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Bad First-Time Visits To The U.S. & Abroad?  
User currently offlineSEVEN_FIFTY7 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 957 posts, RR: 4
Posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1175 times:

Any first time visitors to the U.S. or anywhere else who have had a negative experience? I have two from other places upon my first visits:

Amsterdam: Love Amsterdam and the open-minded Dutch (but not the food). However, upon contracting a nasty stomach virus that made me vomit so much my stomach was spasming, I was surprised that an ambulance or doctor "wouldn't be available for several hours" to come and get me. (I was alone moaning in a hotel room for the 3-day visit). I was floored. I mean, literally, when the hotel staff connected me to the nearest hotel, the woman told me they would have to "find" a doctor somewhere in town and that this would take hours! Even if it *IS* food poisoning (turned out it wasn't). Naturally I really thought I was gonna croak in that time. Give me the American-style 911 emergency response anyday.

Sydney: Everything was going just fine upon this first visit...until.......Until we took a small-group guided tour around the Blue Mountains. Even that was going okay until some Aussie thugs came and robbed all of us of our belongings. Yep, we were all safe and sound except for all valuable being taken from us. Realizing this could happen anywhere, I was totally caught off guard that this "American style" crime would happen in a place like suburban Sydney. You never really think someone would actually rob you in other developed countries the way you can get mugged here in the U.S. --And to think, that I've never been robbed, mugged, or shot at in all my years living in The Bronx! Furthermore, I always thought Aussies were just as docile as Canadians. I was kinda surprised to learn that they can be as outspoken, tough, and independent as us Yanks (at least in Sydney). Not necessarily a bad thing. Just surprising. Yep. I found the Australians to be much more similar to Americans than any other country I've been to.

All this being said, has anyone experienced any bad situations anywhere upon your first visit due to cultural differences, crime, or health?

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlineScorpio From Belgium, joined Oct 2001, 5032 posts, RR: 44
Reply 1, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1140 times:

I must say I'm highly surprised by your Amsterdam story. AFAIK, all Europen countries have a service similar to the American 911 emergency response. I don't know what the number is in the Netherlands, but here in Belgium it's 100, and they respond pretty damn fast! I have heard about problems with the Dutch healthcare system being underfunded, but I had no idea it was that bad. Does anyone have more info on this?

User currently offlineClimbout From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1134 times:

Yes! Nassau in the Bahamas. It's not considered abroad but still another country. Travelled there in the mid 90's and absolutely hated it. I found many-- NOT ALL, but many of the locals unfriendly and rude, especially the women. The place is muggy, dirty, and very expensive--five dollars for trash magazines like the Star and Enquirer (I don't read them, just wanted you to know the cost). I hated the place and never want to see it again.

On the other hand, I found the Virgin Islands much more pleasant and beautiful, and that includes the locals.


User currently offlineSilverfox From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1058 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1127 times:

RE Oz

Just a throwback to their sheep stealing ancestors shipped out from the UK!!


User currently offlineKROC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1106 times:

South Korea: Everything was fine until the flight got diverted from Suwon Air Base to Kimpo where we sat on the tarmac for 5 hours. 6 minute flight in the MD-11 to Suwon and things were back on track, then I got off the plane and got a big wiff of South Korea. It was all downhill from there.

User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1100 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

When i first flew to america (JFK), i came across this incredibly rude and arrogant immigration guy. Since my immigration card wasn't filled in properly he said "go and fill it in properly, its not done". Pissed

I mean u don't expect that from anyone do you? u expect people to be a bit more respectful and polite. But obviously i got into an argument with this guy and in the end he said "go back to your country, dont come here". I was so angry but i couldn't take my actions any further. But in the end i had an excellent holiday.  Smile

Regards
Arsenal@LHR



In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineNJTurnpike From United States of America, joined May 2000, 580 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1079 times:

Arsenal, don't take it personally; most INS officers at major airports seem to be like that. I think "stern" is in their job description  Big grin



User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53
Reply 7, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1079 times:

Costa Rica:
We were there on a cruise ship last week, and we docked in the port of Puerto Limon. We booked a shore excursion to take a boat ride through the Tortuguero Canal system, and that was enjoyable, but once that was complete, and we were back in town, things went downhill from there. My dad headed back to the boat, but my mom and I stayed ashore a little bit. We decided to try to find "la oficina de migracion" so we could get our passports stamped as a souvenir. This was a disaster. We asked at least 5 different people (including local police and a Port Authority guy with a shotgun), and ended up going nowhere, basically just wandering as we were given bad direction after bad direction. Finally, after an hour of wandering the streets of town, we gave up, but we discovered how poor and impoverished this town and area was, and it was kind of depressing. Ill be heading back to see more of Costa Rica this summer for 3 weeks, and I hope all of it is not like Puerto Limon...

Mexico-

My first visit to Mexico was in 1993 when I traveled to SAN for a vacation, and persuaded my parents to go the 15 miles to Tijuana, since I had never been outside of the US at that time. We crossed the border and were met with a nasty smell, and a filthy city. Tijuana was also so impoverished it made Puerto Limon look wealthy by comparison. We stayed there maybe an hour before we couldnt take it anymore and headed back to our hotel in SAN...Ill never forget that trip for that reason...

Greg



Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlinePendrilsaint From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 685 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1075 times:

I have to agree with Climbout on this one...Last summer I went to Nassau...Absolutely filthy...people were constantly rude (the exception was a friendly woman who discussed Bahamas political state with me and who didnt try to sell me anything!!!) ...There were merchants up in your face to buy odd trinkets...And there was the constant smell of fecal matter everywhere in the city..the only plus was that some of the city showed off some gorgeous colonial british architecture...

User currently offlineN400QX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1073 times:

Can't expect much from a government funded health care system. Blech. Couldn't catch me dead in one of those.

User currently onlineScorpio From Belgium, joined Oct 2001, 5032 posts, RR: 44
Reply 10, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1071 times:

N400Qx,

Don't start THAT shit. Really.


User currently offlineSilverfox From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1058 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1066 times:

Arsenal@lhr

That man obviously had prior knowledge of you and your band of villians that you support!!

A Fine judge of character


User currently offlineMx5_boy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 9 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1042 times:

Sevenfifty7,

I'm sorry to hear you were robbed in the Blue Mountains, what exactly happened? Was the tour bus broken into or were you actually 'held up'?

I would have thought if all of you were 'held up and robbed' it would have made the national news here. Usually police, bystanders and others will always come to the aid of tourist 'victims' because we rely quite heavily on that 'safe destination' image. But like everywhere else, tourists are prime targets for criminals.

I have travelled extensively throughout the USA and Canada and have never had a problem with excessive rudeness - except in Montreal where many people thought I was British (I don't have a crock dundee accent thanks.) and were quite rude.

The friendliest people I have met in all my travels have been Malaysians.

Cheers,


mb


User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 20
Reply 13, posted (12 years 9 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1025 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

The immigration guy was nuts.

And on the seventh day god created Arsenal!!!
Arsenal forever

Arsenal@LHR



In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offlineSilverfox From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1058 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (12 years 9 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1012 times:

No, Arsenal, he had excellent tastes, esp for an american!!!

User currently offlineCPDC10-30 From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 4785 posts, RR: 23
Reply 15, posted (12 years 9 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 990 times:

Amsterdam was nice, except for the drug-pushers. My bf and I were pursued for about two blocks by a guy that kept on trying to sell E to us. First I was polite and told him no, but he kept following. Eventually I stopped suddenly and he bumped into me, I told him "get the f*ck away or I'll call for police"...and he then left us alone. Also all kinds of guys selling crack on the main street. Not to say there aren't drug problems in other cities, but it is a bit different being offered basically any drug available on the middle of a main tourist street.

American immigration guys aren't that bad...some of the old Canadian ones are much worse...but at least they can't shoot you LOL  Smile


User currently offlineMls515 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3076 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (12 years 9 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 977 times:

I don't hold any bad impressions of any of the countries I've visited. I guess as long as you don't conduct yourself as an asshole you won't have any problems.

User currently offlineEWRvirgin From United States of America, joined May 2001, 358 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (12 years 9 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 967 times:

American immigration guys aren't that bad...some of the old Canadian ones are much worse...but at least they can't shoot you LOL

I take exception to that. I've had a few run-ins with them working arrivals at EWR. They're just a miserable bunch. Unfortunately, for visitors the first impression is the lasting impression.

P.S. Quick vote: Does anyone here think that its the airline's responsibility to translate for non-English speaking people rather than Immigration's? I mean I don't speak hebrew or arabic or bosnian (it certainly is not a requirement working for VS). Certainly immigration comes into contact with people from all walks of life and they should be prepared for that - after all they are Immigration.


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