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In Which Country were you helped the most?

In Which Country were you helped the most?

May 6th, 2017, 06:49 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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In Which Country were you helped the most?

Russia - Yes, Russia. Surpise? We had wonderful help in Moscow and St. Petersburg from locals and even the female weightlifter-like guard in the Metro in St. Petersburg who went out of her way to help me, twice. Problems with language, but soooo willing to be of help.

Paris - Lovely gentleman - dressed immaculately - coming over to us when we were looking lost and giving us directions via gestures.
OTOH - Awful waitress in Paris who insisted I hadn't paid my bill when I had earlier because of her insistence that I pay it BEFORE I got my tea. She was nasty, nasty, nasty. I continued to refuse to pay (again) and she finally let me leave after making me go through the garbage to "retrieve" the receipt.
Dianedancer is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 07:20 AM
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Tokyo. Whenever we looked even the slightest bit lost, some lovely young person would ask if we needed help. We were told about this beforehand -- it seems they all study English in school and are happy to find any opportunity to use their new language skills IRL! They were all unfailingly polite and very helpful.

My only negative experience was in France, in Nice, but it was my own fault. I forgot the 'rule' about not handling things in shops without the sales clerk's help. Without thinking, I picked up a pepper grinder. The lady was on me like white on rice in about a squillionth of a second and she was none too pleased with me. I realized right away what I'd done and apologized. She could have been more pleasant but it really was my fault.
goddesstogo is online now  
May 6th, 2017, 08:01 AM
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In Italy, people are always nice, though I did get lectured by an old lady in black for riding my bike over a zebra crossing. (the fact the crossing was on the bike path did not seem odd to her but hey... we've all had a bad day).

People have gone out of the way to sort out my mistakes, I've had little old men lead me to urban escalators that I could not "see", people move paperwork from office to office for me without payment, buses stop to tell me where to go (looking lost by the side of the road) it just goes on. A little Italian helps though.
bilboburgler is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 08:05 AM
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China - anyone who spoke English went way out of their way to be helpful. South Korea, ditto. Paris seems to have improved considerably since my first visit in 1970.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 08:11 AM
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Why are you asking the question?

I find people helpful everywhere pretty much in equal proportion. There are however some factors that influence how easily you get help.

Your attitude as a traveller. There is a reason why the term "Ugly American" exists and some people do display that kind of behaviour.

Where you are. Generally speaking, the more tourists a place gets, the less patience locals have with them. Paris waiters for example are notorious for their attitude. The question is why? The answer is, they probably get 90% of their hassle from tourists rather than locals. They're just sick of tourists and act accordingly.

The type of help people expect. I recall being in a train station once as a tourist myself and having another tourist come up to me and ask how to buy a ticket from the machine. The machine had instructions clearly printed in 4 languages including English. I pointed that out to the person. She then asked me if I could help her buy the ticket. HUH? So OK, I helped her follow the instructions and she got her ticket. She then asked me, where to go to catch her train. The platform number was clearly printed on the ticket. There were large overhead signs, pointing which way to go to the various platforms. OK, I pointed to the sign that indicated which way to go to her platform. She then asked me if I could walk with her to the platform. Are you getting the picture?

On another occasion, on an island where I happened to be living at the time, I saw a young couple standing looking at a map of the island. I asked them if they needed directions. They asked if I could tell them what there was to see and do on the island. I wondered why they were on the island if they didn't know what they were there to see and do. But OK, I listed off a half dozen places on the island that most tourists visited and gave a one or two sentence description of each. Then they told me they had 3 hours before they had to be back on their cruise ship. At that point, I was pretty much ready to tell them they were idiots wasting my time.

In general, I would say at least 80% of people will help a traveller who needs help. In general, whenever I read about a traveller complaining they couldn't get help or were treated badly, I would say about 80% of them got just what they deserved.
Dogeared is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 08:34 AM
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I sort of agree with above, but don't think it's always getting what they deserved. I just think people sometimes have unrealistic expectations or want people to act all friendly and chatty with tourists when they are just being normal and not like they want some new best friends.


I find this a very odd statement, for example. What difference does it make what he was dressed like. Would it not have been a good experience if he wasn't dressed "immaculately" but was a street person or just an average young person dressed casually? And in fact, I find most people all over the world will give people directions when needed, I don't find this remotely extraordinary. And if the remark is how you didn't have to ask for them, I have found a lot of people want to give me directions even when I don't want them to, people like to do that for some reason. I know they are trying to be helpful but sometimes it is intrusive (ie, assuming you need help or directions just because you are looking at a metro map, which I do even when at home).
Christina is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 08:38 AM
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Portugal, no contest. Locals signaled to us to cut in line in front of them at post office, getting on tram, at restaurants, on and on, someone local did something special for us every day we were in that lovely country.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 10:04 AM
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Christina - Yes, my point was that I didn't even have to ask. The fact that the gentleman was immaculately dressed has stayed with me too. He was so debonair. Even had a silver tipped cane. My fond memory is based on the visual (most people are not dressed in a dapper way and it was really nice to see) and the help, and our wonderful connection without words. So excuse me for describing him!

I give people help all the time here in NYC.

One experience was funny and also perhaps sad. I saw a young man looking at his phone for directions - I could see a map. He also was glancing all around. So I asked if I could help him. He said "No" and pointed to his phone. Yup. More interested in getting information from his phone than from a real person (and a New Yorker at that).
Dianedancer is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 10:19 AM
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IME it is impossible to generalise - one of my first memories of travelling abroad was in France where as we were leaving a hotel in Reims, the hotelier chased after my parents claiming that they had stolen some towels. OTOH overall I've found french people very friendly and obliging, including complete strangers offering to help us find our way on many occasions, not withstanding the way in which "je suis desolé" can be uttered so as to mean the exact opposite.

The fact is that most countries have roughly equal numbers of friendly and unfriendly people. it may be that in big cities people are less patient with tourists - I can remember being very brusque with pedestrians who were sauntering along Oxford street getting in my way, or who were standing on the wrong side of the tube escalators. But overall I think that we are all pretty much the same.
annhig is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 10:39 AM
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This always depends on individual people and individual situations. Such generalizations lead absolutely nowhere.
quokka is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 10:49 AM
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USA. I was young and broke and a lot of people opened their house for me. I remember fondly an old couple (must have been my age now) who took me to their home in Seattle and took me the next day to see the salmons going upriver.
Also the diabetic who insisted of giving one key of his combo in LA in case I had to come back and I could eat his cake because he always had one in case.

Cuba. Everybody I met there was friendly.

Turkey. The guy who took a pic of my daughter because she had blue eyes.

Crete. The waiter in this touristy restaurant who took our 3 years d daughter to dance with him.

Greece. The old lady owner of a restaurant who chastised us when we were telling our kids to be quiet. 'It is normal for kids to create chaos'.

Paris. The waitress who apologised she could not seat us and came back when we left saying she had found a way if we could wait 35 minutes

Denmark. The staff at the hotel who found me a tiny room that fit my budget and helped me book trains when I had landed at the wrong airport.

Egypt. The guys who helped us find our son who had disappeared.

Japan the guy who missed her train to take tithe right track

Morocco. The guy who would give me food in my room when I was sunburnt.

Romania. The taxi driver who helped me catch my plane when I had made a mistake with the time.

Paris. The taxi driver whom I had to tell I would not mind if I missed my plane and no it wasn't his fault the highway was totally blocked

Bruxelles. The 3 arabs who helped me push my car when I was out of gas and my countrymen were shouting I should call a tow truck.

China. The guy who offered me awful moi cakes because he likes me because I laugh and a guy who laughs when doing business is a good guy.

US again. My to become friend Barry who travelled 6000 miles with a bottle of Zinfandel because I had said I liked it.

More to come I guess.
Now I can also have anecdotes of people who pissedme off but I have forgotten most of these.
WoinParis is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 10:53 AM
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Of course Annhig !

Bloody British cannot be trusted - we call you 'la perfide Albion' for a good reason !

That guy knew you would eventually brexit when your lot had stolen enough towels ;-)
WoinParis is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 10:58 AM
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I remember the little old lady with her little dog. We had just come up in the funicular at Montmartre and asked her where Montmartre was. (Yes, clueless.) She pointed in the direction of Place du Tertre and then kept saying 'Sacre Coeur' and pointing to the church. It was winter and my friend was wearing his army camo jacket and it was well after dark.
I thought she was very kind to clueless strangers.

I have had many encounters with helpful strangers. Mostly is Paris.
gomiki is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 11:01 AM
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U.K. My colleagues who went to great length to please me when I was in a very difficult situation.

UK every gentleman or lady we stopped for help. Every one of them !

Germany. At least the Lufthansa guy who went far beyond his job to help me when I had fallen asleep in front if the gate and missed my plane.

Guadeloupe. The car renter who exchanged cars when I had filled with fuel instead of gas. Or the other round. And even refunded my bill fir the fuel saying it was his mistake since he had not explained it well enough.

Saint Martin. The couple who helped us every time with providing kayaks or repairing things our kid had broken.

Paris. ThAt mother and son who put me on the right oath when I was drunk after a quizz at the green linnet.

WoinParis is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 11:01 AM
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Well, there was the guy who guided us by walking slowly in front of our car after we'd almost driven into a market place in Florence.

I think as travelers we've all had some bad experiences and some good experiences and it's nice that for most people, the good ones seem to outweigh the bad ones.

I think the OP's question was straightforward and didn't indicate any bias. So she mentioned that the nice guy was well dressed? I mentioned that the helpful people in Tokyo were young and nobody took me to task for it implying that I had something against old people.

We remember what we remember and almost always there's a visual attached to it. I certainly remember that the man who tried to pickpocket my SO in Lisbon was well-dressed. Are all pickpocketers well-dressed? Of course not. It means nothing one way or the other so mentioning it is just part of the OP's visual memory bank.
goddesstogo is online now  
May 6th, 2017, 12:05 PM
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In recent memory, probably Kenya and Mexico, although as noted above it's impossible to generalize.

I was just thinking about how I got lost a few times walking in the Amalfi Coast last summer and had the most helpful, warmest people directing me. I do speak some Italian, so our encounters were all conducted in that language (if you can call what I speak Italian!). But I was surprised at the friendliness of the people, given that the area is choked with tourists and this was summertime. A few of the little old ladies talked to me for a long, long time. And then buying tickets for a concert at Villa Rufolo, the women working in the box office were extremely helpful, giving me tips about where the best seats for the money were, joking around too.

Years ago, a server in Paris complimented me on my execrable attempts at French, which was an unspeakably charitable thing for her to do. In think she just meant, "Thanks for trying, madam."
Leely2 is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 01:40 PM
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>> ThAt mother and son who put me on the right oath

I wonder what did they make you pledge to?
FuryFluffy is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 03:21 PM
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Expect for a couple of times a taxi driver tried to rip me off, I have mostly had good
experiences .

Madrid. I got my long skirt caught in my pantyhose (at the back ) and walked down the street without noticing ; a women walking behind me said something...I did not get it , so she came over and simply pulled my skirt down.

Russia.,I was lost in the suburbs of St. Petersburg and Moscow
a couple of times....people went out of their way to show me where to go.
danon is online now  
May 6th, 2017, 05:42 PM
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Thanks goddesstogo!!
Dianedancer is offline  
May 6th, 2017, 06:55 PM
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The young guy in Paris who saw me pause at the bottom of long train stairs, suitcase in hand. He didn't speak English but pointed and signaled that he'd carry it for me up the stairs. I am ashamed to admit I was hesitant- he may have been a thief- but I was tired enough to risk it.

The elderly lady in California, in jeans and tshirt and bright lipstick, just getting her mail, who jumped into her car and led me out of the back roads I'd gotten lost on.

The desk clerk in Dresden who drove me to a pharmacy late at night and then didn't even blink when he had to ask the pharmacist for tampons in German.

The older business man in Germany who held the train door for me and answered my question pleasantly. Yes, not much, but he'd just had a difficult encounter with an American family who even I would call Ugly Americans. And I did not really think that caricature exists until I met them!

I think, though, people are generally willing to help. I've had great and terrible service in every city I've been to, and I've met friendly locals and hostile locals in all of them. I've also (mostly) met great tourists in my home town. I've met great and terrible fellow tourists in hostels...and the great really do outnumber the horrible.
marvelousmouse is online now  

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