Thursday, February 09, 2006

Evasive Serb, loud Americans and obnoxious Brits

The other day I went with a friend to a talk on the future of Serbia in central London. My friend had been to Bosnia as a freelance journalist years ago, and got wounded, and I had gone to Serbia with a student from there in 1994. While the speaker's English was very good, he had this habit of repeating words, sometimes 5 or 6 times. But he was also very vague and as evasive as Blair can be and we were both left puzzled by his response to my friend's question. I was feeling a bit dozy from the free wine and left early. My friend stayed on to get some young woman's phone number; purely for professional reasons he assured me.

We wandered towards Tottenham Court Road looking for a restaurant, and came across one in Cleveland Street, Terra (?), which had a very nice Brazilian waitress, Tania. I was in a good, chatty mood and we got talking visiting Latin America and maybe doing a Che tour. But not on motorbike, I had my motorbike period as a student, though the huge trip almost round the world by Ewan McGregor and Charlie Sheen looks like an amazing experience - but they were so glad to get on to the good roads in America after muddy ruts in Mongolia. Tania promised to give me some contacts for Sao Paulo.

Loud Americans

I remarked on the couple at the other end of the restaurant and how loudly the American woman was talking. Why do many Americans talk so loudly in public? This is not just my prejudice; an American friend said in an email to me: "the plane was full of the worst type of American tourists. Loud, annoying..."

"I went to a comedy club and a martini bar last Saturday with a few people obviously all from The Loud Family. But you couldn't hear them that much if you stuck your entire head in the glass. The worst is going to Europe and realizing how loud and crass Americans are. No wonder the French hate us." Iggy

"You'll probably recognise a few old faces from the Trafalgar in here [The North Pole pub, Greenwich, London], it seems this is where they get new jobs when they're sick of dealing with loud Americans day in day out."

Here they are spoiling a Cancun hotel for a Scot - AND his "lovely" American friends:

"I can't fault the hotel for anything, our only complaint was a large number of obnoxious and rude Americans who have no concept of anyone else but themselves!!! ( That said we did meet some lovely Americans who found their countrymen every bit as annoying as ourselves!!!)"

and here's some more of them ruining le Vieux Bistro in Paris:

"This was my third visit to this restaurant. This year, 2005, however, things have changed. The staff has gone from elderly and courteous to young and rude. We were put in the back room which was filled with loud Americans ..."

Obnoxious Brits

However, we Brits can hardly complain:

"Of course, when Britain had an Empire, Loud Brits were the scourge of the clubs and stations. Aristocratic chinless wonders braying at the tops of their horsey voices made us "ordinary people" cringe."

Today it's worse, some British young people behave appallingly here and abroad:

"...the annual spectacle of young British holiday makers in Europe displaying their legendary propensity for getting drunk. They seem unmoved by Europe’s longer opening hours to moderate their native approach towards drinking which may best be described as drink-as-much-as-you-can-as-fast-as-you-can-and–then-knock-over-everything- in-sight-that-moves-until-you-pass-out-in-a-drunken-stupor.

A Brit girl describes the start of her holiday in Ibiza:

"We all got very, very drunk that first night. [We] met these two blokes ... and ended up chatting to them for the rest of the night. The last thing V remembers if falling through our room's door, and the last thing I remember was being held out the window while I was being sick, as S held my hair back."

Tania, the waitress, explained that the the couple had had three bottles wine between them and I have to admit I get loud when I've been drinking. When we left, my friend, who, behind a facade of aggressive sarcasm, is quite sensitive, said: "I suppose you're going to say something sarcastic." As we got to the door I turned to the couple and said: "We enjoyed your conversation almost as much as you did." The guy seemed unsure how to respond, but, to her credit the American woman laughed - loudly - which relieved him of the need to assert his masculinity.

For an amusing commentary on some loud Americans at the Miss Universe contest in Thailand by a young Thai woman, who seems to have had an American education, see:

For a civilised American's reflections on his compatriots' behaviour, see:


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