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[P]
Americans in Europe during an Unpopular War

By lilnobody in Culture
Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:35:58 AM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

I've been planning a long trip to Europe for next summer for the last 6 months. K5 is the best, most international forum I can think of to ask: Is this a good idea at the moment? News agencies are very vague, and I want to know: What is the average street opinion of a random American in Europe right now?


I've been planning a trip since last August. I will probably only ever be able to afford this once. The plane ticket is free for me, due to a generous donation of frequent flyer miles by a relative to me and my girlfriend for this trip, as a Christmas present, and I figure my savings will let me live (albeit cheaply) for about six weeks in Europe and buy me a railpass. Things were working out for a big, probably one-time shot at seeing some of the world.

Then they had to go and have a war. Now, it's not looking like I would have a whole heck of a lot of fun in Europe. I am reading a few things about demonstrations that are not just anti-war, but demonstrably anti-American, such as pouring Coke and Pepsi in the streets in Spain and arson attacks on American companies in Greece. This doesn't bode well for a good time, but the media is notoriously unreliable.

I like to think I would not be the worst kind of tourist, plopping an oversized rear end into a tour bus seat and ooh-ing and aah-ing at the strange local customs, such as walking. I speak a bit of German (though 'a bit' might be overstating it, its pretty tough to practice German in the US), and my girlfriend speaks american-style Spanish fluently. But neither of us are looking forward to a 6 week trip where we run into plenty of rude people, angry enough about an unjust war to take it out on a random tourist. We can't afford to go out all the time, but who wants to if its obvious you aren't welcome?

Roughly, our plans involved railpassing through Europe, visiting Prague, Berlin, South Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain. I don't think these are places where we would be in any physical danger, but America is not exactly on the hot list of these countries. I don't blame these countries; my next Ask K5 when I'm a little further along in my University's paperwork process is about what it takes to go to graduate school in Europe. But does the hatred of America's heavy-handed foreign policy and Bush (Wir hassen ihn so viel wie ihr!) extend to a young American couple, backpacking on trains and trying their best to unobtrusively see something new?

If I only get one free plane ticket ever, is it better used next year?

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Poll
Should we go this summer?
o Yeah, individual Americans won't be bothered 80%
o Maybe next year youd have a better time 9%
o If the war ends soon, it should be fine 1%
o Go somewhere else instead 7%

Votes: 163
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by lilnobody


Display: Sort:
Americans in Europe during an Unpopular War | 392 comments (365 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
I'm planning to go to Cambodia (3.00 / 4) (#1)
by FuriousXGeorge on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 03:38:59 PM EST

with my Cambodian sister-in-law in September, whats it like there right now?

--
-- FIELDISM NOW!

Caution (4.75 / 4) (#39)
by rustball on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 05:59:21 PM EST

If you're Thailandese, then tell them you're something else. If you're American, then don't masquerade as a Thai.

Fairly recent political events (and ancient colonial history) makes it such that Thailandese in Cambodia aren't exactly universally loved these days.

[ Parent ]

Americans in South East Asia (4.33 / 3) (#45)
by strlen on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:10:22 PM EST

From what I hear, the average Vietnamese won't harbor resentment against you, and even former war veterans (such as John McCain) are always welcome. Cambodia, may be different, as there weren't American troops on the ground there (hence not much of experience with Americans), and that it's still rather unstable, and only recently recovering from a civil war and night mares of Pol Pot.

Please take some young communists (as well as the useful idiots who sympthasize with them) and Jane Fonda with you though, and take them on a visit to a couple of land marks of Pol Pot era, such as various killing fields and prison camps.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]

Unfortunately (none / 0) (#324)
by xmedar on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 11:28:49 PM EST

Jane Fonda has nothing to do with Pol Pot, infact he gained support because the Cambodian people were looking for a strong leader as they were being bombed by the Americans, immediately killing atleast 600,000 and killing another 1 million or so indirectly, completely obliterating most of Cambodias internal infrastructure, Jane Fonda was of course against this American bombing that caused all this strife, something you would know if you knew anything about the history of the situation.

[ Parent ]
SE Asia - Good place to go. (5.00 / 1) (#129)
by nicion on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:55:28 AM EST

FuriousXGeorge,

I have spent a lot of time in SE Asia, and now live in South Asia (still looking for that opportunity to go live in Saigon... or TPHCM as they are calling it these days).  My experiences in Vietnam were fantastic, particular in rural areas in the south that saw a lot of action in the war (think Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, etc).  All of the older people had wonderful feelings towards Americans, and it all seems to go back to gratitude for our unsuccessful attempt at keeping the communists out (they really don't like Ho Chi Mihn there... absolutely no one calls TPHCM anything other than Saigon).  But anyhow... your question was about Cambodia...

I spent several weeks in Cambodia in '97 - I doubt if the current situation in the middle east will have any effect on the way that you will be received there.  They are a very warm people, and provided you respect local customs and don't act like an idiot, you will be fine.

Most of all, enjoy!

[ Parent ]

Pretend you're Canadian (3.20 / 5) (#3)
by quartz on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 03:44:19 PM EST

And don't talk about the war.

--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
I always wondered about that. (4.00 / 2) (#48)
by Dr Caleb on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:13:28 PM EST

Americans are eager to chuck shit at all Canadians when one of our elected representatives makes a stupid statement; but when Americans travel abroad, the pretend to be Canadians.

What's up with that?


Baroque: [Bar-oak] (adj.) (s.) ; What you are when you have no Monet.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

Everyone pretends they are Canadian (4.25 / 4) (#75)
by iwnbap on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:26:16 PM EST


Its more that everyone else pretends they are Canadian. Americans are charmed by being mistaken for Canadian, Canadians are horrified by being mistaken for American, and in reality no-one can really tell the difference anyway.


[ Parent ]
Last Time I was in London (3.33 / 3) (#89)
by Subtillus on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:18:23 PM EST

England, not ontario, I was told that by some persons in a pub that I could be told apart from an American easily by my accent.

How would you respond to that?

[ Parent ]

Part of Global Conspiracy (3.66 / 3) (#93)
by iwnbap on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:27:00 PM EST

It's part of a global conspiracy to make Canadians feel special, when in fact we all know they're just Yanks who play hockey.

[ Parent ]
I don't play Hockey (3.66 / 3) (#107)
by Subtillus on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 09:45:23 PM EST

I can't even skate, what does that make me?

[ Parent ]
Can't skate. (4.71 / 7) (#108)
by Dr Caleb on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 09:52:32 PM EST

In America, you'd be a goalie.

In Canada, you'd be a pylon.


Baroque: [Bar-oak] (adj.) (s.) ; What you are when you have no Monet.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

re. Last Time I was in London (none / 0) (#181)
by ecosse on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:06:02 AM EST

Canadians say 'aboot', kind of like Scots do. Learned that from Southpark the Movie, and found it to be true ever since.

[ Parent ]
Ohhhh, Southpark. (none / 0) (#241)
by Dr Caleb on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:29:54 PM EST

So it must be true, right.

I've found the the only one that pronounces "about" like "aboot" are hard core Scotsmen and Americans.


Baroque: [Bar-oak] (adj.) (s.) ; What you are when you have no Monet.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

I am (none / 0) (#278)
by ecosse on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:15:15 PM EST

a hardcore Scotsman. We tend to say aboot. I have found Canadians say aboot, albeit with a different 't' sound.
I have not heard Americans say aboot. If they do, great. However, I was trying to explain that I have been able differentiate Americans and Canadians by the way they say aboot (and other 'oo' sounds).

[ Parent ]
I am (none / 0) (#283)
by Dr Caleb on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:58:06 PM EST

Canadian. I don't pronounce it that way. I have a few Scottish friends who do (emigrated from Scotland). Anyone I know that learned english natively in Canada doesn't.

You may have run into a Newf or two. Newfoundlanders tend to have a sort of Irish/Scottish accent to 'em. Good lads.

But the pronounciation of "about" is exactally like you would expect of the Kings' English. It is not pronounced "aboot" in the Canadian 'dialect' or 'accent' if you will.

If you meet someone who pronounces the word 'aboot' you are most likely dealing with an American trying to impersonate what they think a Canadian 'accent' is. Badly. Or a Canucklehead trying to yank your chain...


Vive Le Canada - For Canadians who give a shit about their country.

There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

aboot not universily canadian (none / 0) (#357)
by metalgeek on Sat Mar 29, 2003 at 01:54:47 PM EST

It's not really universal in cananda, some people out east (ontario, and the center of the universe) say it like that (one of my teachersin high school was from ontario and did say aboot)but out west no one actually says that. butyou can usually tell the difference between canadians and americans if you listen closly, there usuallyis a slightly different accent... my roomate in uni was from montana, about 20 klicks from the canada border, and you could tell he was from the statesby his accent and the way he talked.

"K5 is a site where users have the motto 'Anyone Who Isn't Me Is An Idiot, And Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Gay'." skyknight
[ Parent ]
You should be fine (4.25 / 8) (#4)
by hex11a on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 03:46:33 PM EST

You seem intelligent enough to know to keep your head down at certain times, so there shouldn't be any trouble - I went backpacking round Austria with my (USian) girlfriend last Summer and we had no problems, nor did any of the American's we met. So long as you avoid the "Yeah, we liberated these people in WWII, they should be grateful" type speeches, try to be inobtrusive in restaurants etc (talk in low voices - Europeans talk a lot quieter in public places in general) and accept that most people are happy where they are in Europe, most people should be polite and welcoming. You might be unlucky and encounter some arseholes, but from experience they're distributed about the same in Europe as the US (and everywhere else I've been in the world).

Hex

I'll repeat my personal statistic: (4.76 / 13) (#7)
by fraise on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 03:49:59 PM EST

Six years in Europe, three - going on four - in France, and have only been treated badly because of my nationality once. By a book vendor who, when I told him I was American, grabbed the Latin dictionary I had been thumbing out of my hands and said, "Don't lie to me and tell me you know Latin! Americans can't even speak living foreign languages! Latin?! PffHA!" He neglected to note the fact that we had been conversing in French the whole time. Anyway. That was two years ago.

Right now the "average street opinion" in France of Americans is that "some are really gung-ho about this war, and that's too bad", and also "some are against it for good reasons, which is cool." But they're not gonna get in your face about it unless YOU get in THEIR face about it first. The Golden Rule works everywhere, with very few exceptions. You can find those exceptions in any country.

I don't think.... (4.00 / 6) (#8)
by MKalus on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 03:50:25 PM EST

.... that you'll have a lot of problems. People aren't too keen on America right now and I guess you have to live with a lot of question. Most notoriously "why" I would guess.

Reality is that as long as you don't act like you own the world I don't think you will run into too many problems. Of course there are always idiots everywhere and I am wondering (as a German) how my next trip down to the states will work out.

But speaking of this, so far (besides run ins online) I didn't had too many problems either and I doubt you'll have any.

If you can read German there are some articles about the current "feel" online.

Wer warf den ersten Stein?

US-Konservativer Robert Kagan und Grünen-Vordenker Daniel Cohn-Bendit über den Streit zwischen Neuer Welt und altem Europa

Leserbriefe: Kriegshörnchen, Fritten und der "Freedom Sex"

Just keep an eye on some German websites, but until the Summer there is still a lot of time, so I wouldn't be too sure that the panic and anger isn't receding by then.
-- Michael

Thanks (4.66 / 3) (#10)
by lilnobody on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 03:57:14 PM EST

I can read German, and this is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for.

I wish you luck on a trip to the states. The reason I post asking for European opinions is that the number of idiot americans available for run ins is disturbingly high. "Freedom Fries" indeed. I live in New Orleans, the rare american city with a strong French influence. And yes, there is of course a movement to rename the french quarter to the freedom quarter, albiet a small one. Sigh...

ben

[ Parent ]

New Orleans (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by MKalus on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:07:36 PM EST

Haven't been there yet. Currently living in Canada, so my next trip will be a drive so I  might just be turned around at the border <shrug> We'll see.

Seems to be a time for idiots everywhere right now.

M.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

Freedom onion soup, anyone? (4.00 / 2) (#16)
by lilnobody on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:10:05 PM EST

Here is an example of what I mean. The idiots are indeed quite pervasive.

Honestly, if you are from Quebec, I'd wait 6 months.

ben

[ Parent ]

Nope, Ontario (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by MKalus on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:15:42 PM EST

Not from Quebec, the things that'll give me away though will be the accent as well as the (D) sign on my car :)
-- Michael
[ Parent ]
You are fine (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by lilnobody on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:23:02 PM EST

Canadians are ok. French Canadians, however, are probably the devil. I'm working in an office now that are actually talking, like they believe it, about how ingrateful France is about world war II.

Now if they were Freedom Canadians...

ben

[ Parent ]

Freedom Canadians? (none / 0) (#24)
by MKalus on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:27:37 PM EST

Fat chance, some of them don't even want to be Canadians ;)

M.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

Your links, by the way... (none / 0) (#25)
by lilnobody on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:44:01 PM EST

The first was helpful, the second cost money, and I just got in trouble laughing out loud at the last. 'Freedom Sex', 'War Fries', and 'Sparkling Freedom Wine', indeed.

Sehr lustig. Ich fühle viel bessr über diese Reise nach mit dir besprochen habe. Viele dank.

Ich hoffe, dass war richtig :) (Viel schelcht deutsch).

ben

[ Parent ]

fast richtig (none / 0) (#155)
by andlaus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 05:09:01 AM EST

but very impressive, compared to american standards :-)

[ Parent ]
Meines deutsche Lehrerbuch... (none / 0) (#249)
by lilnobody on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 01:49:39 PM EST

..war vorher das Mauer fiel gescreiben. Ich lese allein andere Sachen, aber das Quatsch ist. Ich weiss nicht, wenn Wörte wie "Quatsch" noch verwendt sind, und niemand zu mitsprechen habe.

Und ich studiere an eine zwölftausend Studenten Uni...was kann ich machen? :(

ben

[ Parent ]

Relativ einfach. (none / 0) (#282)
by MKalus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:55:15 PM EST

Listen to some german radio. Deutsche Welle should be available in the States at least on the Satellite network, if not a world band receiver should do.

http://www.dw-tv.de should have more infos.

Read some german websites.

http://www.spiegel.de
http://www.heise.de/tp/
http://www.stern.de
http://www.focus.de
http://www.diezeit.de
http://www.tagesschau.de

Just to name a few.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

thanks (none / 0) (#289)
by lilnobody on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:35:27 PM EST

I'll pick those up. The only ones I know about are computer hardware review sites. Not exactly the easiest reading :P

ben

[ Parent ]

Deutsch ist ja zu schwierig... (none / 0) (#354)
by coljac on Fri Mar 28, 2003 at 07:18:20 PM EST

Wir sollen alle Esperanto lernen. :)



---
Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey
[ Parent ]

Don't you pick up tips from web forums? (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by squigly on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 05:21:31 PM EST

now that are actually talking, like they believe it, about how ingrateful France is about world war II.

And you haven't started trolling them about how the US should be grateful for the War of Independence?  Or come out with a sarcastic "Yeah - fancy them using the freedom that we gave them" or anything like that?  

I wonder how long it will be before the French get renamed the Freedoms.

[ Parent ]

Oh shit, I forgot. (none / 0) (#105)
by exile1974 on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 09:33:45 PM EST

I am in Texas and have a "D" schild on my truck!

exile1974

"A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to stay out of a firefight." --Mary Gentle
[ Parent ]

Nothing to worry about (4.50 / 2) (#11)
by mstefan on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 03:58:01 PM EST

Of course there are always idiots everywhere and I am wondering (as a German) how my next trip down to the states will work out.

As you say, there's always idiots, but I don't think you'd have anything to worry about. The general sentiment, at least from what I've seen, is that the Germans are perceived (rightly or wrongly is matter of debate, but I digress) as taking a principled stand against the war. France, on the other hand, is seen as being purely self-serving and obstructionist, with their only real desire being to put the United State "in its place".

People would probably be interested in your opinions and ask questions, but I doubt that you'd find a generally hostile reception. Were you French, I'd advise being a bit more cautious. We have morons here destroying businesses that have the word "French" in them, regardless if they actually have any ties to France or not.



[ Parent ]
Well... (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by MKalus on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:17:01 PM EST

.... consdiering that I am driving in from Toronto I guess we'll see at the border if they give me a hard time or not, last time I was in the States in November but there I was flying into California and not driving in my car.

We'll see I guess.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

German pacifism (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by aphrael on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:55:09 PM EST

is that the Germans are perceived (rightly or wrongly is matter of debate, but I digress) as taking a principled stand against the war

I'm glad that message is getting through. There was a brief period where it seemed like it wasn't.

[ Parent ]

Mispelling (1.33 / 3) (#46)
by Bartab on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:11:06 PM EST

You mispelled "obstructionist" as "principled." Not as obstructionist as the French, clearly, because of the lack of veto power, but certainly obstructionist.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

Klasse! (2.00 / 2) (#102)
by exile1974 on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 09:28:56 PM EST

Danke fuer die Links.

exile1974

"A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to stay out of a firefight." --Mary Gentle
[ Parent ]

Sach ma... (2.00 / 2) (#103)
by MKalus on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 09:29:57 PM EST

... wo kommst Du eigentlich her?

M.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

Aus D-Land. (2.00 / 2) (#106)
by exile1974 on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 09:41:11 PM EST

Burgerschafts weise bin ich Ami. Das war so eine Entsvheidung von Mutti. Ich
war in Bayern geboren und hab' im Schwabenland fuer fast 17 Jahre gelebt.
(Stuttgart umgebung).

Also ein Ami-Franke im Schwabenland.

exile1974

"A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to stay out of a firefight." --Mary Gentle
[ Parent ]

Witzig. (2.00 / 2) (#118)
by MKalus on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 11:29:58 PM EST

Bin in Stuttgart aufgewachsen und hab dort bis '98 gelebt, danach etwas in den Staaten, Niederlande, Schweiz und jetzt in Kanada.

Die Welt ist doch klein ;)
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

Eigentlich (2.00 / 2) (#122)
by exile1974 on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 11:52:10 PM EST

war das Waiblingen/Fellbach aber die Meisten Verstehen nur Gross-stadt Namen. Ich bin hier in 1974 angekommen. Deshalb mein name hier.

exile1974

"A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to stay out of a firefight." --Mary Gentle
[ Parent ]

Ja, die Gegend kenne ich. (none / 0) (#169)
by MKalus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:53:22 AM EST

Ich hab im Stuttgart Westen gelebt bin aber im Sommerrain zur Schule gegangen und hatte einige Freunde die in Fellbach gelebt haben.

War auch bei Der Sternwarte da draussen Mitglied... wenn ich mich jetzt an den Namen erinnern koennte, ich erinnere mich noch an den Weg dahin ;)

Ich glaube aber wir sollten das ganze aus dem Forum nehmen, schreib einfach mal ne Email wenn Du lust hast.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

So leicht geht dass nicht. (none / 0) (#315)
by exile1974 on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 04:25:33 PM EST

Ich will ja nicht das jeder Hans Wurst weiss wer ich eigentlich bin. Also muss ich
das auf Schwabish und Lakonish tuen.

Na Sage mal, wiet was die nummern and namen sind? Kannst di dass
analphabetisch tuen? Moine gegended isch nette a' schule und au' net a'
fischnetz. Also jeztet gauts erscht nach e' Lotterie:

8-5-14-18-9-19

zusatzt zahl os:

2-15-13

Good enough? I got a demonstaration to attend, bis morgen!

exile1974

"A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to stay out of a firefight." --Mary Gentle
[ Parent ]

Some more links .. (none / 0) (#191)
by otmar on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:35:14 AM EST

I'd recommend you keep an eye on Telepolis, Der Standard, Der Spiegl, Die Zeit, and ORF ON.

Most of these newssites have reader feedback sections which are usually very helpful to gauge the current sentiment of the population.

Anyway, good luck on your trip, and if you're in Vienna, send me some mail.

/ol

[ Parent ]

just got back from Italy, go, its worth it! (4.33 / 6) (#9)
by gps on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 03:54:09 PM EST

I just got back from a week in Italy (Tuscany / Firenze area).  We encountered no anti-american sentiment.  Our Euro's were as good as the next tourists.  If you're not an obnoxious dictator-bush-loving ignorant loud mouth i don't think you have anything to worry about.  we saw a couple student war protests in italy as well as heard support for bush from one restaurant owner (ugh).

BTW, a funny suggestion from a friend who did this many years ago.. if you have a railpass and are short on money, take night trains using the pass rather than paying for a hotel. :)


don't expect to sleep a lot though... (4.66 / 3) (#165)
by ooch on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:45:35 AM EST

I've done that a couple of times past summer, and especially in Italy and Greece it is either too hot(window closed) or too noisey(window opened), so after a while we would just sleep in railstations, if we really wanted to spare money.

Better yet: sleep on the beach. There is nothing like waking up hearing the sound of the ocean...

[ Parent ]

Waking up on the ocean? (none / 0) (#259)
by codepoet on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:54:03 PM EST

Be sure you setup camp at high tide or you'll wake up drinking salt water. Yeah, been there, done that, got the CPR training.

"The French will only be united under the threat of danger. Nobody can simply bring together a country that has 265 kinds of cheese." - Charles De Gaulle,
[ Parent ]
Americans abroad (4.37 / 8) (#12)
by krek on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:03:18 PM EST

I was travelling in Europe a couple years ago with an American friend of mine as well as an Austrian and a Mauritian. Due to the circumstances, a conversation took place about what the rest of the world though of Americans, why they thought what they thought, and how Americans would often masquerade as Canadians so as to not get hastled (note: it is true, your average Canadian would only use American beer if they just wanted to smell like they have been drinking).

About a week after this conversation, we were in a shop and my American friend, having felt that 40 seconds was far to much time to wait to be served, in a very firm voice, full of irritation, that carried far more than I would have thought possible, says to the sole store employee, who was otherwise occupied with a customer, "HEY, could I get some service, PLEASE?". It was at this point that I turned to him and said, "Now that was very American of you"

Ugh (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by lilnobody on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:07:27 PM EST

I hope to be more...diplomatic. And from the posts so far, my fears are being settled. Seems that just not being "American" ought to go a long way :)

ben

[ Parent ]

American rudeness (3.66 / 3) (#71)
by Delirium on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:16:06 PM EST

I'm baffled by the people who seem to think Americans are unusually rude in Europe. Perhaps I just have odd experiences, but I was rather struck on my various trips to Europe by just how rude Europeans often are in comparison to Americans. Italians and Greeks are particularly bad in this regard. At least in the US people won't normally actually shove you aside to get onto the subway, and there's some chance that they'll follow traffic laws at least approximately (unlike the drivers in Rome).

Anyway, that was my impression.

[ Parent ]

Driving (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by TurboThy on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:39:23 PM EST

there's some chance that they'll follow traffic laws at least approximately (unlike the drivers in Rome)
I have driven in Rome, and I would say that most drivers actually follows the rules. Problem is, it doesn't look like they're going to follow the rules when you are walking over the street or something. I would say it more a cultural thing than it is about being rude. When everybody drives like that, no one thinks it's rude.

When driving in Rome, just remember that you're never more than one second away from a dent in your car, and you'll be fine :o)
__
'Someone will sig this comment. They will. I know it.' [Egil Skallagrimson]
[ Parent ]
When in Rome... (4.66 / 3) (#101)
by cdyer on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 09:05:11 PM EST

Clichéd but true. When you are in a foreign country, you don't dictate manners. They do. In some places it is good manners to burp after a meal. It shows appreciation. One thing I've noticed a lot in foreign countries is that crowd dynamics are different. When walking down a street you will undoubtedly get bumped everywhere you go. Stay there long enough, and it will stop happening, as you learn the rhythms. Stay longer, and you will get bumped again when you come home.

Just be willing to adapt, don't take anything too personally, and have fun at it.

Cheers,
Cliff

[ Parent ]

Rome? well try Naples for god's sake! (5.00 / 1) (#130)
by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:58:58 AM EST

If you think Romans don't follow traffic laws you just have to drive in Naples. For a newcomer it's worse than a rollercoaster on a bad day. There is no such thing as traffic laws here... Passing with red light in front of the Central Police Station? It's everyday's drive.... Hahahah. At the begining you feel like you've been released inside a madhouse but as you get used to it, driving equally agressively and thus not losing more than your due time in traffic, it's getting harder to "behave yourself" when driving in other places.
I ended up making fun of people back in greece on how "dully" they drive - although there not such "lawfull" drivers themselves either.
A tougher city to drive through? Perhaps kairo or something to that effect...
Once you get used to it, it's all in good laughs and fun. :-)

There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
driving in Greece (none / 0) (#148)
by Delirium on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:06:30 AM EST

Most Greeks seem to follow at least some traffic laws. Where they drive really weirdly is the new freeways that have been opened up; after years of driving alternately in crowded cities where you can barely get through alleys and on narrow twisty mountain roads where you have to pull to the side if someone's coming in the opposite direction, they don't know what to do with a road that's three lanes wide in each direction. When I ride with my uncle he as often as not is driving halfway between two lanes, which completely baffles me. Apparently he's so used to seeing the road as just some empty space, which you try to use as well as possible to get where you're going, that he has no real concept of traffic lanes. Works well enough though.

[ Parent ]
Don't come (2.80 / 10) (#18)
by Psycho Les on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:16:10 PM EST

we will piss in your drinks and ejaculate on your food.

Pineapple juice (4.66 / 3) (#32)
by Miniluv on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 05:09:09 PM EST

As long as you drink pineapple juice, feel free to lace my food with as much ejaculate as you can manage. The protein helps keep my muscle tone.

"Too much wasabi and you'll be crying like you did at the last ten minutes of The Terminator" - Alton Brown
[ Parent ]
French ejac (2.08 / 12) (#43)
by zen troll on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:09:56 PM EST

Not much protein in it. The French don't have balls so it is most likely just water. I have heard that the French still import Germans to impregnate their women. And Germans make a pretty good living off the practice since the going rate to screw a hairy, smelly French woman is quite high.

[ Parent ]
I was just in Europe (4.16 / 6) (#22)
by Politburo on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:23:45 PM EST

I was just in Holland and Germany for the week building up to the war. From my experience, most Europeans, unlike some Americans, are able to differentiate between a country's government and a country's citizens. They understand that there are Americans against the war, and that not everyone blindly follows. Of course, being anti-war probably helped a bit; I can't gauge what reactions you might run into if you were openly pro-war.

Don't be a jerk (3.33 / 3) (#23)
by jubal3 on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:25:51 PM EST

And you will have no trouble. I lived in Germany for 4 years, part of which was during Ronald Reagan's 1st term. Reagan was almost universally hated by the Europeans and the Pershing Missile thing was hugely protested.
Just avoid political discussions and you will have no trouble. -And don't stand next to a picture perfect B&B and ask for directions to the Hilton in English!



***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
Germany (none / 0) (#63)
by dennis on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:56:18 PM EST

Where were you? I lived in Augsburg and Munich in the mid-80s.

Anyway, for everyone else, I concur with jubal3, I had a heckuva lot of fun there, and a lot of German friends, and the politics of the time didn't interfere with that in the least.

Incidentally, I was in London the other weekend when they had their huge antiwar protest, and that was fine too.

[ Parent ]

Hello. (none / 0) (#145)
by ti dave on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 03:42:45 AM EST

I was in Munich from '87 to '90. McGraw Kaserne.
Where were you?

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Hi (none / 0) (#323)
by dennis on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 10:14:14 PM EST

I was a student at University of Maryland Munich Campus, '84 to '86.

[ Parent ]
Sound familiar? (none / 0) (#329)
by ti dave on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 04:23:59 AM EST

Roßtalerweg
Warthofstraße
Alzstraße
Stadelheimerstraße


I lived on Traunsteinerstraße for a short while.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Hey neighbor :) (5.00 / 1) (#361)
by dennis on Sun Mar 30, 2003 at 06:50:46 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Near Trier (none / 0) (#153)
by jubal3 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:41:36 AM EST

Which is in the Eifel region just north of Luxembourg. I loved it. Travelled all over, never had a problem. -Even when I stumbled drunk through some of the worst neeighborhoods in Amsterdam, Hamburg and Berlin.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]
Just heard on the Radio (3.20 / 5) (#26)
by OldCoder on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:53:22 PM EST

A couple of days ago there was an NPR interview with the guy who does the European travel show on the discovery or something channel. He says go now, it's cheap, security is a hassle but you're pretty safe. He wouldn't go with newborns. Also, keep all your money and passport both in a money belt around your waist under your shirt. There's a thievery problem in Europe that is not worse than the US but is different and Americans get victimized.

My nephew went to Italy a decade ago or so and he and his friends got on a some busy 8-hour ferry cruise ship, probably from Italy to Greece or some long distance like that. They put their luggage in their staterooms (its that kind of ferry) and went out and explored the ship. They got back to their rooms after the ship left port and everything was gone, everything. Some group had broken in and walked off the ship. They were in for days of misery.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder

savety (none / 0) (#158)
by andlaus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 05:48:27 AM EST

He says go now, it's cheap, security is a hassle but you're pretty safe.

I dare to say that it's even safer in Europe than in the US (when it comes to crime rates)

[ Parent ]

Normally (none / 0) (#290)
by OldCoder on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:54:35 PM EST

But the questions in the minds of Americans considering European travel relate to terrorism that might be directed toward American tourists in particular or air travelers in general. So specific questioning makes sense.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
The UK is pretty good. (2.50 / 4) (#27)
by gordonjcp on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:53:27 PM EST

Your government and our goverment seem to be friendly just now. You'll find that almost everyone is anti-war though, so it might not be a great idea to be openly pro-war.
Not quite sure how easy it will be for you to defect to the UK though. You might have to wait until the US seals its borders.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


This is not a pro war statement ... (none / 0) (#67)
by gumbo on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:03:08 PM EST

... but a psephological one. The latest data from yougov.com (UK polling company) is here (pdf, links page) and Sunday's numbers are as follows:

In answer to the question:

"Do you think the United States and Britain were right or wrong to take military action against Iraq?"

Right 56%
Wrong 37%
Don't Know 7%

My personal prediction is that the rights will go up for a bit, top out for a bit longer, and then start dropping if the campaign is seen to be stalling. But it's not my intention to start another war discussion in this thread.

And the part about not openly expressing opinions on the war is good advice nonetheless.

[ Parent ]

Should maybe point out... (4.00 / 1) (#137)
by gordonjcp on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:41:18 AM EST

... that Yougov are somewhat right-wing.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Be prepared. (4.20 / 10) (#28)
by aphrael on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 04:54:06 PM EST

I would expect that as long as you are polite and friendly, anyone you are interacting with will treat you well. The general complaint with American tourists isn't usually that they're Americans and that America is evil(tm); it's that 95% of American tourists are fucking assholes. Step outside of that mold, be polite, and be honestly interested in the people you are interacting with, and you should be fine.

That said ... being outside of your home country when it is at war can be a particularly disturbing experience. I've spent the better part of a year in Europe (spread out over the last five), and I was in Germany when the US accidentally bombed the Chinese embassy in Kosovo, and while it wasn't terrifying, it was scary ... because I was alone in a strange country and my nation was fighting, and anything could have happened.

Not that this should keep you from going; if you have the opportunity to go, you should. But it does mean that you should beware of the emotional impact it may have on you, and be prepared to deal with it.

Nearer 2% (4.00 / 3) (#96)
by iwnbap on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:35:23 PM EST


I think the problem is not that there are more American arseholes, it's just that Americans when they put their mind to it can do just about anything bigger and better than everyone else.  Or in the case of being obnoxious, just bigger.

But frankly, most Americans are lovely. And when they are lovely, they are a lot more personable, friendly, and more fun than say Brits. It's just when they are arseholes, they are complete, utter and irredemable arseholes. I've never met an American who was merely mildly annoying, or insipid, and not all that many who were even boring.  It's a strange culture.
 

[ Parent ]

Bigger, better. (none / 0) (#293)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:43:56 PM EST

[...] it's just that Americans when they put their mind to it can do just about anything bigger and better than everyone else.

Funnily enough, that's one of the stereotypes about Americans that I hear quite oftern; they think they can do everything bigger and better than anyone else.

[ Parent ]

You have my warm invitations (4.66 / 12) (#31)
by Znork on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 05:03:45 PM EST

"but America is not exactly on the hot list of these countries."

Dont be silly. Bush and certain elements of the US administration are not on the hot list. Americans in general the vast majority of us have no problem with.

Of course, it would probably be a good idea not to go around with a poster saying "today Iraq, tomorrow the rest of the world", nor to express sentiments excessively in favour of the war to drunk anti-war people in bars.

There may be demonstrations, but they're usually planned and easy to avoid, and fairly orderly. You could probably stand around gawking at them all day long without any danger. Any agression is more likely to get expressed towards police rather than any tourist, unless you'd stand around chanting pro-war rhymes at them. Neither more nor less likely to get you in trouble than the average protest in the US.

There are some differences in culture. I'm always amazed at the amount of Sir'ing I get in the states, so if you get a lower level of bowing and scraping and general politeness and efficiency of service than you might be used to from the US, dont take it personally. It's not that you're from the US, it just is different here.

Americans expecting and demanding the same level of superficial politeness that they're used to is something that tends to annoy european people in the service industries, I think.

Then again, a european resturant wont be quite as politely urging to you leave the table free for the next person by removing plates and cutlery before you can finish eating.

Anyways, dont worry, Europeans like Americans just fine. Be polite and accept the culture isnt exactly the same and you'll be welcome. The media oversimplifies and engages in making news that sells rather than reporting facts as usual.

Thanks (4.75 / 4) (#33)
by lilnobody on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 05:09:48 PM EST

I have to worry. I have been to Europe once before, a few years ago, but only for 10 days. I loved the difference; its why I want to go back for so long. I never noticed anyone who didn't appreciate my touristing then, but there was never anything on the scale of the protests going on now back then.

And I suppose I'm projecting American values onto Europeans. Because plenty of Americans are just perfectly happy to apply displeasure of foreign policy to foreigners. Rather sad :(.

I hate the level of politeness over here, if dealing with that is my only problem I'm going to stay there a decade. I appreciate the comment.

ben

[ Parent ]

Agreed (4.33 / 3) (#36)
by caek on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 05:52:10 PM EST

In Britain "have a nice day" is generally construed as withering sarcasm, stoic irony in the face of adversity, or an insult. Don't say it.

There is absolutely no reason for an American to be any more concerned about coming to Europe than they would otherwise be. When I want to discuss US Foreign Policy, or the any other political hot potato I come to k5--I don't talk to tourists. And you certainly aren't in any physical danger. It's not Beirut.

Come on down!

[ Parent ]

More reassurance (4.50 / 2) (#38)
by lilnobody on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 05:58:43 PM EST

...makes for a happier me!

Thanks for the comment. I had never worried about physical danger--just like no European should here. But a loud European might get a few snide remarks on the street, and that is what had me worried. Not a big deal once or twice, but how much fun would 6 weeks of snide remarks be? :)

ben

[ Parent ]

I have plenty of American friends (none / 0) (#40)
by caek on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:04:35 PM EST

at University, and most of them love it here. If they don't its something permenant such as just not liking Europe's ambience--and not due to any transient (or sustained) anti-Americanism they experience.

That said, you might like to consider young Chelsea Clinton's experiences at the hands of my fellow students. As long as you keep you're opinions out of the world media, you're unlikey to make things worse for yourself.

[ Parent ]

Couldn't agree more (4.33 / 3) (#42)
by lakeland on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:07:45 PM EST

In my experience, American tourists are loud, crass and generally stupid. Step outside that mold and you'll be fine. Seriously, that is all it takes. Don't say to your girlfriend "Hey, look at those people, they really are <whatever>" loudly, so that everyone hears. Be polite, friendly, fun, respect differences, blend into the background. Don't wear super-bright colours and barge into the middle of things... <obvious stuff> You'll only run into problems with the war if you get into an argument supporting it, especially with an anti-war bigot. Think about how a Frenchman would be treated in America if they went around talking loudly about the stupid American terrorists; provided you don't do the reverse, people will treat you as an individual instead of a representative of your country. Another thing to remember is that average people in Europe are more tolerant than average people in America. European countries have lots of neighbours and are used to hearing different viewpoints and dealing with strange people that can't talk properly. I found it easier to get around in France despite knowing no French, than America despite being fluent in English. Oh, I did try to start every every conversation with 'parlez vous anglaise', just so poeple could see I was trying, rather than just talking in English and hoping.

[ Parent ]
Demos (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by salsaman on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:21:29 PM EST

There may be demonstrations, but they're usually planned and easy to avoid

Why avoid them ? Join in and have some fun !

[ Parent ]

European service (2.00 / 2) (#80)
by imrdkl on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:49:22 PM EST

Not quite an oxymoron, but quite often superficial. It also annoys Americans that Europeans assume that our politeness and effeciency is always superficial. Heh, just try to get your coffee refilled.

[ Parent ]
coffee refilled? (5.00 / 1) (#160)
by linca on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:01:49 AM EST

you mean, get a new coffee?

At least in France, asking to get your coffee refilled will get you strange looks...

[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#367)
by JAM on Mon Mar 31, 2003 at 09:28:27 AM EST

He mean having the cup (the mug) refilled. When I was in the USA in the hotel, during the breakfast, there was a waiter continually asking the people: More coffee sir?
-- Sorry for my engRish (TM)
[ Parent ]
A dying phenomena, (none / 0) (#179)
by tetsuwan on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:55:38 AM EST

but old fashioned cafes and restaurants in Sweden do offer a "påtår". I'm sorry, but you'll never get your frappe refilled.

[ Parent ]
Refills? (4.00 / 1) (#180)
by otmar on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:57:02 AM EST

I don't know any European country where you get free refills in restaurants. TANSTAAFL.

/ol

[ Parent ]

Why? (5.00 / 1) (#331)
by amanset on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 07:16:34 AM EST

Why should you get your coffee refilled?

You bought a cup of coffee.

[ Parent ]

Because (none / 0) (#339)
by wurp on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 11:16:27 AM EST

Coffee is very cheap, and there's no reason not to, other than because the restaurant can get away with it.

I'd be surprised if a restaurant that charges $0.15 euro more for coffee and gave free refills wouldn't make a lot more money, once people realized they were doing it.  I'll also be surprised if it isn't the norm in five years in most EU nations.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

That's a good example... (4.50 / 2) (#366)
by JAM on Mon Mar 31, 2003 at 09:26:12 AM EST

...of little cultural differences that can really annoy both sides :). In general in Europe you won't get your cup refilled because nobody ask for it. That could probably be because in Europe coffee is Real Cofee and not that dirty water you drink over there ;)
-- Sorry for my engRish (TM)
[ Parent ]
Typical USian comment (NT) (none / 0) (#370)
by tetrode on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 11:44:08 AM EST


________ The world has respect for US for two main reasons: you are patriotic, you invented rock'n'roll (mlapanadras)
[ Parent ]
Tell me (2.50 / 2) (#383)
by wurp on Wed Apr 02, 2003 at 05:11:28 PM EST

in what way that comment was arrogant or elitist, to which I assume you refer with your comment.  On the contrary, I would say your reply is arrogant and elitist.

There are lots of things that Europeans do much better than Americans, in general, e.g. public transportation.  Enough so that I have seriously considered moving to the EU even though that puts my children mostly out of reach of their grandparents.

There are also things that the US does better than European countries, in general.  Customer service in restaurants is an example.  Five years ago when I went to England, France, and Germany, customer service usually (not always) stank and you couldn't buy a drink bigger than 20 oz (except beer in Germany) or a drink with ice.  When I went a couple of weeks ago, most soft drinks were available 24 oz or even larger, and they all had ice.  I think the good things from America are working their way into Europe.  I wish I could say the same in reverse.

That said, there are elitist jerks all around the world.  Do you want to put yourself in that category?
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

I'll tell you (none / 0) (#387)
by tetrode on Mon Apr 07, 2003 at 11:20:15 AM EST

First, let's start off with a joke:

I've asked Microsoft for a licence refill, and they wouldn't give me one.

I did not intend an arrogant or elitist comment, although you tend to read it like that - is something typical USian bad?

My comment was stating the difference in thinking between Americans and Europeans, although I must admit that I (from .nl/.be) have not yet visited all Europe. But the in places where I have been, when you buy a cup of coffee, you will get a cup of coffee.

In our local MacDo you can get a coffee for 1 euro (without refill btw), and there are other places that I do frequent, where you pay up to 4 euros for a coffee. Guess where I get my coffee most frequently.

I tend to go for quality, not quantity.

Pushing YOUR values to other countries - like the statement 'I'll also be surprised if it isn't the norm in five years in most EU nations.' - is something I don't like. And something I see a lot coming from they other side of the pond. Hence my statement.

Your version is slightly better, 'the good things from America are working their way into Europe' - but still, WTF do you want the same things here as at home? Better stay at home, then.

To comment on your statements, there isn't a thing that the US of A does better than Europe. And vice versa. There isn't a thing that Europe does better than the US of A. In the cases you mention, it all depends on what you are used to.

When I went to America a few years ago, I found that, in my opinion, the waiters and waitresses were acting very strange. The'd say thinks like: 'Hello, sir, how are you today?'. That might (and probably will) sound normal to you. But for me this is very strange. My feeling there is: do they mean it? No. The don't. Then don't act like you're my best friend. I'm a client and you're the waiter. That's our relation. I ask for coffee and you get me one. In my (our european) education, waiters should say: 'Hello, what would you like to drink'. Or even just 'Hello'; because when I go into a café, I'll say what I want. But again, this is a cultural difference.

Same thing for the soft drink of 24 oz, that is 0,70 litres. For me this is almost three drinks. Cultural difference. Ice - idem.

However, I don't complain about these differences. I try to understand.

Mark
________ The world has respect for US for two main reasons: you are patriotic, you invented rock'n'roll (mlapanadras)
[ Parent ]

Buy a Maple Leaf shirt (3.77 / 9) (#37)
by karb on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 05:53:49 PM EST

"I'm from canada and would like a molson. Oh yeah. 'eh'."

Of course, the french still hate canadians. They hate everybody, though. I think they may hate puppies.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?

Puppies may be one thing the French really like (5.00 / 2) (#214)
by piperpilot on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:45:38 AM EST

Paris seems one of the most dog-friendly cities I've ever visited.

Despite the fact than some make me sneeze, I love dogs. I think being able to stroll into a cafe' and have your pup sitting at your feet is exceptionally cool.

So I don't think they hate puppies - they just prefer them to be witty and urbane.
My favorite people are empiricists who appreciate the theoretical and theoreticians who appreciate the empirical.
[ Parent ]

German rudeness (4.70 / 10) (#41)
by mami on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:05:01 PM EST

I know that many Americans consider certain German behavior as rude, because they are not used that people just say what they think, even if it's pretty blunt.

Think of it this way, a German values to voice his opinion honestly higher than being polite but dishonest. Small talk is something Germans can't do.

Therefore be prepared that people want to engage you in political discussions and that they will will be disappointed, if you would react like most of the Americans do, i.e. being completely unpolitical and evasive and instead engage in polite and shallow small talk, which rarely lasts longer than four minutes.

What you might consider as being anti-American is mostly just the prelude to a political "discussion"  in a nice trattoria, pub, Kneipe or what have you. Be prepared that most people love American music. So, if you meet a real idiot, change the subject to music. It should work.

If I were you I would take the challenge and start to argue. It might help you to understand why Europeans think most probably quite differently than you do. Most probably you will end up finding them very naive and they will find you the same. Such is life. :-)

Other than this expect that nobody is patient and everybody expect everything to work flawlessly, constantly complaining if something doesn't work (in Germany only). Beware of main train stations. Contrary to America they are a meeting point for all sorts of little thugs and criminals. Most of the time they will approach in a very charming way. Otherwise our trains DO work and are ON time.

Expect that everything is small, which Europeans don't think of as being a disadvantage. I guess you would have to adjust your sense of space and distances.

Otherwise some young American couple going to backpack on trains through Europe are certainly safe, just look after your luggage and keep your papers and money close to yourself. I don't expect people throwing Coke and McChicken at you. You don't have to go to demonstrations and if you do, you can stay away from the crazy crowd and can pretend to be "one of those protesters".

Pick pocketing is "culturally accepted" and nobody gets too upset about it. We expect it to happen, so therefore everybody is prepared for it.

Have a nice vacation.

Pick-pocketing (4.50 / 4) (#143)
by Cloaked User on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 03:13:08 AM EST

I've lived, studied and worked in London for the best part of 9 years, and I've never had my pocket picked. I would not expect it to happen, and would be pretty annoyed if it did.

That said, I know that it does happen, and so have always been sensible and have taken actual precautions - mostly, just keep your wallet safely out of sight, keep bags with you and closed, etc. There have also been cases (here in the UK) of people having mobile (cell) phones snatched while in use, right out of people's hands, so be careful of that. If you bring one, don't put it down next to you in a busy public place (eg on a train seat, table, etc). I've never had mine stolen, but I know several people who have.

If you do come to London/the UK, the "keep your bags with you at all times" is essential. We're still on a constant low-level alert for terrorist attacks due to the Troubles in Nothern Ireland - it's just something that everyone in the cities lives with. It makes no difference to our daily routines, and isn't really a conscious thing, but unattended bags will cause problems. (eg stations being evacuated, bags removed and possibly destroyed, etc). Just Don't Do It.

All that said, just be sensible, and you'll be fine. Don't worry at all about being American - we know you can't help it ;-) Seriously though, we don't go in for that "you are responsible for your country's actions" stuff. We know that once a government is elected, it pretty much has free reign for the length of its term.

As others have said, be considerate of those around you, do not fulfil the stereotype of loud, obnoxious, condescending American tourist, and you'll be fine. Hell, one of my best friends is American (although she's lived here for at least 7 years now). Just because I don't like or agree with what your country is doing doesn't mean I'm going to blame you personally for it.
--
"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]

mobile phone (none / 0) (#161)
by andlaus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:09:11 AM EST

If you bring one [a mobile phone] also make sure that is a GSM phone. other standards are not supported here.

[ Parent ]
pick-pocketing and Europe (4.00 / 1) (#167)
by mami on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:49:18 AM EST

First thing to learn is that one country in Europe is not the same as the other. Of course I was talking about Italy and may be some places in larger cities in the southern part of Europe.

[ Parent ]
Advice about that in Spain (3.00 / 1) (#365)
by JAM on Mon Mar 31, 2003 at 08:58:14 AM EST

Pick pocketing is a somewhat recent, but strong phenomenum in Spain. Some advice:

If you go to Madrid, be very carefully on very touristic places like 'Puerta del Sol' or 'Plaza de España'. I can tell you that on summer you can really sit down over those places (I've done it) and see the guys 'at work', and they are real artists at it. I know I'm going to be flamed for this, but be very wary about bands of south-american of moroccan alike teenagers on those places. Is not racism, is a fact. At least they're not violent. Just closing your bags and always having your hand on your wallet inside the pocket should do the trick. A trick I saw them to use a lot (the lest 'artistic' ones) is to pretend they're drunk and try to give you a 'friendly' hug to create confusion while a friend coming from the opposite direction take your wallet.

The real problem is that with the current law pickpoketing is not crime but a 'fault', and a fault in Spain can't currently bring you to jail. That is about to change because a new law will count a lot of faults of the same type (15 in the case of pickpocketing, I think) as a crime with two years of jail. We'll see... anyway if it happens, go to police: They know very well most of those teenagers (because they're arresting and releasing them almost every day) and chances are that if you give them a telephone you can recover your wallet in a few hours.

And finally, don't let this pickpocketing discussion scare you and be prepared to enjoy Europe, and don't miss Italy, it's a really marvellous country.


-- Sorry for my engRish (TM)
[ Parent ]

Why would some one steal a Cell phone (1.00 / 1) (#207)
by auraslip on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:24:42 AM EST

The have chips in them, and once reported stolen they can never work again. Unless you mod the chip, and at that point you have to hack someones account AND mod the chip. Which unless your a hobbiest seems easier to just buy a phone.
124
[ Parent ]
GSM phones (4.50 / 2) (#248)
by UnConeD on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 01:49:38 PM EST

In a GSM phone, all the user's account data, address book, etc. is stored on an easy-to-remove mini-smart-card (SIM-card) inside the phone. Usually this located in a socket underneath the batteries. I can just open up my phone (no screws needed), take out the SIM-card, plug it into another phone and use the new phone like it was my old one. If your phone breaks, you can buy a new one, without having to notify your operator. In fact, most subscriptions come with the sim-card separately, so people know how to insert/remove a sim-card. This is why mobile phones are easily stolen in Europe: GSM is the standard everywhere.

[ Parent ]
IMEI.. (5.00 / 1) (#344)
by yanisa on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 03:38:04 PM EST

GSM phones also have an id number, called IMEI, that is phone-specific. Usually, your phone company keeps track of the IMEI number of your phone and can trace it and/or disable it if it is stolen. I know that there have been cases of people buying cheap used phones on the street or via ads (the "fell off the truck" variety). A few days later, the police, who have been notified that the person with SIM X is using a stolen phone with IMEI Y, came a-knocking.

Y.

I think this line's mostly filler
[ Parent ]

giving it a second thought (1.00 / 1) (#172)
by mami on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:56:07 AM EST

if the war is going to get more difficult, crazy and awful as it already is, I would say it will get worse and one must expect civil unrest all over the world.

We can all see the fights live on TV. This will get civilians worldwide much more upset and much faster lose their calm about this war.

So, I wouldn't guarantee anymore anything.

[ Parent ]

discussion culture (5.00 / 2) (#202)
by anno1602 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:12:57 AM EST

Be aware that if people realize that you're trying to be evasive, some perform a mean little trick: They state something controverse, perhaps even offensive. That doesn't mean that they think so, they are just trying to get you out of your shell.

So partcipate in discussions, don't be afraid to say what you think. You're expected to do so. You'll also be expected to explain your opinions.

One more thing: If you are stating your opinion as opposed to something you regard as a fact, say "In my opinion" or "I think" or whatever. It's considered good discussion culture (although a lot of Germans tend to neglect that too).
--
"Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy
[ Parent ]

no culture there - in my opinion - :-) (nt) (1.00 / 1) (#261)
by mami on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 03:00:47 PM EST



[ Parent ]
explain that *grins* (n/t) (none / 0) (#267)
by anno1602 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:13:01 PM EST


--
"Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy
[ Parent ]
Pick Pocketing (5.00 / 1) (#228)
by avdi on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:58:14 AM EST

Pick pocketing is "culturally accepted" and nobody gets too upset about it.

I'm gonna get flack for this... but that's just fucked up.

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir
[ Parent ]

what else is new :-) nt (none / 0) (#260)
by mami on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:59:22 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Germans are great (none / 0) (#244)
by epepke on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:37:30 PM EST

My experiences in Germany were that the Germans were very warm, very friendly. Of course, I'm Germanic, so that may have had something to do with it.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Moot point (2.25 / 8) (#44)
by Rogerborg on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:10:19 PM EST

By this summer, nobody in Europe will even remember what the fuss was about.  Worry about it then.

If it's still an issue, go to the Republic of Ireland and/or anywhere north of the Netherlands (inclusive).  The Irish have perspective, northern Europeans have free will.  Don't sweat it.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

I don't know first hand, but... (4.33 / 6) (#47)
by Grand Fromage on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:11:26 PM EST

My European friends tell me that basically, as long as you're not acting like an ass, you're fine.  Most Europeans don't hold all of America responsible for what our government does, but be forewarned that if you do act like the stereotypical American arrogant prick tourist, they will be extra nasty to you.

How could we hold americans responsible? (2.00 / 1) (#84)
by jacoplane on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:02:45 PM EST

I mean, it's not like you actually elected Dubya or anything.

[ Parent ]
Very true (none / 0) (#85)
by kaemaril on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:10:44 PM EST

The actual majority of voters didn't, apparently. If it hadn't been for that pesky electoral college system...


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
Dinner tables (4.60 / 5) (#49)
by bmasel on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:14:13 PM EST

European apartments, and hence dinner tables, are smaller. Practice eating with your elbows in.

My last trip to Germany, my host served on his familiy's 160 year old hemp linen tablecloths, one for each day of the week. I remarked how well preserved they were after 160 years of weekly use.

Georg pointed out that while the linens were used weekly, they were only laundered monthly... "except when we have Americans to visit. And they don't last forever." Ouch.

 
I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State.

Practice eating with your elbows in... (5.00 / 1) (#193)
by ooch on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:42:51 AM EST

I am not sure if this is everywhere, but here it is considered very uncivilized when you eat with your elbows on the table. Is this just Dutch, or is it considered the same in other country's?

[ Parent ]
Most of Europe (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by Stereo on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:55:07 AM EST

I avoid it unless sometimes when the locals are doing it. I don't think anyone in Europe will find you rude for keeping your elbows off the table.

kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


[ Parent ]
Extremely so. (4.00 / 3) (#199)
by Ranieri on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:02:05 AM EST

Especially Italians have a real problem with people that eat with one hand while keeping the other on the table interposed between them and the plate. Don't do that!

Not that they'll say anything, but you will be a source of hilarity for generations ("Little Giovanni, why don't you show grandmother how that American boy we had over for dinner last week was eating his porridge?").
Best avoided, if you can.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

I was in Italy last year (4.42 / 14) (#50)
by curien on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:14:56 PM EST

And I certainly played the arrogant American tourist occasionally (it was just fun!). The closest I ever got to being genuinely scared, though, was quite brief. My two traveling companions and I were in Amsterdam and realized that the NFC Championship game (between the Rams and whomever it was that year... the Eagles?) was just starting. So we walked around until we found a sports bar that had a neon NFL sign in the window. We went in, took our seats in some crappy fold-out chairs, cramped in with a bunch of tourist Euro-trash (blokes, mostly), and drank pint after pint of Heineken.

We were watching the game on the satellite broadcast of FOX Sports, and there were no commercials. Instead, there were these interludes where they'd flash trivia information and stuff like that. Some of the trivia was about golf, some about soccer, and some about cricket, which I found interesting since I know very little about that particular sport. For some reason, though, there were a lot of trivia facts about cricket, and I kept getting more and more drunk. Eventually, the cricket trivia began to repeat itself. After the third viewing of a particularly dull cricket factoid, I became impatient and irritated. At the top of my lungs (which is quite loud, I assure you), I bellowed, "Jeezus, who the fuck cares about CRICKET?!"

Immediately, I realized my mistake... dozens of eyes all turned toward me. My traveling companions tried as best as they could to distance themselves from my person, hoping that whatever backlash occurred would spare them. Then, one particularly large and grizzly bloke opened his maw and spoke: "Yeah, I'm from bloody England, and I don't even like cricket." (Or something to that effect... there's been a lot of alcohol between then and now.) Someone else near him said, in a thick English drawl, expressed his opinion that that particular sport was only for fairies.

The tension passed, and we all had a good laugh.

--
Murder your babies. -- R Mutt

Not to worry (2.40 / 5) (#51)
by Domino on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:21:11 PM EST

Much-travelled acquaintances find it laughable that there's any problem with going to Europe (as of a couple weeks ago). There have always been people who hate Americans around the world, and they'll stay the same. The rest understand that having an unelected asshole as president ain't your fault.

If you go you'll probably have some cool discussions if you want to, and maybe some cool bargains as the "just want to feel safe again" herd decides to vacation at the local mall instead. But get over the paranoid vibes first, or you might get yourself a self-fulfilling prophesy.

I didn't know (2.75 / 8) (#55)
by gyan on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:26:14 PM EST

Merriam-Webster redefined 'diary' to mean 'article' since Bush came in power.

********************************

What is your stance on the war? (4.42 / 7) (#57)
by komet on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:29:51 PM EST

If you're anti-war, I suspect you will actually get better treatment that usual. If you're pro-war, don't say so, and you'll be ok too.

And don't be a stupid American (which I suspect you're not anyway). I.e. don't do any of the following which I have personally witnessed:

  • Assume all shops take credit cards. Many don't.
  • Try to get through a revolving door with a luggage cart, thereby making it necessary to be freed by the fire brigade, and stating that you only wanted to get a beer from this shop, which turns out to be a chain which doesn't sell alcohol, and get reported on in the newspapers.
  • Stand in front of the Mona Lisa and say in a loud voice, "Who's that woman? Why's everyone looking at her?"
  • Order a burger from McDonalds, trying to pay with US dollars, then when the manager accomodates your currency wishes, change your mind and pay in local currency after all because the manager offered you a bad exchange rate.
  • Approach a Swissair flight attendant in a bar on her off-hours and try to get her to issue you a flight change.
You'll be ok. Welcome to Europe!

YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME.

Enjoy, but stay aloof (3.66 / 6) (#58)
by imrdkl on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:33:29 PM EST

Get yourself a pair of sturdy, black street shoes and wear them a few times before you leave. I've never traveled extensively with a lady, but keep the clothes sensible, without being drab. If you want to further avoid attention, then you might consider buying your daypack after you arrive. And if you really wanted to avoid sticking out, you could even learn to eat with a fork and knife (simultaneously), but that shit took me years. :)

Bah. No matter how hard you try to blend in, you will be identified as an American when you speak, so keep a steady gaze, and an open mind. That's about it.

Why? (4.00 / 2) (#62)
by komet on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:52:52 PM EST

I don't think there's any need to hide your Americanness. Not that it's possible, anyway. You will never get rid of the American way of walking, the American way of stopping and looking into shop windows, the American way of taking money out of your wallet, the American way of boarding a train, the American way of smiling at people, the American way of avoiding smiling at people, the American way of picking up shopping bags, the American way of pressing the "play" button on your Japanese Discman.

And yes, I am completely serious, and have spent many hours tourist-watching. There is a very distinct difference in all these little things.

YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME.
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#68)
by imrdkl on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:06:17 PM EST

In fact, it can be done. When it's time to show one's Americanness, the American knows. Until then, it's nobody's business where I'm from. My people-watching skills will never match those of the average big-city European, but after 6 years of hearing how obvious we are, I think I can give even the best of those nosy, yet oh-so-unobtrusive bastards a run for their money.

[ Parent ]
Er (none / 0) (#70)
by imrdkl on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:10:53 PM EST

Present company excepted, of course.

[ Parent ]
Hehe (none / 0) (#83)
by komet on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:57:57 PM EST

Well I suppose it is possible with effort, but my point is that it's a lot of work to hide something you ought not to have to hide anyway.

YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME.
[ Parent ]

Hiding (none / 0) (#91)
by imrdkl on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:25:46 PM EST

Occurs in the face of danger, or threat. I've rarely felt that way in Europe. Blending in, however, gives the American a chance to see a bit more, which can add to the experience. As the "guest", it's fun (and challenging) to be passed off as a local, and then watch the shock and disorientation appear on your face when I say, "How you doin'?". :)

Playing the recognition game is fun, but much more challenging without being multi-lingual. If, after you've finally understood that I am American, then we might still can have a nice discussion, but by then it's often Europeans who have to excuse themselves, and not just because they've been caught off guard.

[ Parent ]

Re: Why (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by lakeland on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:13:35 PM EST

Because people appreciate you trying.

[ Parent ]
I'm curious... (5.00 / 1) (#157)
by CAIMLAS on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 05:24:20 AM EST

could you try to describe at least one of those differences? As someone that's quite interested in these little mundane cultural differences, I'd be very interested in hearing your opinion.

I find it both fun and exciting to watch people, much as you have mentioned. I've noticed, at least here in the US, that people from different regions have vastly different gestures, postures, and such. Heredity also seems to effect things like this (such as people of Italian descent usually using their hands in speech more.) West coasters are seemably more 'sloppy' with their posture and movement, Midwesterners slower and more meticulous, and Easterners (from the north) seem to have much more jerky (probably not the right descriptive word) movements, often moving more quickly. Generally speaking and IMO, YMMV. :)
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

No worries (3.62 / 8) (#59)
by epepke on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:39:25 PM EST

I've gone to Europe almost every year for the past 20 years. I've never had a problem. Don't pretend to be Canadian; Europeans dislike Canadians a lot more than they dislike Americans.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Huh? (5.00 / 2) (#60)
by komet on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:44:22 PM EST

Europeans don't dislike Canadians, and the slight bad mojo from Celine Dion has been more than made up for by Corel Draw 10 and Avril Lavigne. We can tell if Americans try to pretend to be Canadians, though, and that may not go down well.

YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME.
[ Parent ]

hah (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by sirtalonz on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:30:09 PM EST

Try and tell the difference between someone from upsate new york or upper michigan and a candian. They're practically the same.

[ Parent ]
You mean... (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by Hatamoto on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:56:55 PM EST

... aside from the wardrobe, attitude, armament and thick-as-a-brick upstate accent?

There's a few simple tests of who's a nuck and who isn't. A couple simple questions about cultural icons and you know who's a "fakin' nuck" pretty quick.

And no, I'm not gonna tell you, you pitiful tuck-tail americans who want to pass for 'nucks while overseas... good bet that if canada has a bad name in some place, it's because one of your type has already been there.

--
"Innocence is no defense." - Federal District Judge William H. Yohn (People v. Mumia Abu-Jamal)
[ Parent ]

Have you ever been to upstate Michigan? (none / 0) (#141)
by subversion on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:53:40 AM EST

Believe me when I say that the yoopers I know would have a far easier time passing as Canadian overseas than the friends of mine from Windsor.

(Yes, I live close enough to Canada to have friends who live there.  Ain't Detroit wonderful?)

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

Upstate michigan, et al (none / 0) (#163)
by Hatamoto on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:35:06 AM EST

I've been to pretty much all the northern states and the east/west coast (from Vancouver to San Diego and Halifax to Miami). So yeah, been there, done that.

Perhaps a michiganer (pronouned mih-tchi-gan-err) could pass oneself off as a nuck overseas where noone knows better, but you'd have problems should you encounter a real canadian. We'd see through it in a heartbeat.

--
"Innocence is no defense." - Federal District Judge William H. Yohn (People v. Mumia Abu-Jamal)
[ Parent ]

I re-iterate (none / 0) (#238)
by subversion on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:51:11 AM EST

I could not pass as a Canadian (well, not to a real born and bred Canadian, the Windsor folks I know barely count, most of them work in Detroit).

But yoopers are a lot closer.  Unless you've spent time in Houghton or Marquette, or better yet, the backwoods around them, you don't understand what a real yooper is.

Michigan is really two seperate states - UP and LP.  The cultures are totally different.  It's weird.

And it's generally considered to be Michigander (mih - shi - gan - dur), not Michiganer.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

Avril Lavigne!? (none / 0) (#116)
by delmoi on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 11:18:17 PM EST

Avril Lavigne? How can anyone like that weapon of mass idiocy!?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#239)
by rdskutter on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:14:16 PM EST

Avril Lavigne is far far worse than Celine Dion.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

What? (5.00 / 1) (#66)
by Nikau on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:58:42 PM EST

Europeans dislike Canadians a lot more than they dislike Americans.

Since when? I've heard that most Europeans in various countries like Canadians.

I think I'm confused...

---
I have a zero-tolerance policy for zero-tolerance policies, and this policy itself is the exception to itself which allows me to have it without being contradictory. - Happy Monkey
[ Parent ]

Wrong (5.00 / 3) (#81)
by Soulmender on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:52:35 PM EST

What we don't like is ignorant sweeping statements.

Thank you.



[ Parent ]

Don't be Canadian (none / 0) (#82)
by Maclir on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:56:36 PM EST

The most widely appreciated english-speaking nationality in Europe (particularly France) is Australian. But you have to be the fair dinkum Aussie - probably too hard to pick up in a few months.

[ Parent ]
Yeah sure (none / 0) (#210)
by deggial on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:35:28 AM EST

Canada is a french speaking nation...

[ Parent ]
everyone hates canadians (1.25 / 4) (#94)
by sirtalonz on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:28:57 PM EST

Hell, I mean who doesn't hate canadians. I have canadian friends and I still hate them.

[ Parent ]
But what about the agreement? (5.00 / 2) (#211)
by bobzibub on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:35:36 AM EST

Canada and the US have a long held secret agreement when citizens travel overseas:  Yanks are allowed to pretend to be Canadians just to be safe; Canucks can pretend to be Americans when we are being idiotic.  "USA! USA! USA!"

; )
-b


[ Parent ]

You got that wrong (3.50 / 4) (#61)
by jope on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:52:23 PM EST

Europeans do not hate US citizens. We detest the current US politics, we critisze and oppose most of the US politicians, but we do not have anything against US individials (as long as they leave us alone with their war). You might hear people speaking out their opinion on US politics, but I am pretty sure you will not experience any personal difficulties. Of course there are madmans and exceptions, but you can meet them in the US too. Let me give you a final advice: do not believe everything of to the media, especially not the US mainstream media. Read the NYT and read a few European quality papers like Le Monde, El Pais, Die Zeit, or The Guardian. You will get a different perspective on Europe, a different perspective on the word, and probably on the US.

This is the most... (2.12 / 8) (#64)
by loomingleaf on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:57:03 PM EST

...racist posting I have seen on K5.

"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


Why? (none / 0) (#65)
by Nike on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 06:58:17 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Because... (3.00 / 2) (#76)
by loomingleaf on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:27:02 PM EST

Although it does not explicitly request it, I feel that this post asks K5 readers to make a judgement of the European opinion of Americans. There is therefore no acknowledgment of the differences that are within all countries and communities. We are not clones (yet..?). Everyone is different. I have my own views, experiences and feelings, which are certainly different to my neighbour and indeed someone in Italy, for example. I believe that not acknowledging the individual, rather judging them on their culture/location and making a decision based on that judgement, could be defined as racism.

I have seen no other post, I am a bit of a newbie, that asks the reader to make such a sweeping judgement. Indeed, if lilnobody had wanted a more international response, I would have suggested that this was posted when those viewing K5 from the countries to be visited are going to be awake. Had the time lapse even been considered and it's effects on responses?


"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


[ Parent ]
No, it had not. (5.00 / 3) (#79)
by lilnobody on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:47:58 PM EST

This is true. Had I thought about it, I might have posted it during the evening my time, when Europeans were just getting to work. I neglected to consider the time lapse. Various comments from the anti-diary squad aside, it seems that this post, luckily for me, will last until Europeans get a chance to read it and, hopefully, respond.

There is truely no intention of getting a collection of feelings towards Americans from Europeans. The intent is to find out more on a statistical basis whether or not I would be overwhelmed with negativity during a trip.

I really do understand that everyone is different. I didn't expect to get a broad-sweeping to my question, then apply a stereotype. I'm asking a question of statistics, because it doesn't take a big percentage of rude people to spoil a nice time quite effectively.

I don't think I am asking anyone to speak for the entirety of Europe. I am asking if there are enough people who are so actively upset by America's rather poor excuse for foreign policy that my trip might be less than fun.

Looking at my post now, I can see what you mean, and I'm glad you brought it up. However, I don't think my question asks for racist opinions. I'd discuss it further tonight but I am off to do various things, but if you respond, I'll respond tomorrow.

ben

[ Parent ]

I appreciate your reply... (none / 0) (#159)
by loomingleaf on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 05:51:21 AM EST

I realised last night that my initial comments may have been a bit misdirected. I had been thinking later on about plotting some kind of distribution curve for anti-American sentiment against number of people... I agree with your comments I'm asking a question of statistics and I don't think my question asks for racist opinions. But look at some of the reponses that your post has recieved...

Europeans (and Australians and NZers) hate how little Americians know about different types of political systems and parties, and different ways of living.
Nobody will harm you because you're an American.
Europeans are much less predjudiced than Noth-Americans
Europeans do not hate US citizens. We detest the current US politics.
Europeans dislike Canadians a lot more than they dislike Americans.

Ben, I got frustrated with your original post because, as a statistical question, I feel that it is self answering. Clearly, there is more anti-American feeling in Europe - the distribution curve has shifted to the right. But there is more than this single issue to be analysed if you truely wish to assess the possible damage to your enjoyment. For example, how tinted is your view of European protests? How likely is it that someone will speak out? Will you understand them? What will you be wearing? Where will you be staying? How do you interact with people? What are the crime figures? Are they different for tourists and residents? Are you going to bump into angry protesters? - Many of these have been addressed in some manner in follow up posts. Indeed, where you draw the line is something that only you can decide. I personally enjoy situations with a bit of edge.

In summary, I don't believe that your original post put in place a system of questions that would answer your question "Will I enjoy?" without resorting to the sweeping generalisations that I call racism. If, however, you were looking for reassurance that your trip to Europe will be fine... I think you've got it, and rightly so. And for my advice: When in Rome, do as the Romans do.


"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


[ Parent ]
I see your point. (none / 0) (#236)
by lilnobody on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:35:24 AM EST

You have a point. If I had made a list of questions, for example, that might have cut out the knees of some of the more sweeping statements on nationalities. But I don't think that would have been helpful, as I wanted to obtain responses to non-leading questions. You'll note the story doesn't explicitly mention, intentionally, my stance on the war. I did not want to get answers about 'pro-war Americans in Europe', but instead 'Americans in Europe'.

I asked an open-ended question, and got open-ended answers. Some of these included some wide, over-generalizing statements. Some did not, and instead included great information, excellent links to web pages in German which better state the German feel about current relations than any US outlet ever could, and that sort of thing.

I suppose its a question of, if a chicken is immoral, do you hate the chicken or the egg? :)

ben

[ Parent ]

Nail hit on head. (none / 0) (#242)
by loomingleaf on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:32:00 PM EST

I had not commented on how you had avoided mentioning anything about your stance on the war in your original post, and therefore that whole boggy situation, and that was very wise... nice one!

If a chicken is immoral, do you hate the chicken or the egg?

I think you've got it exactly right. I shall assess more thoroughly in future before cooking the egg and wringing the chicken's neck.


"It makes you wonder what you're putting on your hook when you keep catching the same fish."
........


[ Parent ]
It hasn't posted yet. (4.33 / 3) (#87)
by caek on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:14:19 PM EST

It will be in voting for some hours, and assuming it posts, in an "active" area of the site for some time. Don't be petty.

You can read all the racism you like into it. I read it as him taking advantage of an international forum to ask people who either live in, or have experience of, Europe to advise him on his likely net experience. I'm sure he realises the people of a continent have different opinions, but as both sides in the war debate gleefully do, it is possible to characterise those opinions.

In this case he's not even asking us to generalise the opinions of a continent. He's asking us to assess whether or not he's likely to receive a friendly response. Sure, it's cowardly. Sure, its a question only someone with very limited experience of the world could ask. But racism?

[ Parent ]

I don't think (none / 0) (#119)
by KiTaSuMbA on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 11:30:30 PM EST

this is about "what europe thinks of americans". That would be a flamebait piece and in this a more obvious one. Instead the author had a real concern to probe the K5 community regarding what he might expect from some people in europe (and not collectively europeans) and if there is a risk he should not be taking.
Now you might say that this was a valid issue to make a diary entry but not an article (already mentioned thesis). I disagree in that I believe the discussion following the author's enquire debunks what I'm afraid is a spreading misconception among american citizens (with the "help" of pro-war media outlets): that europeans are demonstrating and reacting against americans as people and not just the current US foreign policy, that the whole europe is taken in a paranoid massive anti-americanism.
In any case I'm glad that people have promptly responded to his worries and that most K5 readers don't buy this "us against you" crap.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
Racist. (5.00 / 2) (#132)
by ubernostrum on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:14:53 AM EST

Although it does not explicitly say so, I feel your post passes judgement on all Americans, you insensitive clod. Why don't you put your white hood back on and go burn some crosses or something?


--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
I have no idea how you could think of this as (5.00 / 2) (#140)
by subversion on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:51:36 AM EST

racism.

He's asking for the experiences of people from across Europe, so as to judge the likelihood that a trip he would make in order to broaden his world view would be enjoyable and safe.

Race doesn't enter into it at all.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

Wow now you know how ALL asians feel. (none / 0) (#327)
by mndeg on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 03:40:56 AM EST

Being taiwanese-american (is this a word?!) all "oriental" looking people are asians and this is one huge stereotype.

[ Parent ]
Great stuff (4.20 / 5) (#69)
by lilnobody on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:07:18 PM EST

Just wanted to say thanks for a lot of people posting opinions here. Seems my fears are largely unfounded.

I appreciate the already posted comments, and any more people may have.

ben

just don't get into political discussions (2.50 / 8) (#73)
by Delirium on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 07:22:16 PM EST

Political discussions are a bad idea; most anything else will be ok. No matter what political views you hold, if they differ at all from the person you're discussing with, many will take a bad view of them and classify you as a "stupid American" or something along those lines. It depends a lot on who you talk with, but many Europeans also have a really really skewed view of the United States (culturally, politically, and in just about every other way). If you know them well enough you might want to explain some minor things to them, but generally it's a bad idea to try to correct someone's worldview, no matter how skewed it may be. And it's often pretty skewed.

Also, while it may be true, avoid pointing out that their entire country is so small it could fit into some of the U.S.'s national parks.

Thank you, sir, for the signature. (none / 0) (#164)
by traphicone on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:41:42 AM EST

I have never before had a signature, but that was truly inspired.

"Generally it's a bad idea to try to correct someone's worldview if you want to remain on good terms with them, no matter how skewed it may be." --Delirium
[ Parent ]
addendum (4.00 / 1) (#256)
by Delirium on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:18:59 PM EST

I'd append "if you want to remain on good terms with them," which was the context of the discussion. In an absolute sense correcting someone's worldview, if it's sufficiently skewed, is probably a good idea (increasing overall knowledge and such), but telling someone they're completely wrong is unlikely to win you many friends.

[ Parent ]
Fair enough. (5.00 / 1) (#273)
by traphicone on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 05:35:54 PM EST

Context is always critical.

"Generally it's a bad idea to try to correct someone's worldview if you want to remain on good terms with them, no matter how skewed it may be." --Delirium
[ Parent ]
sorry, but that's a bullshit advice (none / 0) (#226)
by lemming prophet on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:53:36 AM EST

i doubt he's ever been to europe...


--
Follow me.
[ Parent ]
have you? (none / 0) (#254)
by Delirium on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:17:24 PM EST

I've spent about 4 years of my life in Europe.

[ Parent ]
i, however, (none / 0) (#277)
by lemming prophet on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:03:25 PM EST

lived my whole life in europe, that's about 20 years more than you .. :)
--
Follow me.
[ Parent ]
You'll be fine. (4.20 / 5) (#97)
by cdyer on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:45:49 PM EST

Unless you're planning on spending a lot of time hanging out at the headquarters of major multinationals, and unless you get a nervous tic at the sight of spilled beverages, don't sweat it.  Join the crowds.  Spill your own pepsi.  People will want to talk to you.  Be prepared to share your views.  Be honest, and don't be afraid to back it up, and don't be afraid to argue, if that's what it comes to.  But always, ALWAYS be respectful.

Cheers,
Cliff

Play ball (4.00 / 1) (#98)
by stpap on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 08:48:51 PM EST

I don't see this getting past the queue but I will play along for the fun of it. I am a Greek in Scotland but having lived most of my life in Athens, Greece I can give you some tips should you decide to pop in for a visit.
a) Don't go near the protestors or people parading in general. It mostly spells trouble and you have to appreciate that in a country where the temperature runs high, some minds are more susceptible to the heat than others. In particular, the Greek police shows relative tolerance to "anarchists" and the like and will not make any arrests until somebody actually throws a molotov bomb or shatters a shop's display window. This is a bit of a reccuring problem as the Greek media glorifies the "righteous youth" that is "active" and shows a "healthy" interest in politics.
b) If you see people burning an American flag (or indeed any other flag including the Greek one) change your route. It is likely that they will start shouting like monkeys in heat and moon you.
c) Simply, don't go to Athens which is where all the commotion takes place. Show some common sense and visit one of the wonderful islands (or the country side) where you will be given the royal treatment by the locals. Nobody will trouble you there and even if someone does I am sure that the residents, whose main source of income is tourism, will resolve any situation quickly and effectively.  To the point they will "shock and awe" any potential abusers.

All in all, appreciate that in some countries  people like to shout and complain but my experience has been that Europeans are mostly civilised. (I know I am generalising here but bear with me. It has been a long day)

If at any point during your visit someone complains to you about the war, smile and keep walking. Just remember that every village has an idiot (or two).

PS. The above was meant to be light hearted and humourous. If anybody feels insulted please ignore me. It has been a long day.

You know, something just struck me... (4.25 / 8) (#114)
by Kasreyn on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 10:50:06 PM EST

"If at any point during your visit someone complains to you about the war, smile and keep walking. Just remember that every village has an idiot (or two)."

If the U.S. were truly governed by the people, then the populace, being the voters and supposed holders of sovereign power, would be to blame for an unjust war. Complaining to them would *not* be the act of an idiot.

The fact that everyone is well aware, in fact takes it for granted, that complaining to an American about his government's actions is foolish, just goes to show how clear it is to pretty much everyone with half a brain on this planet that the U.S. really is not governed by its people.

I mean, this is not a huge nonobvious thing I am mentioning here. It just struck me how we have all accepted it unconsciously. Kind of sad. America's enslavement to its upper 1% is a done deal and everyone knows it.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
You know, you're still a moron... (4.33 / 3) (#121)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 11:48:27 PM EST

Remember pulling that voting lever?

Just because you didn't agree with the results does not mean that there is no democracy.


[ Parent ]

You must be stupid. (none / 0) (#195)
by synaesthesia on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:52:38 AM EST

Either that or you've not heard that there are, shall we say, more representative legal systems than the one used to decide American government?

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Oh yes, (none / 0) (#292)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:16:29 PM EST

New Zealand has that bizarro weighted legislature and Ancient Greece was an absolute Democracy.

The United States has layers of republican democracy at the local, state and national levels. "More" representative or "less" representative is quite meaningless in a nation as large as the US. A national candidate who represents all South Dakotans probaly does not represent the interests of New Yorkers.

The result is a compromise. If you don't like it, get involved in the system or move to your utopia.

[ Parent ]

Fair point... (none / 0) (#300)
by synaesthesia on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 05:31:27 AM EST

...but it was you who first tried to equate voting with governance by the people.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Choice of evils (3.33 / 3) (#340)
by wurp on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 11:46:58 AM EST

Being offered a choice between two (or four) people to rule who don't represent my ethics does not equate to me helping govern my country.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
it's not as direct as that... (4.00 / 1) (#299)
by han on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 04:58:04 AM EST

The reason Europeans don't hold people responsible for the actions of their governments is primarily our experience with our own governments. We just don't see any evidence that things are significantly different in the US.

I suppose there's an attitude difference in that in public discussion Americans tend to be more idealistic about justice and democracy, and Europeans expect more cynicism, but in the end intelligent people will see the same issues and simply word them differently on each side of the Atlantic.

[ Parent ]

beware of other Americans (4.00 / 3) (#104)
by cronian on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 09:30:19 PM EST

Especially those crazy Texans.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
We're not crazy. (none / 0) (#126)
by Calledor on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:23:37 AM EST

We are violent. There's a difference. Generally the difference between insanity and criminal insanity. But hey, even if we weren't violent PETA still writes the entire state off as a Holocaust camp. Maybe it is the red meat....

-Calledor
"I've never been able to argue with anyone who believes the Nazis didn't invade Russia, or anyone who associates the Holocaust with the meat industry. It's like talking to someone from another planet. A planet of fuckwits."- Jos
[ Parent ]
stay cool and enjoy your stay (4.66 / 3) (#115)
by KiTaSuMbA on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 10:59:20 PM EST

keep in mind that public lynching is not a favorite sport in europe and that there is no open season for americans hunting or a price tag on your neck. So you should probably be ok. Now for some specific "traveling advice":
  • Don't be provocative. Dressed up in an american flag, wearing a "god bless america" T-shirt or a pro-war statement item should not be considered "safe" garment.
  • Discussions: you'll probably find it close to impossible fully avoiding political debate. Feel free to join discussions with a moderate tone but avoid entering the hot topics if you identify any "hotheads" in the circle. Not that it's a life threat but being yelled upon by people in a maniacal state is not a pleasent experience either. I would suggest the same thing (caution but not freaking out) even if you had a pro-war position, if a little more cautious - if I get this right you are not joyful about the attack regardless of your trip.
  • Demonstrations: I am also greek and live in italy and I can tell you that the situation is similar in both countries. I wouldn't urge you to attend them and I would also be worrying about getting flak from the police in the general rifraf. If you do happen to be at a demonstration avoid by all means the radical sections that would be more probable of slipping into anti-americanism instead of the generalised anti-war and anti-US-administration feelings as well as getting in a mess with the police. Merge  with the moderate pacifists and discuss your positions (which will probably be warmly welcommed).The latter are rather easy to identify as they will be more "joyfull" as a presence and usually carry flags with the colors of the rainbow and the word "peace" written in the local language in huge amounts. We are not said to be cannibalising americans. If you see people with covered faces or wearing jackets in the warm southern europe summer it's definately a bad sign. Bail out calmly, take central roads away from the crowds, do not stay close to banks, luxury item stores, McDonalds or other american firms' stores. Do not run unless absolutely necessary: police will not ask your opinions before "debating" you with a Political Attitude Readjustment Club and running in the mess is fishy enough for them to "debate". If you do get in troubles with the police flash that US passport on their face as fast as you can: chances are they'll bail you out themselves in escort asking a thousand apologies.    
  • Locations: Go for the local diet if you can stand a vacation without big macs - you never know if a bunch of morons go postal throughing rocks and similar on a McDonalds. Avoid visiting the US / UK embassies if not necessary: they are the favorite "end points" for peace marches that could end up not being peaceful themselves after all If you are at a dense touristic centre with intense nightlife keep your ears open to take distance from political debates among drunk people. Chances are it's going to be an excuse as good as the next one for a barfight. (Anyone having experienced a night at Ipsos, Corfu could tell you about flying bottles even without the war excuse).
Think of all of the above as exhaustive advice to keep you out of trouble although chances are you'll just have a nice vacation with no more than the usual amount of bores.
 
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
Americans Spat Upon (2.50 / 4) (#120)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Mon Mar 24, 2003 at 11:36:18 PM EST

I recently blogged about this article from USA Today concerning Americans' experiences in Europe of late. Apparently you should be listening sharp for the sound of lugie horking. Carry an umbrella, maybe.

Look Ma, I'm topical!


"I'm warning you, Mister. I've had about as much of your homelessness as I'm willing to take." -Lt. Twelve-Douze,
actually (4.00 / 1) (#123)
by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:09:11 AM EST

reading the article it seams quite unbiased. Yes there are some cases of pure stupidness like that moronic spitting incident. I don't consider being asked if you think your country's policy is acceptable an "attack" for how much we can stretch that term. It's only expected to happen sooner or later. Answer honestly and calmly whatever your opinion is but don't be disrespectful and belittling. Sane persons will realise they are not talking with a propaganda drone but a real person with real ideas and feelings.I am not willing to play "you too" childish games, but some french people living in the states have reported extremely cold behaviour from the residents. It's not to be scaled that americans hate french and that french people should not visit the USA: it's simply expected to happen when such a fierce political debate is at play.
On the other hand, as also reported, many europeans fearing that a political contrast could expand to perceptions of the people seam to be more helpful and friendly than usual. In that part of the population you would also find me... because I want to assure people it's not about "them" but about a current foreign policy that meets my fierce opposition.
 
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
There's Europe and then there's Europe. (3.33 / 3) (#124)
by Apuleius on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:11:07 AM EST

Go to the Baltics or the former Warsaw Pact. The locals won't be surprised or dismayed if you don't speak the local lingo. They won't act as if you have the power and duty to tromp down to the Oval Office and relay a message to Bush. Although their countries got trashed pretty badly during the Communist era, they've turned some of their towns and cities into real gems. Food and lodging are cheaper. And they seriously could use your money.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
Eastern European countries also oppose the war (4.50 / 2) (#125)
by Spork on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:19:48 AM EST

I think you're getting confused between governments and people. You probably won't deal with the US-friendly governments, but with the anti-US population.

I think the safest place on the continent for you is Germany, because the Germans are polite no matter what they think of you. Scandinavia is similar in this way. This is not so in Eastern Europe. Sure, they resent you somewhat less there, but they'll show it much more clearly. Cops and taxi drivers will be very happy to rob you.

Of course, none of this is likely to happen. But since you brought it up....

[ Parent ]

depends on the country (5.00 / 1) (#149)
by Delirium on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:07:49 AM EST

I remember reading recently that support for the US had "fallen" in Poland to 50% recently.

[ Parent ]
Eastern Europe is safe enough... (none / 0) (#230)
by laotic on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:13:57 AM EST

...I was just looking for a good place to post a comment, and I thank Spork for the opportunity to disagree with him a bit here.

Lilnobody, you mentioned you wanted to visit Prague and Vienna, among other cities. I'm not sure if you only go for the big towns, but you might consider making a small trip to Slovakia as well.

Slovakia is just 45 km from Vienna, and after seeing Bratislava (which at a population of 600,000 is a relatively small town) you might like to go hiking for a couple of days in the north. Beautiful country, good prices, nice people, all amenities and full safety.

Spork says Germany is safe/polite - while I may agree with him there, from my experience Germans are also rather unpleasant if you are just passing by, let alone want something from them. See the Netherlands by all means, and check out France, but your trip to Europe would not be complete without a trip to the East (not too far, though :). Prague may be worth a visit (though not a full week), but it already is a rather Westernized city; but Ukraine (even for us) is rather dangerous. Poland and the Baltics not so, Hungary and Slovenia are also nice and safe.

Although I know a story - one of my friends was once robbed on a train in Hungary in a very strange manner - he met some people in the carriage, talked to them, they gave him vodka to drink, which turned out to be enriched with some sleeping pills. When he woke up he was 100km short of his destination, and without any baggage. Luckily, they left him with some money so he could call his relatives. But - never drink with strangers on a train.

As for Slovakia, the country I can tell you most about - I would beware of taxi drivers myself, but if you know a local who can put you in contact with reliable people, you don't have to worry. Just email me when you're planning your visit. Address is above, read backwards.

When you come, you are unlikely to be disliked just because you are from the U.S. On the contrary, although most people oppose the war (and our government is pro nonetheless), they will be happy to practice some English/German or just talk to a foreigner. Also, when you go to the mountains just for a day or two, you can leave Iraq, U.S. and the World behind.

As for cops (re Spork) - it's just nonsense that they want to rip you off. They may earn little (US$ 300/month), even by local standards, but they are more often honest than not. Don't be deterred.

You'd be surprised how normal life is here. Since it helps to have a local to call in case of trouble anyway - call me when you're around.

Sig? Sigh.
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry... (none / 0) (#233)
by laotic on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:21:07 AM EST

...about this double posting. Response was too slow. Please somebody in charge (rusty?) will you remove it for me?

Sig? Sigh.
[ Parent ]
Eastern Europe is safe enough... (4.00 / 2) (#231)
by laotic on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:17:52 AM EST

...I was just looking for a good place to post a comment, and I thank Spork for the opportunity to disagree with him a bit here.

Lilnobody, you mentioned you wanted to visit Prague and Vienna, among other cities. I'm not sure if you only go for the big towns, but you might consider making a small trip to Slovakia as well.

Slovakia is just 45 km from Vienna, and after seeing Bratislava (which at a population of 600,000 is a relatively small town) you might like to go hiking for a couple of days in the north. Beautiful country, good prices, nice people, all amenities and full safety.

Spork says Germany is safe/polite - while I may agree with him there, from my experience Germans are also rather unpleasant if you are just passing by, let alone want something from them. See the Netherlands by all means, and check out France, but your trip to Europe would not be complete without a trip to the East (not too far, though :). Prague may be worth a visit, though not a full week as it already is a rather Westernized city; but Ukraine (even for us) is rather dangerous. Poland and the Baltics not so, Hungary and Slovenia are also nice and safe.

But beware - One of my friends was once robbed on a train in Hungary in a very strange manner - he met some people in the carriage, talked to them, they gave him vodka to drink, which turned out to be enriched with some sleeping pills. When he woke up he was 100km short of his destination, and without any baggage. Luckily, they left him with some money so he could call his relatives. But - never drink with strangers on a train.

As for Slovakia, the country I can tell you most about - I would beware of taxi drivers myself, but if you know a local who can put you in contact with reliable people, you don't have to worry. Just email me when you're planning your visit. Address is above, read backwards, convert the (o) to @.

When you come here, you are unlikely to be disliked just because you are from the U.S. On the contrary, although most people oppose the war (and of course the government supports it), they will be happy to practice some English/German or just talk to a foreigner. Also, when you go to the mountains just for a day or two, you can leave all of Iraq, U.S. and the World behind.

As for cops (re Spork) - it's just nonsense that they want to rip you off. They may earn little (US$ 300/month), even by local standards, but they are more often honest than not. Well, in Austria they are a bit more strict. But don't be deterred.

You'd be surprised at how normal life is here. Since it helps to have a local to call in case of trouble anyway - call me when you're around.

Sig? Sigh.
[ Parent ]
You fool (none / 0) (#372)
by tetrode on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 11:52:25 AM EST

I've been in Poland the last couple of weeks, and I'm travelling there again the next weeks (for work), and I have never ever had the feeling that I could be robbed. I have arrived often very late, checking in to the hotel around 10pm, and never had that that feeling which I had when I was walking in Las Vegas, and strayed of 'the strip', for about 500 meters. I arrived there in a very strange neighbourhood, and was glad that I found my way back to the civilised world.

Mark
________ The world has respect for US for two main reasons: you are patriotic, you invented rock'n'roll (mlapanadras)
[ Parent ]

This is so easy to answer! (4.55 / 9) (#127)
by Spork on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:33:21 AM EST

Go for sure, and once you're there, don't be an asshole! Europeans are much less predjudiced than Noth-Americans, I find. They are much more likely to judge people on a case-by-case basis, so it's up to you what reaction you get from them.

This is a good time to be a very humble American, to not complain about anything obnoxiously, to pay careful attention to the local customs, to speak the local language, and when you can't, at least look like you're sorry for not being able to.

Failing to do this will lead you to eat a lot of waiter boogers and spit, and what's worse, you will reinforce the growing predjudice that all US-Americans are culturally tone-deaf apes like our president.

But going to Europe with a defferential attitude could do a lot of good. If you can show them that you have a three-dimensional understanding of the world, and that not all Americans have the oft-seen "I'm-here-serve-me" attitude, you'll do your small part to overcome transatlantic misunderstandings.

Oh yes, much less prejudiced... (4.00 / 2) (#147)
by ti dave on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:00:33 AM EST

Especially in Croatia and Serbia, right?

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

Oh, and one more thing: (5.00 / 8) (#128)
by Spork on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:53:13 AM EST

Having done this one myself, I'd like to recommend that you stay away from from the Europass deal. Unless you have more than two months, you're nuts to try to cover "Prague, Berlin, South Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain." I mean, nuts! There is a lot of stuff in Europe. Your first time in Prague, for example, should take at least a week. Same with Berlin.

In Germany, groups can travel very cheaply on the weekends using the regular trains, Czech public transportation is incredibly cheap, Austria is very close to all that. If you have time for Italy it's worth it, but it seems strange to me to go to Spain without stopping in France. BTW: I expect Spain to be the place where you'll feel the strongest resentment, because that's where the population is most opposed to US policies. Italy is close behind.

There's a joke I heard in Germany, which you may find useful:

An American tour goup are driving though Europe. Their tour guide tells them "Right now we are crossing the Sienne, approaching the Notre Dame, and to our left you can see the Eiffel To.." "Hold on!" interrupts one of the tourists; "No details! WHAT COUNTRY?"

The point is: this is a bad time to be a typical shithead American, and unfortunately, it is one of the symptoms of US insensitivity to Europe that we think we can say we've seen Vienna when we spent two days there. So I recommend you don't do that, and try instead to get to know a place.

No, do get a Europass... (none / 0) (#206)
by iain on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:23:35 AM EST

...or whatever they're called. I had an InterRail pass.

My wife and I did this about 5 years ago. In six weeks we covered about 6000 miles and I think 13 countries. But we're in England, so our plan was as much to find out the places we'd want to revisit.

The full story is at http://www.anchovy.durge.org/holiday/

And do visit Prague. It's wonderful.

--
I have nothing to say on the subject of wombats. -- gsl
[ Parent ]

I've heard good things about Cheski Krumlov (nt) (none / 0) (#337)
by wurp on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 10:51:17 AM EST


---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
Absolutely! (none / 0) (#369)
by tetrode on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 11:30:24 AM EST

Pick one or two countries and go visit them only.

Imagine me, a european coming to the USA and visit that many states - would you think that I would have a good impression of your country?

When I went to the USA, I picked one state (Calefornia) and stayed there for three weeks.

I know nothing of other states, but I can tell my friends something about CA.

Mark
________ The world has respect for US for two main reasons: you are patriotic, you invented rock'n'roll (mlapanadras)
[ Parent ]

Go, of course (4.50 / 2) (#131)
by the77x42 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:09:50 AM EST

Europe is lots of fun. Don't think what you see on the media reflects the view of all Europeans.

Besides, if you get worried or have reservations, just put a Canadian flag patch on your backpack and people will be nice to you. (They should anyways though, as long as you're friendly) :)


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

You're not allowed to watch the news any more (4.33 / 3) (#133)
by ajf on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:23:10 AM EST

Stop paying attention to the rubbish the television news shovels into your home, and remember that you're talking about encountering real human beings who can think for themselves. Sure, a stupid angry mob is a different story, so if you find out there's a protest going on, stay away.

"I have no idea if it is true or not, but given what you read on the Web, it seems to be a valid concern." -jjayson
If I go again soon... (1.16 / 6) (#134)
by Bartab on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:27:12 AM EST

I'll be getting a tshirt made with "I'm an American and I'm pro-war" in English and whatever language happens to be the majority of where I'm at (which in France is probably Arabic)

Ignore all these idiots saying to hide that you're an American. Play it up. Swagger. Stomp around. It helps if you're a 6'3" guy like me, but I've seen my grandmother swagger effectively. Americans are believed to be ultra-violent, and that will help. Play off the foolish stereotypes and you'll be fine.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.

Wouldn't work in Scotland. (5.00 / 8) (#138)
by gordonjcp on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:43:52 AM EST

If you went to Glasgow, some 5'3" guy would rip your legs off, beat you unconscious with the thigh ends, then shove them up your arse.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Just give 'im a Glasgow Kiss [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#168)
by TurboThy on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:50:38 AM EST


__
'Someone will sig this comment. They will. I know it.' [Egil Skallagrimson]
[ Parent ]
but only if the t-shirt was green, blue or orange (none / 0) (#213)
by it certainly is on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:38:53 AM EST

n/t

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Actually (4.92 / 14) (#136)
by Betcour on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:32:25 AM EST

I'd be more worried if I were a French visiting US than the opposite.

french in the US (4.50 / 2) (#184)
by loudici on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:18:36 AM EST

I live in Atlanta, GA, home of the big clear channel sponsored pro-war rally, a bunch of army bases, and more flag waving nascar fans than you can count. I have seen and heard some french bashing jokes but i have yet to meet someone who expressed anything agressive toward me. Most people are actually ashamed and apologetic about the whole thing.

Americans are much less idiotic than their medias. ( and probably their senators, which is pretty sad.)
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]

hunters (none / 0) (#203)
by spottedkangaroo on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:16:18 AM EST

The hunters and cow milkers here in michigan ... in the lunchroom were making some pretty alarming french jokes. Something about a machine gun, never fired, only dropped once on ebay, etc.

Then they started some real french bashing. Something about france being northern germany if it wasn't for us and other assorted stupid.

I was surprised to find later in the day, that a few well placed comments about the statue of liberty, that liberty is a french word, and that the french invented freedom ... stopped all that talk for at least a few days now.

I'm not really sure if I exaggerated about the french inventing freedom... But one thing I know for sure, although these people seem to get pretty worked up about french bashing, I don't think there'd be any lynchings or anything. I think they just like bitching.

Offtopic question: The fact that FR and US have the same colors on the flag... coincidence? What do those colors actually mean to each country?

[ Parent ]

French revolution (5.00 / 1) (#216)
by schrotie on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:56:05 AM EST

I'm not really sure if I exaggerated about the french inventing freedom...

You did not exaggerate. Your statement is simply wrong. I don't really know, but the inventors are probably greek from before Christ.

Anyway the French only bear that lable because they had that loud and bloody revolution which made it into every history class in the western world. They did have that revolution because they lived in the least free country in Europe at the time. They suffered under the reign of completely mad monarch, so they revolted, cut of a few heads and then mostly fell back to their old status quo.

Switzerland might be the oldest European democracy by todays democratic standards, I don't know. Maybe Britain? Old Rome also had pretty democratic phases. Democratic ideas in Europ are really old. The French only bear that lable because they were lived under such a markably undemocratic reign for some period. And maybe because they are today very fond of pretty noisy and inconvenent forms of protest when they disagree with their government.

Thorsten

[ Parent ]

Depends on how you define democracy... (5.00 / 2) (#270)
by rodgerd on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:41:07 PM EST

...since New Zealand would arguably be the first moden democracy (being the first country to extend universal sufferage; most nations excluded women or particular ethnic groups).

However, I would plump for England, since the Magna Carta provides the basic framework for the rules democratic states are still run by: representitive forums, equality before the law (including the notion that a rule is not above his or her own laws), trial by a jury of peers, and so on and so forth.

[ Parent ]

Universal suffrage (none / 0) (#362)
by ksandstr on Sun Mar 30, 2003 at 08:19:47 PM EST

I'm not quite sure how you define universal suffrage, but according to this book about Finland in the early 1900s I see a note about Finland's national parliament meeting in 1906 (due to low pressure from Russia, being that they had the revolution and all) and that this parliament was elected by universal suffrage (i.e. including women).  Of course, Finland wasn't properly independent at the time, but that isn't stopping many history texts from referring to it as the first autonomous nation to extend such political rights to women.

Though I must say that I have no idea what year the first parliament in NZ that was elected by universal suffrage first met.  ICBW et cetera.


Fin.
[ Parent ]

coincidence (5.00 / 1) (#217)
by linca on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:02:27 AM EST

more likely, blue, red and white were the more popular colors in heraldry, and thus their colors are found on many other flags (netherlands, luxembourg, UK, or only red and white in Poland and Monaco...)

In France, the tricolor came into existence while the Parisians held the king captive ; the French King's flag was white, and the Parisians were blue and red. Thus, white sandwiched between blue and red...

[ Parent ]

Bashing vs. jokes (none / 0) (#274)
by ZorbaTHut on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 05:44:12 PM EST

It's worth pointing out that there's a serious difference between bashing-for-the-sake-of-bashing and bashing-for-the-sake-of-humor. I've told the "french-smelling weapons, never fired, dropped once" joke quite a few times, but I certainly don't have any dislike towards the French. (I actually rather respect them for standing against the US. Well, more specifically, I respect their government.)

That's one thing that bugs me about the politically-correct movement - we're not even allowed to make tasteless jokes anymore! My local group of friends once had a Jewish Joke Marathon. It's worth pointing out that several of said friends are, in fact, Jewish, and said marathon was taking place in one of their houses, and that person was participating just as much as we were.

I'm not going to take offense if someone makes a caucasian male joke (of which there are *tons*), or a geek joke, or any of the other easily-tauntable groups I belong to - I just really loathe it when people say things to the effect of "oh, he's making a joke about the French, he must be an evil person!"

Now, to point out that I have actually read your post ;) it does sound like the people involved were doing more than just humor - the "france being part of northern germany" thing doesn't sound too innocent. So, okay, I can see it in this case. I just wish people would avoid the kneejerk reaction :P

[ Parent ]

Speaking for myself (5.00 / 1) (#269)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:28:11 PM EST

I would be polite to a frenchman in person. However, if he started mouthing off about how bad Bush is, he'd get the same reaction that I might get if I went to France and shot my mouth off about Chiraq (sic).
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Just think yourself lucky (5.00 / 2) (#276)
by nicklott on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 05:52:12 PM EST

...you're not an Arab trying to travel.

[ Parent ]
"Old" Europeans visiting USA (none / 0) (#390)
by tangocharly on Thu Apr 10, 2003 at 09:23:20 PM EST

This is one reason why I withdrew my participation at a regatta (www.dcnac.de) . I didn't expect much trouble with people on the streets - N.Y. has a liberal image and I would stay just for one week and mostly in the harbour - but I expect to get trouble with customs, immigrations and security and $100 for B-visa isn't cheap as well. Of course this wasn't the only reason for my withdrewal but it made things easier...
At the moment it seems to be a bad idea to take French Airlines (and probably some others as well) on a flight to USA. Bobby Schenk, a sailor and author reported that all passengers had to check out their luggage during a fuel-stop (?) in L.A. on a transit-flight from Paris to French Polynesia. He has done this tour many times before but this was the first time that they got treated that way and actually he wasn't told a reason for this senseless behaviour.
I don't think that this is mainly because of Anti-Iraq-coalitions but because of the present terrorism panic. But overall  it does no matter - nobody wants that trouble during his/her holiday and there are other nice countries as well in the world. ;-)

[ Parent ]
You're welcome to Sweden (4.00 / 2) (#139)
by Pholostan on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:50:04 AM EST

I can't imagine that there will be any problems. Just use your brain. The local univeristy have several american exchange students (as well as a dozen other nationalities) and I've never even heard of any serious problems due to their nationality. If people react badly to you it will probably be due to something else entirely than you being american.

So visit anytime. You are indeed welcome.
- And blood tears I cry Endless grief remained inside

1 Phrase (5.00 / 8) (#142)
by BlackFireBullet on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:57:34 AM EST

"We saved your asses in WWII". Say that, and be prepared for prices to be raised, and people to act as rudely as they possibly can.

Some other things: Joke about Bush(It will identify you as "smart" american, and people will like you), don't ask for American side dishes(ie: Fries with a local delicacy), try different things, attempt to speak the local language, and remember that you are on vacation, relax. No one likes people from any country that are humourless, impatient and rude.

American side dishes (none / 0) (#268)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:20:01 PM EST

Is it true that the French get mad if you DO call them "french" fries?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Even if you end up (4.20 / 5) (#144)
by fhotg on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 03:26:54 AM EST

in a huge, stars and stripes burning crowd, nobody will harm you because you're an American. The lefti type kind of people who voice their problems with the US know very well to distinguish between traveling individuals and governments. Actually you'll be most welcome. The only dangerous situation would be a crowd of anti-American rightists aka neo-nazis, but those are easy to avoid.

No London, no Paris? (3.66 / 3) (#150)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:12:06 AM EST

You have not been in Europe if you have not seen Paris.

It is the greatest city in the continent, perhaps in the world, you could be there a month and will never run short of things to see and do, the food, even the cheap one, is magnificent, the museums (Picasso, Rodin, Louvre, Orsay and so on). Yeah, it is full of Parisiennes, but they are far better than Viennese and some Germans.

I implore you, don't be put off by the current situation, one week in Paris is an absolute must.

Regarding your question, don't worry, Bush and Ashcroft, in spite of all what one sees, are not the US and most people understand that.

Might is right

Paris, yes... (4.50 / 2) (#151)
by mirko on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:28:59 AM EST

But not only museums, also visits their big shops (Galerie Lafayette, La Samaritaine, Les Halles)... they've got something absolutely typical. My personal favorite consists of a trip to the popular districts : Belleville, Barbes... Paris is really perfect for one's hollidays... But not to live there.
--
Finally I managed to make the decision that I would work on it. - MDC
we had to huddle together - trane
[ Parent ]
You're welcome to Paris (none / 0) (#174)
by bob6 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:12:04 AM EST

if you spend a lot American dollars in our luxury shops.
Anyway the biggest problems living there are space and climate. Apartments are tiny and the weather sucks. One day or another I'm moving to Rio de Janeiro.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
Just careful with pickpockets.... (none / 0) (#318)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 05:51:47 PM EST

A good friend was robbed in Galeries Lafayette while shopping. Very artful the thieves to be fair.

They had an office full of tourists calling back home to cancel their credit cards....

Might is right

[ Parent ]

for me (none / 0) (#152)
by the sixth replicant on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:33:21 AM EST

London, and the UK, are not part of Europe

It makes everything easier :)

I think your itinerary is excellent. There's a lot there but Europe isn't going to disappear (insert WMD joke here). So taking a few dips here and there (and of course you'll have lots of stories to tell when you come back!) is a fine decision.

And when you're back in Europe spend a week or two in Paris, or better yet, stay there as an exchange student. Then we're all be happy.

Ciao

[ Parent ]

europe's not anti-american (4.00 / 4) (#154)
by andlaus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:51:55 AM EST

actually, it's rather opposed to the "bush way to lead the world". Almost nobody around here (Germany) takes the current dispute between our governments personally. The worst thing you must expect in this regard is that people may ask you for your opinion.

Here's an interesting article in the time magazine on the subject: http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/printout/0,13155,901030324-433224,00.ht ml

German self-loathing... (2.00 / 1) (#162)
by tkatchev on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:14:42 AM EST

...is extremely disgusting. Just a personal opinion.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

So is... (3.66 / 3) (#171)
by MKalus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:55:24 AM EST

... the constant american flag waving.... Guess it all depends on your Point of View huh?

M.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

You confuse my post. (5.00 / 1) (#194)
by tkatchev on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:46:11 AM EST

I'm talking from a purely European perspective, since I am in no way an American.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Sorry... (none / 0) (#247)
by MKalus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 01:14:14 PM EST

... guess the caffein level in my blood has fallen too low.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]
Sorry, must be my fault -nt- (none / 0) (#205)
by iasius on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:23:17 AM EST

I just hate myself. Doh!


the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
Shouldn't be a problem (3.66 / 3) (#156)
by Sciamachy on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 05:21:49 AM EST

You shouldn't have any problem in London tbh - I have a lot of American friends, yet I have the greatest disdain for your President & his policies. This doesn't get between my friends & myself - although having said that I'd be hard-pressed to name anyone who supports Bush. I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who currently supports Blair either, out of my English friends - we're all acutely aware that an individual from a given country is never properly represented by his or her leaders, even in a representative democracy.
--
Fides Non Timet
Stay away from Victoria Park, though (none / 0) (#309)
by AndrewH on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 09:10:51 AM EST

If you’re wise.
John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr — where are you now that we need you?
[ Parent ]
Better be american then german... (4.50 / 6) (#170)
by ooch on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:54:43 AM EST

I am myself from the Netherlands, and to some other Europeans that sounds like German. Touring for a month and a half through Europe past summer, everytime someone was grumpy or unhelpful, we would just mention we were from the Netherlands, and suddenly people would turn really friendly. It is really stupid, but a lot of Europeans still dislike Germans for what they did 60 years ago, which makes no sense at all.

The Americans I met were always greeted friendly, although be prepared that a lot of people will want to talk to you, and explain how they think about your country. Only when people would not answer and get all defensive, some Europeans got annoyed("havent you got any opinions??"). The only annoying Americans I met were the ones who would have to say "Oh my God!" every other sentence.

a lot of my friends in Belgium... (5.00 / 2) (#176)
by the sixth replicant on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:29:27 AM EST

...refuse to speak German to any non-Dutch, non-French, non-English speaking people (there might be some out there :). When i asked why the answer is usually "You would too, if you knew what they did to my grandfather." Though on second thought he only did it to very old Germans.



[ Parent ]

It's getting less now... (5.00 / 2) (#178)
by Ranieri on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:54:33 AM EST

But I used to have friends that would only reply with "Give my my grandfather's bicycle back" in german.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]
Why dislike of Germans (5.00 / 6) (#192)
by 6hill on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:40:33 AM EST

Part of the reason why I and some other Europeans I know dislike Germans has nothing to do with WW2 and everything to do with the unfortunate fact that since they are a very populous nation, they populate all tourist destinations very effectively, too. You haven't experienced disgust until you've seen a German turist sporting his too-small Speedo trunks over his 300lb. hairy body on a crowded Spanish beach. Ick ick ick.

[ Parent ]
*sigh* Sad, but true (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by anno1602 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:55:52 AM EST


--
"Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy
[ Parent ]
Plus (3.80 / 5) (#212)
by schrotie on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:38:03 AM EST

Plus Germans have a reputation of either being very loud or being unbearably arrogant know it alls. Plus German culture is pretty rude compared to many other European cultures. Plus Germany might just be the least hospitable nation on the face of the planet.

Don't let that scare you off visiting Germany though. There is much behind the rudeness that's worth discovering. And most regions are not that bad either. I'm referring to extremes.

BTW, I'm a German who belongs to the arrogant know it all fraction.

Thorsten

[ Parent ]

Acknowledge this (4.50 / 2) (#229)
by vrt3 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:08:49 AM EST

Germans have a reputation for being arrogant and rude, especially when outside Germany. In Germany, they generally seem to be much more 'gemütlich'.

When a man wants to murder a tiger, it's called sport; when the tiger wants to murder him it's called ferocity. -- George Bernard Shaw
[ Parent ]
Similarities (4.00 / 2) (#240)
by pdrap on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:23:23 PM EST

It seems that the stereotype of Germans is similar to the stereotype of Americans. How much of the stereotype is people seeing what they want to see? For example, when I lived in the Netherlands I met a couple of loud people. But since that's not the Dutch stereotype I doubt it would set people's nerves on edge.


[ Parent ]
Stereotypes (4.00 / 1) (#306)
by schrotie on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 07:57:15 AM EST

I would say the stereotype is very different but maybe in a subtle way. Compared to stereotypical US citizens, it is very hard to get Germans involved into a friendly meaningless chat. But if you break the first ice you are more likely to have found somebody who cares - at least a bit - about you. I do not understand american culture that well and have only been there once for a month. I think though, that establishing a lasting friendship tends to be easier with Germans, while getting a friendly response or even embarking on a small chat with a perfect stranger is much easier with americans.

German humor is another matter that sets Germany apart. I have the impression that Germany currently aquires a humoristtic culture which it lends from various other nations who are more profiscient in that matter. I think there is a typical German humor but it's a rather sad story.

Then the noise produced by loud Germans is very different from american noise. You are very unlikely to see a German exclaiming "Oh my, this is fantastic just look at this" or something alike.

I don't think stereotypes are only people seeing what they want to see. Surely, properties that are also part of a stereotype are more likely to be identified in individual people, because attention is already focused in the right direction. But I also think that stereotypes are subject to evolution. If people find certain stereotypes not confirmed they'll abandon them sooner or later. For example Germans once had a reputation of being very militaristic (and so they were). That image is still transported by e.g. english media. Yet Germany currently is probably among the least militaristic and most pacifistic nations on the planet. And I think the according stereotype will become extinct in the next couple of decades - if Germany stays pacifistic.

Thorsten

[ Parent ]

the mighty German economy (none / 0) (#255)
by adequate nathan on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:17:43 PM EST

You haven't seen an inferiority complex until you've seen non-Germans bitching it up about how the Germans have economically raped everyone and have an unfair advantage.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

My experience (none / 0) (#257)
by MajorMajor on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:26:36 PM EST

I went to Germany briefly last December for about a week (not a long time, I know), but my experience was that they were quite friendly, once you made the attempt to talk to them. My only other comment would be that sometimes they can seem fairly aloof when acting in an official capacity. When talking to individuals in the street, bars etc. they were really friendly.

What would I know - I'm from south east England so that makes me a cold-hearted tightwad, according to my northern pals :)

[ Parent ]

American Going to Amsterdam (3.00 / 1) (#204)
by m00nchild on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:23:13 AM EST

I am due to leave for amsterdam tomorrow night, and was feeling the same. I wonder if I should reschedule at this point. Are the netherlands just as safe for an american travelling?

[ Parent ]
I dont think it's a problem (none / 0) (#222)
by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:25:50 AM EST

you wont have any troubles throughout europe if you follow the tons of advice already given and that can be summarized to this:
be polite and yourself and avoid acting like a stereotyped script character from comedy central. Other than that you'll only need just as much wits as any other tourist to keep out of trouble and have pure fun.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
Bollocks, quite frankly (none / 0) (#308)
by dr thrustgood on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 08:53:22 AM EST

Maybe it's just because he's been over here quite a few years now, but one of my close friends is as German as they get and travels a lot - Far East, Australia, Spain - you name it, he's been there.

I've been around him on many an occaision and things have always gone well. The only difficulty he had was in Spain where no-one spoke German, obviously, and his fluent English was taken to mean that he was English. Once that was cleared up, everything was cool once again.

--
Mutter mutter mutter King Crimson Mutter mutter mutter
[ Parent ]

Just leave your confederate flag home. (3.00 / 1) (#173)
by Ranieri on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:02:46 AM EST

Other than that, you'll be fine.

You might make some boneheaded comments that really irk some people, but have no fear, they'll usually wait till you are round the corner to laugh at you.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!

actually (3.00 / 1) (#183)
by loudici on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:11:30 AM EST

most europeans have no idea what the confederate flag stands for. they think it is some kind of bikers'icon.
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]
I can't speak for "most" Europeans. (4.00 / 2) (#185)
by Ranieri on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:22:21 AM EST

I can assure you however that *I* do, as do most of my friends, as well as the linedancing wannabe that has it draped over the backseat of his huge petrol-guzzler parked around the corner.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]
anecdote (none / 0) (#189)
by loudici on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:27:50 AM EST

i can distinctly remember a german TV show that had Earth Wind and Fire as main guest and decorated the studio in their idea of 'american style', which included confederate flags all over the place.
gnothi seauton
[ Parent ]
I and my U.S. accent were in Paris a week ago (5.00 / 13) (#175)
by Gromit on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:17:20 AM EST

Nipped over for the weekend (I live in England now). This was during the whole shameful diss-the-French thing there in the States involving, among other things, renaming french fries "Freedom Fries" in a Congressional cafeteria or some such nonsense. The Parisians were as pleasant, friendly, and helpful as ever (despite the fact that I don't speak any French), which is to say that despite stereotypes to the contrary, they were quite pleasant, friendly in the usual muted European way, and helpful when I asked for help.

So, the people in France were great. My guess, based on earlier travels, is that the Italians and the Spanish will be welcoming, too, especially since both countries are in the "coalition." I suspect the Czech, German, and Austrian people will be similarly able to separate their feelings for you, an individual American, from the actions of your government.

One of the keys to happy travelling over here is to avoid being a loud-mouthed American buffoon, ignorant of the fact things aren't necessarily done the U.S. way everywhere, and aggressively speaking ever-louder English to people if they don't understand them. You don't sound like that person, but this is a stereotype based, sadly, on fact -- I've run into it many times. I've also seen how well-treated Americans who make any effort, even without speaking the language, are. Showing respect for the fact that you're not visiting some Disneyland attraction, but a real, breathing culture; paying attention to what guide books will tell you about differences in (say) ordering in restaurants and getting the bill; and generally not stomping about all over the place like you own it will stand you in very good stead, even without language skills. But combined with your German -- even imperfect -- and your friend's fluent Spanish, you'll be so far from the stereotype you'll do great. (Don't worry, the Czech don't expect anyone else to speak Czech, an amazingly hard language to learn, my cousin tells me, having lived in Prague for years.)

Enjoy your trip!



--
"The noble art of losing face will one day save the human race." - Hans Blix

Your guess (3.00 / 2) (#198)
by o reor on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:58:20 AM EST

My guess, based on earlier travels, is that the Italians and the Spanish will be welcoming, too, especially since both countries are in the "coalition."

They'll probably be very friendly, but not for that reason IMHO. Actually, lots of Italian and Spanish citizens are mad at their governments for supporting the "coalition". You will find them friendly however, more probably because they make a difference between the current american government (which is anything but popular in these countries right now) and american citizens, who do not automatically support Bush and his minions. Anyway, you're welcome in Europe anytime -- vous êtes le bienvenu en Europe, venez quand vous voulez !

[ Parent ]

Yes (5.00 / 1) (#237)
by Gromit on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:38:17 AM EST

Sorry, didn't meant to imply a causal relationship there. Well spotted.

--
"The noble art of losing face will one day save the human race." - Hans Blix

[ Parent ]
It was a funny thing (4.75 / 4) (#200)
by Karmakaze on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:04:26 AM EST

I always heard the stereotype that French people were rude.  The thing is, I spent three months there a few years ago and didn't have a problem.  Admittedly, I spoke French just about fluently (although with a very thick accent) at the time, but I'd also heard that if you don't speak French perfectly, they pretend not to understand you.  I didn't have a problem with that, either.

I live not far from New York City, which also has a reputation for rudeness and have never had a problem there, either.

Either I am incapable of recognizing rudeness when it's applied to me, or neither place deserves the reputation.  (Or, possibly, people tend to respond more positively to me than to other people - but I can't imagine why.)

I have a feeling that if you go almost anywhere, if you're considerate to other people, they're more likely to be considerate to you.
--
Karmakaze
[ Parent ]

An American Troll in Paris (2.50 / 4) (#263)
by sllort on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 03:12:17 PM EST

I visited Paris four years ago. What follows is a transcript (as best I can recall) of my first and only attempt to buy food there:

Sllort enters French grocery store, picks up an apple, and heads to the counter with a handful of French currency in coins. Sllort holds the coins, palm up, in his right hand, and the apple in his left.

Me: How much for the apple?

Grocer: Something in French

Sllort: Francs. Apple. Sllort gesticulates with coins at the apple.

Grocer: Something in French, followed by the word "Franc", prounounced correctly.

Sllort: Franc?

Grocer: Franc (prounounced correctly).

Sllort: Franc?

Grocer: Franc (prounounced correctly).

Sllort: Franc?

Grocer: Franc (prounounced correctly).

Sllort: How many francs for an apple? (best pronunciation Sllort could manage).

Grocer: Franc (prounounced correctly).

Sllort: I want to buy an apple (Sllort kind of waves apple).

Grocer: Franc (prounounced correctly).

Sllort: Whatever, here's a franc, see ya. Sllort turns and starts walking out the door.

Grocer: An apple will be two francs, please.

Sllort: Fuck you, asshole.

Grocer: Fuck you, American bitch. Come back incoherent.

Sllort bolts at maximum speed.

I ate trail mix for the rest of the two days I was there. I never met a single person in Paris who was anything but ridiculously rude to me. Given I was there during the world cup, so things were a bit strained, but still. While I am against the war in Iraq, I am in favor of economic sanctions against the French, just because.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

rude american (3.00 / 2) (#321)
by specialfriend on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 07:41:26 PM EST

So you walked in and demanded the person spoke English? You were the rude and arrogant person in that exchange. Unfortunately so many Americans do that. Perhaps next time you could at least try "do you speak English?".

[ Parent ]
How should I have tried to buy an apple? (n/t) (none / 0) (#334)
by sllort on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 09:35:54 AM EST


--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Learn the following words: (5.00 / 1) (#345)
by komet on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 05:19:06 PM EST

"Hello" (in French: "Bonjour", perhaps you can manage that), "Excuse me", and "do you speak English?"

YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME.
[ Parent ]

re : How should I have tried to buy an apple? (5.00 / 2) (#346)
by oska on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 11:57:06 PM EST

How should I have tried to buy an apple?  

how about by not being the first person to descend to blatant rudeness?

by your own report :

Grocer: An apple will be two francs, please.

Sllort: Fuck you, asshole.

At this point in the conversation, you should have simply walked back to the counter and handed over the two francs, with perhaps also a 'sorry' and a smile. This probably would have made you a friend. Instead you made an enemy.

Politeness is a social lubricant. Even if you feel the other person is being unhelpful (ambiguous in this particular case), if you maintain politeness, then you will help to avoid any interchange from descending into the collective bad feeling that this one obviously did.

[ Parent ]

And of course... (1.50 / 2) (#348)
by BadmanX on Fri Mar 28, 2003 at 08:10:23 AM EST

You completely ignore the fact that the clerk was the one who prevented understanding in the first place. He was interested only in humiliating her by focusing on the pronunciation of her words rather than answering her question. When she finally gives up because she can't get an answer out of him, he reveals that he speaks English. And when she feels abused and strikes back, she's the "bad guy".

All he had to do was say, "Two francs, please." If he didn't speak English, all he had to do was hold up two fingers. He didn't make an effort to communicate with her despite the fact that he had the skills to do so. And when she discovers that he's been deliberately stringing her along, and says something in frustration, she's the bad guy.

Fundamental disconnect. She tried to communicate, the French clerk did not. But she's wrong. Why? Because she's the American - obviously, she did something that made this clerk feel bad and react badly to her. Even though all she did was not know how to speak French.

I gotta say, if all clerks in France have such thin skin that they'll get offended when people speak English to them even if they also speak English that I'm going to have to mark France off my "Places to Go Before I Die" list.

[ Parent ]

Right. (2.80 / 5) (#336)
by BadmanX on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 10:48:37 AM EST

She goes into a store and asks a man who speaks English how much an apple is. All he had to do was say, "Apples are two francs" and the exchange would have been over. Instead, the man proceeds to pretend to not speak English and humiliates her. And she's the arrogant one?

I live in Texas and I worked food service for over ten years. During that time I dealt with a lot of people who didn't speak English. They would come up to the counter and say something in a foreign language. That would be my cue to whip out the picture menu and for us both to try to make ourselves understood, usually with a lot of pointing and laughing. I never gave anyone the shit this French clerk gave her.

There's some sort of fundamental disconnect here. More and more it just seems like we're Americans, so we're wrong. We're Americans, so we're at fault. We're Americans, and must humiliate ourselves in order to ensure that we don't make anyone else feel bad. What about how we feel? All this girl wanted was an apple!

[ Parent ]

You have an issue with this 'humiliation' thing (5.00 / 2) (#342)
by bob6 on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 12:37:07 PM EST

She goes into a store and asks a man who speaks English how much an apple is. All he had to do was say, "Apples are two francs" and the exchange would have been over. Instead, the man proceeds to pretend to not speak English and humiliates her. And she's the arrogant one?
Did you notice that since the second exchange the narrator asked 'Francs?'. It seems the clerk understood sllort wanted to pronounce that word correctly. However he only managed to pull the paranoia trigger.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
You're not at war with us, man (4.50 / 8) (#177)
by werner on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:36:54 AM EST

Honestly. We Europeans, believe it or not, are relatively civilized and capable of differentiating between a country's government and its populace.

I can't imagine you having any problems in Europe, excepting you make the 'typical' American mistake, i.e. talking VERY loudly all the time about how much better everything is back home. I think this a mistake a lot of people make when abroad, but English-speaking folk are much more likely to be understood when abroad than foreigners in English-speaking countries.

There are still dodgy places in Europe, where you must be careful. Cities in the former East Germany can be dangerous for foreigners, I am told (I will stay in the West, thank you very much), where right-wing extremism is fairly common. I don't think any of this is US-specific, though, and you should have no more problems that any European touring through Europe. I'm sure you would be asked about the war, too, but as long as you don't answer, "hey fuck you, we're America and we'll do what the fuck we want. Yeehaw!" like your president, you'll be fine.



Bullshit (4.20 / 5) (#208)
by Eivind on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:28:18 AM EST

Cities in the former East Germany can be dangerous for foreigners, I am told (I will stay in the West, thank you very much), where right-wing extremism is fairly common.

Bullshit. For one, Berlin itself, which was mentioned as a likely place to visit is half "former East Germany". For another, I am myself a foreigner, and living in East-Germany for the last 9 months. In this period I've not had a single negative experience related to being a foreigner.

I'm not saying it can't happen. I'm only saying I see no reason whatsoever for an American to avoid the former East-Germany. To the contrary, visiting here is interesting, especially if you get to talk to some locals and learn a little about how it was really like to live here before the wall came down. (hint: It's not like you imagine it.)

Besides, it's cheap here. Also no minus for a tourist on a budget-trip.

[ Parent ]

Foreigners (4.33 / 3) (#219)
by schrotie on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:15:58 AM EST

Foreigners are sometimes harrassed in Germany. Your chances of becoming unlucky rise if you look foreign (especially if you are not white) and if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Wrong places are a bit more common in eastern Germany than in the west.

All that said, you are probably as safe or safer in Germany as in any other European country. The media echo is just orders of magnitude louder if a foreigner gets beaten up in Germany than it is for other countries - this has obvious historical reasons.

One more thing: If you are colored you might experience special treatment. That's because colored people are far and few between in Germany as compared to the US. People might simply not ever have spoken to someone with a nonwhite skin and act uncertain or whatever. That's no racism, it's plain ignorance and completely harmless, maybe even amusing. And maybe you won't even be able to tell this effect from other special treatments that simply result from your being from another culture.

Thorsten

[ Parent ]

Berlin is not the East. (5.00 / 1) (#220)
by werner on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:17:20 AM EST

It is the capital of Germany and as wealthy and cosmopolitan a city as any in Germany. It is not typical of cities in the East of Germany, which are usually relatively poor.

Friends of mine who have lived in the East, specifically Dresden and Rostock, have recounted many very interesting stories to me of skin-heads parading through the town. One friend, a Scotsman, worked for several years in Dresden. He said, sometimes his friends would tell him, "Don't go into town today, okay? It's not safe for you."

I did not mean to imply that the former East Germany is a dangerous place. Merely that it can be, if one is not careful. This applies to most places, of course, just some more than others.

I am sure the East can be very interesting - I know Berlin is, as I have been there. I also know a fair number of Ossis who have moved West and tell me interesting tales. Apart from the ones from Saxony. I don't understand them at all :(



[ Parent ]
Another Opinion - London (4.50 / 2) (#182)
by twickham on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:08:32 AM EST

Im an Australian living in London, but I have an American fiance so my opinion is based on hers.

In London you should be generally fine. There maybe be some dickhead lads around who may give you a hard time... but there are dickhead lads around everywhere(even in America :) ).

One small piece of advice. If you are in London, please don't loudly complain about stuff when riding on the tube. Americans may not notice it when they are at home, but you are a very loud people.

Oh and another thing... (none / 0) (#187)
by Ranieri on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:25:09 AM EST

Yes, we know everything's so small over here.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]
Agreed (4.50 / 2) (#221)
by Mr.Surly on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:20:50 AM EST

Americans are loud. As an American I wish my obnoxiously loud neighbors would shut the fuck up.

[ Parent ]
spain and greece (4.50 / 2) (#186)
by loudici on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:25:02 AM EST

are the only two countries were you might find some pretty deep anti-americanism, specially among older people. that is what you get for supporting military dictatorships in those countries until the 70's.

that said the worse that can happen to you is probably to get outrageously overcharged in places that are otherwise dirt cheap. it would happen to you if you went to alabama with a NY license plate too.
gnothi seauton

i don't think so (none / 0) (#223)
by perequin on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:31:12 AM EST

I live in Barcelona and I think it is very improbable you to be overcharged. Here people are not anti-american, the feeling is agains american politics abroad. It is not against people it is against wars and imperialism have a nice trip

[ Parent ]
Barcelona is not dirt cheap (none / 0) (#227)
by vrt3 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:55:44 AM EST

Not to say it's excessively expensive, far from it compared to other big cities in Europe (and outside).

loudici was speaking more generally from what I understood. In many places tourists are overcharged since they don't know the local prices and customs. Example: in Granada, locals customarily get free tapas when they order a drink, but tourists often do not. They never know they missed something (now they do :) ).

When a man wants to murder a tiger, it's called sport; when the tiger wants to murder him it's called ferocity. -- George Bernard Shaw
[ Parent ]

Barcelona is damn cheap. (none / 0) (#298)
by bscanl on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 04:31:47 AM EST

Yo,

I've been living in Barcelona for the past 7 months, it is a hell of a lot cheaper than the vast majority of other European cities. Check out the cost of living statistics in The Economist - Madrid is second only to Lisbon, and Barcelona isn't that different from Madrid. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than Dublin, London, Paris...

[ Parent ]

I agree, it's cheap, just not 'dirt cheap' (none / 0) (#304)
by vrt3 on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 07:27:15 AM EST

Dirt cheap is Prague 12 years ago (0,02 euro for a tramride, about 1 euro for a good meal).

When a man wants to murder a tiger, it's called sport; when the tiger wants to murder him it's called ferocity. -- George Bernard Shaw
[ Parent ]
Go to Australia instead... (4.50 / 4) (#188)
by willie on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:26:32 AM EST

We hate Americans all the time. :)

How about (none / 0) (#287)
by MKalus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:13:25 PM EST

Germans? I am thinking about heading down there next year maybe to IMOZ.... That is if I can get a spot.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]
Demonstrations.. (3.33 / 3) (#190)
by joonasl on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 08:34:22 AM EST

I am reading a few things about demonstrations that are not just anti-war, but demonstrably anti-American, such as pouring Coke and Pepsi in the streets in Spain

Arguably, directing demonstrations to pepsi co and coca cola company does not necessarily indicate general anti-americanism since those two companies have supported current governments election campaings (along with Texaco and Exxon etc). Current American government on the otherhand is not very popular :)
Writing a poem / with just seventeen syllables / is very diffic.

Whether you're pro or anti war (4.50 / 4) (#201)
by andymurd on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:07:31 AM EST

You're allowed to have an opinion. The following scenario will NOT occur:

You: Bonjour M. Where is the railway station, please?
M.   I'm not sure whether I should tell you. What is your opinion of the war in Iraq?

As (almost) all the other posters have said, be polite, enjoy the cultural differences and you'll have no problems.


It certainly won't happen (5.00 / 1) (#245)
by the on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:37:43 PM EST

My experience of France is that even if they do speak English they're hardly likely to respond to you in it.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
Just go - we're a safe spot :) (4.00 / 1) (#209)
by mentor on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:34:37 AM EST

I just wanted to drop in - and tell you that you shouldn't mind too much about fear of being hunted down because you are an American or something - Europeans in general don't mind too much who is coming along, as long there is a certain form of respect from the visitor.

Just consider this - if any European would come to US now, they should at least be aware a bit of what's going right now - threat levels and such ...

Basic difference is though - without regressing in pro or anti war statements - almost all of the protests in Europe are about holding the war, and working to a peaceful solution. We're not drumming the war beat - and I even think a lot of Europeans are even into a good discussion.

If you would get into a discussion - be aware though : there is definitely a different press and view / opinion here ; the basic CNN or other major American television network or Bush propaganda will not work :)

But overall - just come over, grab a pint someplace where-ever you are - and tell them some interesting stories about who you are and what you do

btw - if you happen to come around in Belgium, Ghent - drop a note :P

Cheers, and enjoy your trip !

Mentor

A bit more... (4.00 / 1) (#215)
by dmalloc on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:46:36 AM EST

At lot has been said and much has already been clarified. I live in Austria (no, not Australia) and I can assure you, that you would be very welcome here. Most people are so annoyed by the ongoing discussion they will be happy to discuss beer rather than war with you. As someone pointed out before, enjoy the cultural differences, take your time to learn about the countries you are visiting and do not try to see whole europe in three weeks. The common misconception of a typical American here in Europe is, that she/he has nothing better to do than run through half Europe in three days thinking afterwards they are experts now.

I would be the first to welcome you to my home, share a cup of special coffee with you (Vienna is famouse for its coffe house culture), explain to you what differences between Topfen and Apfelstrudel are or show you around teh city. When I was visiting your country I wasn't asked to provide a full background on my families doing in teh second world war and I will surely not ask if you are against or for the US led war in irak even though I personally oppose it.

Arrogance (4.40 / 10) (#218)
by CaptainZapp on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:05:17 AM EST

Well, let me start with "Welcome to Europe". I honestly believe, that most of my fellow Europeans share that attitude. Now, before getting to the general tips section, let me state my opinion why your current government is in so bad regard with most Europeans, maybe except Phony Tony and that pincher Aznar, who doesn't seem to enjoy the backing of most of his countrymen in the first place.

I think it started long before the war. Actually shortly after the current administration came into power. The ceo in charge showed the rest of the world a long nose and essentially told them to shove the Kyoto protocol into their collective arses. Why? Because we can do it. The issue wasn't that much Kyoto (it was part of it), but the smirking arrogance, with which your unelected president told the rest of the world to go and fuck themselves.

Add to that other multilateral, widely internationally accepted efforts, like the international criminal court, treaties against child labor, land mines, biological warfare and generally any agreement which was only slightly environmentally concious which where not only rejected, but rejected in very arrogant ways. The war and the arrogance with which it was pushed (partially labelling everybody a terrorist sympathizer who had valid objections) was the culmination.

This is just a little background why most Europaeans have little sympathy for your current administraion.

That said, virtually everybody knows, that this has nothing to do with you personally. And only a full blown idiot will make you responsible for your partially unelected government.

You also have to understand a big difference between European and American culture. In Europe you have far more shades of grey. Topics like abortion, drugs, guns seem to be good examples. And so is the war. It's far less a "good versus evil" sort of thing, but there are a lot of nuances in opinion.

That said and implied by the warm welcome: You won't have any problems if you just follow the basic rules outlined by more eloquent people then me. Most important: Respect!

BTW: I worked with multiple American collegues in Switzerland for years. My impression is that all of them went home enriched and with a far broader perspective. There is no reason why you shouldn't either...

Lordamighty. (2.60 / 10) (#224)
by BadmanX on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:36:10 AM EST

Here's a newsflash for you - we disagree. If you truly believed in that "respect" stuff you're spouting, you'd respect our difference of opinion - after all, it's not like we're forcing our views on you.

But I get no sense of respect from your post. We're evil because we won't sign treaties? Treaties are words. Words in and of themselves do nothing. Look at our actions. Are we spending more to research clean alternate fuels? Yes. Are we taking action around the world to improve the lots of children everywhere? Yes. But we won't sign treaties that violate our Constitution, so we're evil and self-involved? I don't buy it.

You want to dictate to us, then call us arrogant when we resist. The mind boggles.

Oh, and guess what. The last polls show that about 70% of Americans approve of what our "unelected" President is doing. So you can take your "Oh, we don't blame you, we blame your stupid unelected leaders" and shove it.

[ Parent ]

bLame (none / 0) (#305)
by TurboThy on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 07:32:51 AM EST

Oh, and guess what. The last polls show that about 70% of Americans approve of what our "unelected" President is doing. So you can take your "Oh, we don't blame you, we blame your stupid unelected leaders" and shove it.
Okay, we'll blame you then. Happy?
__
'Someone will sig this comment. They will. I know it.' [Egil Skallagrimson]
[ Parent ]
Words means nothing, money talks (none / 0) (#373)
by tetrode on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 11:58:58 AM EST

We know that much from your plutocracy...
________ The world has respect for US for two main reasons: you are patriotic, you invented rock'n'roll (mlapanadras)
[ Parent ]
Hmm? (3.66 / 6) (#250)
by karb on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:01:47 PM EST

but the smirking arrogance, with which your unelected president told the rest of the world to go and fuck themselves.

How about the arrogance of the former president in saying we would honor it when he knew the senate wouldn't confirm it? The senate rejected it 95-0. That's all parties, crazy right wing and crazy left wing hand in hand against kyoto.

Bush merely made the de facto position into the official position. Supporting Kyoto would have been suicidal, even for the other guy.

And I'm not sure why people are still so hung up about the election. The voting system just wasn't up to handling such a small statistical difference. No amount of recounts could have proved that either candidate provably won the election. We still need to have a president, even it's somewhat arbitrary.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
[ Parent ]

nothing to see here (3.00 / 5) (#253)
by adequate nathan on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:14:42 PM EST

The lesson: European jingoists are just as nauseating as our American homegrown variety.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Agree! (4.00 / 1) (#280)
by jimaz on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:38:04 PM EST

As a european living in the US I completely agree, especially regarding black/white, good/evil with no shades of grey in between and a general lack of understaning of the other parties point of view. Jim in Az

[ Parent ]
well.. (3.50 / 2) (#225)
by chimera on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 10:53:13 AM EST

agreeing with all previous comment that you will have no general problem travelling or staying a extensive period in Europe (albeit from missing Fox News) as long as you respect the diferrence in opinion (and as long as you realize and accept the perhaps-not-perfect skills in english, the only pan-European language) you should not underestimate the power of a differentiate opinion.

For example, should the Bush-administration wager a second war outside the UN in the name of freedom and prevention you should not underestimate the power of retaliazion action targetting american citizens. There are fringe elements (both right/left/fanatics everywhere in the world, but they have more reason to surface in Europe due to historical record, and they should therefore never be ignored when staying here.

In general though, no problem should arise, and if it does you should refer yourself as supporter of Colin Powell - the only official within the current administration to yield a high quota of personal respect despite apparent different view on things, within Europe.

While Europeans might not always understand or agree with the lessons of History we cannot hide from it since it is all to clearer in our own family trees. We were part of WWII and we killed a heck of a lot of people. That, neither, should never be underestimated.

I personally believe that part of the anti-war stance of Europe (which I agree with) is the rise of isolationism in Europe as it is entering a critical face of the EU expansion. In any strictly political discussion with Europeans the in-Europe issues should not be underestimated.

After all, it is up to each and everyone what to make of things taking place in the world. It will be somewhat clearer or atleast a broader issue when visiting another continent, Europe, Middle-east, Asia, Africa, the AustraliAsias or Americas.

whooh, drunken bastard

chill dude! (4.16 / 6) (#232)
by dash2 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:18:40 AM EST

my mum was in Peshawar when they started bombing Afghanistan - and she's sixty-something. You're worried about going to Germany?

Seriously, I think it would be great if all Americans travelled more. You've got the cash and the opportunity, it's a great way to learn. I don't mean to be patronising, I appreciate there are many yanks who do go round the world, but it seems like fewer American do this than Brits or Aussies or Europeans. Never mind Europe, why not plan a trip to Iran?
------------------------
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.

Perfectly safe but might be expensive (5.00 / 3) (#234)
by lugumbashi on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:23:07 AM EST

Seeing that the Dollar is at a low with the Euro. It might come up again if the war goes well, but there are other factor such as the US budget deficit.

I wouldn't worry too much about the war. The vast majority of Europeans are against it but not against you. It is mainly an anti-Bush thing. If anything it might be a starting point for a conversation.


-"Guinness thaw tool in jew me dinner ouzel?"

Well, this is good. Seems that I'll be fine. (4.00 / 1) (#235)
by lilnobody on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:28:25 AM EST

This is the kind of discussion I had only vague hopes of seeing. I never expected so many responses. Many thanks to all who have been busily offering their advice.

A USA Today article got linked here which is exactly the kind of thing that had me worried. It's basically an article of anecdotes about Americans being spit on, with 2 sentences of 'but thats not the rest of europe, come on down'. This sort of thing is unfortunately common over here.

Combined with this is that I would worry if I were a European tourist coming here. I wouldn't worry about my physical saftey, but I imagine a french tourist would have a rough time right now. It's very sad to me, and there's not much I can do about it, but a french person had asked me, "Wait till next year, or go ahead?", I would, unfortunately, have to say "next year".

A number of people have posted in an almost shocked tone, incredulous that I would even ask if a random American would be facing Europe's wrath. "Of course not," this kind of reply goes, "do you think we are rodents or something?"

Well, I certainly don't think Europe is full of rodents. But I had no way of finding out whether the media I was seeing reflected reality. I doubted it. But I tried to think of a good place to ask, and this seemed like it. Other Americans are posting on message boards at travel sites, getting answers from other ignorant Americans who don't really know any better. Sad, isn't it?

At any rate, I'll be there come summertime, now, and looking quite forward to it. I don't plan to make noise, hunt big macs, or generally make an ass of myself, and never did. It seems thats enough to make my trip pleasant, and thats just great.

I also know just where to go when asking about graduate school abroad now.

ben

one gentleman here (none / 0) (#252)
by adequate nathan on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:12:43 PM EST

Who goes by Dirty Liberal Scumbag, has reported that his gf's French accent has got them refused service at several restaurants.

Sucks but true.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#375)
by tetrode on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 12:10:39 PM EST

they've lost some money then, I'd say...

Mark
________ The world has respect for US for two main reasons: you are patriotic, you invented rock'n'roll (mlapanadras)
[ Parent ]

Ask here (none / 0) (#266)
by caek on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:12:40 PM EST

I also know just where to go when asking about graduate school abroad now.
Ask here and I will tell all, as long as you tell me about going the other way ;->

Have a good holiday.

[ Parent ]

You're more than welcome (none / 0) (#374)
by tetrode on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 12:09:48 PM EST

but try to read a read newspaper :-).  I would not be worried going to the USA (I'm from Belgium that strongly opposed).

As previous posters have written, there are more shades than black and white, and when I'd order french fries, and someone would comment on that, saying something like: 'O please tell me why you have renamed it', followed by 'Ah yes I can understand your point of view'

I don't agree, but also don't disagree with their point of view at that moment.

Mark
________ The world has respect for US for two main reasons: you are patriotic, you invented rock'n'roll (mlapanadras)
[ Parent ]

Europeans are just more civilised... (3.85 / 7) (#243)
by spacemoose on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:34:39 PM EST

Sad but true.

I'm American, finishing my Masters in Switzerland right now. If you have intelligent political opinions (as opposed to roughly 50% of American who seem to think "my country right or wrong" or more the point "my country is always right", you'll be fine. The worst I've experienced is a really bad cold shoulder.

Seriously, I'm so goddamned pissed at Bush right now. Because of him I'm not getting laid. My girlfriend cut me loose in September. I go out with these two buddies of mine Richard and Scott, English and American respectively. When people we're chatting up find out Scott and I are American they have literally turned their backs on us, and ignored us to speak with Richard..

Good, good, because of bush (well his administration, I mean bush is stupid monkey who can't even remember his lines) people are dying, the economy is in the shitter, civil liberties just don't exist anymore, and we've just created a butt load of new anti American terrorirst who hate us. I agree these things are more serious than me getting laid, or having a good time in bars in Europe. But this is affecting me directly (okay, the fact that I'm graduating with a masters in compuatational physics from one of the best schools in the world and I can't find a job is probably a clue that the economy being in the shitter is affecting me...).

Bloody Bush administration. Frankly I think Bush and Rumsfeld should be brought up on some kind of charges... violating their oath to protect the constitution, fraud, treason, crimes against the nation.... Oh never mind I'm getting seriously off topic here.

If this is true (5.00 / 1) (#272)
by willj on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 05:09:26 PM EST

"Seriously, I'm so goddamned pissed at Bush right now. Because of him I'm not getting laid."

I hope the next administration works out much better for you. Maybe they'll give another go at the free-love philosohphy.

[ Parent ]

Well.... (none / 0) (#286)
by MKalus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:05:13 PM EST

Frankly I think Bush and Rumsfeld should be brought up on some kind of charges...

They knew why they didn't want to deal with the ICC.....
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

this happend how many times? (none / 0) (#319)
by lemming prophet on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 05:52:40 PM EST

When people we're chatting up find out Scott and I are American they have literally turned their backs on us, and ignored us to speak with Richard..

well i'm studying in zürich too, i just can't believe this happened more than once...of course most people are against the war, but only a few stupids let it out on individuals...

--
Follow me.
[ Parent ]
Three times in one evening. (none / 0) (#392)
by spacemoose on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 12:24:52 PM EST

Do you speak german? You might not grok the anti american sentiments here unless you do.

Where are you studying? We can meet for a beer sometime and see if we can reproduce the behavior.

It's not uncommon. It has improved recently again. But it was quite strong for a few months there.

[ Parent ]

Go, and have a good time! (4.50 / 2) (#246)
by jdonagher on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 12:58:35 PM EST

I went last year (Ireland, France, Italy, and Greece) and I had some of the same reservations. But I had an awesome time, very few bad experiences over the course of two months. Bottom line: you will regret it if you don't go.

Look, unless you are really weird looking, you will blend in in Western Europe just fine. When you get to places where people are naturally darker-skinned, they'll know your foreign but again, people won't know if you're American, Canadian, Irish, French, until you open your mouth, or unless you act like an American asshole (these are easy to spot).

If you are backpacking, chances are you are not the kind of American that people don't like. Be polite, humble, but try not to look stupid or vulnerable.

I met plenty of girls who were travelling alone. Some went to places like Croatia, Turkey, Morocco and Egypt by themselves. Some had bad experiences but the majority had a great time. I also met Europeans who had terrible experiences less than a few hundred miles from their actual homes (getting packs stolen, etc..).

Most logical, reasonable people (of which there are many more in Europe than there are here in the states) can separate a person from their country of origin, religion, etc.. you are one of the few Americans who actually cares to visit their country and hopefully not with a tour group full of other Americans. That says something about you in and of itself.

You can always do like some (actually a lot of) Canadians did and iron Canadian flag patches on their backpacks. I thought it was a little paranoid, but hey, whatever makes you comfortable.

One last piece of advice: the EuroPass (the railpass you mentioned) ended up being a major waste of money for me. Rail travel is cheap in Europe. Try to make sure ahead of time that you will really need the EuroPass. I think to make it worth it each train segment (on avg) had to cost more than $60-$70 or something like that.

John


Visit me ;) (4.50 / 2) (#251)
by Focx on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:07:39 PM EST

Go on your trip. I'm working in the youth hostel in Frankfurt City, and even now Americans and people from the middle east travel and stay together here in peace, it is not the people who want the war or hate each other.

I've been to several demonstrations in Frankfurt now, and even on the day the war started, when people were really angry, there was no hatred against all Americans or something like that. People hate the American government, even burn flags, but would probably never (bad situations where people are drunk and can't control themselves can always happen) 'hate' a single American - the human-to-human communication always works :)

Don't be afraid. Go on your trip. What the world needs is the courage of people to travel, showing that humans are equal all over the world. And I think, backpackers who travel through the world have the kind of attitude towards our planet that we need in the future :)

PS: if you decide to spend a night in frankfurt, send me a mail and I'll try to be there, I'd like to hear from you how your trip was :D
--- "Even anywhere, humans are always connected." - lain

Blah Blah Blah (4.00 / 1) (#310)
by biggeezer on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 11:29:14 AM EST

The real story.. I was stationed at the Main PX in Downtown Frankfurt as a security force during the first Gulf War. And to be honest, it wasn't what you would call nice. Demostrations where going on even then, over the war(Desert Storm), I personally was assualted by a number of the protesters. One of my buddies was even stabbed during the same demostration. But, believe it or not, what made even that worth while was that after the demostration, I was on duty guarding the main drive when a old lady brought up a letter and handed it a friend of mine. After duty we read it, it stated "Please excuse the youth of Germany, they have no idea what living under a dictator was like." the letter went on about how she survived being a jew in germany. Its things like that, that make me willing to sacrifice my own life to help others. I'm not here to argue the legality of war, or the pros or cons. Just stating a fact. If you go over there, it will just be like it is here. There are good people who will listen, and try to understand you and won't judge you on your opinions but rather judge you as a person, and then there are ones that no matter what say or do, you are just another stinking war mongering american.

[ Parent ]
Officials (4.00 / 2) (#326)
by yooden on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 03:34:24 AM EST

As I understand it, you wore an uniform. As such, you are a representative no longer for your own person but for your government.

Any attack still sucks.


[ Parent ]

True.. I did wear the uniform.. (none / 0) (#338)
by biggeezer on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 11:00:46 AM EST

But, even in a uniform, I am representing myself, not only my country. Wearing the uniform does not mean I don't have either opionions or a say so in my well being. A little more restrictive but still, I was pretty much free to do what I wanted.. I just had to pay the price for it.(example: I didn't have to go to formation, if I didn't then I will have to pay the price for not going. like extra duty, loss of wages. But it was still my choice.) On that note, I will also say this. After that demostration, any other demostration that I was near, I watched myself and my buddies very close, any move toward anyone of us, resulted in a very harsh response. A rifle butt on the side of the head usually made others not to want to get close.

[ Parent ]
Wearing a uniform (none / 0) (#371)
by tetrode on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 11:47:04 AM EST

represents something...
________ The world has respect for US for two main reasons: you are patriotic, you invented rock'n'roll (mlapanadras)
[ Parent ]
Uniforms form the Inside and the Outside (none / 0) (#386)
by yooden on Sun Apr 06, 2003 at 08:06:33 AM EST

But, even in a uniform, I am representing myself, not only my country. Wearing the uniform does not mean I don't have either opionions or a say so in my well being. A little more restrictive but still, I was pretty much free to do what I wanted..

All this is true, but this is not the way you are regarded from the outside. This is not even all wrong, because at this moment, you are much more a US soldier than an individual.

Any violent attack is a bad thing, but this instance is no indicator for the feeling Europeans have against US citizens.


[ Parent ]

Miscalculation (1.78 / 19) (#258)
by StrifeZ on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 02:46:07 PM EST

I suppose the old Europe street hasn't gotten the point yet. We're in this war. We're fighting it. Theres nothing you can do or say about it. Better learn to live with a US who doesn't like your governments anymore, because we're going to remain the super power, likley indefinetly, and your nations will remain minor European vassal states whose only ability is to beat their chests when called on. The United States of America does not respect you or your nations.

Your nations fucked up trying to play chicken with an M1A1 Ambrams tank. You don't try to mess with a super power with a massive military, massive economy, and a habit of disliking international institutions. It is practically asking us to avoid asking your opinions.

Europeans have this habit of discounting the American public. Well, get this Europe. 80% of Americans in a recent CBS poll support this war. This is a popular war at home. Everyone hopes for a quick and decisive resolution of course, but the 8 out of 10 people who support it also realize that the goals: a free Iraq, a freer middle east, are goals worth fighting for. Don't discount the American street. It is far more powerful than any other street in the world.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
you can never escape 'em (5.00 / 2) (#262)
by anon1 on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 03:11:22 PM EST

Troll troll troll your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily merrily merrily merrily
Idiocy is obscene

[ Parent ]
Not a troll. (5.00 / 2) (#279)
by StrifeZ on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:26:48 PM EST

Too bad its not a troll. I'm serious. I fucking hate trolls on this board. They make discussion completely worthless.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
[ Parent ]
And with you... (5.00 / 2) (#285)
by MKalus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:02:07 PM EST

... there would be a dialouge? Proof it.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]
If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck... (none / 0) (#381)
by travlight on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 01:57:24 PM EST

What in the world is a troll? I can't debate this issue if I have no idea what it is I am debating..... well, may be I could pretend to debate the issue and say I know what I am talking about, but..... well no I can't as I honestly have no freaking idea what a troll is other than some fantasy creature that lives under a bridge and eats goats... but I dont see that happening here. hmmm, I am stimied, uh, pardon me ole' boy but could you lend a definition?
Go in peace.... or not, just go
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't recommend you going to Europe. (3.00 / 2) (#264)
by spooky wookie on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 03:29:15 PM EST



[ Parent ]
off-topic and trollish (none / 0) (#265)
by caek on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 03:50:35 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Major Miscalculation (4.66 / 3) (#271)
by achtanelion on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 04:58:13 PM EST

I suppose the US hasn't gotten the point yet.  The only reason the US is a "superpower" is because of trade with foreign countries.  The "massive economy" that americans are so proud of would collapse in short order under sanctions, or even if people simply stop buying american.  The oil economy (which provides a significant portion of the US "wealth") seems to be in the process of moving to the Euro.  The large american banks are finding more and more resistance to their foreign investments.  

Let's face it.  You need us.  You need our markets.  You need our raw materials.  There is nothing you can do about it in the short term.  in the long term, you could of course go completely insular.

[ Parent ]

Economy (5.00 / 1) (#275)
by nicklott on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 05:45:31 PM EST

I don't think it would need people to stop buying American for a collapse, just for the US to abide by the terms of its own free-trade agreements and stop subsidising everything from milk to steel.

[ Parent ]
That's why the US builds an empire (5.00 / 1) (#301)
by drquick on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 06:15:43 AM EST

For a strong ecomomy you only need to take, not give! Free trade is only a bluff. I'm to tired to argue the point. Just read this article.

[ Parent ]
When I read drivel like this... (4.00 / 3) (#284)
by MKalus on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:00:56 PM EST

.... I can only conclude that the people who founded the US of A must have been idealists like Marx, Engel and Lenin.

Too bad that their grandchildren turned just out as bad and arrogant as the ones who ruined their ideas.

Your street might be the most powerful one, but if you have learned one thing out of history: At the end of the day your 300 million people are still facing over 6 billion people on the planet. No tank could stop that if it comes down to playing dirty.

Let's hope that there are some people left in the US who remember where they are coming from and what the core values actually are.
-- Michael
[ Parent ]

Definitely a troll (5.00 / 2) (#291)
by daliman on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 09:10:34 PM EST

Noone could really be dumb enough to think like that could they?

[ Parent ]
Bullshit (5.00 / 1) (#302)
by Lynoure on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 06:44:22 AM EST

We're in this war. We're fighting it.

You are? Where are you personally fighting? Have you seen the situation of civilians in Basra?

It's easy to support the war if you are thousand miles from it, watching it from TV as some sort of macho heroic act of your nation.

[ Parent ]

Investments (none / 0) (#316)
by StrifeZ on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 04:47:02 PM EST

I have friends fighting in Iraq. Good friends. You know, its so easy to post on K5 on the pros and cons in the war, but the truth of the matter is, many people who are fighting believe in the goals of the war. So yes, I have a personal investment in this war because I don't want my friends to come home in body bags, but I do realize that a free Iraq would be good for eveyone except the French and Russians.

Only in America could an military be less than 50 miles from Baghdad, approaching from 3 directions, and incuring less than 50 casulaties could this war be considered a "disaster". So far, this war is has been nothing but a phenominal success. The fighting has been light. We've lost few troops and a few vehicles, and we're gradually rooting out saddam's psychos in the southern cities with Special Operations working in the north. We control at least 5 air fields and our our air power is destroying tanks by the hundreds. So we hit a sandstorm, and our supply line is long. The past week has been a very important week in military history. Its shown exactly how flexible American Land power is and how fast it is. Over the next week, we'll be dismantling Republican guard units and moving into Baghdad. And for all the doom prophicizing about urban combat, the Brits and Marines have been doing it the past week: there have been only light wounds from it and no fatalities.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
[ Parent ]
a free iraq... (none / 0) (#317)
by lemming prophet on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 05:17:35 PM EST

but I do realize that a free Iraq would be good for eveyone except the French and Russians.

a -free- iraq would be good for the french and russians too, they're afraid of iraq turning into another colony under complete american control selling the resources only to the occupational force..... like in afghanistan, so free, the guy the us made president is a former unocal inspector who of course wants the best for his country, not primarily for his corporate masters.. :(
--
Follow me.
[ Parent ]
Free Iraq... maybe, maybe not. (5.00 / 1) (#347)
by Lynoure on Fri Mar 28, 2003 at 06:18:53 AM EST

I think one of the most common antiwar feelings is doubting whether Iraq will really be free in the end and at what cost. (It certainly seems Northern Iraq will not be free.) Unlike US troops there, the civilians had no choice about whether to be there or not.

How many coalition soldiers have died so far? Is the number smaller or greater than 253 (the minimum number of civilian casualities estimated at the Iraq Body Count site)?

I understand your concern for your friends. As I have no friends fighting on either side, my concern is about the civilians.

[ Parent ]

It'll happen (none / 0) (#352)
by StrifeZ on Fri Mar 28, 2003 at 06:32:09 PM EST

Stop being so skeptical. Its unhealthy. Bush says practically every time hes at the podium that the Iraqis will be free to chart their own destiny as soon as we get rid of a regime the people can't. All we ask in return is them maintaining their territorial integrity after the war. Bush has made the promise publically to his people and the world. If he doesnt come through with it, he'll be held acountable and his approval rating will reflect that.

Besides, Bush is a pretty down to earth, decent guy. I think he wants to do the right thing. Of course, the New York Times would disagree, but they've some how managed to spin a war thats goin fantastically to make it look like we're losing.

In short, don't worry. Its going to happen.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
[ Parent ]
Thats an interesting assesment, (none / 0) (#358)
by kuro5hinatportkardotnet on Sun Mar 30, 2003 at 01:29:38 AM EST

and I'm sure the US military would have done quite well against the armies of Rome or Carthage. How quickly you can beat a third world army with obsolete hardware is not terribly relevent to enyone except say Fox news. Oh and BTW I think they should change it from "Operation Iraqui Freedom" to "Operation Unocal/Chevron"

 

Libertarian is the label used by embarrassed Republicans that long to be open about their greed, drug use and porn collections.
[ Parent ]
target practice (none / 0) (#376)
by fnurk on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 12:32:18 PM EST

"I have friends fighting in Iraq. Good friends." Well I hope they're not British, or some valiant arm of the US forces will probably bomb them or what have you ... Let's face it: at present, the US forces represent a greater risk to British forces than Iraqis do. Why don't they pop home and practice a bit?

[ Parent ]
Poll? (5.00 / 1) (#350)
by CaptainZapp on Fri Mar 28, 2003 at 09:47:43 AM EST

Well, get this Europe. 80% of Americans in a recent CBS poll support this war.

Must have been conducted by the Rush Limbaugh Institute for Creative Polling.

[ Parent ]

Yeah. (none / 0) (#353)
by StrifeZ on Fri Mar 28, 2003 at 06:32:59 PM EST

Yeah, too bad it wasnt. Don't pull a NYT and spin facts.


KITTENS@(_%&@%@_($&@(_$&^@$()&@%@+(&%
[ Parent ]
I doubt it. (none / 0) (#356)
by Phillip Asheo on Sat Mar 29, 2003 at 09:58:33 AM EST

The UK has sent a fair number of troops to Iraq, and they are Europeans. Don't assume all Europeans are against this war. Asserting the Anglo-Saxon hegemony is a tough job, but someone has to do it.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Good idea (none / 0) (#382)
by travlight on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 02:03:09 PM EST

Lets start some barbaric debate on differences of opinion based on.... what ever drivel and pride or what ever... and in the process just tear down any literacy and intelligence I thougt was part of this group of people. My country is better.... no no my country is better, no it is not your country sucks, blah blah blah. You all have the right to be idiots, exchange e-mails and continue that childish, boorish commentary some place else and please let us debate as intelligent people.
Go in peace.... or not, just go
[ Parent ]
Just Go (4.50 / 4) (#281)
by jonathon on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 06:52:38 PM EST

European's won't hold you personally accountable for the actions of your government. Just respect their individual cultures and don't throw around hostile opinions regarding the war and you'll have a great time. Some of my friends who venture into foreign lands make a point of displaying a Canadian flag somewhere on their attire but it's really not necessary :-)

Enjoy!

It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.
-- Stephen Hawking
US? (none / 0) (#294)
by dolo on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 11:06:04 PM EST

Are your friends American who display the Canadian flag?

Someone I know was overseas and was approached in France by a group of Americans who wanted to buy his Canadian flag pin & patch. He didn't sell either of them to the Americans and laughed with them about selling out their patriotism! :)

They hung their heads in shame, but still had coffee and discussed the war. This was around the time of the first Gulf War, btw.

[ Parent ]

American's Abroad (none / 0) (#320)
by jonathon on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 07:19:25 PM EST

Are your friends American who display the Canadian flag?

Yes, but only the ones who are sensitive to US foreign policy. Particularly if they travel to more hostile countries.

It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.
-- Stephen Hawking
[ Parent ]
You'll be fine (4.50 / 2) (#288)
by borderline on Tue Mar 25, 2003 at 07:31:50 PM EST

Just be humble and polite. Don't assume everybody speaks english. They probably do, just don't act like you demand to be understood. "Excuse me, do you speak english?" will get you a long way. And about the war, don't worry. You'll probably just hear more along the lines of "so what do americans really think about the war?" instead of "is it true you have no sidewalks over there?".

Indian in Europe? (5.00 / 3) (#295)
by Akshay on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 02:52:00 AM EST

While we're at it, might as well add to the question; I'm scheduled to fly to Europe soon. I've been to Europe earlier as well of course, and to note, the experience has been wonderful, even to the point that I actually was shown the way back to my friend's place by a Swiss policeman while I was driving drunk. (Must have broken half a dozen Swiss traffic laws there; long story that.) I can also attest to the point about racial interest that another poster was raising; people did gather around me while I was using the public transport system, but the moment I started speaking in (broken) German/French, they immediately turned very friendly indeed.

The point, however, is this. I'm acutely aware of the fact that most people out there can't really differentiate between Arabs, Pakistanis and Indians. How's the racial tension towards us brownies now, given the Iraq war? Anything I should look out for? In particular, I'll be travelling through France and (west) Germany.

Most Europeans are against the war (5.00 / 1) (#296)
by anno1602 on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 02:54:22 AM EST

And we really dont't have problem with Arabs (or Indians, or Pakistanis).
--
"Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit." - Murphy
[ Parent ]
No Problem (4.50 / 2) (#313)
by norbert on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 02:39:40 PM EST

I work in an IT company (in southern Germany) with many people from India, America, Canada, Great Britain, France,...
Up to now - they said - they've never had any problems with other people living here. They have their opinion, some a different one than me, but we still work very close together. I don't see a problem here. My own experience tells me that nobody here blames me for my opinion and I'm allowed to say my opinion. And to make that sure: people can differentiate between someone from India and Arabs. But nobody hunts Arabs either.

Maybe you should do what I also do in a foreign country: don't attract too much attention.
A friend from California said, you don't need to know much german if you come here and need help: most of the Germans are happy if they can practice their english :-) (Not a lie). But people appreciate it very much if you at least try to talk german - especially in "small" places like in a train, bus...
If you look different you will be noticed for sure - but the same is happening to me in any southern country (with totally blond hair).

So "sei willkommen"! Another hint from the guy from California: don't care about speed on german highways, but never overtake somebody on the right:-)

[ Parent ]

Probs, but not because of Iraq (none / 0) (#388)
by tangocharly on Thu Apr 10, 2003 at 08:11:10 PM EST

It's a somehow sad story but it's a fact that you should expect to get checked much more often by police at trains, ports, airports, cities, etc than average white men in Germany (and other parts of the EU). This is NOT because of Iraq or something or terrorism but because of the opened frontiers between the european countries which take part at "Shengen".

[ Parent ]
The expatriot experience. (4.33 / 3) (#303)
by Agrippa on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 07:11:42 AM EST

Having studied in belgium for the greater part of a year in an institution that has a very large international comunity, including a significant subset of USians, my personal anecdotal evidence of anti americanism is somewhat lacking.

I have heard a few stories from fellow americans who have had people yell at them in the street, but that was one incident, and i beleive they were wearing a shirt with an american flag on it. Aside from that my experience has been a very positive, and informative one.

Often when I am asked where I come from, my response is greeted with a cordial reply, and perhaps "Well what do you think of all this?" The people around me seem geniunly interested in what i have to say and prefer not to make a judgement on my  political views untill after I have put my foot in my mouth. I have also found that they are respectful if I disagree( granted i am making wide anecdotal generalizations based upon my experience, I am not claiming some deep insight into the european psyche.) And are willing to listen to my viewpoints.

This may have something to do witht the fact that I am living in a university town, and most of the people i run into are students, but they seem genuinly interested to know what I feel about the war and why.

I can only hope for such a open-minded response to forgeigners in the US.
We are all worms, but I do beleive I am a glow worm.

Who is 'the american'? (4.33 / 3) (#307)
by mutex on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 08:18:53 AM EST

A lot of comments state out that you have to distinguish an anti-war or anti-bush attitude from an anti-american attitude. But is this realy the fact? The president of the US should represent the interests of the american people - so from a naiv democratic point of view you might think that George W. speaks for the american people on the street ... isn't there something wrong if he does not?
On television you see hundredthousands of people demonstrating against the war in many countries - even in england, spain or australia. The pictures of about 50 guys standing in washington to protest against Bush do look like a joke then.
It becomes more and more difficult to distinguish the 'Bush-Administration' from the 'US-Americans', especialy because from the outside you only hear, that the americans agree with their presidents' course in the iraq conflict. So is this the war of George W. and Co. or is it a war of the USA.

I think this war is very dangerous in relation to many points - and the european and american relationship is one of them.
But should you cancel your trip to europe because of this? No! You should look forward for it. Currently there is no blind hate but a lot of questions left. And visiting europe might help you to understand the europeans as well as meeting an american might change an europeans' opinion of 'the americans'.

But don't go to germany: All germans are nazis. They all wear leather trousers and eat 'Kraut'. All people in germany are called Fritz or Hans. And they spend the whole day drinking beer ...
...knowing each other might be a first step to stop the missunderstanding and the upcoming aggressions - on both sides. Don't let FOX be the only one to tell the europeans who those americans are and what they think.

At all: Have a nice trip - I think you won't come into discussions about the war on your holiday if you don't want to. And as long as you don't carry a huge stars'n'stripes-flag with you there will be no hooting when you cross the street. And if you are not sure if you should do this trip - your visit in europe will give you the answer.

I would say ... (none / 0) (#311)
by craigtubby on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 11:45:20 AM EST

> And they spend the whole day drinking beer ..

That reason alone would negate all the other reasons you said for avoiding Germany.

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

Americans in Spain (4.66 / 3) (#312)
by pathos on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 02:34:30 PM EST

I live in Madrid, Spain, and I can atest that even though this conflict has created a *HUGE* backlash against the Bush Administration (which i don't think is seen any better than AlQuaeda itself at this moment), (most) spaniards are able to differentitate between the White House and the american people. So feel free to visit Spain, it's a beautiful country with very good food and warm welcoming people... just don't show support for Bush and his policies openly, as you'll probably attract a lot of hatred then.

europe will welcome americans (4.50 / 2) (#314)
by bauklo on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 04:05:55 PM EST

because most of the europeans realize, that the kind of ppl that travel around the world to see other cultures, will be open minded and interesting, which is appreciated by all but the dumbest.

Nothing against individual Americans (4.50 / 2) (#322)
by hugues on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 09:54:15 PM EST

All this outcry in Europe and elsewhere have to do with American foreign politics, which are seen as abhorrent to a lot of non-US people.

Now this does not translate to hatred of individual American persons, on the contrary. Given the chance you can be a little of a diplomatic envoy. Go there, be and enjoy yourself and show that Americans are not at all the stereotypical ignorant, blundering and stupid people that they are readily portrayed to be.

The very fact of you wanting to go out into the world and see it with your own eyes puts you in the best of footings.

American Projection... (3.66 / 3) (#325)
by divinus on Wed Mar 26, 2003 at 11:51:58 PM EST

I think one of the problems here is that you're projecting American viewpoints onto the Europeans, which is a fairly American thing to do.

Whereas American's are apt to stereotype a group by the actions of another group (which is one reason why racism is so prevailant in the US), Europeans are not.

While American's are taking up hatred against the French because of their president, you don't need to worry about the french hating Americans because of Bush.

Whereas Americans number, fingerprint, biomeasure, and demand require all pertinant information about Moslem Americans, their jobs, friends, and places they go, (no gold moon on the clothes yet though), you would be able to get around most any Islamic country with nary a problem (so long as you can communicate or have a guide).

So don't worry about it. If you really want to make a statement, maybe an "I am not my government" t-shirt would help out some, but so long as you stay unpolitical (no american flag headbands now), you shouldn't have any problems.


Uh... (5.00 / 3) (#333)
by BadmanX on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 09:26:40 AM EST

So you, a European, say that Americans are judgemental and promote stereotypes, but Europeans do not.

I'm sure the irony of what you said just flies right over your head.

[ Parent ]

phew..... (3.00 / 2) (#343)
by romperstomper on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 02:43:41 PM EST

just relieved that someone else noticed the smell on that comment

[ Parent ]
Here it is ten minutes later (1.00 / 1) (#379)
by travlight on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 01:38:19 PM EST

... and I am still amazed at the audacity to tell me how Opinionated or judgemental I am. GASP even.
Go in peace.... or not, just go
[ Parent ]
actually... (3.00 / 2) (#363)
by divinus on Mon Mar 31, 2003 at 12:40:27 AM EST

You presume too much. I am an American, which paradoxically enough, does support my statement.

[ Parent ]
Hate to bust a bubble with this burble but.... (5.00 / 1) (#378)
by travlight on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 01:34:25 PM EST

I have traveled extensively through europe for several years. I have no problem with the next few statements: The French are the rudist people on earth that have always treated Americans with attitude (from the early eighties up and including present day). Why that is I do not know, or care to know as it really affects my life very little. The brits are more of the fun loving people, (maybe because I have very little command of any second language). I have enjoyed the simplicity of the spainish, the great wines and eating habits of the italians. Have visited and enjoyed parts of germany, and seen the alps. But no where have I ever felt more despised, unwelcomed and badly treated than in France. Tell me how typical my pre concieved notions as an American are, and I will tell you point blank that of any country I have traveled I have always looked with anticapation to the broad culture and history of the people, but I know longer give a damn about the french as I have never, ever encountered one that would give me the time of day unless it was from a waiter. But, I am just an American after all, thank god none of my ancestors died for your countries liberties.... it would make me sick to think of the amount of disrespect given back to their memories.
Go in peace.... or not, just go
[ Parent ]
y would u say that? (3.50 / 2) (#384)
by UID 42141 on Fri Apr 04, 2003 at 05:12:37 PM EST

I think i agree on a lot of that about our american sterotypes. I still am in school and my friends do sterotype, as i probably self-conciously do. But when you said "(no gold moon on the clothes yet though)" that really angered me. There are many things in this country i mgiht not approve of but i cant believe what you just implied. Refrencing that to when the jewish were forced to wear the star of david is i think was totally inappropriate to bring it up. You can say it but that deeply offends me, and i myself am not at all patriotic! I would at least be satisfied if youd try to justify ur answer, (although i do not kno how u could)

[ Parent ]
How are Taiwanese people treated in Europe? (3.66 / 3) (#328)
by mndeg on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 04:02:18 AM EST

Even though most people probably couldn't tell Taiwanese people from Chinese people. I regard myself as American but without the lack of morals :) Will I be referred to as oriental? Is there as much prejudice against asians as in the U.S?

No problems in Paris (4.00 / 1) (#330)
by bob6 on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 06:28:32 AM EST

Aside from Chinese immigrants, nobody will tell the difference by the looks between Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese or Corean. You'll be referred to as extreme-oriental, but most likely you won't be referred at all.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
In Germany (none / 0) (#389)
by tangocharly on Thu Apr 10, 2003 at 08:40:01 PM EST

... you will get treated just like the other million (approx. :-) "japanese" tourists. Mostly. (so don't forget to take your 4 cameras with you ;-).  
You might get some trouble in some areas of east germany because there is a kind of mafia with people who came from vietnam to the GDR. And you might get checked more often by police if you are not running around in large groups like the "typical japanese tourist" is doing.


[ Parent ]
Germany (4.33 / 3) (#332)
by jotango on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 09:02:34 AM EST

There are large street demonstrations against the Bush administration and the war here in Germany.

However, there have not been any kind of attacks or demonstrations against American people themselves (BTW, Germans are not boycotting American products, what is happening the other way round).

I think you can feel quite safe. You may get asked about your stance on the war. As most people are against the war, being for it would involve you in discussions (Germans like to discuss). But nothing personal or even menacing. So come, and have a good time!

When I was travelling in Asia this year, many Americans were passing themselves out as Canadians (including Canadian Flags sewn onto backpacks). But then the situation in the Muslim countries down there is somewhat different from here.

I just got back from Rome and Annecy (4.00 / 3) (#335)
by wurp on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 10:31:47 AM EST

I took a trip to Rome, Italy and Annecy, France, returning March 24.  We had a great time (except when US Air left our baggage in Philadelphia for the first two days while we scrambled to get diapers, etc. for our 20 month old).

No one ever harassed us in any slight way for being American, and we didn't hide it.  People were obviously not happy with the American government.  I did often tell people of my feelings about GWB2 (arrogant pissant) and they agreed, but people were fine with us before I piped up about it.

We were in a taxi travelling through the big demonstration in Rome going to our overnight train to Geneva.  We locked our doors, but even that didn't look violent, just loud.  That's not to say that I would have stood out in it shouting I was an American, though.

So, I would say, go.  I think it's an excellent opportunity, and if you avoid the most obvious American-isms there's no reason for anyone to know you're American if you don't tell them so or speak with an American accent around them.  I felt like I got good points for trying to speak the language, too.
---
Buy my stuff

A tip for free (4.50 / 2) (#341)
by Anonymous Brave on Thu Mar 27, 2003 at 12:33:15 PM EST

I don't think you'll have any kind of problem.

Let me however give you a tip which is to avoid the most common mistake I see Americans make while travelling in Europe.

One of the most amusing thinks to do while travelling is to comment what surrounds you. I do it all the time, but because I do it in Portuguese, nobody in Europe understands (except in Portugal, of course).

However I see Americans do the same very often, but the problem is that, while many people don't understand English, most do.

Some even try to talk in low voice, but fail at that. One time a woman made a comment about me :) and when leaving the train I told her "do you manage to pass" (it was crowded) and realising I spoke English, it was noticable she was a bit embarassed :)

Otherwise, enjoy the trip!

correspondente.net - reflectir e discutir em português

tactical note (3.50 / 2) (#349)
by zenyatta on Fri Mar 28, 2003 at 09:25:07 AM EST

If you can get a "Vote Nader" badge, you'll have the extreme left covered without provoking the ultra-ignorant European extreme right :-)

Hehe (4.50 / 2) (#351)
by Wafel on Fri Mar 28, 2003 at 03:50:49 PM EST

Before you go.. Never forget: Don't see Europe as one single region where people think alike ;-) Europe is only a political region, small number of people really feel European (because everyone has a very different culture and language), and when things get tough even the politicians retreat. But seriously, where I live (the Netherlands) people are very aware of the difference between Bush an just-your-everyday-american. All in all, you should be fine in most of the Western European countries, just don't forget your towel..
-- Wafel
Don't fear travelling to Spain (3.00 / 3) (#355)
by satch on Fri Mar 28, 2003 at 09:29:42 PM EST

Hi, I want to let you know what is happening here right now, and what can you expect to find.

Most people are against war. 91% yesterday. People here are angry because our former president, choosen with more that fitfy percent votes, has supported war alone.

No other political group here supports it. On streets there are daily protests against it.

But we know, our former presidents' point of view may not be want people think.

Spanish people are usually open to everyone. I think you'll have no problem here, Spain is a great place to travel, sunny and cheap for European standards. I'd suggest you to travel freely, but stay away from anti-war protests. People won't hurt you, but last week goverment has been using police to finish protests in a hard way, with several wounded people.

As a personal note, I think Bush has used "false" reports to say, yeah we can do it fast, let's go, win, and return. He lied, as he knew it was the way to get support from people. As war progresses, popular support will probably decay.

Not a Spainard (none / 0) (#377)
by travlight on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 01:20:19 PM EST

I loved Ibiza, (great small island that loves to have a good time.) Just wanted to tell you that the American public as a general rule will not give up support for thier troops, albiet will not turn against the war. This grim resovle so to speak is just a charactoristic of America. We may not like it, we may argue internally over it, but we will finish it, and we will be glad when it is over.
Go in peace.... or not, just go
[ Parent ]
It is just about the governement. (3.50 / 2) (#359)
by bluebird on Sun Mar 30, 2003 at 05:14:39 PM EST

Somehow, you should consider that most european or at least french think about America a bit like Bush thinks about Irak : The people are not fully responsible for what is happening, it is just that they have a crazy elected dictator leading them into a braindead direction that will bring a lot of harm.

Bad example. (none / 0) (#368)
by wumpus on Mon Mar 31, 2003 at 09:51:05 AM EST

Bush is willing to kill a lot of Iraqis to get Hussein.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]

Fine in the UK (2.50 / 2) (#360)
by SamBC on Sun Mar 30, 2003 at 05:44:10 PM EST

In general, most people I know (inlcuding quite a few protesters) get the impression that the average american who is likely to take the kind of holiday you describe, is likely to be anti-bush anyway.

The impression I get here, from various news and community sites, and my own american contacts, is that pretty much the entire cognescenti in the US are against Bush, and even more against the war.

And, even more to the point, unless you meet a complete idiot, no-one links the war to a random american tourist and punishes them for it...

Assumptions are useless (none / 0) (#380)
by travlight on Tue Apr 01, 2003 at 01:41:38 PM EST

I am not anti-bush, that would not prevent me from over-seas travel. But I have common sense enough not to voice my general opinion on war and such (or to engage in that type of conversation as a vacation is not meant to reflect politics, but to adventure and have fun).
Go in peace.... or not, just go
[ Parent ]
do go now! (4.33 / 3) (#364)
by twi on Mon Mar 31, 2003 at 05:46:26 AM EST

Chances are that you are not a total jerk, and in that case now would be the _perfect_ time to visit europe. That way you can even help preventing the building up of anti-americanism, by showing that "the average american" is not as stupid as many here think your president is. If people don't know some "real" americans, what else can they do but think that they are all like the ones they see on tv?
The fact that you are interested in other countries and get off your couch to check them out will most certainly make you look good in the eyes of many europeans, because that is something that is not expected of americans. We don't get that many tourists from overseas.
But be prepared that people will want to talk to you about the war and probably us-foreign-policy in general. That is not meant as a personal attack on you, but out of real curiosity about "the american mindset". If you're not afraid ot that then I would say you will be very welcome.

no worries (3.00 / 1) (#385)
by day on Fri Apr 04, 2003 at 06:10:06 PM EST

i live in lisbon, portugal but have recently been in the places you mention.

as long as you're not pro-war, you won't have a real problem. sure there's an occasional person who expresses generalized anti-americanism (nothing new), but just let their quibbles pass by without importance... besides, it's easy to change the subject

of course if you come to a nightlife-type (young crowd) area of a city and start spouting nationalistic proclamations or trying to rally an attack on the iraqis, well, you'll probably be paraded in pieces down the street!
--
babelguides.com << world literature in translation >>

S Germany: despite what Consul says, we're safe! (none / 0) (#391)
by nostalgiphile on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 08:42:11 AM EST

I'm an expat living in Munich and it's pretty much totally, maybe excessively, American-tourist friendly. When the US was still planning its war of imperialism against Iraq there was just one incident that I heard about. It had to do with an American who, reportedly drunk to hell, got his arse kicked for mouthing off about German resistance to Pax Amerikana's plans.

Next day the US consulate issued a statement saying [boo hoo] "Germany is no longer safe for Americans." That was quite a hoot because I doubt you'll find an American city of this size that's safer, for Americans or anyone, than Munich.

Have fun.

"Depending on your perspective you are an optimist or a pessimist[,] and a hopeless one too." --trhurler

Americans in Europe during an Unpopular War | 392 comments (365 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
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