Sunday, April 29, 2018

Skipping the Challenge

The A to Z Challenge is coming to an end and I have no regrets about skipping it.  And from the absence of emails in my inbox, it seems that a lot of bloggers that I follow, who I discovered through past challenges, have also made the decision not to participate.  Ah well....

I did have a theme picked out.  As in past challenges it was to be about my travels.  I had all the letters A through Z for my subject - Canada.  I have spent many, many vacations in my northern neighbor, from Cape Breton to Victoria, BC.  Alas, I just couldn't get myself together and commit to the project.  I think it was the daunting task of visiting new blogs that deterred me, too.  Reading and commenting and spending so much time sitting here just was not in my wheelhouse this year.

Later this year I will travel out west to visit three national parks I have not seen before.  And I will go to Santa Fe, New Mexico which has long been on my bucket list.  While I will tell you all about it, I doubt it will be during the challenge.

All that being said, this morning I received an email from Smarter Travel about the ugly American traveler.  Oh, yeah.  I've seen them.  I wonder what are they thinking.  Loud, obnoxious... Here are the five things the email mentioned:

1.  Lack of fashion sense.  Oh, let's start with my pet peeves.  Too tight leggings with short tops.  And flip-flops worn everywhere.  On a recent trip there was one woman who looked like she had scrounged the bins at Goodwill to pick up clothes for her travels.  I understand being comfy, but really? - baggy pants and tees hanging down to your knees?

2. Talking too loudly.  I get it.  Americans want everyone to know they are there.  As if their outrageous clothes didn't already let everyone know.

3. Only eating American Food.  Yes.  The Americans are looking for McDonald's and pizza - American style pizza.  On a trip to Switzerland there was a gelato bar in a restaurant.  An American couple was there and the wife asked the husband if he wanted some gelato.  He refused saying that he only wanted ice cream and was not eating anything called 'gelato'.  He pretty much was like that with every meal saying he only liked meat and potatoes.

4.  Not speaking the local language.  Well, my French at this point is pretty much shot to you know where.  Truly it is a 'use it or lose it' proposition.  But I do not get upset when folks do not speak English unless I am travelling in America.  I do try to learn a few words to just be polite.  Bonjour, merci, de nada...

5.  Criticizing the local culture.  Yes, their customs are different than ours.  Americans have never figured this out.  Their persecution of native Americans is a prime example.  Folks, there is more than one way to live.  Get used to it.

Sometimes it is the person we are travelling with who is being a complete a--.  Unfortunately, I have had that experience.  Probably why I prefer to travel alone. 

Tomorrow, I'll read the last of the A to Z challenges.  Can't wait to see what everyone had come up with.

23 comments:

  1. I follow another blog that does frequent travel. When they go to a new area, they try to learn a lot about it beforehand, including what the "locals" will be wearing and try to match their clothes with that to blend in a bit more, along with eating what is offered in the area rather than just seeking out "American food." I think that is wise and great advice given not to be the Ugly American when traveling.

    I haven't done A/Z for the past 2 years. I haven't really even missed it. It was fun when I did it, crazy times, but always glad to be out of it. I don't think they had quite as many people participating this year as in years past. I think it will always be around, but I think its lost its "glory days" like it had a few years back.

    I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 1996 to 1998. Its beautiful as well as the surrounding area. Its really cruel to non-locals who choose to live there but they do like their tourists. I've experienced prejudice there I never experienced anywhere else.

    betty

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    1. Wow. I did meet a couple who chose to retire in Albuquerque and they loved it. It will be an interesting trip I'm sure.

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    2. Albuquerque is so different than Santa Fe. We did spend lots of time in Albuquerque when we could. Give you an example about living in Santa Fe. I was at the grocery store one day at the deli department to get something. There wasn't a worker out when I first got there. While I waited, another customer came up to wait too. He was a local. When an employee came out they didn't ask what you would normally say "whose first" or indicate anything like that. They just started helping the local first over me. That was just one of many other "slights". It got so bad that if I couldn't find anything in a store, I wouldn't ask for help because I would basically get ignored. We moved to Billings, Montana after 2 years in Santa Fe. I went into a bookstore our first weekend in town, couldn't find what I was looking for so started to leave. A sales clerk asked "can I help you find something?" and it totally stunned me that someone would actually ask to help me. Like I said totally different living there as compared to being a tourist. I look forward to reading your thoughts when you visit later this year. Now this was about 20 years ago, maybe times changed.......

      betty

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  2. I look forward to reading about your travels. And, as for A to Z - with my elderly mother in law being hospitalized twice this month and currently in rehab, I didn't have much time to read - fortunately I had prewritten almost all of my posts (because it helped keep my blog going!). But something is going to have to "give". We'll have to see what May brings.

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    1. Sorry about your mother-in-law. With A to Z even having everything written, there is still all that reading and commenting. I just couldn't do it.

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  3. It takes a lot of time to do the A to Z so I totally understand although I hope to hear about your Canadian adventure. Yeah...there is a reason some Americans wear Canadian flags and I have seen the Ugly Americans in many places. Unfortunately, there are Canadians that wear these outfits everywhere as well.

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  4. At least half of my regular A-Z followers from last year dropped out of the current one. Will I do it next year? The jury's out on that at the moment! Thanks so much for your loyal support Denise. I've done quite a few group trips with Americans and fortunately I've not come across any that possess all the qualities in that list!


    A-Z of My Friend Rosey!

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  5. I’m glad the A to Z is done (for me), and I am glad to have participated again. It is a lot of work, and because I write and schedule my posts ahead of time, the month of April has been spent reading and commenting on others’ posts.

    I agree with Betty, who said that Albuquerque and Santa Fe are quite different. I liked Santa Fe a lot, although I could never move away from the ocean. I’ll be looking forward to reading your thoughts.

    And finally, Denise, I agree with everything you noted about the Ugly American Traveler. Having spent a lot of time abroad, I try hard to assimilate. Dress appropriately, speak quietly, and yes, at least learn how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in the local language.

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  6. Not just Americans, many English people travel and expect to eat their own food and to be spoken to in their own language. Not sure why these people travel at all. I went to Sicily once, many years ago, and couldn't communicate until I found someone who spoke French. I vowed I would never go to a country again without knowing something of their language.

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    1. And nowadays with cell phone apps for language, there is no excuse not to know a few words. My Russian daughter in law speaks English beautifully. So do my Russian neighbors.

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  7. I decided last year I wasn't going to do A to Z again for awhile. I wanted to take the time to read new blogs and add some to my roll. I didn't even get a chance to do much of that this time around. I'm afraid technology has moved too fast for me and the changes are more than I can keep up with. However, I sure enjoyed reading this post today and I had originally found your blog on a past A to Z challenge, so there's that. The nice thing about the challenge is the posts will remain and hopefully I can make more time to go through them carefully and thoughtfully and pick up some new blogs to read.

    Happy travels!

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    1. When I read the AtoZ post with questions about the new technologies, I just rolled my eyes. I am glad for the bloggers I have already found, but do not want to spend all my time stuck on the internet.

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  8. I did AtoZ this year but it was no big deal. I didn't gain nearly the followers from the 2016 year and didn't participate in 2017.

    Having to link up to a Google sheet every day was a pain in the a** and I missed a couple of days or the link wouldn't work.

    The challenge has jumped shark from its heyday of 2,000+ with a one page linky list.

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    1. Those instructions this year were over the top. Doubt that I will participate in the future.

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  9. Living in Cuenca, Ecuador for two years, we had plenty of occasions to run into the stereotypical "Ugly American". Sad but true...and as an expat there, very embarrassing!

    PS> SOOOO glad to be done with the A-Z on both my blogs!!

    Donna B. McNicol|Author and Traveler
    A to Z Flash Fiction Stories | A to Z of Goldendoodles

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    1. Oh, and I gained a lot of followers, at least temporarily. Way more than when I last did it. We'll see how many stick...and what I write next. LOL!

      I pre-wrote my Goldendoodle blog, so had all the links and added them to the daily spreadsheets as soon as that came out. I had my works for all my flash fiction letters, so went into Blogger and set permalinks for those so I could add them as well. No way could I have dealt with adding them daily. It was all I could to do get the links into the couple of groups (FB & G+) where I was sharing them.

      Will I do it again? Possibly. For me, the bonus was finding new blogs to follow. For a long time, the only blogs I read were either about writing or RVing. Fun to branch out.

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    2. I always wrote my posts ahead after the first year. But I felt that I never spent enough time reading other blogs and commenting.

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    3. I scrolled through the theme list as it grew and added blogs with themes that interested me. I've dropped some but added more that will stay...thank goodness for a good blog reader site to track them all. LOL!

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  10. I think you're going to love the sights out here. The canyons are wild and beautiful. You've never been out this way before, Denise?

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    1. Oh, yes, I've been to Utah before and much of the west. But this time I am headed to Canyonlands, Moab and Arches. Those are three Parks I have never visited.

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  11. For all the griping about "ugly" Americans, most of the American tourists I've encountered on my travels have been great, with one exception. This one managed to hit all the stereotypes, from overpacking to complaining that the Greek salads in Greece weren't like the ones back home, which have all that lovely lettuce (for those not in the know, authentic Greek salads DON'T include lettuce. Western restaurants pile on the leafy greens because it's cheaper than using peppers, cucumber, and olives.)

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    1. You are right about the salads. There are many Greek restaurants around here with many different salads. The true Greek salad is often called a village salad. I recently learned that traditional Greek salads do not contain beets either.
      I still remember the first time I tasted pizza in Italy and wondered what in the world was I eating. Coming from an Italian family and growing up in Detroit where Little Caesar's started, I was used to eating something entirely different.

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  12. I'm so afraid of being an ugly rude American tourist that it partially paralyzes me from traveling! Is there a phobia for that? "Touristaphobia" fear of being a tourist or "Obnoxiphobia" fear of being obnoxious? LOL, actually, I'd concur my fears in a heartbeat if a real opportunity to travel presented itself.

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