30 November 2006

Don't Be That Guy (or Girl)

I like to travel. I took it for granted when I could afford to do it (read: when my parents paid for it). Occasionally we watch the Travel Channel and come across all kinds of places I imagine would be fun to visit. They're on a list titled "someday." We also watch The Amazing Race, religiously. One day we hope to be on it so our TV watching could be called "research."

There's something that embarrasses me year after year on The Amazing Race. It's the "ugly American." There are always people who think everyone in the world speaks English, even if they live in places where the norm does not include wearing shoes. On top of that, they think speaking English with their version of a regional accent will make them better understood. I think that's insulting and extremely ignorant. I'm a talker. I think if you're going to take the time to go somewhere, you should at least learn a few phrases. But apparently that's just me.

There are other things Americans do when abroad that aren't necessarily embarrassing, but they can be viewed as ignorant, even offensive. Here are some tips, in case you are about to board a plane.