Remember you are the guest as you travel the world…

When preparing for a vacation abroad:

Travelers will hear all kinds of contrasting advice about how to carry themselves in a foreign country. On the one hand – When in Rome, do as the Romans do, on the other hand – Don’t forget where you came from…

Again: On the one hand – Be yourself. On the other hand – Blend in with the locals…

It’s all pretty confusing; add to that the stigma of being the “typical tourist,” and it only gets worse…

Culture shock:

Some of the tourist stereotypes have regular habits back home that border on offensive in other countries. Remember blowing your nose and or spitting on the sidewalk, just might piss people off in some countries!

You have different types of tourists: One type of tourist travels in large groups and takes lots of pictures and video. That type of tourist sits on buses and peers out the window waiting for the next buffet and someone to tell them when to smile and laugh. These tourists are like packs of lemmings…

Then you have a tourists that is just plain trying too hard to blend with the culture of said country… (Nuff Said!)

Then you have the tourist that opens his or her mouth and makes it plain that they disdain/boss everyone around them…

Americans, Germans, Russian and Britain’s traveling abroad have a particularly bad rap:

They’re loud, poorly dressed, and worst of all – obviously white. The Ultimate Ugly Tourist…

There are reasons for the ubiquity of this stereotype. First off, there are a lot of us white tourists. And our extreme affluence relative to the bulk of the world’s population means there are a lot of us traveling, a very expensive hobby without question. And our basic travel clothing, tends to dictate that we dress alike, and sometimes colorfully if you wear that beach shirt; stick with black, black clothing is very popular in much of the world….even Russians are trapped into that Bahama Mamma shirt of 50 colors and wears it proudly as if it is made of gold….nothing screams Tourist with more energy and clarity than a wild flower shirt…

I will tell you a helpful tidbit:

One of the most important things to remember is, “Use eyes and ears before engaging mouth.”

To paraphrase a very useful truism, “Better to be thought as an American, then open your mouth and remove all doubt about who you are…”


Tidbit – When traveling even locally:

Trips to the local markets are always an interesting & fun time. When they discover that you are American, the word goes like wild fire through the Market. (This is good & or bad!) We (Sveta and I) have refused to buy from many vendors because they raise the price in front of your face, but in the same token we have gotten fantastic deals because they want to be the one to have sold to the American…

Very important to remember in the wilds of Russia: Most of the time, I am the very first American that these people have seen. They have read, heard and dreamed about that Western American, but….I many times am the first to grace their life in person…

I am always one to remember prices & look for the best deal. Russia has a brand of socks that are made out of rabbit hair. These socks are the best socks that I have ever worn. My wife and I buy these socks from a local Babushka that sells them for 30 Rubles a pair. She makes good money and is very happy with the sales…

We went to a local market that sold clothing and found these same socks. The gentleman who wanted to sell us the socks (after he heard me speak some English) presented us with a price tag (for the very same brand and style) of a 100 Rubles. Even with a 50 Ruble tag attached to the display socks. He was heart broken but lowered the price all the way to 60 Rubles. As we were walking away we heard 50 Rubles. We knew at this point we could have reached that 30 Ruble price, but we kept walking, for you see the Babushka will keep our sock business…

It is another fantastic day in Moscow, Russia….

WtR

kKEETON @ Windows to Russia…

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