Monday, April 25, 2011

Paging Roger Tory Peterson

Reading Ned's post on tacky tourists reminds me of an idea I had a few years back, while walking from the main Kyoto train station to the hotel in which I would be staying. Damn, I should take cabs more often, so I could get a paid writing gig at the New York Times, spouting bullshit anecdotes about worldwide economic and cultural trends.. Uh, I digress... where was I?

Oh, yeah, I think that a Field Guide to Tourists of the World would be a great idea. Of course, the average American tourist is at least twenty pounds heavier than his or her European counterpart, and usually wears at least one less layer of clothing (while visiting Versailles in the Spring, wearing a short-sleeved button-down shirt, I saw a bunch of Italian tourists in sweaters and jackets, and thought, "Damn, I'm sweating even in shirtsleeves."). Yeah, Americans stand out, even if they aren't dressed like a bunch of n00bs, but how does one tell a Dane from a Swede at a glance? What team logos or brand names are favored by different nationalities? What sort of luggage would a Czech exec use? What sort of shoes does a Bolivian banker favor? Which pop stars grace the T-shirts worn by a gaggle of German high-schoolers on holiday?

I want my field guide!!!

NOTE: Something tells me that a Dane can be distinguished from a Swede by the presence of glacier glasses and a beard, maybe an armful of 16th Century woodcuts. Additionally, a Swede typically has a yellowish color, and is often coated with wax.

UPDATE: When evaluating antipodean tourists in the field, it should be noted that New Zealanders typically dress like Punch while Australians prefer to dress as Pierrot. Being able to distinguish the two at beer-sodden 7AM rugby viewings in the pub can be crucial to one's continued health and well-being.

18 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

i have a picture!
~

fish said...

I wrote my field guide!!!

There, fixed.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

i have a picture!

That's no tourist!

There, fixed.

So that's where you've been!

vacuumslayer said...

I have decided I want to be mistaken for a Swede.


W/v: twiticar. I am picturing a cute little car shaped like a bird. Awww.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

W/v: twiticar. I am picturing a cute little car shaped like a bird. Awww.

Like this?

vacuumslayer said...

Peepmobile!!! Squee!!

Jennifer said...

Something tells me that a Dane can be distinguished from a Swede by the presence of glacier glasses and a beard, maybe an armful of 16th Century woodcuts

And a filthy, filthy mind... so filthy you can see it...

I want that car!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I want that car!

Peep my ride!

vacuumslayer said...

LOL!

Smut Clyde said...

how does one tell a Dane from a Swede at a glance?

Swedes speak a language that, although incomprehensible, does at least contain recognisable phonemes.

M. Bouffant said...

W/ globalization & all, it's my bet that it will be harder & harder to differentiate among tourists, other than in broad ethnic terms.

In my travels (& observations of visitors to my fair city) I've noted that the best determinant of origin remains footwear, although the rise of Nike & other world-wide brands is making even shoes less specific.

Also: Americans (who hate their country &/or don't want to be murdered on sight) w/ big ol' Maple Leaf flags sewn on their backpacks may provide false data.

And those Ozzies are a buncha French fairies compared to Kiwis.

Substance McGravitas said...

Canadians are easy to spot because they're being real jerks about not being Americans.

vacuumslayer said...

I heard that some Americans try to pass themselves off as Canadians when traveling abroad.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I just try to pass myself off as breathing.

OT, I am presuming that BBBB is working on a suitable post for Poly Styrene, who passed away yesterday from breast cancer.

wv is honvork, which is very reminiscent of the sound made by the young lady who barfed in the gutter in front of us while in the French Quarter last week.

vacuumslayer said...

I try to pass myself off as a house. It works.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

OT, I am presuming that BBBB is working on a suitable post for Poly Styrene, who passed away yesterday from breast cancer.

Holy crap, that's a blow!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

BBBB, it gets worse.

She died yesterday.

She had a new album released today.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I dedicated today's post to her.