"Ugly Americans"

Mar 10th, 2001, 02:04 PM
  #1  
curious
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"Ugly Americans"

Out of curiousity, I was wondering what it is people on the message board do to not make the mistake of looking like the typical "ugly American", other than leaving your black socks, dangling cameras and fanny packs at home. Oh, and by not loudly proclaiming, "It doesn't look/taste/feel like this at home!" I pride myself on being as inconspicuous as possible when on vacation, but am curious if I am making any of the mistakes of a tourist!
 
Mar 10th, 2001, 02:32 PM
  #2  
Joe
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If you say please, thank you and excuse me a lot, people will mistake you for being Canadian.
It sure helps to get good service and smiles everywhere you go.
 
Mar 10th, 2001, 09:01 PM
  #3  
JanGail
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I am an American and proud to be one.
I also say please, thank you, you're
welcome, excuse me, etc. I also try
to learn and speak a few phrases of
the language of the country I'm
visiting. I have met many Americans
who practice what I practice in our
travels! Meeting outher people of
different nationalities is part of the
joy of traveling! So try to avoid
generalizing about people. True, there
are many crude and crass Americans,
just as they are in other countries!
But, there are just as many people who
enjoy traveling and show it by their
attitudes towards their host country.
I rest my case.
JanGail
 
Mar 10th, 2001, 11:34 PM
  #4  
Billy Bob
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I agree with JanGail. I always try to be polite, friendly, and respectful of others whether I'm at home here on the range or in a foreign land. We are all citizens of the world aren't we? And that tip about learning and speaking a little of the language of the country I'm traveling in really works well. I've even used it with success while visiting Canada. Now that is a wonderful country with nothing but friendly folks, eh?
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 07:49 AM
  #5  
Sheila
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My husband and love to travel and are lucky to have been to many different countries. We also bone up on the customs, language and any other useful info we can before we go. We are always courteous. Quite frankly I get tired of hearing how rude Americans are.
People need to give up this stereotype.
Sometimes I've thought people in other countries were not that friendly just because you were American. We also had always heard that tired old saying about how rude the French were. Boy were we surprised when we found them to be the some of the most friendly people we met anywhere.
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 10:31 AM
  #6  
Scott
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First to Sheila:
Well said, I couldn't agree more.
To curious:
I may not wear dark socks, but I do carry a camera, and a fanny pack while on vacation...if this makes me an ugly american, tough $hit!! This is vacation we are talking about...who cares what you look like, and what you decide to carry around with you...thats YOUR business. Being serteotyped an "ugly american" is mostly due to people being rude. My wife and I ALWAYS treat people with respect, and are always polite...we usually recieve great service in return, and have very little problems while traveling. This is not rocket science folks, treat others how you wish to be treated...PERIOD!! And if you are hung up over others appearances, you should just stay home. Vacations are for relaxing and NOT worrying about the small stuff...it just doesn't matter.
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 11:08 AM
  #7  
Lyn
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When traveling, my husband and I can usually spot our fellow Americans by their appearance, especially when traveling in the Caribbean. We see a lot of attractive people there (male and female) but when we run across unkempt looking people they are usually American. Why have Americans become so sloppy in their dress, and overweight, especially middle-aged Americans? It's a disgrace and it is ugly!!
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 12:03 PM
  #8  
ohplease!!!
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Lyn, You must be hanging out at the wrong places with the wrong people. How can anyone generalize about "ugly" anything - much less middle aged people being fat and sloppy! But then you are who you associate with!! I go on vacation to enjoy and if that means I lug a camera, so be it! The tourists do it when they come to the US! I agree tho that there seems to be a "dress down" mentality on planes and vacation spots but I'm too busy enjoying where I am to even notice what someone else is doing or wearing. But I do get embarrassed when some jerk shows off big time and it is usually the American tourist who obviously hasn't traveled much!
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 01:10 PM
  #9  
Chas
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Curious:

If you don't want to be the "ugly American" avoid the following.

Don't go to the Caribbean and get caught in a category 4-5 hurricane and then after that when there is no power, no phones, no running water yet the resort is to everything to feed you complain that "All you want to do is get rid of us". True story.

But on the positive side follow the advice that has been offered. Plus many people in the Caribbean come from other countries. Stop and talk to them, try to find out something about their background.

I don't think dress has so much to do with it as showing interest in the people you meet.
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 01:30 PM
  #10  
Maggie
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I have to share this incident to all readers of this community board, and of course to post my reply to "curious'," posting of "Ugly Americans!"

The following was overheard by my husband while waiting outside the main entrance to the Louvre last Fall: Obvious locals/Parisiens were appalled at the outright "rude," behavior of some "American," tourists. Soonafter, one of the 5 young females, began questioning her companions in French:

What do you call a person who speaks 4 languages?

Obvious answer: quadlingual

What do you call a person who speaks 3 languages?

Another obvious answer: trilingual

Furthermore, what do you call a person who speaks 2 languages?

Well, of course bilingual......

Now, what do you call a person who speaks only 1 language?

Answer: "An American!"

Now that is UGLY!

Luckily, my husband as American as can be, fluent in German, Spanish, and French replied in French: "At least Americans welcome everyone!"

The Parisiens were so stunned, to say the least.

 
Mar 11th, 2001, 02:04 PM
  #11  
Ellen
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To Lyn: We have been to several islands in the Caribbean Islands and find that there are "fat, ugly" people (as you call them) from all over the world, not just America. Having just landed from Dom. Republic this morning, I still have a vision of a 250 lbs. wonderful German women who carried on a long conversion with me on the beach. She was wearing just a thong bottom, as was 40% of the other people there. She was quietly enjoying herself and not hurting anyone.
Most people travel for cultural experiences not to judge the looks and weight of other people.
Maggie, I'm with you. Most Americans have problems (and appear ugly) because they just expect foreigners to speak English when they wouldn't think of learning another language themselves.
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 02:50 PM
  #12  
Lyn
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To everyone - It is a fact that a very high percentage of Americans are overweight compared to people in other countries and that is not only ugly, it is a danger to their health and general well being.

To Ellen - I didn't call anyone "ugly", as in not having a prettyor attractive face. I realize noone has a say on their God given natural attributes. What I said was that when they are extremely overweight and dress like a slob, that THAT is ugly and it gives Americans a bad reputation. Like when I see people on airplanes and restaurants dressed like I would dress to wash my car or garden, it just makes me wonder.
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 03:04 PM
  #13  
anonymous
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And indeed the woman with the hubby who speaks several languages is just a very tiny minority. Most Americans can't even speak English! Deep seeded resentments, those legends and myths and a long history contribute to the "ugly American." Unfortunately we have all seen or heard one but maybe it is that he is an "ugly person." For some reason many Americans seem to have an "entitlement" attitude and a general disregard for the customs and culture of other countries. For that they have earned the "ugly American" prize.
Watch some travelers deplane from the Caribb. It is disguisting that they would even go out in public much less be crammed on a plane with other travelers - loud, obnoxious, dressed in grungy clothes ... but thankfully that's not all of 'em.
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 04:40 PM
  #14  
mellie
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I agree with you Scott and for Lynn...what a snob... Yes, we are overweight and over sixty..and travel to spanish countries extensively...as for being an ugly American... we have gone through this conversation before... have you met an ugly French-Canadian...it is unfortunate I have only met one pleasant one in our 20 years plus of traveling the Carribean..how about the Germans who toss the clothes off your chair and look like they are innocent.. the only ugly American I have had the misfortune of knowing was a friend of a friend who wanted to know in Margarita..."why don't they speak English"... why didn't she try to speak spanish.. Don't get me started on ugly tourists..I could go on and on of being shoved out of a line by some who wanted to get on a bus before we did..of not being picked up because they didn't realize that we were Americans (don't want to say what they thought we were), of being asked if we were going to sit at our table, because this "gentlemen" wanted our table.... Yes, my husband wears a fanny pack and carries a digital camera..and I wear sunglasses..no we don't wear dark socks with sandals.. but we speak tourist spanish or better, treat natives with respect and don't act like "rich Americans..because we are not) ...and that is much appreciated and we've never been insulted...each trip my husband comes home with a larger vocabulary... he even went to far as to buying a small english to spanish translator..Just tell me where your going Lynn and I'll certainly avoid you...
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 06:05 PM
  #15  
Lynn
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What's the comment about French Canadians? You've only met one that wasn't ugly?! You're upset about my comments regarding overweight Americans and call me a snob. If I am, then you are a reverse-snob. Just the facts Ma'am and I can't help the fact that what I've stated is true (that there are a lot of overweight sloppy Americans). By the way, if you and I were on the same island there would not be a problem on my part as I always keep my thoughts to myself and am usually a very friendly traveler.
 
Mar 11th, 2001, 06:48 PM
  #16  
anonymous
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Hello!! To refer to Locals or Islanders as "natives" is about as ugly as one can get!! And I am very unclear how one can identify one's country by their behavior - that one threw one's clothes off a chair makes them German? Don't suppose you were one who saves chairs on a beach by leaving crap on 'em all day so you can use 'em for 5 minutes? In all your years of traveling, I guess you have never learned to start with the question, "Do you speak English" and if the answer is "no," then attempt to converse in their language. Betcha they'll admit to speaking English quickly but appreicate the un-ugliness of assuming that English is the world's language. Get off the fat middle aged people - there sure are an awful lot of fat young ones and most of 'em are parading around falling out of their thongs - or even thin ones - now that is NOT attractive!
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 04:46 AM
  #17  
jane
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On a recent trip to Latin America, we went on a hike at a very popular park. We saw a large group of German tourists standing under a tree that a monkey was sitting in. A few of them were shaking the tree and several of them picked up sticks and were poking at this poor animal. In the same park we saw a French family smoking cigarettes--on a rain forest trail! There was also a group of Brits who were shaking a different tree to try to get an animal to do something amusing. There were also lots of Americans (all with fanny packs and cameras, and yes, some overweight), but none of them were behaving in any offensive way. I'd rather see an overwieght middle-aged american in plaid bermuda shorts and a hawaiin shirt than an overweight middle-aged European woman in a string bikini (yes, also at the same park).

As one of my former bosses used to say, assholes come in all different colors and origins.
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 04:58 AM
  #18  
mellie
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Sorry if I was p.c incorrect by using the word native or local.. but I'll put it where it happens... The Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico. Colombia...BUT the ugliest people on earth are the French-Canadians..the rudest, unfriendliest, etc. etc. You say hello to them in english or spanish and they put their head down and push right past you...never acknowledging your alive..We have heard stories from the Venezeulans who are involved in tourism whether it's a cab driver or a guide that they do not want to deal with "them'.. The ugly Americans I have run into at all-inclusive resorts I've been to have been the ones that drink themselves into oblivion on free beer..I'm embarassed by that.. and Yes...I do put my towel on a chair when I go into the pool or the ocean..and I expect it to be respected.. When I'm having a conversation with another guest I don't expect to be "shusshed" because some crabby European wants their "space" to sleep daily and expects/demands to have the same exact spot to sleep every a.m.by a pool.. Yes, Ellen, I agree about the European women who go topless..good for them I wish I had the guts.. and yes, I do speak to everybody not just Americans..and I only hope when you get to our age (my husband is over 70 and I'm over 65) that you will grow up and not make judgements about other people.. Many years ago I remember in Lima, Peru saying to an elderly couple that I want to be like them when I get older...Guess what...I'm older and now I've heard people say that to me... So all of you get over that there are people who are overweight and sloppy.. they are alot better than the people who stay home or only go to islands where english is spoken...i.e. Aruba...
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 05:57 AM
  #19  
Ariel
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...and we wonder where racism and discrimination come from?? I hope a lot of you aren't parents...instilling in your children that the overweight, the French Canadians, those dressed funny, etc. are third-rate. Grow up, get your priorities in order and stop being so narrow minded. I'd rather see someone overweight than one who's thin but ravaged by cancer and chemotherapy. If you have your health, your loved ones, and are fortunate enough to travel...count your blessings and stop trying to put others down to boost your own self esteem. Everyone has a right to look and act as they choose; it's called freedom.
 
Mar 12th, 2001, 06:26 AM
  #20  
Dinah
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I think the term Ugly American has just been demonstrated....no further comments necessary.
 

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