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God, I hate American tourists. Especially when they get their own show on television and think they're so clever, so cool, so funny.

I'm sitting here at my computer. Across the room out of eyesight, is the telly, which is tuned to the Travel Channel. We're iced in for the next few days and there is a series of shows set in Switzerland and Bavaria. Then, a show comes on, hosted by an all-American "dude". By the sound of his voice I conclude that he is between 23 and 29. I picture him in my mind's eye: a scruffy, stubbly ("hip") 5 o'clock shadow, sneakers, sunglasses, and the obligatory ball cap turned backwards. I get up to check and I find that I'm correct about everything but the scruff. He has a goatee instead. The show is called, "Not Your Average Travel Guide" and he is on the Côte d'Azure. The dude's name is Shane Reynolds, but that not being cool enough, he goes by "Shane O".

Besides knowing nothing about history, he observes that Cannes is pronounced "cahn", but he tells his audience that he's going to call it "cans" because, "I'm an American tourist, and what do I know?" Thinking he's making a weak stab at being sarcastic, I let it slide, but he continues to mispronounce it as he interviews his victims subjects. Thus he continues, bolstered with the usual hackneyed observances about the film festival, topless bathing suits, and the pebbly, sandless beach. In Nice he observes that "Nice isn't very nice".


His next stop was Eze, where, when told a little about its history he responds with, "I guess you could say they came to 'kick ezz'..." (kick ass) The reaction of his hostess was stone-cold silence. When he continued in this vein I had to turn the channel.

Call me old, call me smug. Call me anything, but please, never call me an American tourist. I'm a traveler, and there is a huge difference. Television travel hosts need to know this.


  1. As a twenty-something year-old it's great to see someone young doing a travel show instead of older, more "seasoned" hosts (they're kinda lame, too). Shane has good insight on places that tourists DON'T go. Sure, some of his ramblings can be lame, but he's just trying to make it fun. I just happened to watch the same show you did and it wasn't all that bad. Maybe we're a little jealous? Lighten up!

  2. Yeah right, I'm SO jealous.

    I don't think so. It so-happens that I've traveled over a great deal of Europe myself and as a lover of history, culture, language, and anthropology, I don't appreciate the dumbed-down, "ugly American" style of hosting that punks like this engage in. It only serves to reinforce a bad stereotype.

    Grow up, get some education, and realize that the rest of the world isn't America.

    And grow up enough to learn how not to post anonymously. Have the confidence and maturity to put your name on your opinions.

  3. And one more thing...

    I have a 19-year-old daughter living in France right now, and she would completely agree with what Steph wrote here. She is appalled at the lack of respect that Americans have for other people and other cultures, as well as the complete ignorance and disrespect that Americans display when they travel in other countries.

    It's not about youth. It's about ignorance, bigotry, and disrespect for others.

  4. I'm about as "lightened up" as they come, but I've traveled enough to know the difference between good and bad manners.

    Ignorance is one thing -- that can be alleviated -- but blatant disrespect is another. Shane clearly displayed the latter.

    If someone comes to America and mispronounces the names of our cities, we're very quick to correct them, sometimes politely, sometimes not so politely (i.e. "What's wrong? Can't you speak good English?"). I think the fact that his guests didn't react to his lame comments shows true grace and poise on their parts. I commend them.

    Jealousy has nothing to do with anything; that's a lame accusation, and far too easy; immature, in fact. It's the lack of respect that irked me. One can state an opinion without it being a reflection of one's sense of self.

  5. I understand.It's so tiresome to continue to see the stereotype "stupid American" again...and again...ect.No need to wonder why everyone on this planet hates Americans(amomg other things),and we who are have to live with it.
    "Thanks a F-ing lot!"
    Thanks,I needed that.(LOL) :-)

  6. Yes, we can be poor guests in another country, but have you encountered the French in your travels? Towns near me include Cairo, New Madrid and New Athens. Guess how their names are pronounced. Natives are quick to correct any who visit.

  7. I've been to France, (including Paris), the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, (twice), as well as British Columbia, (Canada), Mexico, and the Bahamas. I was never treated rudely nor with disrespect by anyone in any of the above countries. Some were friendlier and warmer than others, but all were accommodating and respectful.

    I also live in a college town that is filled with internationals, and have encountered persons from all different nations. Of course they don't speak English as well as the natives, yet when they're corrected, they do their best to pronounce words and names correctly. And really, it is no trouble, and not at all difficult to drop the "s" off of "Cannes", especially when one is corrected. Not to do so, even when one knows that it is incorrect, is just plain rude.

    It's bad enough that everyday tourists behave in such an ugly fashion, but even worse when television hosts do so, for TV hosts act as ambassadors and representatives for the rest of us, and when they're rude it reflects badly on all of us.

  8. Please, we were all twenty somethings once! I remember being an early twenty something who was mortified by his compatriot's behavior in France. People laughing at another country's history, or showing a blatant disregard for their language. It's not cool, it's not insightful and it's not at all interesting. It's just rude and boorish. I've seen the show, and he is the same kind of kid who will break a law in a foreigh country and beg the American Embassy to intervene.

    What's the name of that woman who used to do the shows on vacation homes? I remember that we couldn't stand her, at first, because she Plopped in couches and acted like a bad guest. We were in our twenties. It seems that she's changed her method on that side too.

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do. This is a pretty good truism.

    Oh, Anonymous, if you're going to rip the thread, can't you have the courage to put down your name?

  9. As an aside, it seems that people who make a living off of loutish, immature, behavior are washups before a couple of years are out.

  10. I did the very same thing. i was really enjoying Sam Brown in Bavaria and Germany. I was not paying attention to what was on next, but as I was puttering around the kitchen I too hear the "kick some Eze" remark, and immediately switched it off. I was embarrased. Anonymous, ummm jealousy?? Really?? Was this the first visit to this blog? Must be or you would know better.Also, I completely agree with the others, hiding behind anonymous, well that is "kinda lame too".

  11. Well I'm not a nice guy. Shane is a boob.

  12. Eze is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. So much can be said about its architecture, history, relevance to modern urban planning, but this dork has to say "Kick Ez." Why is he on TV? He's a moron.

  13. Travel journalists teach their viewers how to behave when traveling to a foreign country. whether they intend to, want to, or not. Samantha Brown used to really get on my nerves too, but she's grown up and her shows on Europe and Latin America are really very good. Fortunately, she's learned enough about other people and cultures to see beyond her initial reactions. This Shane dude is teaching an audience of young people how to spread "The American Disease" of ignorance and disrespect.

    The other guy who grates on me is that little Australian guy who's constantly mugging for the camera and making fun of monuments built to evoke thought. He has a few moments that display his better nature, but they're overshadowed by his total lack of respect. I haven't seen him in a while; maybe other people got tired of him as well.

  14. Samantha Brown! That's it! She's the one who used to jump on sofa's and things. Perhaps that's why she doesn't do the vacation home show anymore! Hee hee. She has learned a bit of refinement over the years, thank goodness.

  15. Yeah. She doesn't make me cringe anymore.

  16. When I was in England, my friends took me to London. We were in time to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. People, of course, were lined up to watch. The police very politely asked people not to climb on the fence around Buckingham Palace. Guess who totally ignored the police and climbed anyway? The Americans! I was so ashamed that I told my friends I wanted to apologize for the ignorance of my fellow countrypersons. More and more I find myself disgusted and ashamed to be an American, considering all the misery we are causing in the world. Europe seems so much more mature, not to mention the fact that European countries are much more intelligent in terms of providing for their people (health care, education, etc.)and in terms of innovative products and science. If I had the financial wherewithal, I'd leave America in a heartbeat.

  17. Honestly, Cathy, it depends on the European country. Some are far more backward that we could ever think to be.

  18. I still think Europe is a better place to be right now.

  19. I'd like to either be in France, Netherlands, or even Canada right about now. Unfortunately, one needs to pretty much be independently wealthy to go because of the way the laws are set up.

  20. Actually, since Austria became part of the European Union in 1995, they have the very same rules and standards for residency as France and the Netherlands. Canada on the other hand, well, why would anyone want to live in Canada? Anyway, sice they are still "technically" under British Rule, I imagine the same goes for them too.
    (It's amazing to me how difficult it is for us to move out, but it's ok to let everyone else flood in.
    Something is backwards.)
    Also, many European countries will not even consider letting you live there without a degree. Or, I should say, they make it quite difficult if you don't.

  21. I wouldn't mind living in the Toronto area.

  22. Too cold for me. I always forget you like the cold weather.
    I have been to Banff as well as Victoria BC.
    Truly beautiful country, but that was in the summer.

  23. I've always wished that Cicely Alaska (in Northern Exposure) was an actual town. I would have moved there in a heartbeat, if only to be a regular at Holling's saloon and make friends with Marilyn and Chris.

    I'd be very happy renting Maggie's cabin.

  24. Canada has a similar standard of living, Toronto is a cool city, they actually have more freedoms, I can get married, Gay people are actually protected by a non-discrimination act, Canada has health care, there are fewer murders in Canada.

    Canadians are not considered part of the EU, from what I understand. While they are part of the Commonwealth, they are a republic in their own right, just as Australia and the other countries are. Canada has a strong relationship with the EU, because it was an early partner and advocate, but it is not a member.

  25. There really are tons of drop-out towns in the corners of the US that are probably similar to Cicely. It's just a matter of moving to them and finding small work, and resolving oneself to isolated poverty. Hell, the place where I lived in FL was kind of like that.


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