On our recent trip to Peru, we met many incredible and gracious friends that we will keep in touch with for a long time. We also unfortunately met many people that I wished had just stayed in the US, because I can’t express the embarrassment my wife and I felt at being from the same country. Just google “Ugly Americans” and you’ll get an idea of what we heard. Some of the quotes that we heard, spoken in normal conversation, not whispered:
“why can’t they speak more American?” (yes, he said American, not English). We’re in Peru, not the US…probably that’s why.
“I don’t like all these poor spots we’re stopping at”, within earshot of our lovely Peruvian tour guide. I legitimately wanted to slap her. Stay at home!
“These people live like animals. They don’t even have a doctor, they must all die early”. Actually Sir, the people on Taquile Island, in Lake Titicaca, eat a mostly plant and fish-based diet, have vigorous physical activity all day long, and are far healthier and live longer than we do, despite not having a doctor on the island. As a doctor and with an interest in medical anthropology, I argued vehemently with him, and he finally stood down when he found out I was a doctor. I should’ve probably kept my mouth shut, but I wanted to impart on him that just because you’re a senior citizen doesn’t mean you’re always right.
-Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru
(For those wanting to debate with me whether or not the Taquile Island people or even cavemen had the same life expectancy as us, their numbers are skewed downwards purely because of increased mortality during childbirth. If they lived through childbirth, they lived almost as long as we do now).
People like this make the rest of us look bad. I don’t understand why these people are travelling abroad if they have this attitude. I guess maybe because they’re checking things off their bucket list. Please, please, please, for the sake of normal reasonable people travelling – like my mom used to tell me, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”!
What is the worst behavior you’ve experienced while travelling?