Sunday Scribblings, 'Where in the World?'


Wanderer

I’m in the market, finishing off the last bite of a brioche and espresso when I hear the unmistakable twang of American voices, rising to meet the language barrier.
The couple are identically dressed in khaki walking shorts and polo shirts; both have straw hats decorated with a sash of a national liquor distributor.
She’s wearing ungodly pink flip-flops. He’s chosen black socks and orthopedic walkers.
She’s holding some cheap trinket the vendors all put in the front of their tables (for just this reason) and he’s waving Euros around like a fan, speaking slow – and loud.
I toss back the last of the espresso, the last bite of sweet dough and wander over.
“Maybe I can be of some assistance?”
Both blink absently.
“I can tell you that particular item is $10 euro.”
“What business is it of yours, fella?” she barks, the skin of her six chins beginning to redden.
“Yeah, who fuckin’ asked you to butt is anyway?” he says, a lip extended and distorted from the pinch of chew.
“My apologies for the intrusion.”
And I begin wander off, the vendor’s eyes pleading for more assistance.
But I can’t. The anger rises like bile in my throat and I’ve got to slip away.
Deeper into the market, where the voices of sunburned homeland tourists begin to rise like an unholy chorus of demons.
I slip fingers over my ears, resolve to get my backpack from the hostel, travel deeper in-country.
Where an ex-patriot can find solitude from one’s native tongue.

14 comments:

Old Grizz said...

was that whitesnake?...no he's Australian..funny story ..made me chuckle

Serena Shay said...

I want to hear more of the ex-patriots story...how did he get burned? Nice job!

Sophie said...

Great story! I lived in Germany for a couple years long ago, and more often than not I was embarassed by the conduct of my fellow Americans, so I can easily relate to this.

Granny Smith said...

I've been a tourist complete with camera in foreign lands, but I never, NEVER acted like that! Otto and I always tried to learn at least some of the local language, and meeting people was one of travel's greatest pleasures. I hope the type of American tourists you describe are the exception rather than the rule.

Stan Ski said...

Unlucky...I've seen this kind of behaviour all too often...usually from people who tell me how much better it was in 'o7, '05 etc...It wasn't...I should know , I've been here since '99.

Tumblewords: said...

Well done. I've been around people like this and mortified to breathe the same air.

Dee Martin said...

makes me cringe to think about it.

Daily Panic said...

some people aren't nice like Southern folks. I've traveled a lot too and i am always disturbed by the rudeness of people when you are trying to do a good deed.

nice short story!

sundaycynce said...

That experience is so sadly true--makes me sorry, sometimes makes me ashamed. I took high school students to Europe for years. We (other teachers and I) tried so hard to make them aware of the reality of "ugly Americans" and make them loathe to ever be considered as part of that group. Hope we had far more successes than failures!!! I believe we did.

present said...

Can one bad apple spoil the whole bunch? There's always one around it seems. I was taught me to put them in their place with a smile and an extra dose of kindness because they must be unhappy to be so disagreeable.Funny huh?

linda may said...

I could be naughty and tell you what I would have liked to respond to their rudeness with.....would that make me just as bad?

missalister said...

That tourist gear was in my face like spit, man! I especially love the six chins beginning to redden. What a godforsaken picture!

Lucy said...

great description of typical clods we've all had the displeasure of running into from time to time.
would have loved him to say... anywayS instead of anyway..
that always annoys me!

Megha said...

Interesting, nice read...