Article of interest to USA hosts

I am a host from Europe and Americans are great guest and great people. The masters of small talk. Easily communicative and respectful.



  1. I am not “assuming” they would know it. But many will, in a country adjoining the US - and in specific areas that are heavily dependent on tourism. It is just smart business for them to cater thus. There is nothing to be offended about, if they choose to make commerce easier for both parties, where many Americans and Canadians have limited Spanish skills. I never said they should speak my language. Merely that it is likely and it is, in fact, without “arrogance” smart of them.

Places like Cancun, Cozumel, etc have had massive tourism for several generations from the USA and Canada. We are talking about areas that have 20-40 YEARS of regular tourism business. And they certainly will do things that are in their best interest - to sell more and make commerce easier for both parties. Just common sense.

I’m not referring to “some hole in the wall place off the beaten path” - but the areas that are heavily dedicated to tourism. It makes sense that many of them will have “some English”. It is what it is.

That said, we love hole in the wall restaurants where we must rely 100% on Spanish. The hosts are always warm and gracious. The food is usually spectacular and certainly authentic.

This is not to say that WE do not make the effort, or should - I fully agree that we should try.

  1. As to tourist hot spots in the US - regrettably language skills here are abysmal. Often, they are not taught until grades 4-5. It is a massive failure of our educational system.

  2. To clarify - we are fluent in the language of our guests - English. We have various levels of fluency in the others. I studied Spanish, French, and Japanese, out of interest. I also spent time in Japan for business and that helped. It’s an ongoing pursuit and I’ll likely only get better if we manage to spend more serious time abroad. My better half is decent with Spanish and French. Languages come to her more easily. We someday hope to spend a good portion of the year in France as we love it so very much.

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@Jefferson To be clear- all the businesses which specifically cater to tourists in my thriving little tourist beach town do have staff who speak English. I never said they didn’t. It was you who jumped to that conclusion. I was saying that Americans shouldn’t expect everyone they might deal with in a foreign country to speak English, nor rudely speak loudly and slowly, in English, as if that will make a difference, to someone who quite obviously doesn’t understand what they are saying. It’s the assumption that everyone should speak English to them, simply because they couldn’t be bothered to look up how to say “Do you sell matches?” in the native language that is the issue.


The best international language to use is a friendly smile (of course that’d be covered by a mask as Anne reminded me. Thanks Anne!)
And as the other Aussie said here somewhere., find out a few of the social customs where you’re going. It goes a long way!

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Wrong. Jeez. I totally never “jumped to any such conclusion”. I most certainly did NOT say that we should EXPECT them to do so.

For like the 5th time all I said is that in tourist areas that caters so heavily to English speakers - it is smart business for them to know the language of their target market. That’s it period, end of story. Nothing to be read into it. No hidden message.

We’ve been to Mexico many times for nearly 30 years. Our personal experience is most businesses in their tourists areas have some English speakers. The same goes for Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, Croatia, Portugal, Morocco, Italy, etc. The list goes on. And yep - that is smart of them! :laughing:

The case is vastly different in Panama, Guatemala, and Nicaragua (Spanish is a necessity). In Honduras, it is area dependent.

Oh I did say that Americans are not the worst travelers. Not even close. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: I’ll leave it there.

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Well, it most certainly sounded that way to me.



Un hombre cavando en un hoyo.



Sigh … honestly. Try reading the whole of what I wrote, rather than one sentence out of context. Like maybe the 2nd sentence? Or the 2nd paragraph? Gosh! :slight_smile:

Perhaps this is too much to ask in the age of Twitter. Anything beyond 140 characters is ignored? :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Tratar de convencerla es como echar agua al mar. Ella nunca va a cambiar.

Alas, we all do silly things sometimes.

Where do you find such gems @JohnF?

I’m not a twitterer.

@JohnF; translation please! My Spanish O Level has been sidetracked into Portuguese/Italian.

Agreed. I support wearing masks right now. Unfortunately in addition to being hot, they hide the smile but crinkly eye corners still convey the message!.

Hasn’t some entrepreneur developed masks yet with circuitry through which wearers are able to display a selection of emoticons?


Yes. I just saw yesterday an article where a woman with a deaf daughter has designed masks with a clear vinyl section over the mouth so the deaf could read lips.

Sad and good article.
We were to go to Turkey/Greece/Italy this July; we put it off till next year, and we pray it will be okay by then to travel and the countries will take us.
I never say I am American while traveling; always Canadian. I know how to say that in 5 languages. It is true you see the Americans who feel that they are entitled to the world (remember USA is only 5% of the world population, we consume 24% of the worlds energy, and 40% of the food USA buys gets thrown away while others starve), and then act like slobs in the countries they go. Not to mention as a few others posted, look at the behavior in the Ozarks at the pool compounded with 50% of the American’s saying even if a vaccine was available they wouldn’t get one. So of course what is the rest of the world to think of the USA? God help us.


I’ve had several lovely American guests, who have arrived as Canadians, and left as Americans.


Just hope no one ever gives you the third degree :slight_smile: A Canadian friend who was traveling in Thailand struck up a conversation with a couple who said they were Canadian, so my friend started asking them some normal break-the-ice type questions- What part of Canada are you from? Oh, where in British Columbia? (My friend being from BC as well)
When they answered “Victoria Island” the jig was up. It’s called Vacouver Island and Victoria is a city on the southern tip.

Oops! Absolutely!! The more crinkley the eyes the better!

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About 35 years ago American passport used to carry a lot of weight.As someone who has the opportunity to travel to many countries to visit families and friends, l used to be proud to show my American passport. I used to use American dollars to buy things especially in Europe or even in Africa.But these days lam ashamed to say lam from America.Several years ago l wanted to buy somethings in Paris using dollars like l used to do and l was rudely told that " Madame we do not accept American dollars" . I will agree with that person who said " you walk in like you own the place" …that is typical of most American tourists consciously or unconsciously they are loud but polite.l was standing in line at two different cities in Paris to purchase a ticket for an event and could identify my fellow Americans from their loud voices and English. I will however say that Americans are very friendly with each other when out of their country. Iam speaking from experience.

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A Dutch friend who is a long time US green card holder (40+ years) told me back in the 70s that he would never get US citizenship because it would keep him out of so many countries. At the time, he was the only person I knew who had been to Albania, Cuba, and Kazakhstan, where US passports weren’t welcome.

Where?? May I ask?? We are Brits - my husband has a D.Phil from Oxford - and we also own a place on Crete.

Utterly ridiculous generalisation. Pathetic.

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