American Travelers in Patpong
Once again, the old and tired cliche about American travelers abroad has been brought up with several articles in magazines and on the web. The familiar story is that Americans abroad are a boorish lot, given to bad fashion and yelling across the restaurant. Yeah, well, who cares?
I don't. Americans are a very, very friendly group of people who yell and scream at almost anything, and welcome anybody and everybody into their party. It's America, and it's a celebration of life. American tourists are well loved throughout the world, and rank among the favorite nations along with Australia, New Zealand, and some other places on the European continent. And most people around this planet can easily tell the difference between an American tourist and the present political policies of the American government. In other words, nobody blames me for the idiocy of George Bush or his personal vendetta against Iraq.
Erik Olsen at Gadling has more:
Lots of folks are atwitter over the release of the "World Citizens Guide" - which we posted about - that seeks to help reduce the amount of ugliness Americans export within themselves when they head abroad. Only you can know exactly what your "AUE" (American Ugliness Export) quotient is, but my guess, esp. if you like fast food and Hawaiian shirts, is that it's pretty high.
The guide was underwritten/assembled by the Business for Diplomatic Action (BDA), a non-profit group funded by big American companies, who are saying the anti-Americanism is bad for business. It features some 16 etiquette tips on how Americans can help the country by not fulfilling stereotypes of themselves as brash, loud, annoying, fat, stupid, bossy philistines. Ed Gomez over at SF Gate examines the subject and finds many of these stereotypes sadly accurate. While, over at the UK Telegraph, Philip Sherwell probably has the best take on the subject, as he makes the point that it's not really American tourists who are the problem, it's more often the perceptions of American policy...although loud fat Americans don't help themselves much either.
So let me put the question out there? Are we fat, loud, bossy, annoying, etc.? Or is it just that people like to pick on the big guy? Or more, are people in general becoming more like us? I mean, have you ever seen German travelers? Let's get the debate started.