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Old 21 Jun 2007
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Do they really hate Americans?

In response to a number of posts that I've read in the forum section, I wanted to relate an experience that I had in November of 2005. I happened to be traveling down the Tenn Tom Bigby waterway, heading from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico. Since my boat needed work, I hauled her out of the water in Demopolis Alabama, and planned to spend Thanksgiving "living on the hard" (the boat out of the water on dry land). Since friends on another boat were doing the same thing, we decided to cook Thanksgiving dinner together.

A French couple were working on their boat nearby, so in the spirit of international relations, we invited them to join us. After a few glasses of wine, I asked them why they were visiting the US? I related that the press suggested that the French hated Americans, and we figured most Americans would return the favor. They were shocked by this idea.

They immediately explained that the French don't hate Americans. The French GOVERNMENT hates Americans. Most French people were enamored of American culture, and loved visiting the US. They further explained that every American that they met so far had extended an incredible level of hospitality, and that they were having a wonderful time touring our country. They told me that this was their third visit to the US, and they hoped they'd be back in the future. Thinking about it, I certainly didn't hate the French, and experienced one of the better Thanksgiving celebrations with these people.

Other friends who shipped their boat to Italy from the US were concerned about flying the American flag while sailing that section of the Med. Upon arriving in Italy and Greece, they discovered that the people of these two countries loved seeing Americans visiting, and often gave thumbs up signals when my friends displayed their flag.

I'd display the flag, and act in such a fashion that you give everyone a good impression of this neck of the woods.

Old 21 Jun 2007
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I think that most of Europe distinguishes between the US government and people, who live in the US, quite well.

You might want to keep it quiet if you are in any Islamic countries though..... I went through C. Asia last year and unsurprisingly politics is usually high on the agenda. No one seemed to mention America though, only George Bush. I found that spitting on the ground if anyone mentioned G.W. or Tony Blair soothed the waters and resulted in free food/tea etc.

The stars and stripes were being torched in St Petersburg when I passed through, in preperation for the G8 summit.

In summary the US is not going to win any popularity polls at the moment but global resentment seems directed at the administration, not the citizens. This may be bolstered by the fact that the majority of Americans that travel abroad (that I have come across) don't support the republican dynasty....

If in doubt say you are a Canadian!
Old 21 Jun 2007
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I'm Canadian!!! Well... I am...

Interesting topic to say the least and one that is a big can of worms waiting to be opened... To throw my hat into it...

Each country has its own character and personality and a common conciousness etc. of who they percieve themselves to be. Who they think they are and in general who the world thinks they are. As a Canadian we tend to fit into a group of expectations when travelling as well. Why most of my friends from the States call themselves Canadians when travelling is a source of pride to me - depending on how you look at it. Are we meek? Are we complacent? etc. Depends on how you look at it. Either way Canadians are non threatening it seems and a good route to vent about the US it seems for the people I meet abroad. So-be-it. We here (HUBB) have all spent a lot of time travelling - me to more than 35 countries - and the perception of the US is universally the same wherever I go. (real or not - including my many friends in the US - who love their country but not so much some of its people) Americans (if I can use the term) are generally perceived as a people who really think that their way is the only way - or the best way. All of the rest comes from that. This has been born out many times in individual encounters backpacking across Europe (Where the majority of Americans put Canadian flags onto their packs) - to Africa - to travels in the US itself over the last 25 years - it hasn't changed much. Which doesn't mean that they are not nice and accomodating as I have always been warmly welcomed into the US and have many of my closest friends there. It is just a simple overwhelming perception that unfortunately the current administration is doing little to assuage right now. And, remember we all have our perceptions to overcome - a rude taxi driver in Paris does not make for a rude people. And, I am not sure that being an unassuming, non-threatening Canadian is such a good or bad thing - it just is. Which is what we all have to work with I think. One thing that has always stood out in my travels. One on one - sitting by a fire or over food... most every human being I have met (some more than others) have been kind to me, helpful, interested, engaging, and an individual - far apart from the general perception I had of the country they were from or we were in. Of that I am always pleasantly suprised.
Old 22 Jun 2007
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taking the blame

I don't say I'm Canadian, I just say I'm from California.

Most people in Australia and New Zealand assumed I was Canadian because I know a little about ANZAC and World War I history. Septics* aren't supposed to know those things.


*Septics is rhyming slang. Septic tank = yank. Considered rude but I think it's funny when it's tossed my way (although it's always been in fun -- I think)
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Old 22 Jun 2007
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Ya Bleedin Seppo Dave!

I get mistaken for an Aussie every now and then........ mainly when I hear a plan and sat 'awwww yeah'

Hope the old Duke is going OK - on the subject of national stereotypes it just took me a week to properly diagnose the gremlin that was hiding in my wiring loom and fix it (touch wood). Bloody Italians. (I am now on Elefant MKII (MK I got torched by some f"@?king b>"#$rds))
Old 22 Jun 2007
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Not only Yanks

Throughout my travels I have found that all nationalities have about their fair share of saints and of ar53h01es, but I wonder how much perception is influenced by our experience even when we know we only see part of the picture?

When you're in a place that is full of quiet, unobtrusive Englishmen, of the sort once called gentlemen (and/or ladies), you don't notice them. When the place is full of drunken, loudmouthed chavs (an urban underclass, sometimes explained as "Council House And Violent" for the benefit of overseas readers) you can't miss them, but you try. Equally loudmouthed Yanks etc are easily noticed and you may not notice the gentlemen.

I can't remember who said it of whom (but I think it was Scottish enlightenment philosphers), but I accept that it sometimes applies to me:

"He hates all men as a group, but loves Tom, Dick and Harry as individuals"
Old 22 Jun 2007
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I'll throw my two cents:

I'm Australian, and was just in the US, Mexico and the UAE.
Every American individual I met in the US was more than helpful when asked for directions, advice etc, even just walking the streets of Hollywood (cabbies are a differnt story hah ha).

I dont hate americans, but I can often be heard to comment "farkin yanks" "bloody americans" - which is more a result of the US administration, and Agricultural/free trade policies hypocricies (I'm a farmer by trade).
So I agree it is an administration thing, with the US "policing the world" potrayal in the media. Thats a huge argument I'm not going into, but the American citizens I've met have been great - and I was in Vegas on the all star weekend, so I saw THE WHOLE SPECTRUM.

In Mexico, I was in PV, and some locals did give a better response when we explained we weren't American, but I think thats because we were more of a novelty, and spring break was in town, so there were some less than model examples running around.
The Canadians had a smiliar response, but I think thats more a border sharing rivalry/issue with both countries.

In the Persian Gulf, I wondered if there would be an ills towards me if assumed to be American, or just as another whitey in town with big business. None what-so-ever.
Hell, in that neck of the woods, someone is always fighting someone, and the bad blood goes back a lot longer between some factions than the War on Terror. This view was expressed by many locals.

I judge each individual AS an individual. Most people do the same. Respect given, is respect reflected.
Old 23 Jun 2007
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I have nothing against Americans. Actually, some of my best friends are American...
Old 23 Jun 2007
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Im a Canuck who drove from Canada down the entire US west coast and had nothing but pleasureable experiences with everyone we met. (You find the occational rude person, but you get that anywhere you travel).

I agree that most people outside the US are angered at the US government and foreign policy, not citizens themselves. Best way to fix that is to elect a more diplometic government, but thats for the people to decide not foreigners like myself.

Im often mistaken for an American while travelling, and once people find out im Canadian I do notice a different tone and treatment. Could just be that we are a pretty humble, powerless country, thus non-threatning, who knows, but i did find these usefull tips to win the hearts of those in the country you are visiting:

#1) Language - if you are in a non-english speaking country, speak to the locals in their language - even if its "hellow, how are you" and even if you are totally butchering it. Speaking their language shows respect and shows you are making the attempt to adjust to their culture - dont assume they know english.

#2) Learn something about the local history and events - people are floored when you are understand their culture, history, or religion. This can easily be done by reading any guide book ahead of time. When talking to locals ask them questions about their country, instead of getting on a soap box and preeching your countries values, history etc..

#3) Positivity - When you are experincing a foreign country or being asked what you think about their country, be positive. Dont turn your nose at their food, there are polite ways to side step cultural shock.

These are no-brainers, but its amazing better received you will be. As for Americans travelling as Canucks, it doesnt matter to me as those who do travel as Canadians have very similar values, but I would encourage you to be proud of your country and impact those you meet positively while reflecting you homeland, just stay away from stars and strips shits, pants or hats, no one wants Rex-kwondo rolling through their neighborhood!
Old 25 Jun 2007
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This topic is everywhere

As many of you are, I am a seasoned traveler. I am an American and I have been all around the world. I am not a flag wavin patriot by any means but never not once have I misrepresented myself as Canadian or any other nationality. I have never been shown any kind of hate or disdain for my nationality. In fact even in Muslim countries most people I meet are happy to meet me and discuss lots of things including politics. I am not in any way proud of our current government and therefore I think it is up to us Americans that do travel to be good representatives of the US. I have always found I am treated as I treat others. When I travel I am very aware of local customs and attitudes down to the pants I wear. There are opinionated A- holes in every country. If you are kind you will usually be met with kindness. Leave all that Yanks and Americans are hated shit out to dry, its old and really stupid.
Old 25 Jun 2007
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that being said

That being said, I would not want to ride a Harley through any country...
Old 26 Jun 2007
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Originally Posted by rossphoto View Post
That being said, I would not want to ride a Harley through any country...
Why is this, you prefer the reliability of a Japanese motorcycle?
Old 26 Jun 2007
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I'll put my two cents in here if i may.. I am an Australian that lived in the USA for many years. So first off my accent is a bit odd and i get confused for an Irish Canadian (what ever the hell that is) all the time. As someone above wrote and is completely true.. you only notice the "Bad" people, so being a travelers that is rude or loud, or grumpy.. whatever, that standout and is remembered.. This is true about riders in general.. cars never notice or complain about the bike that has ridden in the lane next to them for 40 k, but then a power ranger zips by going 100k over the limit and cuts them off and all bikers are nuts and a$$holes. So this puts Americans at kinda of a disadvantage, Americans are taught national pride like i have not seen in any other 1st world country, they are a boisterouse people that talk and laugh loudly this is not a good or bad thing (we aussies are the same), but in reserved cultures (Asian for example), this makes these people stand out. So you have a Government that is (sorry Americans) an evil bunch of b@$tards (they have roped my country into the war too), a loud person that has a national pride that scares many and they stand out and get remembered instantaneously it is "bloody americans" and all have been bunched. I do believe that there is a lot of resentment towards the american government around the world, this is true in many contries, I am living in th UK and it is as true here as it is in Aus, but we dont disslike the people as a whole. On my travels I have seen an example of every country having a££holes, but is only a few that stand out.. and two of them are Americans, why cus both said.. "In America we do things better then....."
In both occasions wondered if you do not want to learn different ways why travel? It is not only yanks that think this.. even at this years HU meet in response to Grant saying "you have to respect and accept other peoples culture..." I heard someone say that "No, you dont have to respect it or accept it but you do you do deal with it...". To which I shook my head in disbelief, and answered him you dont have to agree with it.. but you do have to respect it...

yanks are like volvos, we have all had bad experience with them and only remember the one that try to kill you...

I have personally destroyed languages all over the world.. and no matter how badly I have mutilated their national tongue, it has always been appreciated, (if not a source of great amusement). Simple travel story, I was in France, wanting to get a train ticket. I proceed up to the counter, pull out my phase book.. and start to make a beautiful language sound like something from far east Asia spoken by a creature from hell. The woman behind the counter with the understanding of saint let me struggle though the process of ordering my tickets, she helped me with some pronunciations (gave up on more).. and processed my ticket. However, before taking my money in perfect english she said.. "Just to be sure.. you wanted a ticket from...." . She then said good bye in (french) and in english thanked me for trying..
I stepped aside to organise myself and the next in line was an American.. He just started to speak english and assumed that she would do the same..No I am sorry I do not speak Freanch, or even Please do you speak english.. She told him that she did not speak any english (in french) and he would have to go into an other line... in order to buy his tickets. Seeing my grin the woman winked at me and call the next person in line...

The moral a person would much rather be insulted (although usually not) by you doing something wrong but trying.. then you insulting them by you making them do it your way....

wow I can ramble... huh?
2000 Africa Twin

Last edited by Xander; 26 Jun 2007 at 11:37.
Old 26 Jun 2007
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So you have a Government that is (sorry Americans) an evil bunch of b@$tards (they have roped my country into the war too),
Old 26 Jun 2007
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Then what you are saying is that all Aussies are mindless loudmouth fools like All of us YANKS and you ALL just followed us in to a war. How about your govt is just as evil as ours and made the same decision for your country as our govt did for ours. I understand what you are trying to say it just seems a bit self righteous and way over generalized to me. There are loud boisterous people from every culture. Yes, even Asian. Why not stop all the generalizing and labeling. You forget that there are almost 400,000,000 Americans and we are mostly a mixed bag. You know Asian, African, Mexican, Jewish, Hindu, catholic, muslim and yea even a few loud mouth white guys.
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