Sunday, April 15, 2007

The British Abroad

To balance my earlier post on why some Americans shouldn't be allowed to travel - the British on vacation abroad don't have a particularly good image. Charles Bremner wrote in his Paris Weblog
In the old days, the Americans stood out among the visitors, for dress and behaviour. Now les anglais often draw attention to themselves while the Americans -- on the defensive in France -- try to blend in more.

Magwitch writes :
"unfortunately the most hideous people I’ve ever met when travelling are ignorant, load mouthed Brits who won’t attempt the language, the food or the culture and are generally obnoxious to everyone."

NoJags Neil writes
The perception of the British abroad is not a good one, and the absence of pissed-up promiscuous British twentysomethings on our recent holiday to Egypt was refreshing.

I don't think it's so much the individual Brit abroad, or even small groups, but mostly the larger groups that create this poor image. The chances are much higher that a Brit on a tour versus one travelling independently will be an obnoxious twit. Ditto for other nationalities.

The dark socks with sandals - such an attractive look - not! And the lobster-colored skin - de rigeur when travelling to warmer climes. Do men really still wear knotted hankies on their heads though? I doubt it nowadays, though I think I remember my grandfather doing that when sitting out in the sun in his garden.

Adam Dalton has written a far more comprehensive article about the British tourist overseas than I have time to attempt: The British Abroad - Not a Pretty Sight!


Anonymous said...

When I worked at Mesa Verde National Park in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we could spot anyone from Europe from a distance because for some reason they'd wear bathing suits to tour the ruins. The ugliest tourist I ever had on a tour, though, happened to be from Germany. After I talked at each stop, I'd ask if anyone had questions. He shouted at me, "Questions! Questions! Always with the questions! We don't have time for that!" He ended up leaving my tour before it was over. I guess he was in too big a hurry to visit a national park where the Indians built the ruins so far from a major highway.

Almost American said...

Bathing suits - not speedos I hope?!!!!

How inconsiderate of the Indians to build so far from the highway! ;-) My mother probably would have had questions for you at every stop! She loved her trip to Mesa Verde last fall.

I remember in the late 70s being able to spot the American tourists in Europe by the women's pant suits and the men's plaid pants. I would follow Americans around town on Saturday mornings listening for their comments - "Gee, is that a real gargoyle up there?"

I have lots of ugly tourist stories that I may share sometime . . .

Anonymous said...

Speedos and bikinis.

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