Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ugly Moments from the Airport

There is just one point in my travels back to Perth that stands in perfect clarity, and that is when I queued up with everyone else to get my passport stamped so I could continue on to a nice comfy hotel bed. If you have ever been through the Sydney International Airport you probably know that the line can get pretty darned long. That there are two lines that you can join. One is for people with Australian or New Zealand passports and the other which is for everyone else. Now, I've been through this airport quite a few times, and they move the line pretty quickly, but still there is sometimes a bit of a back up. Personally I don't mind standing in a queue after a flight. It helps me acclimate to being on solid ground again. 

However, others apparently have absolutely no patience. At all. And much to my disgust, I've found that the ones with no patience tend to be my fellow countrymen. Rarely have I been so stunned by things they say, or the way they behave on another country's soil. Personally, if I'm in someone else's country, I play by their rules... not mine. It's polite, and for me expected of myself. So... when they guy in front of me in the queue (which he's only been standing in for a whopping 4 minutes) sighed loudly and with an extreme show of ego stopped a security guy and demanded,"Where's the line for the Americans?" 

... I was speechless with embarrassment.

(Judging from the expression on the security guy's face, this was not the first time he's been asked that question, and ignored the idiot with a wonderful dismissal, as if he hadn't heard him.)


You are nothing more than another international traveler at this airport. You probably have done nothing for the country you are attempting to enter, and have no right to ask such a question. 

Get over yourself

This is why I don't like telling people where I'm from. What nationality I am, because invariably I get judged by the idiots who have gone before me. Because its never the polite Americans who get remembered... it's the ones who ask unbelievably self centered questions at the airport... the ones who go out every night and get so drunk they can't remember who they slept with, but brag about it loudly at breakfast (don't ask... it's a long story). When asked where I'm from I say "North America".... and they ask me what part of Canada I'm from. From all the crap I have seen pulled over seas by Americans, I wish I could say sometimes that I was Canadian. You should see the dumbfounded expressions I get when I tell the truth. 

"But you don't act like an American!?" they exclaim in surprise.

So, for those of you who travel over seas, have a care. You're not just traveling, you are an ambassador and an example of where you come from. How you act, what you do and say, it all leaves a mark. 
For myself I profoundly hope that I haven't done anything truly damning as I've traveled, but who knows.

But I can say this; I can see why everyone hates our guts. 
And while standing in line in Sydney International behind the epitome of the Ugly American
... i hated us too.

1 comment:

HOA Mgr Lady said...

I have been told many times in foregin countries... that I am "The nicest American they have ever met!" and that pleases me that I am nice and saddens me that they don't often meet an American that is nice as well. Our manners are atrocious! So sad