Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Quick question for a paper... any help would be great.

Quick question for a paper... any help would be great.

May 7th, 1999, 11:23 AM
  #21  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 11:23 AM
  #22  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 11:24 AM
  #23  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 11:24 AM
  #24  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 11:24 AM
  #25  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 11:24 AM
  #26  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 11:25 AM
  #27  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 12:15 PM
  #28  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 12:15 PM
  #29  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 12:16 PM
  #30  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 7th, 1999, 12:29 PM
  #31  
Lee
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Daniel Lee: Admittedly, my attitude on my very first European trip (having just moved to Germany from the US only weeks before) was no doubt, less than optimum for making friends. In fact, upon my return to Frankfurt from the ill-fated Paris trip, a co-worker and veteran traveler told me that I should adjust my attitude according or stay at home. Advice I found useful.

Why did the policeman really do that to me? I don't know for sure. Yes, I approached him using only english, but his reaction was quite suprising. Maybe he was having a bad day with many tourists and I was the final straw, maybe he was just a jerk. They come in all sizes and nationalities. I wasn't "Mr. Chummy", but I don't think that my behavior warranted anything like that!

All of my other trips went fine.
 
May 8th, 1999, 07:28 AM
  #32  
Becky
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

A good, positive story which happened a few years ago but what does it matter? I was a young student and arrived at the Place de la Republique on a rainy, night in early June. It wa my first visit to France, and was with another female traveler. We were scared, didn't know how to use the phones, etc. A nice gentleman approached (we didn't know he was nice until he was actually NICE) and said we would never find a place to stay on such an evening in this old part of Paris. He told us about a small pensione around the corner, ask us to follow him and we did. I am not sure I would do that today, but I was young and afraid. He was a kind, elderly gentleman.

On the same trip I was "hustled" by some men in a park because they knew I was American. Then, noticing my aversion, they laughed. I think they were teasing me because they could get a way with it, something they could not do with a French woman. I learned to ignore rude comments and pretend not to hear.
 
May 8th, 1999, 07:29 AM
  #33  
Becky
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

A good, positive story which happened a few years ago but what does it matter? I was a young student and arrived at the Place de la Republique on a rainy, night in early June. It wa my first visit to France, and was with another female traveler. We were scared, didn't know how to use the phones, etc. A nice gentleman approached (we didn't know he was nice until he was actually NICE) and said we would never find a place to stay on such an evening in this old part of Paris. He told us about a small pensione around the corner, ask us to follow him and we did. I am not sure I would do that today, but I was young and afraid. He was a kind, elderly gentleman.

On the same trip I was "hustled" by some men in a park because they knew I was American. Then, noticing my aversion, they laughed. I think they were teasing me because they could get a way with it, something they could not do with a French woman. I learned to ignore rude comments and pretend not to hear.

I don't know if this went through twice, my computer is playing tricks on me this morning.
 
May 9th, 1999, 07:45 PM
  #34  
Cheryl Z.
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

Susanne, we have been to Paris three times, and also other parts of France. We never encountered any of the horror stories we'd heard about. Many locals went out of their way to help, like when we were trying to figure out a map in the Metro, or how to figure out a menu. If anyone had a changing attitude, I guess I'd have to say it was mine, in that what I'd EXPECTED to experience just didn't happen, and it just made me more eager to go again.
 
May 11th, 1999, 09:24 AM
  #35  
gregoire
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Susanne,
I like this kind of theme, but I feel like cheryl : you shouldn't start looking for horror stories, that's definitely not a good starting point. As an example, my experience is very funny.
I am french, but had the chance to speak american as my first language. When I got back to France at the age of 4, I forgot it all -but was still considered a good pupil in english. Now when I arrived in the Us 15 month ago, I couldn't understand what people would tell me, and found it hard to actually use english in work. Overall it took me two month, at least, to feel confortable with a culture I though was already mine somehow, for I was raised in it. This time of frustration forced me to think about it, and changed my mind according to my understanding -here are some of my thoughs, certainly usefull for both Americans and french people :
As all of you like it, France maintained a level of culture that we can be proud of. We are not the only country like that, and most French will tell you that Italy is the country of cultural wealth, but still we consider ourselves as intelectual people. That's a general assumption, but it's not entirely wrong on the overall picture. Still, if you consider that today America is far ahead of us, economically at least, but in many other aspects, you'll quickly realize that it is a bit frustrating for us : how come we are more "intelectual", and we are not "the best" ? How come Americans, in this young and wild country, are so much more powerfull than we are ? When we happen to meet some of you in France, just because you are not on your own ground, with people talking to you in american, you all look like simple persons, with simple behaviours -not the best picture one can give of its country. The result of this is some kind of complex of inferiority towards Americans, that we express being snobysh -you'll proably find a better word here-, instead of being just opressed. And that is exactly true to me. I was impressed by Americans, while I though it'd be easy for me, speaking rather well, and not being to much of a shy person. I'm mentionning this other point on purpose : french are quite reserved on the first approach, we are (in general) not too much talkative people. You guys are much more easy talking : I never flew without talking with my neighbourgs, which is much harder in France in the train ! One of the explanations I found is that most Americans will have jobs in restaurants or elsewhere quite early in their teens, while we can't afford that in France because of unemployement. A working experience while you're young is a great chance, it changes one a lot. The other reason is that being more business oriented, a large amount of people do learn to talk in public, and forget their early shyness. We don't. Last is that you are not thinkinh as much as we do every time you have to talk to someone, somehow you have learn to be more direct people, or more simple -but this is where being simple is a great asset compared to being "clever"...
As a result, being aledgedly a talkative guy in France, I was impressed to see that almost everybody arround me seemed to dare to talk more easily than even myself, and I became the shy guy ! It was the world upside down ! Only when I understood this "complex", which I was going through just like every other french, could I decide to go over it, and enjoy the American culture. I'm serious : how many times have I seen my fellow citizens gathering together at lunch to play our favourite game -criticizing- against Americans. Were there specific points of criticisim, that other countries would not have ? Certainly not ! But the thing is we could not bare those differences from the #1 country in the world, while every other nations couldn't be blame for it, in our minds ! That's the bad thing about being the 1st in the race : everybody has something against you. Just like being president, every citizen can blame you for every single matter !
This is my understanding of it -my psychology ! I really had to struggle to avoid the french cliche towards Americans. And that's why I keep telling American visitors in France to be humble -french will show far better behaviour in front of humility, it's like forcing them to change of ground.
Just to answer Lee : most of the time, french will be polite. But we can still be very rude, I would say gross -it is also part of our culture. Want to know my opinion ? This cop was definitely jalous about Americans, hence the way he talked to you. In a large population you will always find frustrated people, a certain percentage -he was in there. I'm sure I can find the same type in the US. The person won't blame me for being French, but probably for being black (well, if I was), catholic (this I am !), or whatever.
Last tip, not least : to me, crossing the atlantic is like changing the game. Different rules, that's all. The thing is you're not aware they are different, and which one will be, so this can be very upseting, wherever you come from. I was upset, as a French, by some of the things I saw here -and I still am, for a few things that I consider crazy. But I'm pretty sure I can find the same non-sens in France, looking at it with an american eye. It takes a while to be 100% positive in every moment, but I'd say that's the clue -as you're saying, Susanne, "CHANGING" is the word.
 
May 11th, 1999, 10:52 AM
  #36  
cheryl
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Gregoire-

It seems to me that rather than our Vassar student with the skewed statistical analysis, you are the person qualified to write a paper on French/American relations. It is rare to meet a person of any nationality with the insight that you show. Much less the honesty to actually write it. I think you enlightened a lot of people today, and certainly gave us something to think about. Merci beaucoup!
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:26 PM.