Monday, February 16, 2009

Ugly American

This week I want to talk about tourism. Preparing to travel across borders can be a very scary thing, especially if you've never done it before. You want to make sure you have everything you need but also have to keep your luggage at a reasonable weight now that airlines charge you at least the price of dinner to transport your bags. And on top of all that, many tourists feel unwelcome in some countries.

"You've got to make sure you don't become the ugly American," said Stephen Grant Sergot, who traveled to Ecuador several years ago to conduct business. During his 65 day trip his patience was tried but Sergot didn't allow it to bother him. As a result the local people he interacted with in Ecuador welcomed him.

Even if Sergot's experience isn't typical of every American tourist, those travelers who do feel out of place in a new country shouldn't take it to heart. According to an article in the New York Times, becoming an "ugly" tourist is no longer just an American problem. A more recent article from the International Herald Tribune discusses anti-American sentiments and where they come from.

Whatever the case may be, it is true that tourists can offend locals no matter what country you're in. As a result, there are numerous guides published by different companies that attempt to instruct tourists.

Here are two videos I found on You Tube. The first is from the 1963 video "The Ugly American." This movie was based on the 1958 novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer of the same name and is the first source of the term "ugly American." The second is a funny animated short about cultural differences that won an award in 2008.

No comments:

Post a Comment