Ugly Americans?

Old Jun 1st, 2014, 09:07 AM
  #101  
 
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I think that Kenav just gave a little example of what an ugly tourist might look like.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 09:09 AM
  #102  
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Miss Prism - why do ladies have to cover their heads in Catholic churches? and men are supposed to remove hair covering?

Seems a double standard in this day and age and actually doing it reinforces an old-fashioned idea of women being second-class according to the Church - they can't become pope or priests, etc.

Do you always follow the most odious of customs? No matter what?

Priests ironically wear caps in churches?
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 10:00 AM
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NYC food snob -

But we did know where we were going and what taxi rates should be. It was the hopeless couple who wouldn't listen - even though we said we knew where we were going. They were just convinced everyone was trying to cheat them (IMHO they probably would have felt the same in NYC and should not travel anywhere.)

We have taken taxis many times in cities all over europe and only once had a problem (in Prague) and then the driver got the worst of it. I gave him a fair amount and he used some I;m sure very colorful language - but since I don;t speak Czech what did I care?

And - women no longer need to wear hats in catholic churches - that is decades out of date. And men should not wear hats indoors - anywhere - that's just basic manners.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 10:10 AM
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<i><font color=#555555>"It was the hopeless couple who wouldn't listen… They were just convinced everyone was trying to cheat them"</font></i>

The point I was trying to make: No matter how sweet, friendly, and compassionate you are, you never really know someone until you discover their personal relationship with money. Sharing a taxi with complete strangers is one way to find out how that discovery works. Proceeding to share dinner is another.

I've learned the hard way on so-called "friends." It's that experience that prevents me from ever opening, completely, my hospitable nature to complete strangers, without having a good sense of the people first.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 01:29 PM
  #105  
 
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Miss Prism - why do ladies have to cover their heads in Catholic churches? and men are supposed to remove hair covering?

Seems a double standard in this day and age and actually doing it reinforces an old-fashioned idea of women being second-class
__________________

Yes it right up there with clitoral mutilation and sex trafficking.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 02:33 PM
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I (American) accidentally picked up and bit into a woman's sausage in Prague last year. I cannot recall exactly how it happened; I hadn't been drinking or anything. I just somehow misinterpreted the ordering-and-picking-up-food routine at this particular stand at a farmer's market. Oh boy was I embarrassed. I apologized profusely. She and I were both shocked at my faux pas.

My ears still crisp thinking about it.
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 07:15 PM
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This doesn't really constitute "ugly Americanism" per se, but I did once have a ridiculous encounter which made me less than proud of our exports abroad. I was in the Sistine Chapel with about 20 other people. As I recall, they let you in in small groups and everyone was standing there, marveling at the ceiling in silence. When out of nowhere, a gentleman in a hokey midwestern accent declares, breaking the tranquil silence, "I'll tell you one thing . . . that Michelangelo SURE COULD PAINT!"

Hilarious, but I cringed
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 07:31 PM
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As someone who works as an international flight attendant, I see the "ugly American" every week either on my flight or walking around one of the international cities that I layover in.
One of my more recent brushes with this was on a flight from the US to Barcelona.A couple in their forties were seating across from my jumpseat were very excited about going on a 7 day cruise out of Barcelona. The couple have cruised and traveled extensively in Mexico,islands and around the US. The husband said he owned his own company and has traveled alot in Europe.
When asked if they had researched their trip;looked at any guidebooks or perhaps brought a Spanish or Italian phrasebook-I was told the following:
"I downloaded an APP and when a foreigner talks to me, I will just put my smartphone near his mouth to have the app translate it for me". ("I have a bunch of Mexicans working for me and I use it all the time to understand what they are saying"). So much for cultural diversity?
There are no words....Sadly there are soooooooo many more instances that I will save the rest for when we are at a GTG together?
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 07:35 PM
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And don't get me started on "sweet tea",ice cubes,not knowing the currency of the country they are going to,loudness in restaurants,dressing in inappropriate clothing...sorry!
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Old Jun 1st, 2014, 09:53 PM
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Oh dear lord duty free, that app story is appalling. I had a near miss with that when I had a trip to Tuscany with a friend who is not well travelled outside the U.S. and Canada. Before we left she told me she was advised to get that app and follow that procedure. I nixed that idea immediately.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 01:16 AM
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I tend to take the view that after the fourth gin, nobody's ugly.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 03:35 AM
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I take the opposite view, Patrick: people who have taken four or more gins are more likely to be ugly.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 03:48 AM
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<i>I'd like to know if you've seen any cases of Ugly Americanism on your travels - things that would fall under that description.</i>

A good example that springs to mind is my encounter with the US creationist in Edinburgh last year: http://www.fodors.com/community/fodo...ary-theory.cfm
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 04:40 AM
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Patrick and Padraig should not go drinking together.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 04:51 AM
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PeterS - Glad you decided that I would be an Ugly Tourist. And that coming from someone in Australia!

OK, now that I have your attention - I have absolutely no idea what that last sentence of mine means. Just doing my Ugly Tourist thing, right here in my own country, to bug you. Meaningless.

And BTW - I live in the Borough of Queens in NYC - the most diverse county in the USA. Born and raised here in NYC so I guess I've been exposed to people from hundreds of foreign cultures (yes, literally). Have you?

The ugliest tourist was on a flight to Vienna. Couple behind me had a 5 year old son who constantly kicked my seat. Parents wouldn't do anything. Seven hour flight. They just smiled and shrugged their shoulders. They spoke German and a little English. Flight attendant told them to please control their child. Once again, they just smiled: "He can't help it." If that ain't ugly I don't know what is. And, no, there were no empty sets for me to move to.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 06:18 AM
  #116  
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"I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly."
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/qu...TUw5iCkDZt3.99

Yes some folks can tell ugliness drunk or sober!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 06:35 AM
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True story: About ten years ago I was visiting Colima, MX, a fairly affluent university city in Mexico. It is the capital of the state of Colima, and a lovely and clean city, with some wonderful museums and art galleries. The woman I was traveling with - surprisingly she was well-traveled and educated - and I had breakfast at a restaurant located in the beautifully restored 19th century government building located in the center of Colima. When we finished, my friend packed up the leftover toasted bread from her plate.

We wandered outside onto a beautiful plaza, where an older and very distinguished looking man was sitting on a bench, reading a newspaper. To me he appeared to be a retired professor or other professional person. My friend approached him, and to my horror, offered him the napkin-wrapped bread. He demurred, but in her broken Spanish, she insisted he should take it, as she knew he was probably hungry. I was so embarrassed - I just kept saying, "No, no, no ..." to her, but she was so pushy the man finally took the bread from her, obviously to get rid of us. And he was even gracious about it - his manners must have taken over in the horribly uncomfortable situation.

The Ugly American, who believes all Americans are richer and better off than anyone in a "foreign" country.

Needless to say, that was my last shared adventure with this person.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 06:50 AM
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scdreamer - that reminds me of a thread on Fodors some time ago about a woman who took her oldest clothes when travelling, and then left them for the 'grateful' cleaning staff in her hotel - in Europe.

Gordon - please don't bring up that post again, you may wake FrankS!

Honestly, I like Americans; they're usually friendly and polite, but sometimes can be a bit naive, especially if they have not travelled abroad before. Scared of everything, always worried about being ripped off, of being in an 'unsafe' area. I haven't really seen 'ugly' Americans. And Dutch people can be just as loud.

There was the American who asked the security guard at Buckingham Palace what time the Mall opened, to which the puzzled guard answered that it is just a road, it's always open....
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 07:26 AM
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This ugly American story is about me in my home town. We had been to Paris a few times where we treated rudely. When someone would ask me for directions with a French accent I would intentionally send them in the wrong direction. After the campaign to treat foreigners like humans for the Olympics in Albertville, I stopped doing it.
____

My funniest ugly American story came on my first trip, second day out of the United States in Iceland. The only way to get out of Reykjavík was by a tour. The young woman who was the tour guide spoke perfect English and was armed with the appropriate stats and information. The topography of Iceland is so odd, the US astronauts used to train there because it was the surface on Earth most like the Moon. When the tour guide asked if there were any questions, a deep baritone southern accent called out, "Yeah, how much does this bus weigh?"

To this day, my wife and I say, "How much does this weigh?" as a non sequitur for any occasion.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2014, 09:18 AM
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Interesting comments. We have spent the last two months in Venice (Venice, Italy, that is) and so we have seen our fair share of tourists/visitors/travellers. Ugly behaviour is not confined to any specific group of people, and I'd like to think that it is mostly due to ignorance.

You do see odd behavious though. Like the couple that blabbed for half a DVD explaining some exhibits at the Palazzo Mocenigo. DVD was in English, they spoke italian, so for them I suppose the soundtrack was just noise.

People who sit on bridges eating in Venice - that is seriously ugly, or at least inconsiderate.

People who compare what they are seeing to their home town, with a "our home town does it much better" or "the scenery in our home country is far more majestic than here" or "our place has a more diverse culture than here" approach. That is not un-ugly.

People ignoring "No Photograph" signs - unattractive, ugly-ish.

Dummies who want to touch things. Happened yesterday, near the Guggenheim. A gallery with delicate glass sculptures, gallery is named "the Venice Project". Couple of teenage girls touched the sculptures. Gallery owner went berserk, and was very polite to me. We talked for twenty minutes about running a gallery in Venice. Fascinating, quite intellectual.

People who follow racial stereotypes are ugly. Ugly. Period.

Interesting scene. I was standing outside a bar a couple of days ago. Gentleman expressed a one word question to me : "Rialto?". I explained that I was an Australian, and spoke a decent broken English. Too hard to give directions in Venice, so I walked with them until the way was clear. Interesting conversation, he is a building contractor in the USA, Michigan, I think. Son studying to be an engineer, etc. a pleasant time.

The thing is, if he was in New York, he would never ask for directions with a one word question. But when one is out of one's language zone and comfort zone, then the social niceties are much harder to achieve.

So mostly, I'm inclined to ascribe apparent "ugliness" to people just having a difficult time at that time.
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