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Stop worrying about looking like a tourist, instead...

Stop worrying about looking like a tourist, instead...

Dec 18th, 2007, 09:11 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Stop worrying about looking like a tourist, instead...

Instead of all the posts with folks worrying (or not) about standing out, I think it's good to wonder, 'is there something that might be an American habit of mine-if such a thing exists- that might be culturally offensive in my destination country? I am who I am, but I wouldn't want to offend, if avoidable.

eg- Americans tend (don't yell at me, certainly not all, and certainly not my dear Fodorites) to be rather loud in public places, and insensitive to their surroundings (human and physical). This would be useful information in various countries.
ilana25841 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 09:23 AM
  #2  
 
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Gee what an original thought.

Most people are worried about fashion faux pas.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 09:23 AM
  #3  
 
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"WILL YOU PEOPLE BE QUIET!?!?"

Is that the behavior you are talking about? Well, that sort of thing from large groups of people in public places is not confined to Americans. It is an universal thing, noticed all over the world by this traveler. We tend to notice it a bit more when we can understand the language, and cringe when it is insensitive and obtrusive.

However, I intend to enjoy my vacation, and if a laugh, or even a guffaw is called for, I may bray like a mule, rather than being overly sensitive about "national image"

.
nukesafe is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 09:25 AM
  #4  
 
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Too many posts on this topic. People who are crude and offensive normally are not going to be reading this post, taking notes, and changing their behavior.

I happen to be around European visitors fairly often as one of my best friends is German and she gets a lot of visitors, and I have never heard of any of them (even second hand, as she'd tell me) obsessing much about whether they are going to be offensive in the US to others if they act normally.

I have no idea what you mean about Americans are insensitive to their surroundings (human and physical). Lots of other nationalities are pretty insensitive in many ways to others' physical boundaries, it seems to me. I do think many Americans do talk too loudly, I get sick of it on the metro where I live (this is not a travelers issue, necessarily). Part of it is usual, and part of it is actually tourists. They tend to be real loud and talk a lot in the metro and yell across the aisles a lot. If they were at home, they might just be sitting there reading the paper or something.

Last loud tourists on the metro I encountered were Italians and Africans (not sure from what country), who can be very loud in public, so I think your post aimed at American behavior only (it appears) is rather insensitive in itself.
Christina is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 09:35 AM
  #5  
 
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Regular readers of this site might have noticed I'm not exactly America's greatest cheerleader.

But - as someone who's lived most of his life in places foreign tourists frequent - can I say this stuff about loud, insensitive Americans is just nonsense.

By and large, Americans tend to err on the side of excessive local sensitivity, and I simply can't see (or rather hear) where this noisy reputation comes from. Indeed, in most of Britain's tourist traps a megaphone would struggle to make itself heard among the local cacophony.

One of America's charms is that its people have oustanding levels of politeness in public. I've long suspected the reason Americans think their compatriots are loud is that we're all attuned to hearing our accents in foreign lands, and Americans easily latch onto the sound of the relatively few fellow-Americans they overhear.


Whatever the explanation, just stop worrying, and get on with your holidays.
flanneruk is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 09:49 AM
  #6  
 
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Please, let's stop making broad generalizations.
Americans= crude, bore, loud, obnoxious,etc.
Europeans= sophisticated, polished, fashion conscious, etc.

Are just that, generalizations.

I have never heard that europeans agonize about how they are perceived when they come to the USA. You know why that is? Simple, THEY DON'T CARE what we think of them. And good for them.
cruiseluv is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 09:54 AM
  #7  
 
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Why pick on Americans?

Amsterdam's mayor thinks the "boorish Brits" are only interested in the red light district, and should be replaced by tourists who want to visit churches.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071217/...titution1_dc_1

Italian officals called German tourists "arrogant nationalists and stereotypical blondes."

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,914572,00.html

I'm sure there are many more examples of non-American tourists offending local sensibilities. Some Americans seem to think the whole world is fixated on them, but that simply isn't true.
bennyb is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 10:08 AM
  #8  
 
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>stereotyped blondes with a hyper-nationalist pride
It was an honor being called that by THOSE kind of poiticians. You don't want praise from them. Should they do praise a country, there's something terrible wrong with it. Are you aware what they stand for?
logos999 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 10:10 AM
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I'll veer this to the other viewpoint...it is not a bad thing when we do visit another culture to make an effort to understand a bit of the culture and some of its ways.

I've been to a few countries in Europe, Turkey (Europe and Asia) and Africa, and was glad for the few occasions where I could learn something of the people and their ways, and adapt a little.

I'd like to think that if I travel anywhere, be it Chicago, Chartres or Kas Turkey, I'll tell myself "it's not home, it's here and I'll accept its differences".

That being said, the people (from wherever they are) who would most benefit from this...probably won't.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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<an American habit of mine>

Perhaps being overly friendly, smiling too much, chatting with strangers in a line, things like that? while not necessarily bad, may be unique to Americans traveling?

suze is offline  
Dec 18th, 2007, 12:06 PM
  #11  
 
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>smiling too much, chatting with strangers in a line
all of East Asia, Africa, ....

>overly friendly
Japan (hard to bear) and may others.

Didn't like Brunei.
logos999 is offline  

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