Americans and travel

If Americans want to know why they are sometimes less than popular outside of their homeland then they need look no further than the arrogant, super-sized businessman sitting at the table next to mine in a Delhi hotel at breakfast time yesterday morning. He was complaining very loudly about his coffee refill not arriving quickly enough, citing “misconduct” and threatening the responsible waiter with complaints to the management.

Personally, I found the service to be excellent with the staff providing the sort of customer focused attention that Americans can only hope to aspire to (the Trident Hotel in case you ask). And before you accuse me of being biased against our cousins over the pond, I’ll have you know that my wife is American. Fortunately she lacks the case of arrogance many of her fellow country-folk seem to carry around with them when travelling overseas.

India is the last country I’m visiting at the end of a year that has included trips to locations ranging from Moscow to Tokyo, Sau Paulo to Vienna. Of the places I’ve visited for the first time, the one I’d most want to go back to is Beunos Aires. Of the rest, some of my enduring memories will be a late night stroll across Red Square, taking a trip on the Bullet Train, walking around the magnificent royal palace in Bangkok, and todays colourful journeys through the streets of Delhi.

Everywhere I’ve been the welcomes have been warm, and the hospitality and generosity wonderful. None more so than my colleague in Tokyo, Yoshi, who treated me to some of the best food I’ve yet to have the pleasure of eating.

I was going to end this entry with some narrative about international lessons on information security, but I’ll save that and just remark that if the bolshy American at breakfast had a bit more patience and not considered himself to be superior to the waiting staff, he might have learnt from them, as I did, how to make the most of available sightseeing time and the best places to visit. There’s also a tip handed down to me from a wiser age. It goes: be nice to the waiters, for they are the ones disappearing into the kitchens to collect your food.