Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by N1150X, Aug 18, 2008.
Though in europe I felt so dang FAT it was not funny.
Go buy a case of vodka. Go find a couple members of the military. Tell them you are a former U.S. soldier and have a case of vodka and wish to celebrate with them.
After about 3 bottles of vodka fitting in will no longer matter and you will, strangley enough, find yourself speaking perfect russian.
If they like you, you're in. The liked us so much they docked a boat full of prostitutes behind our ship and one in front of it.
I'm proud to be an American....but when I'm in someone else's home (or country) I try to be humble and courteous.
Also....there is a commonly held perception that ALL Americans are millionaires. This can quickly make you the target of criminals and even get you kidnapped for ransom. And though the former eastern block states deal harshly with criminals, they have very limited means to catch them, and the criminals play for keeps.
I personally met a young American guy who was working in Moscow and sharing an apartment with a co-worker. They were "pegged" as Americans and set up. Some very brazen bad guys forced there way into their apartment, tied them up and held them at knife point for ~12 hours. During this time, they're ATM cards were taken and they were coerced into telling the PIN #s. After their bank accounts were emptied the BGs proceeded to beat the snot out of them, because they didn't feel they got enough money. The BGs then debated whether or not to slit their throats....finally opting to beat them severely and leave them with a warning not to call the police and a reminder that they could come back at any time.
They did file a police report and no one was ever caught. One guy left his job and the country, never to return. The other stayed, re-located and learned to be much more cautious about revealing his ex-pat. status and confiding in his co-workers who were nationals.
Let them get by without American dollars. See how long it remains an issue.
As a soldier abroad, many of the locals assume you are 1.) American 2.) Loaded with cash, and would "pester" you so to speak.
I have no issues with telling somebody to pack sand, however, a buddy of mine showed me a technique that INSTANTLY removed interest in us from said locals.
Local: "Hey, Americans!"
Buddy: "We're Canadians..."
Local: Walks away...
Works like a champ...
I agree though, you will be embarrassed when you see (mostly when you hear) other Americans. I think I had something of an advantage with my southern upbringing and its disdain for brash/mouthy/obnoxious social behavior. The best thing to do abroad is simply appreciate how it is different. Some things will make you long for home but others will make you want to stay forever.
Wear Birkenstock sandals and black calf high socks!!!
Having traveled overseas several times, I have found that those who behave in a "Midwestern-ly" manner tend to get very good treatment from the locals, while those with a more "coastal" way of interaction tend to get shafted. Of course, the same would happen to them in the Midwest, and I personally feel that they have it coming!
That quote made my night.
Being prepared is pretty popular here on THR. We find a difference between being paranoid and being smart.
As a rule European cell phones work all over Europe so you can buy it anywhere. Often incoming calls are free and outgoing call range all over the map. Right now I'm on Vodaphone and paying 30p a minute in the UK (about 50 cents.) YMMV.
Once you have a phone learn the local number for what we call 911. In the UK it's 999.
Oh, and keep it glued to your ear while walking down the street even if no one is on the other end. You'll blend in fine!
What's so smart about trying to accomplish the impossible? The second you open your mouth in a foreign country you will be made. How practical is that? You should only worry about learning local customs so as not to offend your hosts. Going beyond that in hopes that you will blend in for safety sake starts to border on paranoia. If you are visiting a country in which it is unsafe to be outed as an American then you shouldn't be there in the first place. That's the more intelligent way to "be prepared."
I pretty much agree there. Best you can do is play off as a Canadian if it comes down to it. A small patch on your pack is about all you can do in that regard.
"Ya nyiz naiya.".
If he won't take no for an answer then you say:
"Yoop dvayu matte.".
Then head butt him.
They'll think you're a local.
Forget Russia, don't do that in the USA!!
None of the "If it weren't for us you'd be speakin' GERMAN!" either--at least, not unless provoked.
You will be surprised people are people everywhere. Unless the country you go to is fiercely anti-American, don't bother and be what you are - a tourist - and enjoy it.
As Bushmaster already pointed out: the fact they may not like US Government doesn't mean they hate Americans as people. In many Ex-Soviet Republics they hate Russians due to oppression they experienced from Russians in the Soviet era.
You will meat all kinds of people, nice guys as well as stupid jerks. Do you, guys, have stupid jerks in US?
1) Never drink the water.
2) Be personally humble and dress nondescriptly.
3) DO NOT have sex with anything!
Like a lot of other posters, I invariably get asked for directions in whatever country I'm in. In Central America, I always go first to the local "Feed Store" and buy a local shirt (t-shirts with local beer logos seem to work amazingly well). The toughest place was Milan, Italy, where even the street people dress more stylishly than I do...I depended on my Sweetie to help me out with my clothes, and I was pleased walking across the big piazza in Milan that I looked like everybody else.
Depending on the country and what I see the camposinas carrying, I may buy a machete, a cane, a walking stick or something. Always learn to say "please," "thank you," "where is a bathroom" and "beer" in the local language. In Europe and the Caribbean I have visited dive shops and purchased a cheap dive knife WHERE LEGAL! Be creative...in Mexico City prepping for a climbing expedition, I dressed like what I was, a largely broke American climber...carrying an ice axe. Met a lot of Mexican climbers who agreed that only a fool would leave something valuable like an ice axe in a Mexico City hotel room!
Finally, eat the local food. Carry Imodium just in case...
Americans stick out like the candy bar in the pool in Caddy Shack.
Like walking in a bad part of America, don't look like a victim. And if attacked, fight back.
You'll be surprised how easily people from other countries accept being assaulted and how surprised they are if you fight back.
Separate names with a comma.