Americans… One must love them… Or not…
I mean I have lots of very nice American friends and they are perfectly acceptable. In fact some of them are so refined, multicultural and intellectual (all adjectives that would qualify as swear words within tea party circles… if they knew what an adjective is, of course) they run the risk – should the Republicans win the next election – of having their citizenship removed and their whole family sent to a rehabilitation camp where they will be forced to eat burgers and watch Fox news in the company of President Obama (who would finally be unmasked as the Muslim, African born, socialist traitor that he is)…
No, really, I don’t mind Americans. I’ve visited America many many times, from Lousiana to Illinois, from Nevada to New England… I know that they’re not all like Sarah Palin. I have friends who moved to America and happily live there without being surveilled by the CIA; friends who married Americans and produced American kids; part of my family, in fact, is American… So I’m generally very well disposed towards Americans….
But American… TOURISTS?
Honestly, which planet do they arrive from? Well, er, easy: America. And perhaps they shouldn’t be allowed to leave their little galaxy without attending a course on “how to behave abroad without looking like a post imperialist dummy in very bad clothes”….
I know some of them try hard to lower themselves to the level of us native inhabitants of an ancient continent that doesn’t have the blessing of being part of the United States of America. But it’s a lost cause. They manage to be even more patronising than the Brits, who are finally coming to terms with the fact they’ve lost their empire. The average American tourist still think they’ve arrived from the land of prosperity into poor old little Europe, and therefore walk around like proud pheasants ready to spread the gospel…
No matter which age, size or race, they must make themselves known.
Guys, we don’t need to know you’rer American. It shows!
God forbid they should speak a foreign word (communist! Anti-patriotic), so as soon as they land “abroad” they make up for it by yelling questions at the locals talking loud and slow:
“hey, what’s an aubergine?”
“gee, streets are so narrow, how can anyone drive in Europe?”
“would tap water make me sick?” (ma’am, this is Europe not Afghanistan)
“Does this bus go to I-o no, Ay-o no… Oh, howdahell you pronounce this flipping name?”
Ma’am, this is bus has Ioannis beach written in capital letters at the front where do you think it goes?
In this last instance, I find myself on the said bus, heading towards Ioannis Beach, Mykonos and, in order to speed up things, I reassure the American tourist in question that yes, she is on the correct bus.
“Oh! thanks-very-much!” (why are you speaking slowly to me? I’ve just addressed you in perfect English…).
Five minutes later I find myself sitting next to the american lady who wouldn’t trust sitting too far from the door just in case the bus changed its mind and went somewhere else and she was forced to jump out. Weird things can happen in Europe… Especially Southern Europe! It’s basically Africa…
As most Americans she feels she must chat to you, which I actually don’t mind, being a chatty person myself.
“I’ve been on a cruise around the Greek islands for two weeks, I should really be used to this bus business!” she says. “Oh, is he driving fast!”
“Where are you from?” I ask
“The United States”, she proclaims
Really? I thought you were Nigerian.
“Yes, I guessed that but where from?”
“Oh, are you familiar with the States?” she asks as if she was coming from a remote region of Burkina Faso nobody had heard of.
It turns out she’s from Florida. It’s a safe bet that most “Europeans” have heard of that. I was actually in Florida myself last month but I didn’t bother telling her.
When we finally get to Ioannis, still not convinced, the American lady leaves the bus, walks to the shore and asks to a group of Greek men sunbathing: “Is this, whachyoumaycallit, the nice beach?”
They look at her perplexed.
“No this is the crap beach, madam, we make sure we only sunbathe in horrible places.”
Of course they don’t say that but nod politely and point to a huge sign saying “welcome to Ioannis beach”
I have no idea how the lady found her way back to the village. She’s probably still wandering along south Mykonos desperately looking for somebody who could “speak American” and point her to the right bus for “whachyoumaycallit” the nice old town