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Cindy
05-19-2006, 08:37 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TRAVEL/05/10/usa.u...reut/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2006/TRAVEL/05/10/usa.ugly.reut/index.html)

Ned
05-19-2006, 09:53 AM
Originally posted by Cindy@May 19 2006, 09:37 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TRAVEL/05/10/usa.u...reut/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2006/TRAVEL/05/10/usa.ugly.reut/index.html)
26772

I have seen and continue to see many "Ugly Americans" while traveling, however, my observation is that they are a quickly diminishing breed. On the other hand, with due respect to most French, Russian and Japanese nationals who are wonderful people, I have observed ever increasing numbers of arrogant, nasty, boastful, totally obnoxious "UGLY" French, Russian and Japanese travelers, pushing shoving and insulting others all over the world.

bravestar
05-19-2006, 11:30 AM
During a recent trip to Europe, I was worried that this perception would precede me and make my experience less stellar than it could be. However, I found that as long as I did my best to "fit in" (when in Rome..) and be respectful of the local culture, I had no problems.

However, the tourist hotspots I visited had it's share of "..loud, arrogant, ill-dressed, ill-mannered" folks. I couldn't say how many were Americans, but I did recognize some amongst them. They certainly were " .. lacking respect for other cultures."

One person in particular made me rather embarassed. In a restaurant, he attempted to order his food in English, with no attempt or respect for the native language. My party at least attempted to use the language in a show of respect to the culture. Even though we had the same server, we received WAY better service.

clarkef
05-19-2006, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by bravestar@May 19 2006, 11:30 AM
One person in particular made me rather embarassed.* In a restaurant, he attempted to order his food in English, with no attempt or respect for the native language.* My party at least attempted to use the language in a show of respect to the culture.* Even though we had the same server, we received WAY better service.
26807

That's silly. If the poor soul didn't speak the language he did the right thing. He would have butchered the language. What's worse is that he was punished for his lack of linguistic skill.

What would embaress me would be if a foreign tourist came to the US, didn't speak English very well, and was ridiculed by the locals.

Ned
05-19-2006, 06:46 PM
Originally posted by bravestar@May 19 2006, 12:30 PM
One person in particular made me rather embarassed.* In a restaurant, he attempted to order his food in English, with no attempt or respect for the native language.* My party at least attempted to use the language in a show of respect to the culture.* Even though we had the same server, we received WAY better service.
26807

B...This part of your post makes a whole lot of sense to me. What do you mean by "respect for the native language."

I'm fluent in more than one language and in some other languages I can kind of get by, if necessary, however, I've been to many countries whose language I really don't know.

I know about 5 words in Greek, but I can't use them as they're all curse words taught to me by a Greek kid I once coached on one of my youth soccer teams. He spoke perfect English, but always complained and cursed in Greek because no one knew what he was actually saying.

I've been to Greece a number of times, and always speak English there. Are you saying that you would be embarrassed if I didn't try to use the Greek I don't know, in a restaurant in Athens, to place my order? If that's what you're saying I think it's crazy. I have never had a problem traveling in any country with the people native to that country by speaking English.

Be׳vakasha, what do you mean?

weblet
05-20-2006, 08:16 AM
I would guess that B meant that the people at that table were being rude and obnoxious over the fact that those foreigners didn't have a menu in English....

Ned
05-20-2006, 08:29 AM
Originally posted by weblet@May 20 2006, 09:16 AM
I would guess that B meant that the people at that table were being rude and obnoxious over the fact that those foreigners didn't have a menu in English....
26848

Weblet, that may be what he meant, but I'm unconvinced after rereading his post. I'm hoping Bravestar replies.

travel
05-24-2006, 07:08 PM
That's what I thought B meant, too. I have taken several travelers to Europe whose sentences constantly start with, "Well, in OUR COUNTRY, we do it this way..." in a tone of voice that makes listeners think this person is saying "we're right and you're wrong." I'm sure you've all heard that tone before. I'm amazed at the number of people who respond to a visitor here in this country with, "this is America...speak English," but who go to other countries and get mad because no one there speaks enough English to help them out. I think the point is that we TRY and are respectful of the country we're visiting, and their culture and language. You may think it's silly to be upset that a fellow American would not try to speak the language, but I think it's more than a little ethnocentric to just expect that we don't have to even try to communicate in the official language of the countries we visit.

jjjenny
05-25-2006, 10:20 AM
When I lived in Germany I did try to learn the language, even before I moved there. I always tried to talk in german, not english. Some acted like they had no idea what I was saying and could be rude. Others responded and spoke in german. I never did feel some were being nice just because I spoke the language.
I have been to amusement parks in europe and noticed many europeans trying to cut in line and shove others. It's not just americans who can be rude.

ChicagoAlli
05-28-2006, 12:58 AM
I traveled to France about 5 1/2 years ago with my sister and neither she nor I spoke a bit of French. We tried to learn a couple of key phrases on the plane, but were a bit afraid of actually trying to speak French for fear of completely butchering the language.

We were treated wonderfully virtually everywhere we went in France despite not speaking the language and I feel it was due to a couple of things:

1. Greet people with a smile. The crepe-stand man outside our hotel in Paris was great! I noticed that simply greeting him with a sincere smile coupled with some pointing did the trick. The same thing held true in fine dining restaurants. Although we ordered completely in English, just by smiling, giving eye contact and thanking our waiters, we received wonderful service.

2. Learn something in advance. If the language is overwhelming, at least get a general sense of the geography of where you are going as well as some basic understanding of the country--who is the leader, major news stories, major historical moments, etc. It was truly amazing at how much people love it when Americans know something about their country, especially current events. One hour on the internet can pay off in spades!

3. When you seem to be really stuck, find a local tourist office. They can provide you with invaluable information about your location, and they are used to dealing with foreigners.

Finally, a quick story: we were travelling in south Burgundy when we stopped by a local winery for a wine tasting. The woman present spoke not one word of English. We spoke not one word of French. Undeterred, this woman conducted a 1/2 hour wine tasting session completely in French. Her enthusiasm about the wine crossed language barriers. My sister and I smiled intently, tasted some great wine, and had a funny, slightly bizarre experience that I remember to this day. That woman was truly sweet, and did her best to do her job. She did quite well, as we walked out of the small winery carrying several bottles of wine and a couple of not-completely-necessary tchotchkes (sp?).

Bottom line, I think its all about your general attitude and demeanor.

Ned
05-28-2006, 01:19 AM
Originally posted by ChicagoAlli@May 28 2006, 01:58 AM
I traveled to France about 5 1/2 years ago with my sister and neither she nor I spoke a bit of French.* We tried to learn a couple of key phrases on the plane, but were a bit afraid of actually trying to speak French for fear of completely butchering the language.

We were treated wonderfully virtually everywhere we went in France despite not speaking the language and I feel it was due to a couple of things:

1.* Greet people with a smile.* The crepe-stand man outside our hotel in Paris was great!* I noticed that simply greeting him with a sincere smile coupled with some pointing did the trick.* The same thing held true in fine dining restaurants.* Although we ordered completely in English, just by smiling, giving eye contact and thanking our waiters, we received wonderful service.

2.* Learn something in advance.* If the language is overwhelming, at least get a general sense of the geography of where you are going as well as some basic understanding of the country--who is the leader, major news stories, major historical moments, etc.* It was truly amazing at how much people love it when Americans know something about their country, especially current events.* One hour on the internet can pay off in spades!

3.* When you seem to be really stuck, find a local tourist office.* They can provide you with invaluable information about your location, and they are used to dealing with foreigners.

Finally, a quick story: we were travelling in south Burgundy when we stopped by a local winery for a wine tasting.* The woman present spoke not one word of English.* We spoke not one word of French.* Undeterred, this woman conducted a 1/2 hour wine tasting session completely in French.* Her enthusiasm about the wine crossed language barriers.* My sister and I smiled intently, tasted some great wine, and had a funny, slightly bizarre experience that I remember to this day.* That woman was truly sweet, and did her best to do her job.* She did quite well, as we walked out of the small winery carrying several bottles of wine and a couple of not-completely-necessary tchotchkes (sp?).

Bottom line, I think its all about your general attitude and demeanor.
27433

Your post is right on the money, and what's more, so is your spelling. It sounds like, while not necessary, the tchotchkes weren't chazarai.

travel
05-31-2006, 10:26 AM
Originally posted by jjjenny@May 25 2006, 10:20 AM
I have been to amusement parks in europe and noticed many europeans trying to cut in line and shove others.* It's not just americans who can be rude.
27205


Now that's definitely true....I've always said that "trash is trash...no matter what color it is, what country it's from, what language it speaks, or how much money it has."

I do think that in general people are appreciative when you try to speak their language, just as I'm sure you're appreciative when someone realizes you don't speak German (or whatever language) very well, and tries to help the conversation by speaking the little (or lot) English they have learned.

travel
05-31-2006, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by ChicagoAlli@May 28 2006, 12:58 AM
Bottom line, I think its all about your general attitude and demeanor.
27433


AMEN!!!!

bodega
05-31-2006, 10:45 AM
When I talk with clients who are traveling someplace new, I remind them to take their sense of humor and a smile. This applies to domestic travel as well as international.

deangreenhoe
05-31-2006, 11:54 AM
Of course, one must take simple cultural differences into consideration before labeling any specific group of people as "rude." For example, crowding, pushing and "nudging" isn't considered untoward behaviour in much of Japanese culture. In fact, having the ability to do so is a viable career asset if one dreams of being a subway attendant in Tokyo. ;)

However that doesn't completely excuse the behaviour when traveling abroad. Regardless of where you come from, it's a good idea to study what is considered polite (or not) in local society when you visit as an outsider.

When I had the travel store I sold the complete collection of books in the "Culture Shock" series. They make fascinating (and humorous) reading and the information contained within is every bit as critical to a comfortable and satisfactory journey to a foreign land as anything found in a traditional guide book that simply ticks off the sites and hot restaurants du jour. The positive interactions we have with different peoples is sometimes even more memorable than any natural wonder or historical artifact we may see.

At least that's the way I like to travel.