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Old 07-19-2017, 04:56 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
6,550 posts, read 3,653,233 times
Reputation: 12306

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Lighten up a little. Most tourists are incompetent -- that's part of the job description. Tourists spend money...you are a walking debit card and they are happy to see you. If in doubt, don't be afraid to ask in a polite manner. Don't be offended if they correct you...they assume you would do or say the right thing if you knew how.
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Old 07-19-2017, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9,181 posts, read 8,281,799 times
Reputation: 19790
I live in Fort Lauderdale off Las Olas Boulevard which gets an international clientele November through April. I'd guess 70% of our tourists that I see on Las Olas are from Europe or South America.

They have no qualms about being horrible tourists (driving, tipping, manners) so I've stopped caring what other people think when I travel in international locations. While I make every effort to follow local protocol, I'm not as worried as what they think of me.
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:34 PM
 
Location: SoCal
13,200 posts, read 6,308,074 times
Reputation: 9815
I didn't do any reasearch before I go and often spoken English. Most people were very friendly. I wouldn't worry.
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Old 07-19-2017, 09:57 PM
 
Location: On the road
5,922 posts, read 2,885,080 times
Reputation: 11316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Sol View Post
I'm sure the people I'm talking to are thinking "oh great, here's another incompetent American tourist who expects me to speak English fluently."
Almost every traveler speaks to them in English, it has nothing to do with you being American.
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Old 07-19-2017, 10:12 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
24,974 posts, read 23,882,175 times
Reputation: 30815
There are many good answers here. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Learn a bit about the customs of the country you're going to visit. Know a few common words and phrases. Everyone needs to find a bathroom eventually, and you do want to have to look that up when you have to go.

Though most people are pleasant, friendly, helpful, some are pressed for time or are rude...just like here. You'd know how to deal with that here, but you're not sure how to deal with it there. It's the same rat race. Shake it off. The next person will be nice.

You're allowed to have as much oxygen as the next person. If you're paying for a room, buying meals, shopping, then you should be treated as the average confused tourist.

I've gotten lost a couple of times, and everyone was very nice.

But there was the one malignant dwarf in France at a train station near the border with Germany who didn't understand a word we said. His kiosk sold food and drinks. Husband asked in German, French, Spanish, English, Polish. Nothing. Yeah. Right.
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Old 07-20-2017, 01:28 AM
 
1,293 posts, read 947,560 times
Reputation: 2307
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
I had used the wrong door and planted my ass down in somebody's dining room.

She brought me coffee, smiled, said something or other in French in a kind voice, giggling at my obvious embarrassment and futile attempts to apologize. She refused payment, and each one of those kids came out and wished me bonjour.
- Sometimes it feels good to be in a country where "We don't call 911" isn't the only way to greet uninvited guests , right?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
English is the global language of business.
- When people are in their own homes, they don't care about that and they don't owe knowing English to anyone. They actually might be pretty content without any English at all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
I have never worried about offending someone while traveling abroad. One can always figure out a way to communicate basic concepts without speaking a local language if necessary.
- Nice! I'm sure you also reserve a right for foreign tourists to behave like swine in your hometown.
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Old 07-20-2017, 02:17 AM
 
1,528 posts, read 903,737 times
Reputation: 2062
Quote:
Originally Posted by BusyMeAK View Post
-

- When people are in their own homes, they don't care about that and they don't owe knowing English to anyone. They actually might be pretty content without any English at all.
I think that's the point. Except for totally non-cosmopolitan Europeans there is the native language spoken at home and to friends and family who fluently speak the native language and there is the 'external interface' language (English) - spoken and heard whenever anyone who is less comfortable with the native language is around. Or on the internet. Or at their office if they work for a global company or with global clients. Or when they write research articles for journals. Or work in science or engineering. Or want to listen to a Ted Talk. Or watch a Youtube video on how to fix something. Or read or write a review on a restaurant or hotel in another country. etc, etc.

Too often I see Americans feeling so bad and being so apologetic if they 'make', for example, a table of people speak English just because they are present. Or falling all over themselves to apologise that they can't speak the native language when the person they are talking to is 'forced' to speak English. This is business as usual for younger and more cosmopolitan Europeans. Profusely apologising and feeling so bad is awkward and makes you look bad.

I think that Americans who dramatically apologise for not being able to speak the local language are trying to make the point that they are not 'ugly Americans' and they certainly don't EXPECT them to speak English. Actually, that, in itself, can be patronising and insulting. Why would you not expect a cosmopolitan European in a large city to speak English in 2017? Obviously I'm slightly exaggerating here to make a point. I am not advocating that everyone goes around rudely assuming EVERYONE speaks English but you should lay off the apologising and just use your common sense about it. If you are talking to a 90 year old in a small, parochial village, then obviously it's not reasonable just to assume they speak English.

Then there is the common American practice of (after profusely apologising for 'forcing' them to switch to English) falling all over themselves to praise the English abilities of those who they are talking to. This is also patronising as English is the standard second language in continental Europe. Another ever so slight exaggeration but that's almost like going to Ireland and praising everyone on how good their English is!
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:02 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
815 posts, read 461,456 times
Reputation: 1140
have an open mind and don't turn your nose up at places and things that don't afford you the same luxury as home. The place you're visiting is probably used to having visitors and honest mistakes happen.
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:10 AM
 
12,265 posts, read 18,393,933 times
Reputation: 19087
Quote:
Originally Posted by BusyMeAK View Post
-


- When people are in their own homes, they don't care about that and they don't owe knowing English to anyone. They actually might be pretty content without any English at all.

Ohhhkay, yes I think we all agree...but what's that have to do with tourism and the topic at hand?
Thanks for a totally irrelevant, unnecessarily obvious, and misdirected response.

Last edited by Dd714; 07-20-2017 at 07:19 AM..
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:21 AM
 
6,185 posts, read 2,852,918 times
Reputation: 15660
I learned that the moment I step foot on their land,my former homeland rights are of no use.
Customs? Hmmm...Yes respect for such is advisable.

I deliberately hire a drive service because a: I get lost easily and b: I don't care for police pull overs .

I haven't traveled overseas in years ...For financial reasons and the legal systems ( or whimsical lack thereof).
Guess some are oblivious to laws and figure they are immune.
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