The American Abroad - How to polish up the image?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by PADDY, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. Archie Goodwin

    Archie Goodwin One of the Regulars

    New Orleans
    My wife and I had our honeymoon in London in January. Every day I was in a suit, and my wife was comparably dressed. We were not treated like tourists, and most people assumed we must be residents of the city. It was a fantastic way to travel.
  2. The (grown-up, urban) Italians do dress this way, BUT ... the jeans they wear are extremely well-cut, well-fitting, and nicely maintained. The sneakers they wear are sleek and clean. The fleece jackets are just the right color and cut to flatter the wearers' figures.

    Italians are masters at making anything look good.

  3. Daisy Buchanan

    Daisy Buchanan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Height of trendiness or not, I just can't do it. It's a comfort thing really. I'm just more comfortable, and feel better about myself when I am dressed a little nicer. I used to be very comfortable in jeans, last year on a trip down the coast of California, I wore them just about every day. I did wear them with nice sweaters and nicer shoes than sneakers. But, that was when I was a little lighter:)
    I think a lot of people in this thread are raising very good points. I have seen tourists from all over the world visiting the city I live in. I have my own opinions about each one, not based on where they are from, but how they act. I have seen groups of people from the same country acting completely different from one another. I know that I am representing my country when I travel, and I want to make sure that I do a good job. It's just me, but I feel a little safer if I try to blend in to the environment that I am in, rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. I am really looking forward to my trip to Italy, and am very grateful to be a guest in their country. This respect will be shown not only in the way I dress, but also in the way I act. Decorum is so important when making any kind of impression. I haven't traveled to Europe in a few years, so I don't really remember how American's acted. I do know how I prefer to present myself and my country. Once again, to each his own.
  4. Daisy, some useful advice for you:

    In Italy, many churches (including those open to tourists) require that women and men enter with their shoulders, upper arms, and upper thighs covered. Some churches have uniformed "fashion police" just inside the entrance; they make you leave if you're inappropriately dressed. Interestingly, this rule is usually not applied to older people, or to people who are "plain-looking" or quite overweight. Hmmm ...

    Some of the more popular churches -- which don't want to lose the money that tourists must pay to enter -- give you an option. If you're exposing too much skin, they hand you a large, sky blue poncho made of cheesecloth. You have to wear this ridiculous-looking tablecloth until you leave the church, whereupon you hand it back to the fashion police.

  5. Miss Neecerie

    Miss Neecerie I'll Lock Up

    The land of Sinatra, Hoboken
    This is good advice, always have a pashmina or wrap with you for impromptu covering up.

    While Travelling in the Soviet Union, we women had to cover up to visit any churches. Then one day we visited a sinagogue and the roles reveresed. Every single male member of our group, entered, wearing a ladies scarf!

    Never know when things are going to come in handy.
  6. Lincsong

    Lincsong I'll Lock Up

    Shining City on a hill
    I've never travelled abroad, unless Victoria, B.C. Canada and Ensenada, Mexico are considered "abroad".lol But, I figure any traveler has to adapt to their surroundings and try not to be too condescending. It's one thing to be surprised when something new or uncommon happens. It's another thing to reject it outright with a snobbish huff.:eek:
  7. RedPop4

    RedPop4 One Too Many

    Metropolitan New Orleans
    It's tough because that Ugly American syndrome is a stereotype, now. Stereotype being based in truth; why is it that Americans dare not stereotype for fear of contempt? Yet others may do so and it's the Americans that must adapt?

    I've traveled and lived in other nations, I love doing it. I aim to live by the Law of Love every unto others as you would have them do unto you. And this occurs no matter WHERE I find myself. It's simple common courtesy as my parents taught me.

    Welcome Archie, pleasure to meet you. Of course many of your patrons were doing things in our city they'd never do at home, and yet people say New Orleans got what it deserved because of its decadence when it's the outsiders who are often the perpetrators of said decadence.
  8. Well, if you happen to be a masochist, that law can get you into some very hot water.

    I've always preferred the following: "Do not unto others as you would not have them do unto you."

  9. RedPop4

    RedPop4 One Too Many

    Metropolitan New Orleans
    I do good to others, or aim to, so they will do good to me.
    Will they? Not as much of that in our day and time, but I still try to reap what I sow.
  10. I believe in the mirror policy. It works both ways.
  11. ;) I was pulling your leg, RedPop. Let me explain ...

    According to the Law of Love, since masochists would (like to) have others hurt them, it follows that masochists should hurt others. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." See how its logic leads to trouble?

  12. You have defintely been watching the Corsican Brothers too much. :D
  13. Viola

    Viola Call Me a Cab

    NSW, AUS
    I have never been out of the country. I would like to budget for it in a few years.

    I will be polite AND apologetic, I know that; apologetic because I have a damn tin ear when it comes to learning any language other than the one I got as a baby, so I fear I'm going to be saying "slower, please" and "English?" a lot.:eusa_doh:

    My cousin says "don't worry Israelis all speak English" but I am afraid of being seen as snooty or rude.

  14. deanglen

    deanglen My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Fenton, Michigan, USA
    Interesting point, Marc, after reading it, I was sure
    I recalled from my New Testament studies at Seminary that the Rabbis of Jesus' time something similar to your restatement of the Golden Rule. This is from Alfred Edresheim's, "Life And Times OF Jesus The Messiah":

    "A more full comparison than has been made would almost require a separate treatise. One by one, as we place the sayings of the Rabbis by the side of those of Jesus in this Sermon on the Mount, we mark the same essential contrariety of spirit, whether as regards righteousness, sin, repentance, faith, the Kingdom, alms, prayer, or fasting. Only two points may be specially selected, because they are so frequently brought forward by writers as proof, that the sayings of Jesus did not rise above those of the chief Talmudic authorities. The first of these refers to the well-known words of our Lord:42 'Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.' This is compared with the following Rabbinic parallel,43 in which the gentleness of Hillel is contrasted with the opposite disposition of Shammai. The latter is said to have harshly repelled an intending proselyte, who wished to be taught the whole Law while standing on one foot, while Hillel received him with this saying: 'What is hateful to thee, do not to another. This is the whole Law, all else is only its explanation.' But it will be noticed that the words in which the Law is thus summed up are really only a quotation from Tob. iv. 15, although their presentation as the substance of the Law is, of course, original. But apart from this, the merest beginner in logic must perceive, that there is a vast difference between this negative injunction, or the prohibition to do to others what is hateful to ourselves, and the positive direction to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.44 The one does not rise above the standpoint of the Law, being as yet far from that love which would lavish on others, the good we ourselves desire, while the Christian saying embodies the nearest approach to absolute love of which human nature is capable, making that the test of our conduct to others which we ourselves desire to possess. And, be it observed, the Lord does not put self-love as the principle of our conduct, but only as its ready test. Besides, the further explanation in St. Luke vi. 38 should here be kept in view, as also what may be regarded as the explanatory additions in St. Matt. v. 42-48."

    Food for thought. Might not sway you, but thought you might be interested.

  15. The Wolf

    The Wolf Call Me a Cab

    Santa Rosa, Calif
    My travels are few but I'll comment anyway

    The French are known as rude and uninterested. When I went to Paris (which is said to be more so) I was treated very well. I tried to speak French and usually the other person would speak English to me to help. Except one time when I came back to the hotel (or in French "le hotel"). The maid was the only one at the desk. Using the words for "my wife", "in the room" , pointing and looking confused I was able to explain myself.
    I also noticed that we were treated better than American tourists that didn't try speaking any French and who grumbled loudly.:rage:
    All in all, I have a grand time France despite not understanding how some things are done there or prefering how things are done in the U.S..

    The Wolf
  16. TM

    TM A-List Customer

    California Central Coast
    I completely agree with The Wolf. I've traveled to Paris many times and have never had difficulties, even though I have no ability with languages.

    When traveling, make some attempt at the local language. Hello, Thank You, Excuse Me, etc. Never speak to a local in English as if assuming they speak English.

    Also, don't ask for directions. Even as a tourist in Paris I got annoyed by tourists asking me for directions!

  17. Benny Holiday

    Benny Holiday My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Sydney Australia
    I've been fortunate in that I've never met an 'ugly American.' I've always found visiting Americans to be polite and courteous. But there's always a few rotten apples that spoil it for everyone else.

    Whilst travelling to Japan and then on to England some years back, I was horrified to find myself on a flight that was host to ten or so 'ugly Australians'. They drank heavily, cussed and swore, lolled around, made stupid remarks, and generally behaved in a loutish and offensive manner. As LaMedicine and others have pointed out, these fools represented Australia to the Americans, British and Japanese people on the airplane. They were an utter embarrassment and served to remind me to be all the more polite and diplomatic in my dealings with the citizens of the countries I was visiting.
  18. Lincsong

    Lincsong I'll Lock Up

    Shining City on a hill
    This is an interesting thread. So many people travel. I really should put my passport to use.
  19. Hemingway Jones

    Hemingway Jones I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Acton, Massachusetts
    I honestly believe that there will always be obnoxious people living under all of the flags of the world. Couple this with cultural dissonance, and stereotypes are created based upon misunderstandings.

    Though, I do have a funny "Ugly American" story. Five years ago, I was on The Ponte Vecchio in Florence taking some photos of a full moon rising over the hill beyond the diminishing point of the Arno. All of the Italians around me were well-dressed, those in jeans had ironed jeans with dress shoes and button-up shirts with a sweater tossed casually over their shoulders.

    I was wearing linen pants and a black linen shirt. There was a young couple wandering about, oblivious. The male was wearing shorts and Birkenstocks, and a backpack; nothing else. The young lady was wearing what I believe is called a peasant dress, with no pejorative use of that term on my part; she looked cute enough.

    So, she wandered off and he starts to scream, and I mean scream after her; not in a mean way; to get her attention. Mindful of the stereotype, I prayed that he wasn't an American. Sadly, he was. He looked like a Neanderthal in such genteel company.

    I suppose it is all right to meet one of the obnoxious people out there. I suppose it's all right to meet "The Ugly American," as long as it isn't you.
  20. Elaina

    Elaina One Too Many

    My ugly Americans

    While in Tokyo, I had met and befriended a Japenese gent and we developed the custom of meeting for coffee at Denny's in the morning (I wanted a taste of home) and did a typically "American" thing: argued over the paper. No biggie, he was a pleasure to know. So we're in there and drinking coffee, and doing "american" (because we did the "japanese" in the afternoon) and an american older couple came in. Now before you think this is really weird of me, I seem to know old men and have coffee with them wherever I go. I just like old men.

    The woman screamed at the waitress, threw her plate back at her, and to be honest I would have spilled her coffee on her. She complained the whole time about how much better the US was, and how the USA dropped the bomb on them and should have done a better job of it, and was just horrendous while there.

    We ran into them while roaming around going to pachinko parlours, and having a great time. I'm not sure if she didn't think I spoke english (or more accurately, cared) but I got called a harlot, and my gentleman friend of some years was made fun of for about 5 minutes, with complaints of the city thrown in, and I got mad, and he said "it is a shame one comes to a country of great beauty and can find nothing better to do then to complain that it is not interesting enough without having to create fiction to amuse themselves," patted my arm and escorted me to another building. Sadly, we kept going places this couple had been to, or were at, and it was very unomfortable, since I was trying hard to be uber nice about it all. Because of them, I was almsot not allowed into a temple, and it took some work on my part to get in.

    I loved that man. He was too cool. Luckily this was one of the worst people I've ran into. I have always wondered why they even WENT to Japan with that kind of attitude.

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