Huh. I really shoulda saved that elephant fisting photo I posted yesterday for today’s post . . .
There are those whose greatest travel pleasure is whining about the behavior of their fellow touri. And then there are those of whom the former whine about. It’s a universal truth nicely summed up by that well-known adage: Those who can, do; those who have a stick up their ass, preach.
Not that any travel-related behavior should be considered acceptable, but what gets some grumbler’s panties in a wad is nothing more than the sight of someone else having a good time. And sure, you shouldn’t traipse around Bangkok wearing nothing but skimpy beach attire – unless you have the body of a god – but then that sort of behavior is more of an embarrassment to the transgressor than it is to the rest of us. Not that you want to ever see most of those bodies revealed even when you are at the beach.
What constitutes proper tourist behavior and which actions should be universally deplored and condemned are often in the eye of the beholder. It’s a lot like pornography, or as Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart put it, it’s hard to define, but I know it when I see it. To some the sight of a touri who has had a few too many brings on a conniption fit over public drunkenness, while most just assume the poor bloke is an Aussie and, karma being what it is, will suffer for his behavior when he wakes up the next morning with the mother of all hangovers. There are a few rude travel behaviors that everyone agrees should be banned, but most depend greatly on where you are from and how you were raised. Even among those who are fussy old queens raised to seek out faults in others in order to maintain their illusions of moral superiority.
International travel was once reserved for the cultural elite. Nowadays, as Air Asia like to brag: Everyone Can Fly. The tourist areas of the world have become a melting pot, bubbling over with a spectacular mass of people who come from different backgrounds and traditions. That can cause problems. What is socially acceptable to one culture results in charges of tourists behaving badly from those of others. Think American tourists and many immediately picture loud, overweight, poorly dressed folk who don’t speak any language other than English and who are totally ignorant of the places they travel to, excluding information that they’ve picked up from Lonely Planet. Think Japanese vacationers and many picture large groups on tour, loaded with the latest models of the most expensive photographic equipment to take smiling pictures everywhere, who willingly over-pay for anything and everything while braying among themselves about how vastly inferior the people of the land they are visiting are.
Brits have long suffered from a loutish image abroad, obnoxiousness seeming to be their #1 export – though to be fair, in a recent survey published in Newsweek, French and Indian tourists ranked higher on the obnoxiousness scale. In fact, while being an Aussie and being an alcoholic are often viewed as being synonymous, the French are the perennial favorite for the #1 spot on Expedia’s annual survey of the world’s best and worst tourists and are generally viewed as being the biggest skinflints, the worst tippers, the least able or inclined to speak foreign languages, and usually rank last in terms of their politeness and behavior. And then there are the Chinese.
Two months ago, according to a China Economic Net report, some high-end vacation resorts in the Maldives have become so outraged over what they consider to be bad behavior on the part of vacationers from China they’ve changed their property’s operating procedures: employees have been instructed to remove the hot water kettle in every Chinese tourist’s room. The social faux pas this new policy was designed to curb is the Chinese nationals’ love of Cup of Noodles; the resorts were upset that the tourists were not spending their money in restaurants but sitting in their hotel rooms chowing down on instant noodles instead. The Chinese, of course, are incensed. Not that the China National Tourism Administration is willing to give their people a free pass on proper touri etiquette while abroad.
Teaming up with the central government’s Office of the Spiritual Civilization Development Steering Commission they conducted a study on The Frequent Bad Behaviors of Chinese Citizens Who Travel Abroad, which detailed ten popular complaints against Chinese tourists, including: littering, spitting, snatching bus seats, queue-jumping, taking off shoes and socks in public, speaking loudly, bad temper and cursing, and smoking in non-smoking areas. In response, the Ministry of Tourism issued a brochure for Chinese tourists called The Manual on Proper Behavior for Chinese Citizens Traveling Abroad. It lists helpful information, suggesting touri eat their food quietly, not cut into queues, and, in order to ‘protect the environment’ not to litter. It also warns against spitting on the ground, not because it’s a disgusting habit but because everyone needs to do their part to curb the problem of greenhouse gases.
Cultural norms aside, the sight of touri gone wild in and of itself does seem to be the norm. The results of an unscientific survey by travel app Triposo, were recently released which showed misbehaving while on holiday, for many, if just part of the travel experience. Their research covered everything from travel etiquette and manners – like hogging arm rests and asking to switch seats incessantly – to drunken misbehavior and foreign fraternization. Some of their findings may surprise you. Or help you to realize you are not alone. Or give you something more to whine about:
The Joy Of Sex:
· 70 percent admitted to some form of sexual fraternization.
· 25 percent admitted to a one-night stand.
· 17 percent did it in a public place.
· 16 percent did it with someone who didn’t speak a word of their language.
· 6 percent admitted to cheating on a significant other; and
· 5 percent broke up with said significant other.
· 6 percent admitted to soliciting sex.
The Evils Of Alcohol:
· 60 percent admitted to getting totally blitzed.
· 11 percent reported injuries thanks to having one too many.
· 20 percent admitted to urinating in public.
· 10 percent admitted to vomiting in public.
· 5 percent say drinking abroad led to naked escapades in public.
· 20 percent who admitted to stealing while in a foreign country
· 15 percent admitted to buying or selling drugs.
· Almost 14 percent admitted to some form of trespassing.
· 6 percent admitted to smuggling contraband.
· Less than 2 percent report being arrested, though more than 10 percent reported being held at the border.
Related Posts You Might Enjoy: