While traveling Valerie and I were witness to a series of Americans misrepresentin’ how cool we should be in the international scene. Or maybe Valerie and I are the ones misrepresenting with our over-extending attempts to be respectful. You be the judge…

Things we overheard or saw while overseas:

Venice, Italy

The Setup: Venice is a city practically underwater already. As a result, during the hours of about noon to 2-3pm, parts of the city were experiencing “high tide”, namely, parts of the city would flood (St. Mark’s Square, a road here, a road there, you get the idea).

The Bonehead Moment: When passing our hotel room’s front desk, I heard the following exasperation from one American to the desk clerk: “Did you know it’s flooded out in the front passageway?! I want to KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT!”

Florence, Italy

The Setup: At our hotel in Florence the hotel had a nice area to partake in a continental breakfast in the morning. For anything caffeinated, these nice wait-staff would ask you what sort of morning beverage you wanted.

The Bonehead Moment: …was another man being asked what he wanted to drink. He responded gruffly: “Coffee.”

Now there’s a LOT of ways to take coffee in Italy, and unless further clarification is given, you’re going to end up with espresso. Fortunately, the waiter knew there could be a miscommunication, and attempted to clarify by asking for the American equivalent: “Café’ Americano?”

To which he responded: “Are you deaf? Yeah, I said COFFEE!!!” really loud.

Istanbul, Turkey

The Setup: On our day tour from the ship to see the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, we were traveling with a bunch of older folks on a bus in between sites. The tour guide, after showing us all these marvelous sites, threw out the open question to the tour group on the bus: “So… what else would you like to know about Turkey?” (Big mistake.)

The Bonehead Moment: The question was asked of our tour guide: “Why do the Turkish people hate Americans?” (After all — all Middle Easterners are part of OUR lovely conflict out there if you believe some of the neo-con philosophies).

Fortunately, the tour guide had a pretty good comeback, starting with “First of all, we don’t hate you. Secondly, we really don’t care THAT much about Iraq, and thirdly, we just want your tourism and your money.”

Florence, Italy

The Setup: Same group of boneheads with the COFFEE problem, but a different morning.

The Bonehead Moment: The older gentleman is griping – “Why don’t they have FOOTBALL OUT HERE?” Yes, folks — he meant American Football, since the EuroCup was in full swing and on all the TV’s while we were out there.

Venice, Italy – (what is it with Italy?)

The Setup: High tide in St. Mark’s Square

The Bonehead Moment: Some idiot was flooring it and running top speed through the entire square and throwing up lots of nasty smelling water everywhere (running, not the other end). I even think he killed a pigeon or two because he was running so fast, and …

…oh wait, that was me.


However, unlike my fellow traveling Americans, I’m going to offer what they didn’t:

An apology.

Dave’s Apology to the Venetians:


You’ll get an apology from me when (a) your version of UPS takes VISA, (b) shipping your OWN SHOES back to yourself doesn’t require a two page document describing said shoes, (c) closing said UPS store at 1pm no longer seems like a good idea, and (d) the idea of some form of tourist crowd controls becomes enacted.

Until then, ppbbbt!

So… guess it’s ALL relative, folks.

Plus, the pigeon got what it deserved. 🙂