40 minutes ago
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The Ugly American-With a side of Rant
The Ugly American tourist is no myth. I know, I've traveled with him.
Fueled by frequent flyer miles, people who should stay home, take busman's holidays to visit people and places they have no more business going to than I have writing the great American novel. Take my South Carolina relatives for instance. Please.
My brother in law and his wife have finally saved enough for the grand tour.
Carolina to London to Barcelona, cruise the Med,and back for a week in London. Sounds delightful doesn't it? I wish I were going, just not with them.
Since they leave Friday, they decided to give the trip some thought. This morning they phoned their travel agent to curse her for the volcano in Iceland. She is now on notice. Later, they stopped by here to ask what to see and do. They were most interested in knowing about London.
Dr. Johnson wrote "If you are tired of London you are tired of life." I hope to never tire of it. I adore London.
Somehow they scored a suite in a swank hotel in Mayfair. Walking distance to everything. I suggested for new kids the basic tourist stuff. The V&A, no we are not museum types. Does that include the Tower of London? Probably. St. Paul's? No, we're not churchy. A play on the West End? Nope. Bath, Stonehenge, Stafford on Avon? What's there?, they asked.
Why the ... are you going? I was starting to steam.
As long as I was getting nowhere I had to twist the knife.
Now remember, I told them, you are staying in the most elegant, sophisticated neighborhood in the English speaking world. Don't expect to be treated well if you don't dress at least as well as the doorman at your hotel.
This to people who think long trousers are an imposition.
No shorts, no tennis shoes. Wear a sportcoat or suit, if you want your presence to be acknowledged in any local restaurant. Act like adults.
It was clear they thought I was on drugs. I can't wait to hear about how their excursion went.
Londoners, I apologize. I promise they won't be back.
Posted by Toad at 12:24 AM