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Thread: Travel experiences: nice and not-nice cities

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    Hit By Ban Bus! DisruptiveHair's Avatar
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    Default Travel experiences: nice and not-nice cities

    Carried on from the conversation at:

    Canada Sucks. 'Nuff said.

    Where have you been? Where were the people nice? Where were the people ruder than hell? Any funny stories to tell about rudeness or kindness? I'll start off.

    Paris, 1992: I'm 16 and exploring the city near my hotel on my own. I was in France with a school group; there were 5 of us from my school, 5 from Atlanta, and about 20 kids from Omaha. I can't remember how I ended up on my own, but there I was. Our hotel was near the Champs Elysees and I remember wanting to go to the Virgin Superstore. I came out of the store and was walking back to the hotel when it started thundering. I ignored it because it does that all the time in my native Texas without raining. About ten seconds later, the skies opened and it was POURING down with rain. The streets cleared almost immediately; it went from crowded to nearly abandoned and I seemed to be the only person in Paris who didn't have an umbrella.

    I was a kid, alone, soaking wet, and scared. What's more, in my hurry to get out of the rain, I had gotten myself slightly lost on a side street; I wasn't sure where I was. I sheltered under an awning and started to cry. Paris's pollution is pretty bad, and they have had a problem with acid rain in the past. This rain was pretty acidic (rain is slightly acidic anyway) and it was raising welts on my skin, adding to my misery. A woman passed by me, saw me, and came over to comfort me. I was very upset by this point so I couldn't communicate very well in French. Luckily, she spoke English. She asked me where my hotel was. I told her, and it was in the opposite direction to where she was going. She shrugged her shoulders, gathered me under her umbrella with her, and walked me all the way back to my hotel. She told me to wash my clothes immediately due to the polluted rain (otherwise they'd stain and have a pretty nasty smell), then she hugged me and was on her way. She was right about the clothing; I soaked my shirt and jeans overnight but didn't bother to wash my bra; I just dried it and wore another one. These weird brown and yellow stains came up on the material, it stank of something I can't quite describe, and it never came clean again. I had to throw it away.


    San Diego, 1997: My mother and I went to southern California together on a kind of mother-daughter trip after I graduated from college. She and her mother had done a trip to New York together in 1967 after she graduated from college, so it's sort of a tradition in our fam. I picked southern California over New York. Anyway, we're in SD just coming off a long day of doing touristy things. We went back to our hotel, changed, and were on our way to the TGI Friday's that I'd seen from the highway.

    One thing I noticed immediately about California is that the highway system is very different from ours in Texas, where frontage roads are the norm and geography makes most things very easy to get to. Just because you could see it from the highway doesn't mean it's easy to get to. So, mom found a road running alongside the 10 and we're looking all over for this restaurant. We were near the baseball field, and a Padres game was just getting out so the traffic was kind of heavy. We stopped at a traffic light and there was a cop right behind us. Light turns green, mom goes, cop turns his lights on immediately and pulls us over. Mom is shitting herself, wondering what it is she did to get pulled over.

    So, the cop strolls up to the window, asks for license and registration. Mom forks over her license and he says "Oh, Texas? How are you enjoying our city?" and basically makes pleasant conversation while mom paws all over the car for the registration. It's a rental, so she's not sure where it is. So the cop asks for the rental contract instead. She is looking all over for it...so am I...and I can tell the cop is getting bored, so I ask him why he pulled my mom over. He explained that when she stopped at the traffic light, she was over the heavy white line. Mom was shocked. She explained that in Texas, everybody does that and she's never seen anyone pulled over for it. It's true; I've never seen it either and I slopped over that line all the time in Texas. She's losing it at this point, starting to cry since she's very nervous about being pulled over on vacation, and the cop just says, "Y'know what, forget it...I'll let it go since you're new in town. You didn't know...just don't do it again." He was SO polite, and he smiled when he said it. He could have totally given us a ticket, but he didn't. So, he's about to turn to walk away when I shout, "Hey, officer? Can you tell us how to get to that TGI Friday's we saw from the highway?" Mom is hissing "shut up, shut up!" at me but the cop strolls back over, pulls out a pad, and tells us how to get there while drawing a map. He was so polite about it; no sighs, no eyerolls, nothing. He was so nice. I wrote a letter to the SDPD about the incident when I got back to Texas, complimenting his kindness and judgement. I never caught his name or badge number.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! DisruptiveHair's Avatar
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    Los Angeles, 1997: I'm in SoCal on the same mom-daughter vacation mentioned above. Mom had a friend in Huntington Beach, so we stayed with her a few days while we explored LA and Orange County. We were in LA itself, it was the Fourth of July, and mom wanted to drive around Beverly Hills to gawp at the mansions. We did so, and got slightly lost. I was in charge of reading the map, but it's hard to figure out where you are on the map when there aren't any street signs.

    Normally, LA is signposted pretty well, but the street we were on didn't have a sign. Santa Monica Blvd was right in front of us, but I didn't know what street we were ON. We're at a red light, and a cop car pulls up next to us. Remembering how polite the cop was in SD, I rolled down the window and waved at the cop in the next car. He rolls the window down, and I said, "Excuse me officer, where are we?" while gesturing at the map in my hand. He rolls his eyes, snorts, and says "Beverly Hills." The light turns green and he sped off. I was like...excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me!!!!

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    Elite Member muchlove's Avatar
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    I wish I had some interesting stories, but mostly everyone's been nice everywhere I've been. Just... polite, normal, nothing exciting. I've been to Louisiana, Florida, Northern California, Washington state, Illinois, Oregon, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana, Nevada... and Victoria and Vancouver, BC.

    I'd say people were the nicest in the southern states... sometimes annoying, but nice. They seemed a little snooty in Wisconsin, but it might have been the area I was in. I consider aloof to be in the nice category... as long as you aren't actively treating me like crap, you're alright.

    The only weird/bad experience I had was in California. I was at a bed and breakfast in the mountains, and someone came and asked if I would be wanting breakfast. I said yes. When I went down, there was some... sort of... porridge... with whole shrimp in it waiting for me. Since I am thoroughly replused by shrimp and won't eat it unless under threat of death... I didn't eat it.

    Very long story short - one of the owners came to clear the table and went into a rage about how I hadn't eaten my food. I tried to explain why and apologize, but she wouldn't hear it. She lectured me about giving advanced warning, then she threw my bowl into the kitchen sink and ranted to her partner about how she wasted her time making my food (where the whole dining room could hear).

    She ended up making me some scrambled eggs, and threw them down in front of me. Honestly, I was scared to eat those too, because god knows what she did to them. But I ate them anyway.

    I'm sure this is all just because she's a psycho and does not reflect on the state of California. That's the one thing I think of when I think of northern California, though.

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    Bronze Member child_of_dark's Avatar
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    when i was growing up, people used to be much nicer, ie they will help strangers and such.

    i grew up all over the world, and have seen alot. i must say, china is the worst country to be. people there are deceitful and unscrupulous. in fact, once im that country now, ping! my shields go up. so far, i have not fallen for any of their tricks/ practices.

    one country that has surprised me was vietnam. i knew all about the war, and its people, and their sorry states blah blah. however, over there i was constantly touched by their overall niceness and friendlyness.

    everything there is done and presented to you in the nicest possible manner - it felt just like the colonial times. maybe that was because i was staying at the Majestic Hotel, which is a really really old but classy hotel.

    i was constantly treated like a vip everywhere i went, and i often felt guilty, as seriously everything there is really really cheap. maybe im too used to overpriced goods i guess.

    japan is a nice place too, but a very expensive place to live. 1 apple cost like $1-3 i think. ouch
    Last edited by child_of_dark; October 17th, 2005 at 06:56 AM.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! DisruptiveHair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by muchlove View Post
    I wish I had some interesting stories, but mostly everyone's been nice everywhere I've been. Just... polite, normal, nothing exciting. I've been to Louisiana, Florida, Northern California, Washington state, Illinois, Oregon, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana, Nevada... and Victoria and Vancouver, BC.

    I'd say people were the nicest in the southern states... sometimes annoying, but nice. They seemed a little snooty in Wisconsin, but it might have been the area I was in. I consider aloof to be in the nice category... as long as you aren't actively treating me like crap, you're alright.

    The only weird/bad experience I had was in California. I was at a bed and breakfast in the mountains, and someone came and asked if I would be wanting breakfast. I said yes. When I went down, there was some... sort of... porridge... with whole shrimp in it waiting for me. Since I am thoroughly replused by shrimp and won't eat it unless under threat of death... I didn't eat it.

    Very long story short - one of the owners came to clear the table and went into a rage about how I hadn't eaten my food. I tried to explain why and apologize, but she wouldn't hear it. She lectured me about giving advanced warning, then she threw my bowl into the kitchen sink and ranted to her partner about how she wasted her time making my food (where the whole dining room could hear).

    She ended up making me some scrambled eggs, and threw them down in front of me. Honestly, I was scared to eat those too, because god knows what she did to them. But I ate them anyway.

    I'm sure this is all just because she's a psycho and does not reflect on the state of California. That's the one thing I think of when I think of northern California, though.

    Oh my god...that IS psycho.

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    Deep River CT, 1989: I was walking with my great aunt and mother from my great aunt's house to the supermarket. It was dark, and my great aunt's house is on a hill. Her street wasn't paved at the time (Deep River is a tiny, sleepy town in rural CT) so it was gravel-y and slippery. Inevitably, I slipped on the gravel and injured my knee. It didn't seem serious at the time, but it was dark and I couldn't actually see it. We arrived at the supermarket, where one of the cashiers freaked out the second I walked in the door.

    My left leg was covered in blood from the knee down. She whisked me into the back of the store, barking orders the whole way. "Get me some cotton balls, rubbing alcohol, and band-aids NOW!" She cleaned my wound for me and bandaged me up. I thought that was so sweet.

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    SVZ
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    Canada: Some big guy offered to be my pimp.

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    Oklahoma:I woke up next to a corpse.
    Vegas: I met a guy who paid for me to gamble all night.
    Mozambique:Ate a bite of lobster that had been soaked in bleach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReinaBikipatra View Post
    Oklahoma:I woke up next to a corpse.
    Vegas: I met a guy who paid for me to gamble all night.
    Mozambique:Ate a bite of lobster that had been soaked in bleach.

    Um...WOKE UP NEXT TO A CORPSE? Do tell!

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    No specific story here, but after having been in many, many cities in the US, I have to say that I wouldn't give you a red cent for Dallas. That was the most shallow group of people I've ever come across. All of the women had big blonde hair and wore stupid amounts of large jewelry and were just ... vacuous. The men all seemed sexist and rude. And wanted you to know about their money. It may have just been the setting that I was in, but I don't ever care to go back there.

    On the other hand, Philadelphia was the most pleasant surprise. Those folks were so nice, across the board. Great eating in that city, too.
    Buying is a profound pleasure. Simone De Beauvoir

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueEyesCryin View Post
    No specific story here, but after having been in many, many cities in the US, I have to say that I wouldn't give you a red cent for Dallas. That was the most shallow group of people I've ever come across. All of the women had big blonde hair and wore stupid amounts of large jewelry and were just ... vacuous. The men all seemed sexist and rude. And wanted you to know about their money. It may have just been the setting that I was in, but I don't ever care to go back there.

    On the other hand, Philadelphia was the most pleasant surprise. Those folks were so nice, across the board. Great eating in that city, too.

    ROFLMAO!!!!!!!! I'm from Dallas, that's a pretty accurate description of it. People in Dallas are ALL ABOUT THE GREEN. I got so sick of money when I was there I thought I was going to puke.

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    A*O
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    Austria - beautiful country. The only problem is it's full of Austrians.....

    I've travelled quite a bit and have never had a really bad experience (apart from Austria), although some local customs can be a bit confusing. Generally speaking, if you are polite and friendly to people and even, shock!, offer a few words in the local language (even 'thank you' is enough) then the locals are OK. The one thing that puts peoples' backs up is SHOUTING in English to make yourself understood. Luckily, English is spoken in most countries these days but that does not mean visitors should not make the effort to show some courtesy and not make the arrogant assumption that everyone speaks it fluently.
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    Default Reina...

    You woke up next to a corpse?! WTF happened? You can't leave us hangin like that. Spill it!
    Coffee is my happy drug

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    A*O
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    That could only happen to Reina!
    I've never liked lesbianism - it leaves a bad taste in my mouth
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    ReinaBikipatra
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    Quote Originally Posted by piperdiva View Post
    You woke up next to a corpse?! WTF happened? You can't leave us hangin like that. Spill it!
    I thought I told that story...hmmm...tomorrow I promise.

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