Monday, June 22, 2015

Don't be the Ugly American ...

At the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. you must remain quiet and respectful so all tourists can appreciate the monument and read the inscriptions and quotes. Even though her mouth is open, this tourist is silent and respectful.
I recently took some visiting friends into Washington D.C. to do the "touristy" thing. Since it's summer here in our nation's capitol' there are A LOT of tourists. Some are pleasant, some are not. Just by the way American tourists treat their own tourist attractions makes me wonder how they treat tourist attractions in other countries. Which prompts me to write this post on how NOT to be the Ugly American. The first "what not to do" is fashion related because if I saw one butt cheek hanging out of a pair of daisy duke shorts, I saw an army of them. Here are my top five bits of advice to Americans on how to NOT be an "Ugly American" tourist:
  1. Dress conservatively -- I Know I am not the only person who would much rather NOT see the 3 B's (buttocks, bosom, belly). Show some decorum people! Would you want some guy in a speedo walking around your precious American monument? Then why would you wear a tube top to the Arc de Triumph (which is just as sacred to the French as our Vietnam Memorial is to us Americans).
  2. Don't flaunt -- Trust me, the people in whatever city you visit are very much aware that you are from America. You do not have to wear a "God Bless Texas" or American flag T-shirt to proclaim your citizenship status.
  3. Carry a foreign language phrase book -- Even if your French accent is horrendous or your Spanish is pathetic carry a foreign language phrase book or dictionary because it shows that you are at least trying to communicate with the people in the country in which you are a GUEST.
  4. Research pays off -- Do a bit of research before you travel so you will know how to "fit in" (i.e. should you tip your servers, is it acceptable to haggle, is wearing red considered "slutty", etc.).
  5. Follow the rules -- We expect people from other countries to follow our rules (e.g. like the photo above) when they are visiting our country so why shouldn't we be expected to do the same? Don't litter, be noisy, smoke or do any other annoying things in a country where you are a GUEST.
Can you think of any other "Ugly American" things you've seen when touring other countries? Or even seen American tourists do in their own country?

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