If you’re traveled anywhere you’ve met people who, like you, are not local to your destination. That can sometimes be a bonding experience. For example, if you’re in Germany you’ll find that many restaurants have communal seating. Not understanding the language of the country you’re in while trying to figure out what to eat – try the schnitzel – it can be daunting if you have no idea what your neighbors are saying. Or, maybe, you find yourself in Taiwan and discover that some news shows are actually done via animation. Having no social understanding of something like this you make fun of them and then discover that they’re really liberal with their use of the death penalty over there. These little oopsies can be avoided through some basic education, but who has time for that?
Well, I do. I speak a smattering of a few foreign languages. Not enough to work at the U.N., but enough to find a bathroom, order food and let people know that I’m not carrying a bomb. All useful bits of information.
And, while some places aren’t safe to travel to, like Cheney, Washington, it still broadens the mind to meet new people. Oh? Why Cheney? The cops found a guy who forgot to pay for a .99¢ hot dog and offered him two choices; pay a $200.00 fine or go to jail. Fortunately a jury realized how insane this was, he’d paid for $100.00 of other stuff, so they threw it out. Even so, being sent to jail for crap like that makes me leery of going there at all.
But, no matter where you go, there’s one thing that I’ve found to be true the world over. Never go anywhere near people from England. As Peter Mandel reports, they’ve been voted the worst tourists in the universe.
This just in: As the news breaks that British of all stripes celebrated last week’s royal wedding by evacuating the country and enjoying a jolly holiday abroad, a new poll’s been released that, I’m sorry to say, ranks U.K. travelers the “World’s Worst Tourists.”
According to the Skyscanner travel search website, Brits are the worst offenders in four out of five categories including ‘not attempting to learn local language’, ‘being drunk and disorderly’ and ‘not trying local food and drink’. Their lousy (read nonexistent) tipping habits were also unmatched.
Americans followed with a close second in ‘not attempting language’ and ‘being drunk and disorderly’ and a coveted third place for ‘being rude’ behind the Russians and Germans. The poll included responses from 49 countries around the world.
I’m not sure how these ratings strike you, but as an annoying American abroad (and a guy who’s lived three years of his life in England), I found myself scratching my head a bit over this British ratings sweep.
In truth, I was seized by a secret jealousy. As a Yank, I hate to cede the top spot in a competition of any kind. Hold on a sec, I thought. Not so fast! I’ll get on the blower and chat up some real-life Brits to see if they agree.
I felt confident that Union Jack waving tourists would defend their honor to the last sip of bitter. And put us Americans back in our rightful place: on top. Or, er, at the bottom.
“Really!” responded Jan Pinckard when I told her the survey results. Pinckard grew up in England, but now lives in the U.S. “Very interesting,” she added, “and very true, or so I would surmise.”
But wait, I objected, trying my hardest to stir the pot. Aren’t you peeved — just a little? Don’t you think we Americans are uglier abroad? Pinckard just stared. “In fact,” she said, “I was surprised you Americans ranked worse than the Russians in being ‘drunk and disorderly’.”
Whoo boy. Better find someone crankier. I turned to Pat and Ken Harrison, two more English expats who hail from London and Yorkshire, respectively, but make their home nowadays in Rhode Island.
“Well,” said Pat, “the average British tourist (ourselves excluded of course) expects everyone in the world to speak English thanks to the British Empire. In the 1960s and 70s if no English was spoken, Brits thought that shouting really loud would make them understood.”
Yeah sure, I cut in, but…
“And not only that,” continued Harrison, “drunk and disorderly seems to be a sign of the times in the U.K. these days. It seems that some pubs can stay open 24 hours now if they wish and that, along with many other factors… seems to have contributed to a profound loss of what were once accepted norms of behavior.”
Down to my last hope, I got in touch with Martin Gould who, accompanied by an English wife and English dogs, lives in Surrey, England. Surely, Gould would scramble the local Spitfire squadron and take up arms against these accusations.
“What can I say?” responded Gould, wasting zero time weighing in. “I suspect that it is only we Brits who would genuinely believe that the recipient would be insulted if you over-tipped! As for ‘drunk and disorderly’ it’s unfortunately just a way of life over here. Any naturally reserved Brit turns to the bottle to help unwind a little.”
Wait! Stop! I objected. But it was no use.
“You must remember,” continued Gould, “that throughout our history ‘tourism’ has meant invading foreign countries, occupying them for years and doing our utmost to turn them into England replicas abroad. Consequently, anywhere that doesn’t serve bacon and eggs for breakfast, chips with every meal and a stiff gin and tonic at sundown can’t really be called civilized.”
Rising to a crescendo, Gould added that Britain’s fourth place in ‘being rude’ was “slightly surprising,” but, he noted, “I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we get to the top spot.”
This is where I cut him off. No way, I said. We’re ahead of you British tourists in that category. We’re a solid Number Three in rudeness. Number Three across the globe!
We Yanks have our pride.
And at least as long as I’m alive, we’re not giving up that prestigious place without a fight.
I actually am baffled by some Americans fascination with England. Didn’t we spend a whole bunch of years trying to make them go away? You know, that whole July 4th thing.
Nevertheless, I’ve been stuck in foreign climes with these pip pip cheering yahoos. I’d rather be stranded with a bunch of birthers, left or right wing variety, than spend a night with anyone from England. There’s a reason they celebrate royal inbreeding there, they’re idiots.
But, they’re not the only ones. As Liz Goodwin reports, a teacher in Texas has taken stupid and rude to a whole new level.
We wrote about how some teachers and parents were struggling with how to explain the significance of Osama bin Laden’s death to young kids, some of whom didn’t even know who he was. Well, it looks like one Texas teacher would have been better off if he had skipped the subject all together.
A Muslim-American student has accused her 9th grade Algebra teacher at Clear Brook High School in Friendswood, Texas, of joking with her that she must be “sad” because her “uncle” died the day after bin Laden’s death.
“The student did the right thing and immediately notified an adult regarding the teacher’s comments. The principal at Clear Brook High School notified the child’s parents and has been in communication with the family,” spokeswoman Elaina Polsen of the Clear Creed school district told the AP. The teacher is on leave while the district investigates.
The student’s mother, who refrained from disclosing the girl’s identity in order to avoid inviting any undue public attention, told ABC’s Cynthia Cisneros what happened. “The teacher told the student that ‘I bet you’re grieving.’ And she basically looked at him and said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he said, ‘I heard about your uncle’s death,’ and she said wow, because she understood that he was referring to Osama bin Laden being killed and was racially profiling her,” she said.
The mother said her daughter began crying in class, and that when a student told the Algebra teacher that it was over his comment, he just “giggled” and walked away. She says her daughter is happy fellow students stood up for her.
I, too, am happy that the kids are smarter than this moron. Did this idiot hold a Timothy McVeigh day every April 19th? No, I don’t think so. Well, maybe in the teachers’ lounge. No matter what, there is absolutely no place for doo doo like this (are you happy with my use of language now Mr. Producer?) in any civilized society. You disagree with someone? Fine, state why and provide verifiable facts to back up your position. If all you’ve got is insults and epithets then just stay home and have yourself sterilized.
Now, to tie this all together, here’s a video about being paranoid from a guy who wrote a song about a spree killer in Texas and was knighted by the Queen of England after she refused to give a dime to his efforts to stop starvation in Africa.
You see the theme there, don’t you?
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!