|Quoting NoUFO (Reply 11):|
I think from the Phillipines, wondered if she could see the Alps while in Dresden or if she had to go to Denmark(!) to see them. Granted those people, while clueless, can still be nice - and my geographical knowledge is limited, too.
Perhaps even the Canadian who got a free sightseeing tour to the next police station is basically a harmless and nice person - albeit totally clueless: He did the Nazi salute standing in front of the Reichstag Building, which, as you all know, accomodates the parliament
Geographical ignorance is one thing--that's a simple, innocent mistake. But the cultural ignorance is beyond that. The Holocaust memorial in Berlin is barely a five minute walk from the Reichstag. How stupid/insensitive could this guy be?
|Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 30):|
Here lies my problem with this, the dictionary defines a tip as an "optional gratuity for good service" if its optional how can there be rules attached ?
True, but that's not how it is applied in the U.S..Tipping in the U.S. is very much a cultural phenomenon. Many waitstaff get paid below minimum wage with the expectation that tips will make up for it--Americans know this, but not all foreigners do.
|Quoting fridgmus (Reply 37):|
No matter how bad you butcher a language, your hosts do appreciate the effort and it goes a long way! Especially in the more rural places.
True. Tis the benefit of low expectations.
|Quoting LOWS (Reply 39):|
2. JapaneseI don't understand why they take pictures of everything. Not just buildings. EVERYTHING. One time, on a bus, I saw a Japanese guy take a picture of a machine where you validate your ticket. It was just a metal box.
The Japanese don't bother me at all. Yes, they take pictures of everything, and tend to cluster in groups, which can make passing them on a sidewalk difficult, but in general, they are very respectful and often incredibly nice and friendly. They also do a lot of shopping, which helps the local merchants.
|Quoting Superfly (Reply 70):|
all they ever talked about in the bars & restaurants was how bad America is and how much they hated Bush and the war in Iraq. If that is how they spend their vacation, they must seriously be miserable people.
Some are like that, but not all. There are plenty of backpackers (I was one and still am occasionally) who are simply trying to travel to some great places, but don't have the funds to spend at nice hotels, and enjoy the occasional cameraderie of meeting other people from a similar age range. There are plenty of those who fall into the druggie/pseudo hippie stereotype who aren't the most educated, but there are also others who don't, and are just eager to see the world with open eyes.
Of course, I purposely avoided getting into any political conversations with people relating to the U.S., because I knew I would stick out like a sore thumb and have to defend my beliefs from people that were either less educated on the topic, or simply were so set in their views that they resorted to ad hominem attacks rather than attacking my argument. The only exception was when people just wanted an explanation so that they could better understand U.S. politics.
And yes, I've been to Khao San Road, which isn't nearly as bad as Superfly makes it out to be--yes its a backpacker and guesthouse ghetto, but it pales in comparison to IMHO the worst case of backpacker abuse of a local culture for their own means: Vang Vieng, in Laos. A pretty little town, and fast internet, but otherwise one of the most horrible places I've ever been to--a drug-fueled place filled with deadbeat westerners and other backpackers combining all sorts of pills and alcohol, and then deciding to go rafting in a river. It's a wonder more haven't died there given the poor state of Laos' medical facilities and the relative remoteness of the town (no airport, three hours by bus to Vientiane, and additional hour from Vientiane to the nearest decent medical facilitiy....across the border, in Thailand).
|Quoting Superfly (Reply 81):|
I've even seen a kid that was probably 10 years old just trow his order of food at the young lady cashier at a KFC because he didn't like the taste. The parents didn't do anything.
Characteristics of worst tourists:
--people who can't control their kids
--people who berate service people and low-level employees for things that are beyond their control and have no ability to fix
--people who do not do proper due diligence and commit culturally offensive faux pas or refuse to adapt to certain social norms that have a direct financial impact on the locals (ie not knowing the U.S. tipping culture--much has been written about it, it's included in nearly every guidebook) or on obvious norms that other locals respect (ie standing in line)
In general, I've found the worst tourists to be those from mainland China, with those from South Asia and the Middle East (including Israel) coming in second place. They tend to be very demanding and are super aggressive, with the attitude of its my vacation, and I can do what I want.
Drunk westerners fortunately can be isolated, and avoided since they all tend to hang out in groups or at certain locations that specifically cater to those individuals.
With me, not knowing the language doesn't bother me as much if the tourists in question are at least respectful and don't make a scene, and recognize that they are the ones that are at fault, not the local.