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Overseas, you have two types of Americans.  There are expatriates, who, whether on private business or on assignment from the Departments of State or Defense, actually live in another country and try not to call attention to themselves.  And then, there are tourists; not all of them are terrible, but there’s enough of them to drive the expats batty.  Not all tourists are the same, either, because even other tourists look at rudeness with disdain.  (And speaking of York Blog, that’s where I “Borrowed” the picture) I could describe the average annoying American tourist as some family from Texas wearing Hawaiian shirts, but perhaps it’s better to quote someone else.    The blog Antwerp Calling writes:

Most visitors came from our neighboring countries, but a significant number had traveled the globe to experience Europe in the heart of winter. The funniest – and loudest – cellphone conversation I couldn’t help but overhear was produced by a US Southern Belle (minus cultivation or beauty) who informed the folks back home (at the top of her voice) the she “had arrived safely and was eating weird food”. Basically, she virtually implied that nobody had tried to shoot her yet (hey, isn’t that a Southern thing?) and that ordering a “one pound T-bone steak” only provoked a “sorry, not on our menu” response. I’m convinced some of the Japanese tourists were tossing around equaly brain dead remarks, but hey, my Japanese needs an update.

For some people, traveling abroad entails being surprised that another language is spoken, the locals really eat different food and yes, that even the surroundings do not include yet another strip mall. When I visited Asia, I marveled in having the pleasure to taste the exotic, but for some people, it must all be “the same, but abroad”. Really, I often wonder what drives these people to travel in the first place.

Quoted for truth.  At any rate, it’s the first time I’ve happened upon Antwerp Calling, and it looks like I’ll have to spend sometime reading through its archives.  Antwerp is a great, interesting city, although I never got the chance to go there as much as I did Brussels


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