Just because they can afford to vacation doesn’t mean they’re smart! These folks who live in tourist areas describe the dumbest things they’ve seen an out-of-towner do!
The British Are Coming!
“I was in a cafe off the Piazza in Venice when a family of British tourists caused an incident. My family was eating at one table, theirs at another (it’s not relevant here, but they were all wearing identical Euro Disney Goofy hats). They were throwing bits of bread to the pigeons.
Pigeons on the Piazza San Marco are quite a thing to have to deal with, and the cafes have strict rules about feeding them. Vendors selling birdseed further toward the center of the square have taught the pigeons that the presence of humans plus the presence of food equals pigeons getting food, so the birds are very bold near the open-air cafes. It’s a constant battle to keep them from hopping and flying right on in.
The waiter came out and asked, very nicely, in perfect English, if they could please stop. They stared at him as if they didn’t understand a word he said and went back to tossing bread as soon as he left. Pigeons got closer and closer. Patrons looked down, startled, as they felt birds around their ankles. Others tried to shoo them off tables and chairs.
The waiter tried again, a couple more times if I remember correctly. I know the family was English speakers because they spoke to one another every time he left. They just chose to ignore him, and you could see he was getting very frustrated. At the time I got the feeling that he didn’t want to make a big deal and kick them out because the family had children. Each time, they stared at him blankly, but then kept tossing….I guess seeing the pigeons go after the bread was just too much fun for them to stop. I believe at one point the waiter actually took away the bread, but the children found little rolled bits they’d dropped on their chairs and clothes and kept going.
Long story short, from there it was a very short jump to the patio being swarmed with pigeons, who perched on the tables and ruined the place settings. Spoiled the meal for everyone, especially that poor waiter.”
“A few years back I was in Cancun with my then-girlfriend, now wife. It was my first trip outside the US and we had a grand time planned! One night we planned to go on the ‘Captain Hook’ dinner cruise, which turned out to be a lot of fun. In order to get to the cruise, you would be picked up by bus at your hotel at a designated time. Our hotel was the first stop of maybe 6–7 hotels. Included in our stop was a father and son from France. The son was somewhere between 4 and 6 I’d say, and absolutely adorable, but also very shy – hiding behind his papa most of the time.
A few stops later two American women got on the bus, maybe in their late 30s, drinks in hand and at that really loud, happy, excited level of inebriated – but not wasted or belligerent. They sat directly in front of the father and son. Within a few minutes they looked over their shoulders and realized how cute the little boy was, and immediately went manic. They were basically yelling at him in English about how cute he was, asking if he was excited about the boat ride, etc. It became clear to me quickly that the boy did not speak English. But as he did not respond they just got louder and closer to him (the father, unsure of what to do was trying to translate to the boy now and get him to say hi) until it got to the point where he was so scared, he broke into tears. But the women did not stop, they continued yelling excitedly at the little boy to not cry, insisting that he speak with them, not catching on that he did not speak English and had no idea why these two women were yelling at him.
I felt so bad for the little boy. I spoke French when I was young, my family is very French Canadian, but ever since my grandparents passed it’s been very hard for me to retain it, as I no longer have anyone to consistently speak it with, but I decided to give it a shot. I leaned over to the little boy and said something to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry buddy, these women are fools, we will be there soon.’ He let out the tiniest little smile, then buried his head back in his papa’s shirt. He stopped crying and a few minutes later we got to the ship and the women were gone. I felt so bad for the little guy, and I’ll never forget how annoying and inconsiderate those women were to that little boy.”
That Was In Bad Taste Alright
“Many years ago my family took a vacation to Hawaii. Of course, we had to visit the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. You can clearly see the sunken ship and the oil still leaking to the surface. Most of the crew of the USS Arizona are still trapped inside the sunken ship. There’s an entire wall with the name of every soldier killed in the Pearl Harbor attack written on plaques. It’s a very powerful experience.
It was off-season so there weren’t many people there. A group of Japanese tourists stepped onto the Memorial and began to celebrate. They were laughing, pointing at the sunken ship and smiling, then standing in front of the wall of dead soldiers and taking pictures. I understand that to the Japanese the Pearl Harbor attack was a great victory and they are free to celebrate any way they choose — in Japan. Just as we celebrate the Revolutionary War — in the United States. There are no victors in war and the fact that they were literally standing on top of hundreds of people who lost their lives in battle should have been sobering to anyone with a conscience. I cannot imagine celebrating the death of any soldier in any war. I have been to many countries and I have never celebrated the death of anyone. It was a shameful performance.”
“Why Don’t They Speak English In Thailand?”
“I’m British who’s temporarily staying in Thailand.
I was at the Siam BTS in Bangkok with two friends, and the way the BTS works is you put your coins into the machine, press a button and it gives you a little plastic coin ticket which lets you through the turnstile.
So, if you don’t have coins you go to the change counter which will give the coin equivalent of whatever you gave them or just for the destination you want to go to, that is the counter’s only purpose.
I was standing in the queue with two Thai friends at the change counter when a woman with two children was having an issue with the counter worker she kept saying ‘3 tickets to Asoke’, but the worker didn’t speak English – as usually you just say the station you want or just give them the notes.
The woman started to get angry that the worker didn’t understand so proceeded to shout it at the worker, as shouting in a language that someone doesn’t speak helps them understand, apparently.
After the worker finally gave them the tickets (which the worker shouldn’t do since its a money change counter), the woman stormed off and said to her two young children ‘Why can’t they speak English?’.
Well, it’s probably because you’re in Thailand where the official language is Thai, maybe you should try speaking that next time, or just going through the whole BTS procedure correctly and use the ticket machine.”
Please Do Not Mess With The Wildlife
“My late wife and I were driving through Western Canada’s Banff National Park one morning back in ’84 when we happened across a sow black bear with her two small cubs. The three of them were having breakfast on the wild berries beside the highway, totally oblivious to the passing traffic and the small crowd of people (standing well back) that had stopped to watch and photograph. We joined those stopped and, with my faithful old Canon AE-1, I got some great shots of Mama bear and her cublings feasting on the roadside buffet.
Now along comes this hero in his ‘trook ’n campuh’, sporting out of province plates. He wheels up pretty darn close to the three bears and gets out with his camera in hand. So close was he that Mama bear stopped munching on morning berries and cast a perturbed glare at this clown. Several of us told him to move farther back, but the warnings fell on deaf ears. After a minute of him risking his life shooting close-up bear pics, Mama bear is getting officially ticked, her warning growl turning into a dull roar. Now, Super Clown wasn’t at all put off by the agitated bruno ‘cuz ALL park bears are friendly; right? We’ve all seen how Yogi and Boo Boo interacted with Mr. Ranger, sir.
At this point, the pinhead hands the camera to his wife (also not the brightest diva at the dance) standing next to him and walks up to the nearest cub; all of us yelling for him to stay back. He scooped up the cub, turned to his wife, and said, ‘Get a picture of me holdin’ this thing.’ That’s the last coherent thing he said as the mother bear went ‘SNAP – LOSE IT!!!’ on the idiot. There’s no need to go into the details of the ensuing
As luck would have it there was a vacationing ER nurse in the small gathering of bystanders and with the supplies from her travel kit, along with those from my very well equipped first aid tote, she was able to get the bleeding almost stopped and kept Moron Man from going into shock. 25 minutes later the ambulance showed up and hauled Microbrain off to the hospital.
I’ve never seen such a serious case of idiocy since.”
Somebody Come Collect Your Kids!
“She was 8-years-old and was standing on the outside ledge of her hotel balcony.
I had just popped outside for a breath of fresh air and found myself face to face with this lunatic child.
‘What the heck are you doing? You could be killed. Get back inside RIGHT NOW.’
She was totally unfazed.
Then I spotted her older sister trying to duck out of sight on the balcony.
‘Hold on to her’ I yelled, with as much authority as I could muster.
She looked a bit sheepish, and explained that they had locked themselves outside and couldn’t get back in.
To be honest, I’d done this a couple of times myself and had to yell or phone for someone on the inside to come and open the door.
‘Where are your parents?’
‘Gone to lunch. Can you call someone to come and open our front door?’
‘Yes, just as soon as you pull your little sister back onto the balcony.’
‘I think I can make it over to your side’ pipes up the eight-year-old with a death wish.
‘No, you´ll just fall and break your legs. If not, I will break them when you get over here – now GET BACK INSIDE!’
Turns out this family had an all-inclusive deal with the hotel next door.
However, the two little girls had been banned for throwing food around the buffet.
Unbelievably, nobody banned the parents, who continued to eat there while leaving the kids behind.
You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Within two days, the whole family had been thrown out of the apartment next to mine and normal service was resumed.
What I remember most about this incident – apart from the physical sensation that I was having a heart attack – was that my short-lived next-door neighbors were the worst parents I had ever met.
They were sloshed at breakfast and stayed that way morning, noon and night when they started to fight and throw things from the balcony into the pool.
I had been furious with their little girl when in fact, she’d never stood a chance.”
Between The Tourists And Hurricanes They Had Enough
“My husband and I spent our first four years together living on an undisclosed, touristy island on the US East Coast.
We’ll give you a hint; Memorial Day to Labour Day….look out.
First, there is only one main road. I once lived 1/2 mile away from one of my jobs. I figured I could walk or ride my bike. Nope. Tourists driving on the gravel around someone making a left turn nearly killed me….three times that one day. One screamed at me for being in their way.
If you needed groceries, you went after your last job of the day, like at 1 am. There was only one chain store, and one mom and pop. The chain store would be swamped with pushy, obnoxious tourists, all in a great big hurry to get on with their vacations, not stand in line for groceries. There could be up to an hour’s wait to check out on weekends. The mom-and-pop grocery was a bit less crowded, but you’d be stuck in line between tourists going on and on about how quaint and backward the place and its people were. It’s insulting.
I also waited tables. I once had to listen to a very fat, loud man go on and on to his entire family about how the kids needed to go to school and not end up at a lowly job like this waitress. Uh. Hello. I was standing right there. Uh? Hello? I watch the sunrise over a deserted beach every day…. and have a lot of education. By the way, don’t insult the people who are preparing or handling your food. It’s just not smart. Things happen. Maybe only that I don’t tell you the catch of the day isn’t at all fresh, maybe more. Of all the places I have ever worked, this place messed with people’s food more than any other. Not justifying it, mind you, but many of these tourists were very rude, and many of the islanders, not terribly educated and very tired of being treated like trash on their island, why, they just didn’t care. It’s a small island. They can mess with you and you are still stuck doing business with them.
This was a small island people of middle to upper-middle class vacationed at. Living there was rough. It was expensive because of the tourist-based economy. For them to come down and push you out of line, cut you off in traffic, nearly run your children off the road…, well, it made for some very strange cultural phenomena. Nobody is nice to tourists. All are looking to only part you from your money then make you go away asap. Everybody either had or was working on some kind of scam. Boats are rented with bent propellers. ‘Well, you must have hit something’….now pay for the propeller. ‘Fresh, local seafood. Not fresh. Not local. Be nice, and I’d make sure you got the best. Be a prick….beware.
We left after four years. Between the hurricanes and the locals….we had enough.”
For The Love of God Leave The Penguins Alone!
“We’re pretty good at stopping tourists from doing too much damage. After being in the industry for a while you get a spidey sense of when people are going to do dumb things and can often steer them away from doing anything too bad. That being said, here’s one of my favorite stories to tell.
I was 7 months pregnant and it was the week before I went on maternity leave. I was driving out to one of our sites and to get there I had to drive (on the road of course) through our penguin colony. This particular species of penguin burrows underground and stays hidden in their burrow during the day, and comes out at night when birds of prey and other potential predators have gone to sleep. As I’m driving out to the site I realize the parking lot up ahead is full and people have started parking up and down the road. And that’s when I see a giant SUV pull off the road, drive between the bollards and into the penguin colony.
I pull over as what seems like 20 non-English-speaking tourists start to pile out of the vehicle and take selfies with the ocean backdrop. Staying as calm as possible and using sign language I point out the no-entry signs of the bollards they drove past, the burrows they have just collapsed, inform them they may have killed penguins, and to get their stupid vehicle out of the freaking colony.
Once I got them out of there I started digging out the collapsed burrows to check for penguins. The first four were luckily empty but the last one had a breeding pair. I get the girl out, check her over for injuries, and having nowhere else to put her I follow protocol and tuck her under my left arm against my side. I get the boy out and put him in the same position on the right side and start to check him over. Remember how I said I was pregnant? Well normally, you hold a penguin down low almost on your hip, but because of my round tummy, I was holding him more at the bottom of my ribcage. So when I turned my head to start my health check, the prick reached up and grabbed my top lip with his beak and ripped straight through the middle.
It was about this time that the tourists walking along the road realized this ranger was holding onto two penguins. I had five or six tourists sprint through the colony towards me and start snapping pictures. While at the same time potentially collapsing more burrows. If any internet sleuths stumble across a picture of a heavily pregnant, ticked-off-looking ranger, holding two penguins with blood pouring down her face let me know. I’ve been waiting for that picture to show up for three years and haven’t found it yet.
Happy ending, I chased away the photographers, popped the two uninjured penguins in a nearby unoccupied burrow, and radioed for backup to help with the parking situation. My lip healed without a scar, and both penguins left the following morning for a well-deserved day in the ocean.”
Nothing Wrong With Him; Just Dumb
“During my summers in college, I worked as a raft guide on a whitewater river in the southeast. It wasn’t a difficult job; the two biggest things we were responsible for were running our trips in a timely manner and ensuring that the guests in our boat had a fun and SAFE trip down the river.
The safety part is important because people visiting the river frequently forget that it is a natural wilderness feature and carries all of the associated dangers. We frequently received questions about whether the rafts were on tracks, whether I actually had to do anything in the back, and (my personal favorite) whether the river went in a circle and we would end up back where we started. This last question was particularly funny because we TOOK A BUS from the rafting outpost to the put-in of the river — why bother if we were going in a circle?!
One summer afternoon, I had a boat with three groups of two people; one of those groups was a mother and son. The mother seemed nice, if timid, as did the son. However, as I was going through the routine of explaining the safety concerns and paddle commands, it started to dawn on me that he was not very bright. There was nothing wrong with him — he was just dumb as heck.
Once we were on the river, he almost immediately developed a habit of checking the depth of the water with his paddle. He would incessantly plunge the blade into the water without care or concern for his surroundings and circumstances. The water on this river is pristine. Almost crystal clear. The riverbed is visible almost constantly, and still, this young man felt the need to verify the veracity of his own eyeballs by shoving his paddle into the river like some sort of deranged perpetual motion machine.
Of course, I warned him against his actions. At first, my concerns were that his depth-checking interferes with his ability to follow my commands and paddle. Eventually, however, my pleading grew more desperate as it dawned on me that this child paid no deference to my authority. He answered only to chaos.
It finally came to a head when, in a portion of the river that was extremely shallow (probably no more than a foot deep), he plunged his paddle into the riverbed with a force that shook the surrounding countryside. Like Excalibur, the paddle wedged itself among the rocks, perfectly erect. The boy, with a staid iron grip that could only be wielded by someone incredibly dense, kept his hand on the paddle as the rushing water carried us away from its new location. In one swift motion, he was wrenched from the raft and landed in a foot of water. He wore a face of bewildered idiocy.
It was quite satisfying to keep his paddle in the back with me for the remainder of the trip after I returned him safely to the raft. All he could do was stare wistfully at the riverbed, his poo brain longing to verify its depth.”