On looking "American"

Jul 10th, 2001, 10:48 PM
  #21  
nospam
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Last line should have read, "I am ashamed of the stereotypes SOME American tourists perpetuate."
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 12:35 AM
  #22  
William
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I'm an American who has lived in England for almost 15 years now. I prefer it here in many ways, but weighing all the pros and cons, I'd say there's nothing like being on your own turf. It means more than you ever realize before you emigrate.

Your own country might be crappy, but it's YOUR OWN!"
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 04:00 AM
  #23  
Dave
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If the grass is really greener, you'd better not wear white sneakers - those grass stains are impossible to remove.
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 06:26 AM
  #24  
Ralph Lauren
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There is only one way to avoid dressing/looking like an American. Take nothing in your suitcase except underwear. Wear one set of clothes on the plane. As soon as you land head to the nearest clothing store and buy a whole new wardrobe. Then head to the shoe shop and buy a couple pairs of shoes. Then over to the hairdresser for a new do. If you wear glasses then visit the optical shop and get some nice Euro style frames and lenses. Finally, make sure that your accessories have the Euro look as well (watch, rings, ear rings, etc)..if not then buy all new. Now, you should have the Euro look. Just remember to never speak (pretend that you are mute) so that no one can ever hear your obvious American accent. There now you will fit in and no one will ever, ever know that you are a low life scum sucking American tourist.....
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 09:07 AM
  #25  
anon
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Response to wanderlust: Then please hold your tongue about your fashion choices regarding shoes, clothes, etc. People who take time to type posts about their clothes and how special it makes them feel must have personalities that are like black holes - look at me, notice me, want me, admire me. By your mid 20's you should have a certain amount of common sense when it comes to dress - if you have to go on and on about it then you never will blend in - even if wearing black from head to toe. Find something worth giving time and attention to - fashion is for simple minded, vacuous individuals. People who talk about fashion are more lame than people who talk about politics.
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 10:15 AM
  #26  
John
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Just a question - here you are at the colleseum in Rome standing amongst several hundred tourists, most of whom are Americans and the temperature is in the upper eighties - you are dressed like a "local" in dark pants, dark shirt, heavy leather shoes with cool sunglasses - everyone else is in shorts, light sport shirt and white tennis shoes (maybe cool sunglasses) - who do you think sticks out??????
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 10:33 AM
  #27  
Capo
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If I saw Sophia Loren walk close by, I might stick out. :~)
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 10:47 AM
  #28  
phil
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To NoSpam:
Yes Americans do want a piece of home when they travel and don't always think about where they are. (Which I think is unfortunate and frankly, a waste of money.)
However, that is human nature as European's and Japanese act the same way. For example, in the Canary Islands I saw plenty of restaurans that catered to the national taste of the visitors, English pubs, German food, etc and
Japanese eating Japanese food in Hawaii and in NY.
Other tourists, Americans included, want to enjoy the local culture and enjoy the difference. The contrast between the two types is one of personality, not national origin.

If you think I'm mistaken, go to Disney World and count the Brits in "Football Jersey's."
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 11:05 AM
  #29  
Capo
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Monty Python's Eric Idle does a very funny bit poking fun at British people on vacation.

Idle's character (ranting to a travel agent about package tours)...

"Yes, you're quite right, I'm fed up with being treated like a sheep, I mean what's the point of going abroad if you're just another tourist carted round in buses, surrounded by sweaty mindless oafs from Kettering and Boventry...in their cloth caps and their cardigans and their transistor radios and their 'Sunday Mirrors', complaining about the tea, 'Oh they don't make it properly here do they not like at home' stopping at Majorcan bodegas, selling fish and chips and Watney's Red Barrel and calamares and two veg...and sitting in their cotton sun frocks squirting Timothy White's suncream all over their puffy raw swollen purulent flesh...cos they overdid it on the first day'! And being herded into endless Hotel Miramars and Bellevueses and Bontinentals...with their modern international luxury roomettes and draft Red Barrel and swimmingpools...full of fat German businessmen pretending they're acrobats, forming pyramids and frightening the children and barging in the queues and if you're not at your table spot on seven you miss the bowl of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup,...the first item on the menu of International Cuisine,...and once a week there's an excursion to the local Roman ruins to buy cherryade and melted ice cream...and bleedin' Watney's Red Barrel, and one evening you visit the so-called typical restaurant with local colour...and atmosphere and you sit next to a party of people from Rhyl who keeps singing 'Torremolinos, Torremolinos', and complaining about the food, 'It's so greasy here isn't it!' and you get cornered by some drunken greengrocer from Luton with an Instamatic and Dr Scholl sandals and Tuesday's 'Daily Express' and he drones on and on and on about how Mr. Smith should be running this country and how many languages Enoch Powell can speak and then he throws up all over the Cuba Libres...and sending tinted postcards of places they don't realise they haven't even visited, 'to all...at number 22, weather wonderful...our room is marked with an "X". Food very greasy but we found a charming little place hidden away in the back streets, where they serve Watney's Red Barrel and cheese and...
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 02:42 PM
  #30  
Carla
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Thank you, Capo for Eric's rant -- I've been wanting a written copy of it for years; it's priceless!
As for the dress issue, I'm surprised, I don't think you can generalise, really. I've seen plenty of German tourists in shorts and loud tee-shirts and sneakers, and often can't tell an American until they open their mouths.
If you want to feel disoriented, try the experience of having everyone take you for the wrong nationality. I've travelled in Europe for years, and been greeted in French (which I hardly speak) in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. This year I finally got to Paris, and for four days people were asking me directions, in halting or fluent French. I dress plainly, am not fashionable, am definitely American, so I find this mystifying and funny. You never can tell.
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 02:53 PM
  #31  
Capo
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You're very welcome, Carla. Always nice to meet another Monty Python aficonado!

I actually condensed the skit, "Travel Agent", a bit. If you're interested, here it is in its glorious entirety...

http://www.ibras.dk/montypython/finalripoff.htm#Travel
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 02:55 PM
  #32  
xxx
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Carla- A co-worker of mine appearantly looks British to Irish eyes. He is often snubbed only to recieve profuse appologies when he starts to speak with his heavy Southern drawl!
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 07:22 PM
  #33  
puttingonairs
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Mark -

I read your message and you sound as if you have your own airs to contend with. I enjoy reading info on this board for what it is meant to be -helpful.
 
Jul 11th, 2001, 10:58 PM
  #34  
kalena
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To nospam1: I agree! Our good French friends who we did a home exchange with a few years ago told us ... "you have the future, we are weighed down with the past". This last trip to France made it very clear.

As Elvira said on another thread, we Americans *smile*. And for good reason. We are happy. We tolerate a broader range human behavior than many europeans, particularly the "sophisticated" French, who can't seem to get past their class and ethnic issues. With them, things have to be *just so*. Try travelling there with two teen age boys!

As an aside, T & I noticed that the French don't do much with their teen-age children. We didn't see families with teens out together in Paris. A few in the country, but it was unusual. As you might imagine, our little family pod was the subject of much attention.

To nospam2: I don't quite relate to the stereotype of the demanding Americans abroad, although I am sure there are examples of that kind of behavior. I just didn't see it. The Americans I saw in Paris were trying to blend in as much as possible. I even overheard a young woman tell her friend at an open market, "well, o.k., then. I'll be quiet". Talk about having to adjust to an external set of expectations to just be able to walk throught a market! It was funny, that afternoon I was mistaken for a French "du sud" because I made a few hand gestures when it started to rain. That was too funny.

Many nationalities can and do display loutish behavior. It's unfortunate that to a great degree, Americans are tagged as the worst examples.

We have SO much to be proud of. I came back happy with the memories, and very glad to be back in the land of Aloha.


 
Jul 12th, 2001, 08:43 AM
  #35  
Capo
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This is a bit of a tangent...

There was an article in this past Sunday's Seattle Times (written by Ray Moseley of the Chicago Tribune) entitled "WHO rates France's health system No. 1"

It notes...

The World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva rates national health systems by a variety of criteria, and on all scales France is among the world's leaders. In overall performance - relating achievement to expenditure - France ranks No. 1 in the world, the U.S. 37th. All 15 nations of the European Union, with similar systems, fare better than the U.S. in the WHO ratings - even Britain, with its chronically underfunded system.
 
Jul 12th, 2001, 10:46 AM
  #36  
j
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"we Americans *smile*. And for good reason. We are happy. We tolerate a broader range human behavior than many europeans"

Come on! This is bullsh*t talk. I don't think you even believe this.
 
Jul 12th, 2001, 01:56 PM
  #37  
kalena
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C'mon j: At least I sign my name. I was born in Europe. I lived abroad for most of my life, and studied in France and Italy as a college student. I did graduate work in European Languages, and have returned to Europe every few years or so. Nevetheless, I believe in everything I said. Granted there are a LOT of regional differences within the USA, but I have never been prouder of being an American than after this last trip.
 
Jul 12th, 2001, 02:14 PM
  #38  
Capo
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Kalena, I respect your perspective, since you've spent a lot more time in Europe than I have but, nevertheless, I disagree with your assertion that Americans "tolerate a broader range [of] human behavior than many europeans".

Yes, we Americans have a lot to be proud of. But I also think that pride can, and does, slide into arrogance.
 
Jul 12th, 2001, 02:24 PM
  #39  
noname
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It is not about the clothes or the pickpockets--it's about assuming things about us-It kind of annoyed me that they assumed I wanted a coke with dinner--My father is German and I will always be American-- but I like water with gas!!-I didn't like being pointed at and being called American in a snide way in Italy by some old man--I don't do that to vistors here.I know how they did it--deductive reasoning!! I was in a tourist town but I didn't dress a dorky like the German tourists,I didn't dress like a Brit and I was obviously not Italian in syle or attitude. However a classy Italian lady approached me outside the laundry and asked me directions in Italian so .. You can change you clothes but sometimes not your looks and attitude-- so learn the language(Cuss words) and really shock them. And just remember when you see a German tourist with those short shorts and white legs and dorky Adidas shoes not to make fun of them so they can hear!!
 
Jul 12th, 2001, 05:00 PM
  #40  
kalena
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Right on, noname. It's the assumptions and snide comments that get a little tiring. We heard them too, even though we were given high marks for *la politesse."

Our very American looking but well behaved teen age boys were the definite give-away. And sad to say, they were a bit put off, because they do not treat visitors to our state that way.

On the plus side, we visited the Norman Invasion Beaches on June 6, the anniversary of the invasion. There were many Americans there on that date, and of course, the experience was deeply moving. Many French people also came on that day to pay their respects. Their quiet acknowledgement and respect was genuine and quite touching.
 

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