Nationality Identification

Jan 9th, 2007, 06:17 AM
  #41  
 
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Many of us grew up believing it was good manners to behave like the people around us. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Additionally, people traveling to a different environment sometimes want to enjoy the local food, wine, entertainment, and dress. It's all part of the experience. If you're traveling to a place known for fashion, such as Paris, you might think it would be fun to learn how to dress like a stylish Parisian.

When I was much younger, there were much larger differences between American dress and European dress (and other manners and customs, for that matter). I remember as a teenager meeting two Italian girls who were visiting the US and comparing styles with them. They said they had to dress far less casually than we did in the US and that their hair always had to be nicely done or they would be social misfits at home. This made me initially hesitant about visiting Italy, wondering whether people would stare at my sloppy hippie style.

In terms of people trying to hide their American identity, I would guess there are far fewer people doing that than there are claiming false identities on internet message boards. It's all a game of dress-up.

Nikki is online now  
Jan 9th, 2007, 06:38 AM
  #42  
 
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I don't think this is a huge issue for most American tourists.
NorthShore is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 07:44 AM
  #43  
 
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I'm smiling at the thought of a planet full of 'undercover' Americans...
nona1 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 07:45 AM
  #44  
 
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I mean in a 'what a funny idea' not a 'what a good idea' way.
nona1 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 07:48 AM
  #45  
 
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nona1 wrote: "I mean in a 'what a funny idea' not a 'what a good idea' way."

Too late. You have shown your hand.
Padraig is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 08:00 AM
  #46  
 
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When my son was preparing for his semester in Europe, he mentioned that he had heard it would be wise to have Canadian stickers on his luggage, rather than US stickers; this was apparently because of terrorist activity, and a common belief that Europe was a staging ground for terrorists. I argued that honesty was the best policy and he compromised by having no stickers. He reported that he freely identified himself as American, and was well received, as I would hope all people would be.

Certainly many nationalities have some loud boorish members, and they are an embarassment to all, not just to their countrymen. But I doubt you can be certain of a person's nationality just by observing their appearance. And just as some posters insist on identifying Europeans as identical, when in fact they have many varieties, some insist on identifying Americans as identical, when we are varied. My wife and I are proof of this, as when we strike up a conversation with strangers in Europe, they often ask if we are British or Canadian; none yet has guessed American, although we freely admit our nationality. And we have never been attacked after our nationality has been made known.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 08:34 AM
  #47  
 
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As mentioned by a previous poster I think many Canadians would resent other nationalities using the Maple Leaf as a flag of convenience.

If there is a need to hide one's nationality then this says volumes about that person.
TorontoSteven is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 08:47 AM
  #48  
 
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I don't like to be identified as a tourist anywhere - national or internationally. I'm from the east coast and when I ventured to San Francisco, I hated thinking "Wow, I probably stick out like a sore thumb" I guess it's all about wanting to fit in even when evne in a different culture - sense of connection.

You got me.
Jaden is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 08:51 AM
  #49  
 
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Did the people in SF think you were Canadian? I thought the SF people dress more or less like the EC people, I can't imagine what the difference would be. Did you notice all the different nationalities that live in SF?
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Jan 9th, 2007, 09:04 AM
  #50  
 
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As an (US) American living in Europe, I don't disguise myself. Everyone hears my accent whether I'm speaking English, German or Swiss German. I just say I grew up near Bill Gates and everyone is happy.

And as for talking about politics, the only people who find this topic disturbing or too intimate are US Americans.
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Jan 9th, 2007, 09:31 AM
  #51  
 
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schuler you are so right, alot of our conversation is political with our friends in France.
My conversation with French strangers at Chez Denise was all about politics, and I got alot of cheerful teasing because it was the week that Cheney had his bad shot!
cigalechanta is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 09:54 AM
  #52  
ira
 
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>...as for talking about politics, the only people who find this topic disturbing or too intimate are US Americans.

>.... a lot of our conversation is political with our friends in France.

It's because either, we in the US take politics too seriously, or Europeans don't take it seriously enough.

ira is online now  
Jan 9th, 2007, 09:59 AM
  #53  
 
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I might as well post this one more time.

BRITS are the rudest, worst behaved and least adventurous holidaymakers in the world - and Germans the best.

Tourist offices placed us (Great Britain) at the bottom of 24 countries, a survey said yesterday.

In contrast those sunbed bandits from Germany ranked highest for behaviour and their attempts to speak the local language. Dermot Halpin, boss of online travel service Expedia which conducted the survey, said: "Much as it pains me to say it, the Germans deserve the best sunbeds.

"British holidaymakers are some of the most widely travelled in the world. But that doesn't mean we're good at it." Expedia questioned tourist offices in 17 popular destinations worldwide. Britons were worst for rudeness, followed by Russians and Canadians.

They were also worst for their behaviour, learning the language and enthusiasm to try local delicacies.

Next on the bottom of the list were the Israelis, Irish and Indians. At the top, the Germans were followed by Americans, Japanese, Italians and French.

Americans were the most polite and Italians the most adventurous eaters.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 10:24 AM
  #54  
 
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Rufus - I know you have posted this before but did this indeed come out again YESTERDAY?
<<Tourist offices placed us (Great Britain) at the bottom of 24 countries, a survey said yesterday.>>
I know that the original survey was four and a half years ago. At the time many of the rebuttals refuted the survey in light of the times - 9/11 and few Americans traveling and being careful when they did, Britain and reputation of soccer hooliganism, Russia just beginning to emerge on the tourist front, etc.
If this is that same report from 2002 I think it needs to be shelved as old news, sadly outdated and probably flawed .
robjame is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 10:40 AM
  #55  
 
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I'm more embarrassed by those of my fellow Yanks who attempt to masquerade as some other nationality, out of fear of being subjected to what has been described here as 'The Conversation', than by the occasional boorish Ugly American. The latter are obnoxious but the former are contemptible.

Grow some cojones, Americans, and show a little pride in yourselves. If, when you're travelling, someone gives you grief for your nationality, smile, say you're sorry that he/she feels that way, and move on. Why waste time with the likes of them? There are plenty of folks in whatever country you're visiting who may dislike the United States government, but who generally like Americans.
RedStater is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 11:02 AM
  #56  
 
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<<Tourist offices placed us (Great Britain) at the bottom of 24 countries, a survey said yesterday.>>

Old news it might be, Rob, but I think it's still valid.

I spent a little time in Paris and in SW France this summer past. Most of the local people I met (and being somewhat francophonic, that would be quite a few) seemed relieved to discover that I wasn't 'un anglais'. This is perhaps because we damYankees seem to be able to find our way home, while the 'Dordogneshire' is becoming heavily colonized by Brits, to the displeasure of almost every local I talked to.

In Paris I saw quite few obnoxious tourists, and they were, to a man, British.

I'm aware that a few anecdotes do not evidence make but that's how national reputations seem to get started, isn't it?
RedStater is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 11:08 AM
  #57  
 
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And I never met a Canadian pretending to be American.
Curt is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 11:22 AM
  #58  
 
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My husband and I had a great time in Germany with people trying to place us.

I am of German and Polish ancestry, among other things, but those seem to show through the strongest. I had several people speak to me in German right off only to find out I was American as soon as I openned my mouth.

My husband is Mexican-American, but it seems that Mexican is not the first thing that pops into most European's heads when they see him. When he was by himself, he was asked if he was Turkish, Spanish, Italian, Moroccan, American. When we were together most people guessed American, Spanish, or Italian (I've got brown curly hair and dark eyes, so I could see the Italian). It was fun.

When we told people we were Americans, we didn't get any negative responses. We did get a couple comments about our president, but we brushed the comments off with a response along the lines of "Most Americans don't like him either, but what can you do?" and went on to other subjects. We are also from California and we had several conversations with people who had been here on vacation. That was a lot of fun too.
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Jan 9th, 2007, 11:37 AM
  #59  
 
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<<And I never met a Canadian pretending to be American.>> Interesting Curt. Where we winter in Florida there are attempts by Canadians to "masquerade" as Americans. Some remove the front license plates of their cars and replace them with SFU or Go Gators plates. Others fly American flags from their residences. Others wear US university shirts. Others have "Support the Troops" logos on their cars.
Admittedly their motivation may be different from those Americans sporting Maple Leafs on backpacks in Europe.
robjame is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 11:43 AM
  #60  
 
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In all my travels, I haven't noticed any nationality is ruder or less rude than any other - the rudest people I've encountered are those that have gone to another country physically, but never left their own mentally. You know the ones I'm talking about - the people sitting outside the Colosseum in Rome complaining that they just can't get a good pizza anywhere in Italy because it's not the same as the Pizza Hut pizza down the street from their house, or that French waiters are *so* rude because you have to ask them for the bill at the end of a meal. Nationality has nothing to do with it - mindset does.
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