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[SOLVED] Tourist Rudeness

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Member
Joined: 31.08.2018
Pending moderation

Without criticizing a specific nation, please mention things that tourists do to annoy people of your country/region, but also explain the cultural difference.

For example, if you live in Paris, you might say, "Many tourists expect Parisian restaurant / cafe wait staff to check on them frequently. They may even wave their arms and call for the waiter. In Parisian culture, this is very rude. Our culture views proper etiquette in restaurants / cafes as [this way].

Moderator and earthbound misfit
Joined: 05.04.2013

Sounds crazy, but when you're in Venice, nothing will annoy locals more than someone suddenly stopping in the middle of the walkway.
Since in Venice, not being possible to drive or ride a bike, most people need to walk to wherever they need to go, they tend to walk pretty fast. As streets tend to be rather narrow, it's easy, with all the turists which visit the city all year round, for them to be pretty crowdy.
If you put these two things together, you understand that the space around you is rather limited, and if you stop all of a sudden, those who are walking (almost running) right behind you will have to stop suddenly as well not to run you over. Which will annoy them quite a lot, if they are locals.

Editor Leader of the Balkan Squad
Joined: 14.10.2016

In Washington, DC, tourists on the Metro are possibly the worst because the escalators are narrow, the platforms are crowded enough, and they have a tendency to get on the wrong train and then announce it to the whole car.
We get it--it's an unfamiliar transit system, but it's not really that complex; there are maps basically every step of the way and the routes are posted on poles in each station. It's not like the New York subway, which is another beast in and of itself.
The only worse thing is tourists on Segway tours...

Joined: 09.04.2017

It’s common for Americans to come here to Australia and get upset that when they ask for lemonade, they get handed a Sprite. Words have different meanings in different places and what Americans know as lemonade doesn’t really exist here. But it’s a minor annoyance to locals how mad Americans get about it. Other than that I haven’t really encountered any rude tourists. Also you walk on the left side here, and so people walking in their right if they’re from countries that are opposite makes train stations a bit annoying

Otter in disguise
Joined: 19.09.2016

People coming to Colombia (or any other South American country for that matter) expecting everyone to speak English and then getting mad after realizing nobody really does. Especially when they look down on us and scold us as if we were inferior for not knowing their language. Um, excuse me? isn't it you who came here and doesn't speak our language? Bunch of hypocrites. I'm not saying you should master the language or anything - just learn the basics so you can ask for help. Or, you know, at least be nice and treat us like actual people.
(Totally not getting winded up because of that one time I witnessed a dude lashing out at a poor waitress on a local restaurant for not understanding what he said while his family sported scornful expressions and made biting remarks about us "being illiterate" and stuff. Thankfully they ended up leaving not soon after.)

Of course, not all tourists are like that. There was one time I helped a Dutch couple make their way through Floridablanca, and they were really sweet. They were having trouble communicating, but they tried really hard (they had a dictionary and all!) and were super polite. My family and I helped them get a guide and they were so happy. Those are the kind of people we like. Be nice and we'll do our best to help - even if we have to communicate through charades!

(And also as an extra although it isn't actually rude: People trying to eat the palm leaves we wrap our tamales in because they think they're part of the dish. It's hilarious.)

Member
Joined: 31.08.2018
Rezz wrote:

One time I witnessed a dude lashing out at a poor waitress on a local restaurant for not understanding what he said while his family sported scornful expressions and made biting remarks about us "being illiterate" and stuff.

Wow! I don't even know how to label that. Self-absorption? Egocentrism? Adult infants who think the whole world revolves around them? This story actually frightens me.

If it was so important to go to a country where English is spoken by everyone, they should have done their research or chosen a primarily English-speaking country, like England or Australia.

Member
Joined: 31.08.2018
swedensour wrote:

How mad Americans get

If lemonade is that important to someone's happiness, perhaps that person shouldn't travel even one hour away from it.

Apparently there is a life-threatening illness for which only lemonade is the cure. They should bring it with them as insulin or an Epi-pen.

Member
Joined: 31.08.2018
Icey wrote:

Sounds crazy, but when you're in Venice, nothing will annoy locals more than someone suddenly stopping in the middle of the walkway.

Does not sound crazy. This is universally inconsiderate behavior. However, I confess that I do it occasionally because, well, my brain is pretty bad sometimes.

Editor - Sculptor of Language
Joined: 11.06.2015
swedensour wrote:

Also you walk on the left side here, and so people walking in their right if they’re from countries that are opposite makes train stations a bit annoying

You not only walk on the left side in Australia, you also drive on the left side.
I must have not only annoyed but terrified locals when I visited Australia on a holiday.
I had a rental-car and after a lunch/fuel break in the outback (Andamooka, SA)
where there was very little traffic on the highways
I kind of forgot where I was and pulled out on the right side of the street and kept going.
Kept going until another car came towards me just in the same lane where I was driving ...
Omg smile

Joined: 09.04.2017
Hansi K_Lauer wrote:

You not only walk on the left side in Australia, you also drive on the left side.
I must have not only annoyed but terrified locals when I visited Australia on a holiday.
I had a rental-car and after a lunch/fuel break in the outback (Andamooka, SA)
where there was very little traffic on the highways
I kind of forgot where I was and pulled out on the right side of the street and kept going.
Kept going until another car came towards me just in the same lane where I was driving ...
Omg smile

That is very scary and I'm glad you came out of that okay. The driving on the left thing was odd to me but I can't drive so it hasn't affected me that much.

Joined: 09.04.2017
BreezyDay][quote=swedensour wrote:

Apparently there is a life-threatening illness for which only lemonade is the cure. They should bring it with them as insulin or an Epi-pen.

I've seen several posts on FB from Americans saying they went to the UK or Australia and were upset that lemonade = sprite. And other Americans in the comments being like "lol, that's stupid, they're wrong over there." I like lemonade, but not enough to care that it's hard to come by here. Besides, we've got Lift and Solo that's a lot better.

Member
Joined: 16.02.2018

This answers a question that I've had for a long time! I went to Australia when I was about 13 years old and I remember being sooo confused when I was told on the plane that they had lemonade but then was given a Sprite. That happened one other time during that trip - I fully expected to get Sprite again and just assumed it was an interesting language difference. Kind of like how here in the US we have different words for soda depending on the region. I've always wondered what Australians call what I know as "lemonade" - interesting that it doesn't exist there.

It's hard to understand why someone would get that mad about it though! They probably shouldn't be travelling if a lack of their precious lemonade is that big of a deal Regular smile

Editor - Sculptor of Language
Joined: 11.06.2015
Rezz wrote:

People trying to eat the palm leaves we wrap our tamales in because they think they're part of the dish. It's hilarious.

If they are from Europe the tamales probably remind them of the Greek stuffed vine leaves Dolmades (it is rice and spices wrapped up in tender vine leaves) and you eat them with the leaves.
https://eatsmarter.de/rezepte/gefuellte-weinblaetter-auf-griechische-art...

Joined: 09.04.2017

We have carbonated soda that tastes like what we Americans know as lemoade (imo it's better) called Solo (sometimes Lift, if you want Lift brand specifically). They've got like strawberry lemonade/blueberry/other random fruit lemonade that's very similar to what we consider lemonade and not always carbonated. But the lemon, sugar, water that we know doesn't really exist here. There may be lemon-flavoured cordial which is a juice concentrate syrup that you put in water, but it isn't lemonade.

The Sprite versus lemonade debate is a big one I've seen online and it's led to many, many internet fights. I was confused at first too, but a few of my friends in Australia warned me ahead of time of some of the language differences between America and Australia. The one I struggled with the most was that "bell pepper" doesn't mean anything in Australia, neither does cilantro.

Editor - Sculptor of Language
Joined: 11.06.2015
swedensour wrote:

The driving on the left thing was odd to me but I can't drive so it hasn't affected me that much.

You are one of those who can wear that infamous T-shirt which says: "I'm not a tourist. I live here"
Wink smile

Joined: 09.04.2017
Hansi K_Lauer][quote=swedensour wrote:

You are one of those who can wear that infamous T-shirt which says: "I'm not a tourist. I live here"
Wink smile

Haha, in some ways. Sometimes I still get fascinated by things as if I were a tourist, and I'm sure it annoys the locals.

Member
Joined: 16.02.2018

I guess I've never googled it so I didn't know it was that big of a debate. But I can understand a bit - people here can get unnecessarily upset when they go to the southern US and all brands/types of soda get called Coke.

Huh, interesting! What do they call bell peppers and cilantro in Australia?

Editor
Joined: 31.12.2013

Apparently, in the United States and some other English speaking countries, people don't have to say 'hello' when they enter a shop and meet someone (salesperson, waiter, shopkeeper or anyone working). Is that true?
In the French culture, it's very rude not to greet someone. Saying 'hello' or 'good morning' is actually acknowledging other people's presence and the fact they're human beings too. If the first thing you do when meeting someone is being rude, that might make the person less inclined to be nice to you, hence the reputation of Parisian/French people to be rude according, usually, to American people. I think it might explain many things at least.

I don't even talk about the fact that someone would be 'rude' or 'stupid' because they don't speak English... It's not a lack of courtesy, nor stupidity, just something that happens. Get over it.

Member
Joined: 16.02.2018

We don't have many tourists where I live (small city in the middle of the US) but here's one from when I studied abroad that I know would annoy people where I live if it happened here.

Having your picture taken by tourists without being asked for permission simply because you look different. Now, I don't mean someone secretly taking your picture but rather standing close, taking multiple pictures, and even moving to get a better view when you try to hide your face or show that you don't want your picture taken.

Member
Joined: 16.02.2018
Ainoa wrote:

Apparently, in the United States and some other English speaking countries, people don't have to say 'hello' when they enter a shop and meet someone (salesperson, waiter, shopkeeper or anyone working). Is that true?
In the French culture, it's very rude not to greet someone. Saying 'hello' or 'good morning' is actually acknowledging other people's presence and the fact they're human beings too. If the first thing you do when meeting someone is being rude, that might make the person less inclined to be nice to you, hence the reputation of Parisian/French people to be rude according, usually, to American people. I think it might explain many things at least.

I don't even talk about the fact that someone would be 'rude' or 'stupid' because they don't speak English... It's not a lack of courtesy, nor stupidity, just something that happens. Get over it.

For the US, I'd say that it depends on the region. Where I live in the Midwest we're pretty polite so I'd definitely say "hello" back to everyone. Despite that, I've had a decent number of people not greet me back where I work and I do find that a bit rude. It does make me feel a bit like they're not acknowledging me as a person. Then again, I have a quiet voice so it's also totally possible they didn't hear me! Regular smile

Joined: 09.04.2017
aoidaisy wrote:

Huh, interesting! What do they call bell peppers and cilantro in Australia?

Bell peppers are called capsicum and cilantro is coriander. Apparently cilantro is just the Spanish word for the coriander plant that we borrowed into English, I guess

Joined: 09.04.2017
Ainoa wrote:

In the French culture, it's very rude not to greet someone. Saying 'hello' or 'good morning' is actually acknowledging other people's presence and the fact they're human beings too. Get over it.

In the United States, it isn't very common. Shopkeepers sometimes have to great customers as part of their job or they'll get demerits. When I was working retail they phrased it as preventing theft is the only reason to great someone. When I came to Australia, I was amazed at how friendly everyone is. Even store employees will engage in conversation with you, I even talked to strangers at the Sydney airport.

Editor - Sculptor of Language
Joined: 11.06.2015

I once annoyed a whole train car in Myanmar. (formerly Burma)
I had my sandals strapped to the sides of my backpack and had it stored in the overhead compartment.
Shoes above people's heads - that's an absolute no-go in Myanmar!
Regular smile

Member
Joined: 16.02.2018

Okay, that makes sense. So then are both the seeds and the leaves called coriander? We call the leaves cilantro and the seeds coriander even though they're from the same plant.

Joined: 09.04.2017

[@aoidaisy] That is correct!

[@Hansi K_Lauer] Oh no! Why is that? Is it a cultural thing?

Editor - Sculptor of Language
Joined: 11.06.2015

Yes, it is.
Shoes is a delicate subject all over Asia.
There is probably not a single culture (maybe except the Philippines?) where you are tolerated to enter a privat home with your shoes on ...

Another thing I had to learn is that it is considered impolite to blow your nose in public.
When I did that once in Thailand the whole room gave me dirty looks ...
Regular smile

I think that is even not much different in African countries.
(Well, Asians and Africans usually never have runny noses, I guess ...)
Wink smile
(Maybe that's part of our Neandertal man-heritage ... Teeth smile )

Member
Joined: 31.08.2018

Sprite/lemonade - Why travel to another country if you want everything to be the same? Now there's McDonald's in China and Victoria's Secret in Turkey, I think. Drives me crazy. Don't get me started on Spanglish because I already complained about that somewhere else on this site.

I did not know that Sprite is called lemonade, but I can't imagine people getting angry over it.

When I was starting to learn Spanish, one of the first things I learned was that torta and tortilla mean different things in different countries. I'm so glad.

As for saying hello, it varies in Southern California and perhaps big cities according to personality. If you're friendly, some people feel too busy and they try to get away from you. Others will reciprocate the friendliness and engage in conversation.

But greetings? At work we always greeted each other, but there was one man who worked for years in the same room and he never said a word to the woman in the front of the room, even though he walked by her each day.

And there was one legal secretary who said a man set down work in front of her and started giving instructions. She interrupted him and said, "Hello."

But I don't think that's representative. I'll have to think about that one. Some people where I live are extraordinarily arrogant or inconsiderate, but many or most are humble, lovely and friendly.

Joined: 09.04.2017
BreezyDay wrote:

I did not know that Sprite is called lemonade, but I can't imagine people getting angry over it.,

It's the entitlement and the expecting everything to be exactly the same when they travel and for everyone to speak the same language and use the same words as them.

Super Member
Joined: 07.01.2019
Ainoa wrote:

Apparently, in the United States and some other English speaking countries, people don't have to say 'hello' when they enter a shop and meet someone (salesperson, waiter, shopkeeper or anyone working). Is that true?

I'm surprised to hear that, because it's actually very common in the US to greet one another - in general, but especially in a retail or restaurant setting where that person is your customer. In fact, when I've traveled I've often heard people say that Americans are "fake nice" because we greet others, smile, ask how they are doing, etc. and it doesn't seem genuine. But it's just our way of acknowledging the other person's existence as a fellow human being, just like how you've described French culture.

Something I've done that's probably annoying to other cultures is just generally being in people's way because I don't understand the "rules" in that culture and then find out that there aren't any! In the US we tend to be quite orderly and have unspoken rules about things - we line up, wait our turn, everything goes smoothly.

I've noticed that some other countries don't really do this, so if I'm trying to buy something or get on a train or bus, I don't really know where to wait or stand. I don't know who was there first or who should be next. So people will go ahead of me and I'll miss the bus or stand forever in the line because I'm waiting to recognize some kind of structure or order. And others are just pushing ahead, which would be very rude in US culture.

Editor
Joined: 18.10.2015

What really annoys UK locals is not adult tourists but kids who come in large numbers for their English course. Kids will be kids but however long you instruct them they may be ignorant of what they are told. Some things may get dangerous like never looking on the right first when crossing the road. Kids from the mainland may look left and step down on the road right in front of a passing car. (Personal experience as a group leader. Though everything was OK, I still remember the driver's face)

The locals with such a school around complain about kids' lunch from their host families being thrown over the fence into their yards because kids always fancy pizza after their studies. I remember talking to an old lady with her famous refine British humour. She said "You know what. I don't complain any more. I know my lunch will fall down onto me from the sky"

One day a local gentleman phoned me and said that someone had picked his apples in the allotment where locals grew their veggies, fruit and berries. I knew who had done this as I had seen the boy with the apples the day before. I told him off but the next day I saw the kid with cherries. "Arthur", I said, "didn't I ask you not to pick anything without permission?" "Oh, yes, you did." he said. "But you spoke about apples!" Kids.....

Member
Joined: 31.08.2018

I have a frustration, not just with visitors but also locals, about coming to a crowded place and taking photos.

Mind you, these are botanical gardens and places like the Hollywood sign. It is understandable that everyone wants a beautiful photograph. And if there's a baby, it takes even longer to get the baby to look into the camera and smile.

But there are multitudes visiting. You can't expect swarms to stop to wait for you to get the perfect shot. Many are polite and wave you through.

Please understand, the freeway is stop-and-go. The local roads are stop-and-go. Same with getting your parking place. Then getting from parking to the entrance line. When we finally get to the destination, and then we're expected to stop every 10 minutes for another photo, it's too stressful.

Then there are locals who set up tripods and block narrow pathways for extended periods of time. There's some amazing flower or hummingbird activity. So I leave and come back, and they're still there! We all want to look at that flower. Share!

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