April, my husband and I went to Morocco. At the time we were not married or engaged but we had read that the locals would not approve of an unmarried couple travelling together so I wore an old wedding ring of my great grandmother's I have. We had also read that shorts and short-sleeves were a no-no so we both wore long pants (or skirts in my case) and long sleeve shirts. We had not one problem and not one sideways look - I am 5'10" with light brown hair and green eyes so no one thought I was a local by any stretch but no one gave us a hard time. We learned how to say hello and thank you in Arabic and people were very friendly. They loved that we were American - they all said that Americans don't go there anymore after 9/11 - and they were delighted to have us there. We didn't encounter a singleother American tourist there but there were loads of French and English and some Spaniards. The really shockingly rude tourists - in short shorts, hollering loudly were the Brits. We were appalled. The cultural difference between us and the Moroccans was vast and it wasn't our favorite vacation because they are a bit tiring in the sense that you are never left alone, they see you are foreign so you must be very rich and interested in giving all your money away to them! Beggars, shopkeepers, hagglers, etc. But it was a very interesting trip.

May. 22 2008 11:20 AM
Chris O from New York City

I guess foreigners do understand our system pretty well. By differentiating between Americans and our governement's often offensive foreign policy, they understand that we apparently do NOT live in a democracy and that the people have no control over the government's policies.

May. 22 2008 11:20 AM
zen from ny

I had heard horrors about Paresians towards Americans, I learned to say, Je Suiz dejulet, je ne pa parle frances, ques qe vous parle Angles. Which was me first appologizing for not speaking French before asking if they could speak English. It worked perfectly, everyone was friendly and helpfull to me

May. 22 2008 11:19 AM
Emil Salvini from NYC

Brian

I travel to Europe often and love to get to know the locals
I ask what is their pet peeve and to a person they say they hate when Americans say things like

"our ancestors emigrated to the US and look at us now..."
"Have you ever thought about it?"

They hate it, it is insulting and well they should

May. 22 2008 11:19 AM
David Mohr from Manhattan/Chelsea

When my wife and I were in Paris in 2005 we made an amazing discovery! Manners go a long way. As long as we tried to speak French, said excuse me, please and thank you. Everyone was helpfull and friendly, and we made friends we have to this day.
Also appropos of the rudeness segment; I was sitting at an outdoor cafe where the waiter was rude or brusk in his manner. A woman sitting near me, not a Parisian, apologized for the waiter. My initial reaction was, this is nothing, to a New Yorker this is standard service industry behavior.
DM

May. 22 2008 11:17 AM
Sandra B from Soho

Hey callers, this show isn't about your impression of locals it's your impression of travelers.

May. 22 2008 11:17 AM
Peter from ROFLand

you can try this:

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Road workers in a small New Zealand town got their wish granted when a woman stripped saying she was fed up with their wolf-whistles.
The Israeli tourist was about to use an ATM in the main street of Kerikeri, in the far north of the country, when the men whistled, the New Zealand Press Association reported.
She calmly stripped off, used the cash machine, before getting dressed and walking away.
The woman told police she didn't take too kindly to the whistling from the men repairing the road.
"She said she had thought 'bugger them, I'll show them what I've got'," Police Sergeant Peter Masters told NZPA.
"She gave the explanation that she had been ... pestered by New Zealand men. She's not an unattractive looking lady," Masters said.
"She was taken back to the police station and spoken to and told that was inappropriate in New Zealand."
(Reporting by Adrian Bathgate; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

May. 22 2008 11:16 AM
eastvillage from nyc

American individuals are self-centered. We generally act as if we are the only individual around. Hence, we can and do go out dressed as if we are in our own living room, or worse, bathroom. When traveling abroad, we take our narcissistic attitude with us. I wonder if this is because we've been raised as consumers, targeted as unique, and thus we've come to believe that we are so special and unique we need not think of others because there no others.

May. 22 2008 11:16 AM
Eva Zelig from Brooklyn

Americans are not the only culprits in not understanding local customs. I have seen bare breasted German women in Turkish beaches, completely unaware of the local custom. Nearby were local Muslim women wearing the typical headdress and local boys looking at the German women with open mouths.
Regarding casual clothing, just walk in New York City and watch European tourists. They are indistinguishable from Americans in the way they dress these days. In Europe, too, they dress like Americans.

May. 22 2008 11:16 AM
Robert from NYC

That reminds me of my first trip to Italy in 1970 and at least 3 times a day I'd hear and American tourist arguing with a storekeeper screaming in English "but you all want the almighty dollar!" Well, it ain't so almighty anymore. But the point is the idea that only money matters is not usually the case in many other countries.

May. 22 2008 11:15 AM
Sarah

compliment something about the place you're visiting! The cafe's coffee, the beauty of the view, the lyricism of the language. Just find something nice--even if you hate the place and it's a stretch--and win a little goodwill.

May. 22 2008 11:15 AM
Robert from park slope

The American attitude toward travel is encapsulated in the CBS show, "The Great Race," where contestants race around the world acting as if the various foreign venues -- as well as the residents -- are exhibitions at Disney's Epcot Center

May. 22 2008 11:15 AM
Linda from Sunnyside Queens

I agree, that there are plenty of European tourists who are very rude. And the Australians - oh my, they'd drink a keg of beer in Saudi Arabia, if they felt like it!

My experience with Americans, however, has been quite bad as well. While in Peru, a man asked a waiter for a beer - in English of course! The waiter gave him a confused look, so the American said the same thing, but louder. Then another time and another, louder each time. I was horribly embarassed. I stepped in to interpret. Then I gave the American a language lesson, and reminded him that people in Peru have hearing just as good as his.

May. 22 2008 11:15 AM
Emily from Luxembourg, Luxembourg

The best thing to do is to at least TRY to speak the local language. Even if you butcher it, if you're making a good-faith effort, people will generally help.

Also: don't constantly talk about how things are not "the way they are in the US". You're not in the US, and no one cares. Try to enjoy things as they are in the place you're visiting...after all, isn't that why we travel?

May. 22 2008 11:13 AM
Sandra B from Soho

Sorry I know I'm being biased here but I've been to Asia and South American and European travelers are rude. They smoke everywhere. I was on a Rainforest trek and these people were smoking.

I was in Sri Lanka and my impression was the Germans and English there treated the staff at hotels and eateries as slaves.

The backpacking culture never dresses to impress. I'm sorry it is very hard to fit everything into a back pack.

May. 22 2008 11:12 AM
Robert from NYC

But then most of US don't like the administration either!!!

May. 22 2008 11:11 AM
Kathy from New York

There are two magic words to use in Paris

"Bon jour" and Au Revoir" - it is only being polite - and it works like a charm!!

May. 22 2008 11:11 AM
ab

I was just in Denmark and when on a canal tour around Copenhagen the passengers that were rude and laughing and talking over the tour guide was a group of drunk middle-aged French women....

May. 22 2008 11:09 AM
Jonathan from Manhattan

In Asia, Africa, and Europe, I have observed tourists from the US and other countries, and there is no basis whatsoever for the claim that Americans behave worse than others. I have seen many American tourists behave very respectfully at the same time as French tourists being rude and demanding (esp. in Vietnam, their former colony), Chinese tourists pushing people out of their way, Australians yelling at the top of their lungs, etc - in other world, poor behavior is well distributed around the worlds. Americans are no better, no worse.

May. 22 2008 10:42 AM
whatimsayin

"A Woman" --

-- it is only logical to pay for a Parisian croissant with dollars that are pink and decorated with princesses!

May. 22 2008 08:56 AM
a woman from manhattan

I was once in a Monoprix in Paris, France, where an American man was yelling at the top of his lungs that he needed a basket (to shop with). He didn't know the word for it, so I told him, and told him to ask nicely for one and stop yelling.

This is the most obvious indication of an annoying American tourist. The yelling. As if yelling in English is going to make anyone feel better disposed towards them.

Another clue is when they says, "how much is that in REAL MONEY." That little phrase will certainly sound stupid now, eh?

May. 22 2008 08:01 AM

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