just stay home!!

Old Sep 8th, 2001, 03:25 AM
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just stay home!!

I have a question that I am really intersted in receiving responses to. My wife and I just returned from 3 weeks in Italy--a trip that we had been looking forward to forever. We met some really great people on our trip and brought home some wonderful memeories. My questions is this--we met more than several fellow travelers (all Americans, coincidence?) who just could not stop complaining. The hotels were not the same, the food was different than at home, (what no Olve Garden?)couldn't find a to-go cup for the cappuccino, too many stairs, you name it, we heard it. By the end of our trip we were definitely curious: why if you can't appreciate or don't want to experience differences in other countries/cultures, would you ever leave the States?
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 07:20 AM
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People that are not flexible and that don't have open minds can be miserable on vacation in Europe. Although they know that the venues are old, they may not realize that the steps are narrow, and the venues have not been modernized to add elevators. The pace is also different in Europe. If you're going to make a trip to Europe you have to be open for new experiences.

Some are better off vacationing in the US or Canada, or going to resorts in the Carribean or Mexico.

Why would you even go to Europe if it was like being in the US? Makes no sense.

Old Sep 8th, 2001, 07:31 AM
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I agree! Never understood why travelers expect their destinations out of the US to be the same as home. We used to frequently travel to Mexico and I can't count the times I heard how dirty it was and how they couldn't stand the poverty. I decided if you look for dirt you most certainly will find it (even at home), and if you don't frequent the slums in your own city, maybe you're seeing poverty first hand for the first time.

Language differences seem to bring out the worst in people as well and their inability to fathom why everyone doesn't speak English for their convenience.

We would gladly take this type travelers' tickets to Europe, go for them and save them the anguish of the trip!


Old Sep 8th, 2001, 07:56 AM
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The American 'attitude'.
I live in South Florida now. Except for a major catastrophe or event very few news articles even mention areas out of South Florida let alone other parts of the world.
A couple of years ago we were in Paris and shared a cab with a girl (appeared to be a student) who was the first in her family to travel out of the US. She promised to visit the Eiffel tower and report back. At least she had the nerve.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 09:45 AM
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I wonder if you only meet Americans with these problems because you yourself are not mixing. Perhaps this is more about your own frame of mind at the time. I can tell you stories of Canadians in Scotland who brought their own bacon refusing to taste the wonderful meats of the U.K, Germans who complained that "Gerrmon bread was betta" than the wonderful brown bread of Ireland, British friends who have visited me in Hawaii only to point out every third world oddity and remark how tacky America is. Europeans who without invitation have told me to my face they have no interest in visiting my country. I just would not do any of this. It is so apparent that you just understand that some people have a very hard time with change. I think you get into trouble when you have higher expectations of people.

I think Americans may have been spotted for these attitudes because our economy allows for more of (working and middle class) us to travel in greater numbers. Believe me when we are not getting this label the Germans are because they also move in numbers. I once saw a large group of drunken Germans marching behind a Bavarian flag in the Latin quarter of Paris. I am sure a more sophisticated group would not have behaved this way. I was shocked at this as a college student now I realize that there are just so many different people out there who cares unless someone is being deliberately cruel. I don't care that is why I just ignore the European football bars that throng with loud drunk Irish, British football fans every time a match is broadcast, to each his own you can’t control this.

I do care when I am inappropriately reproached by a European who has a preconceived idea of what my intentions/thoughts are. This is something that I need to work on. Some are just so presumptuous and hostile from the minute they hear my accent(never in Italy,Greece,Spain thank God!!!). If they are not hostile they can sometimes have an expectation of limited knowledge etc…If you have spent any great amount of time in Britain, France, Germany you know what I mean here. In this scenario watch out because I will turn from accepting open to annihilator. Something I know I need to change. Don't want to go into detail here. I just think as in the U.S. there are Europeans who grow weary of foreigner and they want to throw you into the same boat as every polyester wearing,camera toting American they come across. I live in NYC have traveled through out Europe, Middle East and Asia extensively, put me on that boat and you can put yourself in a small wooden box pitched into the ground . I guess I am always so surprised, at home I think you identify who simple people are and then you just don't expect much more. In Europe, I just have a harder time doing this unless I know the person has worked and or lived abroad as I have. This is something that walks across class lines and is really about how smart and open a person is.

So after all this Bill my point to you is you cannot control these Americans you keep bumping into. I largely suspect that if you where in a different more positive frame of mind you would not be meeting these people. I rarely meet these people and I have been traveling for 18 years. I am usually excited and hang with other people who are equally excited, interested in trying new food, exploring ect…. Just something to think about…. The next time you meet these people loose them. Can’t understand why you would stay with them. I should also think a kind word would lift their frenzy and let them see how they are ruining their own day.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 09:58 AM
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Bill, this is the sort of post that always turns into a brawl -- please think twice before you ask a "curious" question -- they always draw fire. For example, it's pretty certain that most people who post here are not like those you encountered, but there is a definite context of one-upmanship here as to who is the most savvy and best sort of traveler. Everyone likes to feel superior to Those Awful Other People I've Seen, and all too often, Those Awful Other People are characterized as Americans.

Some people aren't ready for what will be different and what will be the same when they travel. They probably expect the scenery to change but the infrastructure ("a restaurant is a restaurant everywhere, right?") to be the same. Some people just can't deal with the differences and lose both their bearings and their good behavior.

If they feel unsettled, sometimes they lash out and try to brow-beat the new environment into something where they don't feel so insecure and klutzy.

All kinds of reasons for this -- use your imagination about how you would react in a completely unexpectedly unfamiliar environment where none of your usual habits would work. You're probably sure you'd "go with the flow" wherever you are, and maybe you would. But maybe you wouldn't, esp. if you were older, less sophisticated, short of money, your feet hurt, your health was bad, etc.

Much as I adore traveling, there are moments when even I would like about 24 hrs. back in my own bed with my own laundry, my own food, etc., and then go back for more.

Old Sep 8th, 2001, 10:23 AM
russ i
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One thing I had always enjoyed in Italy and France is that the milk served with the coffee is usually heated first, so as to not make the coffee cold. It never occured to me that this could be a bad thing, so I was amused when I heard a tourist in a cafe in Siena say, "Why do they always heat the milk here? I like it to cool off my coffee."
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 10:48 AM
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Bill -

Jack touched on an important point. These types of posts tend to smack of an "i'm so worldly and adventurous because I enjoyed Europe" attitude. It also sounds like a universal put down of U.S. travel.The people you are describing probably complain about all sorts of things - no matter where they are. (Were you on some sort of tour?) Furthermore, I don't necessarily agree with the "traveling in Europe is so much more challenging than U.S. travel, and only a few of us can handle it." I found Italy to be a VERY easy county to travel to/live in, even when I first arrived and barely spoke a word of Italian. I have found other parts of the world, including parts of the U.S. (e.g. backcountry of some of our National Parks) to be more challenging than touring the most popular European destinations. I guess everything's relative.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 10:50 AM
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Russ - you were "amused" by someone liking something different than you? How open minded of you.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 11:17 AM
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Dear ihate...

Yes, I was amused at myself for not realizing that some people might prefer their milk cold. Now, however, my eyes have been opened to the entire range of milk temperature options.

P.S. Hate isn't healthy.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 11:19 AM
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I must agree with several other posters, that his sort of complaining isn't only an American thing. Believe me, it is universal.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 12:01 PM
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Funny as it may seem, I suspect some people tend to just not realize that a different country is going to have different customs than what they're used to at home. Perhaps Europeans -- since they live in close proximity to more countries than Americans -- are better at understanding this.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 12:14 PM
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When I travel I expect things to be different, but sometimes it is surprising exactly WHAT is different. It also may just be a matter of the way Bill interpreted the behavior of the other American tourists. Perhaps someone wanted a cup of coffee to go and was surprised when he couldn’t get it or someone else said, “Boy I’m tired after walking up all those steps!” Sometimes you fine what you are looking for. Bill of course is the exception, because he would never complain.

IMO, Bill is a troll trying to stir up some heated conversation about how rude and narrow-minded Americans are… Now there’s a topic that doesn’t get enough coverage.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 12:16 PM
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Just wanted to clarify, that last comment was said with a little bit of sarcasm. I don't want to start any arguments.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 12:22 PM
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Let's face it - people love to complain. Like I say: there's a reason why dinosaurs went extinct - they couldn't adapt. Do yourself a favor - the next time you run into someone complaining - run the other way. These people are like emotional black holes. Life is too fleeting to spend around miserable people who like to be miserable.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 12:59 PM
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We're missing a great business opportunity here! More about that in a minute.

Fellow Americans, let's not be so hard on ourselves. All kinds of animosities and wariness of "strange" "foreign" customs are as common among many Europeans as Americans. See the way (some) Germans torture Turks. See the way (some) French discriminate agains Algerians. See the way (many) Swiss mistrust the folks who live in the next valley over from theirs.

Resistance to change, fear of the strange ... universal human traits. Held by virtually all of us, on all continents, to one degree or another.

That said, how about that business opportunity?

Who would like to join the new company, Proxy Travelers?

Our mission? To travel for those who have succeeded in life well enough to be able to afford a prestigious trip to Europe, but for one reason or another haven't the stomach to bear two weeks in a totally strange setting with people who, gulp, sound different and actually eat strange things like, gulp gulp, baby eels.

Each would be traveler will be presented with souvenirs for relatives, VHS sights and sounds from the Proxy Traveler's trip to Europe, a photo album of memories, and two bottles of Tums to overcome those tummy problems just thinking about all that foreign food the proxy traveler ate.

With careful mangagement, we can make Proxy Travel truly affordable, charging only actual cost plus 35% for the trip, if business class travel is arranged. A 15% reduction will be permitted if the trip is taken in first class. If economy class travel is required then a nominal 30% surcharge will apply.

Hotels shall be at least four star, although three star will be permitted for an extra $50 (per person) per night.

I'll be filing the required registration statement with the SEC on Monday. Let me know if you wish to become a charter shareholder by the end of the day on Sunday.

Chairman Ed
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 02:46 PM
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Old Sep 8th, 2001, 03:23 PM
LookInThe Mirror
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You just returned from Italy and THIS is what you have to share in a travel forum? Congratulations - a single trip to tourist-friendly Italy has turned you into (if you already weren't) a pompous, self-appointed "wordly" Fodorite. Using you own logic, if all you want to do is complain about the negative aspect of your trip, perhaps YOU'RE the one who should "stay home", i.e., out of the forum.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 03:40 PM
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Sign me up, Ed!
I'll be happy to travel anywhere in the UK, Holland and/or Germany for the poor (wealthy) slobs.
Old Sep 8th, 2001, 05:54 PM
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Oh,come now Bill, complaining is part of the fun. What are you doing now, if not complaining? Your trip would be ruined if you hadn't met such people, who are necessary to make the rest of us feel worldly wise.

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