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‘Americans make the Worst Tourists’

Popularity 6Viewed 2556 times 2015-8-17 18:07 |Personal category:Lifestyle|System category:Life| Shanxi, China, USA, Bright Mhango

American tourists suck. Calm down, it is not from some scientific journal or some world class survey. But still, if I was American, I would take heed.

A seasoned tour guide, of ten years, Jing Li, who plies her trade in the impoverished coal producing Chinese province of Shanxi revealed this in an extensive interview I had with her aboard a tour bus on my recent trip to the province.

The question I put to her was simple: You have seen all sorts of people over the last decade, what can you say, in general about the different tourists you deal with.

“English people are very inquisitive, they ask a lot about history,” said Li, going on to add that foreigners in general are more daring and adventurous than Chinese folk.

“Italians pay more attention to food and accommodation while people from Latin America never complain and see everything here as perfect.”

And Americans?

“Americans do not like to listen to me when I narrate about history, they prefer to be left alone and like to relax,” she said.

I was not surprised at all, as a scholar of international relations, I know very well how the Americans hate to listen, say to UN advice.

Simple as it looks, the small thing matter to Li, and should to potential tourists, no one stops to think of tour guides as people with emotions just like the tourists.

Li added that unlike what she has heard about foreigners keeping time, most are late when they deal with her.

“They [annoying tourists, not just Americans] complain about things I cannot change, for example they complain to me about unclean restaurants or roads being too small,” she plaintively said.

She has meanwhile adapted to the different types of tourists, she says ‘if a group of tourists want me to speak I speak, if they want silence, I keep silent.’

I can insert a confession here to say that in the tour bus we were in, a girl from England was the one who was most excited about the tour guide services and even boasted of getting a private tour guide from Li. The rest of the crowd, made up of mostly Europeans just wanted to explore the tour sites free of supervision.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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