Friday, February 27, 2009

La Fortuna and Stupid Americans AGAIN!

Living in a tourist town in Costa Rica, such as La Fortuna, we obviously run into and meet a lot of foreigners. But why is it ‘us’ Americans (I’m talking the 50 States here), who usually come off as the more stupid of foreign travelers who visit Costa Rica. UGH!

Being from the United States can sometimes be truly embarrassing and that’s without BUSH.

I’m standing in line at our small grocery store to check out and the two guys ahead of me LOOK as if they’re straight out of the ‘Deliverance’ movie- I’m thinking West Virginia, complete with missing teeth…. yeah I said it. How did these guys ever come to be in La Fortuna Costa Rica? These guys couldn’t have looked more out of place if they were on a float at a GAY Pride Parade in San Francisco. They have 2 cans of black beans and some microwave popcorn… I know, a tad strange. We’ll call them, 'Dumb' and 'Fuckin Dumber'. 'Dumb' asks the cashier in a Hillbilly, English drawl that can only be described as ‘inbred-retarded’, “Do ya’ll have some of that there Gatorade or Powerade in this here store?

Ummm, let’s guess the reaction of the Tica cashier….. EXACTLY, a tacit, ‘I don’t have the foggiest idea what you just said.’ 'Dumb' says it again, s-l-o-w-e-r and LOUDER (as if that makes all the difference in the world), “DOOO YAA’LLL HAVE SOME OF THAT THERE GATOORR-AA-DD-EE or POWERRR-ADE IN THIS HERE STORRRE?” 'Dumb' looked at 'Fuckin Dumber' as if he had just cured cancer, he honestly believed this would help her to understand, you know, because she was retarded and all, and he appeared to speak her language. 'Fuckin Dumber' nodded like 'Dumb' was his HERO or something. I was thinking, how about buying a toothbrush for God sake.

She smiled again, made the UNIVERSAL face of not understanding and said, “Lo siento, no entiendo.” Looking uncomfortable, Tica was glancing around for some help and actually left to find a co-worker or manager. *You might be wondering why I didn’t intervene? This happened fairly quickly, and it was so surreal, I was like a ‘deer in headlights’ waiting to get run over. I couldn’t shake the thought of what in the HELL were the cast members of Deliverance doing in Costa Rica?

Folks, this is embarrassing- 'Fuckin Dumber' looks at 'Dumb' and actually asks him why she’s talking about Nintendo. 'Dumb', the obvious brains of the outfit, told his partner that he didn’t think that’s what she said. 'Fuckin Dumber' looked perplexed.

I finally chimed in. The drinks in question were not but 3 feet from where they stood, in every flavor imaginable- the only thing missing were flashing lights.

I’ll paraphrase and save you the d-r-a-w-l, but 'Dumb' says to me, “You’d think this being a tourist town and all, they would teach these girls some English.

Obviously, I mentioned that this being Costa Rica and ALL, they may want to learn some Spanish. Of course, I said this in the nicest of ways (I’m still thinking Deliverance), so 'Dumb' and 'Fuckin Dumber; didn’t even catch the slight. Always one to help out fellow Americans, I explained to them, if ever they don’t know what is being said in Spanish, just say, “Yo siento, no Nintendo.

They thanked me for the TIP and smiled,,,,yikes. I also wanted to tell them that Dental work is done at a very reasonable cost in Costa Rica (insert theme song from Deliverance HERE).

'Fuckin Dumber' was practicing, “Yo siento, no Nintendo,” as he exited the store.

Luckily for me, I’ve been telling people I’m from Canada ever since I got here 3 years ago… REALLY, it often comes in handy in these trying times.

ALL your Costa Rica Travel Information at Travel Costa Rica NOW. Hope it HELPS!


Craig said...

OMG.. While I am not blameless and have literally put my foot in it on more than one occasion overseas, I agree with you. I'm sorry I did not write when I first read the entry, but it took me awhile to stop laughing!! Keep writing Mike!!

Unknown said...

Hey Craig, Thanx for readin, ALWAYS appreciated. I guess it is kinda funny, I just wish it wasn't TRUE.

AliceStokesPaul said...

I have been utterly enjoying your blog for the past several hours and I just HAD to comment on this one.

I am mortified at the behavior of Americans around the world. I am American but, I now live in Canada. My son is Canadian.

He recently spent two years living in China. He learned Mandarin and consequently found himself intervening in some quite in appalling conversations. One that comes to mind most though is while in Fujian province he stopped by a book store to find an American man there literally yelling at a young Chinese book store employee. The Americans problem??? "WHY ARE THERE NO ENGLISH LANGUAGE BOOKS IN THIS STORE!!" My son walked over and explained to the man that indeed in Beijing there was a Borders with all English titles. However, he was in the south east China where people speak MANDARIN and various other local dialects. He told the man he was lucky there were ANY English language book stores in China at all and clearly it was not the girl who worked in the stores fault. He then did as you did and told the man if he made it to Beijing or Shanghai how to ask for the nearest English book I can only imagine what he told him to say and god knows if the American could pronounce the words or not.

The American wasn't just mad about the English books not being available he was also mad the girl in the store did not speak any English so she could wait on his "worldly" ass. I could NOT believe the ignorance of this man who my son described as fairly well dressed.

People when you travel the world it is a good idea to not think that the entire universe is JUST LIKE HOME. If that's what you want. STAY HOME.

As for me and mine we like to travel. Costa Rica is my next stop and I'm brushing up on my Spanish!

Unknown said...

haha...thanx for sharing, but it is embarrassing. I could start a 'blog' just to write about all the dumb things us americans do when traveling. Thanx for the comment.

Unknown said...

haha...thanx for sharing, but it is embarrassing. I could start a 'blog' just to write about all the dumb things us americans do when traveling. Thanx for the comment.

AliceStokesPaul said...

Well, as amusing as it really is and embarrassing it is sad too. While in China my son opted not to hang out totally in the ex pat community as most American's do there. He spent his free time with the Chinese locals. By doing so he was invited to live six months with a Chinese family learning the language, learning to cook the food and finding the secret places other "tourists" never get to see.

The point of traveling is to experience another culture but, most Americans there I was told try to re create their OWN culture within China. That's fine for when you are homesick etc. but, to make your entire experience all about being with those just like you, you are missing so MUCH.

Americans have been taught to fear other cultures that they do not understand. Consequently I think we huddle in the most McComfyTM environments we can find outside the U.S. Just sad.

This is a great blog for finding out the ins and outs of Costa Rica before visiting. Thanks for doing this!! :)