Odd traveler complaints

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24 Responses to “Odd traveler complaints”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think these are made up. I once went on a walking tour in Greece, and there was an English couple in our group who did not like olives or olive oil or anything cooked in olive oil. I’m not sure, but I suspect they brought their own water-packed cans of tuna.

  2. alisong76 says:

    I work in one of the industries that gets them there, and have often had to field questions like “Will that train be on time?” asked six months before the travel date or, even better “Will there be any bushfires that day?”

    And then during the inevitable bushfire season, when we are, in fact, delayed or turned back, there are always a few geniuses who demand to know why we can’t just push on: “The train’s insulated, isn’t it?” etc. Yes, they actually want to know why we won’t take a train full of diesel and human souls into an area that is on fire.

  3. username says:

    kyle – “eating disorder”? isn’t that comment as obnoxious as the food-related complaints? “no one told me that buddhists would all have this ridiculous eating disorder and deprive me of meat”.

  4. nanite2000 says:

    @JoshuaZ

    “Is Wales closed during the winter?”

    No. But the M4 motorway is the only real way in or out, and if anybody so much as sneezes on it, then Wales is as good as closed. Oh, and you have to pay to get in (they don’t charge you to leave though, which is very gracious of them I think).

  5. Atomische says:

    Reminds me of when my boyfriend’s mom was visiting us from another country and complained “the salt just isn’t as salty here.”

  6. J France says:

    Coriander: I’m pretty sure they have one of those beef-free McDonalds in Goa.

  7. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    m a j o r c a

    fasten your seatbelts says a voice
    inside the plane you can’t hear no noise
    engines made by rolls royce
    take your choice
    …make mine majorca

    check out the parachutes
    can’t be found
    alert those passengers
    they’ll be drowned
    a friendly mug says “settle down”
    when i came round i was gagged and bound
    …for Majorca

    and the eyes caress
    the neat hostess
    her unapproachable flip finesse
    i found the meaning of the word excess
    they’ve got little bags if you wanna make a mess
    i fancied Cuba but it cost me less
    …to Majorca

    (Whose blonde sand fondly kisses the cool fathoms of the blue mediteranean)

    they packed us into the white hotel
    you could still smell the polycell
    wet white paint in the air-conditioned cells
    the waiter smelled of fake Chanel
    Gaulois… Garlic as well
    says if i like… i can call him “Miguel”
    …well really

    i got drunk with another fella
    who’d just brought up a previous paella
    he wanted a fight but said they were yella’
    …in Majorca

    the guitars rang and the castinets clicked
    the dancer’s stamped and the dancer’s kicked
    it’s likely if you sang in the street you’d be nicked
    the double diamond flowed like sick
    mother’s pride, tortilla and chips
    pneumatic drills when you try to kip
    …in Majorca

    a stomach infection put me in the shade
    must have been something in the lemonade
    but by the balls of franco i paid
    had to pawn my bucket and spade
    next year I’ll take the international brigade
    …to Majorca

    LYRICS © JOHN COOPER CLARKE

  8. Anonymous says:

    Teresa @24

    If you were in a position to know that datum I’m not sure it’s the sort of thing you’d say at all.

    Although to be in that position, you’d have to have travelled the world, learned about the unique culture of each community you visit and spoken to the people there individually. You’d probably have met some bad people, you’d probably have met some good people. You might have had cause to reflect on your own prejudices. But if you’d come back from that journey with a definitive answer on who as a nation is the most bigoted in the world… Then you probably need to start again.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Kyle Armbruster –

    You don’t see the irony of depicting an entire nation as “the most bigoted, culturally ignorant and ethnocentric people in the world” ?

    Ha.

  10. Kari says:

    No list of this kind is complete without the American couple that, after a two-week long cruise along the coast of Norway, wrote and demanded their money back because the midnight sun was, in fact, NOT a different sun at all, but the normal one, only up all night.

    I used to work at a museum and fielded some brilliant queries – my all time favourites were:

    “Are those real stuffed trolls?”

    (They were plaster figurines from the souvenir shop)

    and

    “Where can I see a fjord?”

    (From tourists taking the aforementioned cruise, who would already have visited a dozen fjords (and seen scores from the deck) before arriving at my particular port, and had, in fact, sailed in a fjord to get to my museum. I pointed back over my shoulder, where a giant panorama window overlooked the, you guessed it, fjord.)

  11. Dillenger69 says:

    Maybe they should go for an English if they don’t like curry?

  12. jetfx says:

    I’m continually surprised that these people have the wherewithal to actually get there, before they reveal the extent of their ignorance.

    Although sometimes their ignorance impedes them actually making it to their intended destination. I even met this couple, as I was flying out of the airport in Sydney, NS that very same day. Nice, but clueless.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2172858.stm

  13. trieste says:

    “…there were too many Spanish people being in Spain”

    That’s is perfectly true. The last time I was there it was practically filled with them!

  14. Kehaar says:

    A friend told me how upset he was that a travel buddy, stayed in the hotel room the whole week on vacation and watched tv and drank beer. Just like he usually does at home.

    “The only problem with traveling are all the foreigners you meet everywhere” Zsa Zsa Gabor ? Groucho Marx ? I forget to whom that quote is attributed.

  15. LB says:

    “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England it only took the Americans three hours to get home.”

    But I’m sure it took the remaining six hours to clear customs once they landed!

  16. Coriander says:

    Okay, normally I get annoyed when commenters call bullshit on anecdotes that can never actually be verified, because to me it’s a lazy way to look worldly-wise and experienced without actually having to contribute anything.

    Now that I’ve got that off my chest – I call bullshit. Some of these really look like deliberate jokes to me. At least they didn’t go so far as to make the stupid tourists Americans in every single one.

    Still, these are pretty funny. But the one complaining about nothing to eat in Goa except spicy curries chose perhaps the least suitable part of India for that particular complaint. Goa is full of tourists and the businesses that cater to them. Goa is full of restaurants serving something other than Indian food.

  17. jennybean42 says:

    I also know people– and alas, are related to some– who will complain about ANYTHING when they are traveling because if they are persistant enough they know they will get free perks, refunds, drinks, etc. from the company, hotel, etc. in order to please them.

  18. JoshuaZ says:

    They also have a related article of dumbest questions asked by tourists:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/picturegalleries/4973350/20-stupid-questions-asked-by-tourists.html

    My favorite from that list is “Is Wales closed during the winter?”

  19. apoxia says:

    How did these people have the cognitive skills required to navigate an airport in order to get to their destination?

  20. Kyle Armbruster says:

    I’m going to step in it a bit here, but this post is just kind of serendipitous, in that I’ve been thinking a lot about this in the last couple months.

    I am American, and raised to kind of believe that Americans are the most bigoted, culturally ignorant and ethnocentric people in the world.

    Lately I’ve been thinking we’re not.

    That prize goes to the British, which is probably where we got it.

    Things like deliberately mispronouncing place names to sound more English, even when speaking to locals (rendering them incomprehensible).

    Things like saying of Japan, “It’s so Western! It’s just like England!” when they are walking through a shopping mall (What did they expect? Samurais and geishas?)

    Asking to be taken to someplace “more Japanese” while standing in the middle of Tokyo–and when pressed for details, saying, “you know, with cheap pink plastic and electronic music and stuff.”

    Laughing openly at the people wearing dust masks to keep the killer pollen out (and shutting up when I point out that I’ll be wearing one soon–my allergic peak hasn’t hit yet–hay fever is a killer here).

    Taking pictures of a Buddhist funeral, after being told that that is what it was.

    Thinking every food item on the menu is disgusting–at a noodle restaurant–and ultimately refusing to eat anything.

    Constantly asking about fucking vegetarian fare in a country where that eating disorder is basically unheard of–stay at home if you want to eat your fucking Qorn or whatever the hell it is.

    Complaining that the local chocolate isn’t as good as Cadbury… In Switzerland.

    And finally, complaining that America is just trying to copy England with their food and music, etc… Um… We were a colony… You might have heard of that…

    –And all of these people have master’s degrees and are more well-traveled than I am. They are close friends. We have much in common. But these incredibly ethnocentric attitudes just kind of come tumbling out of their mouths and shock me to the core.

    And I’m not even including the other things I’ve observed from British tourists whom I didn’t know, when on tours or whatever with them.

    In short, unfortunately, I believe every single one of these.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The people who asked the hairdresser question may have been lower caste people from India, where there is a small caste associated with cutting hair. It wouldn’t have been ‘ridiculous’ for them to fear being discriminated against due to their low caste status.

    (here’s a brief article which mentions this caste:
    http://www.hindu.com/2008/04/22/stories/2008042251210300.htm

  22. mdh says:

    Heard while working at a remote tent-only campground in Maine: “You guys should spray for bugs”

  23. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Community Manager says:

    Kari @6: as a kid in central Arizona, my favorite tourist question was whether you had to carry a gun when crossing an Indian reservation. I’ve since become fond of a question which more than one National Parks employee has sworn they hear all the time: “Why did so many Civil War battles take place in national parks?” (Best answer: Wilmer McLean could only afford to host two of them, so the National Parks people had to step in and volunteer the use of their sites.)

    Coriander @13:

    Okay, normally I get annoyed when commenters call bullshit on anecdotes that can never actually be verified, because to me it’s a lazy way to look worldly-wise and experienced without actually having to contribute anything.

    Now that I’ve got that off my chest – I call bullshit. Some of these really look like deliberate jokes to me. At least they didn’t go so far as to make the stupid tourists Americans in every single one.

    Sorry, Coriander. A dear friend of mine was a travel agent for years, and people really do ask questions like this. Some clients told her that they didn’t like to fly, so could they drive or take a train from Los Angeles to Hawaii?

    I can’t remember whether it was my friend or another agent at her office who went round and round with a client who wanted a ticket to Rhinoceros, New York. The client insisted that it was a big place, and that people travelled there all the time. She tried to figure out what the client really wanted: Rhinebeck, maybe? Nothing worked. Finally, making a wild guess, she said “Sir, do you mean Buffalo?”

    “Buffalo!” the guy said. “I knew it was a big animal.”

    Kyle @17:

    I am American, and raised to kind of believe that Americans are the most bigoted, culturally ignorant and ethnocentric people in the world.

    Lately I’ve been thinking we’re not.

    That prize goes to the British, which is probably where we got it.

    Things like deliberately mispronouncing place names to sound more English, even when speaking to locals (rendering them incomprehensible).

    What — you mean the only nation that doesn’t bother to put its name on its postage stamps? That thinks that Livorno is named Leghorn, and that there’s a Central American nation named “Nick a rag you uh”? Those guys?

    Anonymous @20:

    You don’t see the irony of depicting an entire nation as “the most bigoted, culturally ignorant and ethnocentric people in the world”?

    Very well, then. Say you’re actually in a position to know that datum. How do you say it?

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