Complaining about Mainland Chinese tourists (大陆游客) in Hong Kong remains as fashionable as ever. I personally remain unconvinced that they are any more irritating than other tourists. They are simply new to the tourism circuit and as newbies, tend to travel in big packs. When you have a big pack, statistically there will always be a handful of jerks.
The Chinese National Tourism Administration, however, wants to actively reduce the number of tourists jerks that it sends abroad. It recently issued a 64 page guide (available here, in Chinese) to help tourists understand the dos and don’ts of tourism. The South Morning China Post (linked here) provides the following translated summary of a few key tips:
- [T]ouch antiques or draw graffiti on heritage structures
- Expose the chest or back, or look dirty in public areas
- Eat a whole piece of bread in one mouthful or slurp noodles noisily inside an aircraft
An American guide? My own people, the Americans, were the original ugly tourists. Americans, however, have a Constitutional Right to be headstrong, oblivious and independent (see coded message contained within the Ninth Amendment). I can’t imagine that any US governmental body would dream of issuing an etiquette handbook for American tourists abroad.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t make one up.
What could such a guide look like? Here are a few possible excerpts:
- Assume that a person riding a bicycle (who is not also wearing spandex) is only doing so because he lost his driving licenses due to a DUI/DWI violation.
- Boast about “American Exceptionalism.” It would be inopportune to mention this smug concept at a time when a small group of extremists have shut down the US government in order to block a marginal improvement to a terribly dysfunctional health care system. As an alternative conversation topic, discuss the American TV renaissance and the series finale of “Breaking Bad.”
- Unfavorably compare your host country’s traditional breakfast against Denny’s “Moons over My Hammy,” fried egg and bacon special.
- Openly mock the metric system. Turns out we’re the only industrialized country that has not adopted it for official use.
- Wink when you refer to your home country as “The United States of Awesome.”
- Play this drinking game if you are from Seattle: tell strangers where you are from and take a swig from your open bottle of wine for every mention of “Sleepless in Seattle,” “Frasier,” “Gray’s Anatomy” or “北京遇上西雅图.”
- Wear a circa 2008 “HOPE” t-shirt to remind foreigners how much they love Obama and that he is still your president.
- Hum, “Eye of the Tiger” constantly. NASA studies have proven that citizens of all nations enjoy having “Bum. Bah da bum. Ba da bummmmmmmm …” perpetually stuck in their heads.
- Consider pretending to be Canadian.