Worst Tourists of 2012

I do so love these "worst" lists: they're so much funnier than "best" lists. It's similar to being drawn to the villain in a story more so than the pretty heroine who does everything right and is never hit by a bullet. Sheesh. It goes without saying that the worst tourists are actually those who break the law, like old fat guys who like to have sex with children in far-off lands. I think we all agree on this one. There's nothing funny about these people.

But are the British, with their drunken karaoke nights and Canary Island pub quiz brawls, really the worst tourists? And the Germans are the second best? Despite their towel-dibs behavior at the hotel pool? Hmmm. And the Ammis are third best? I've heard Americans can be very rude abroad, but that's only because we insist on the same type of service we would receive in the US. In general, service in restaurants and hotels in Europe is somewhat rough around the edges compared to what we expect in the US.

Although I can't tell you where they're from, the tourists below are the top four on my WORST list. So, in no particular order, here are 2012's tourists who made me cock my head to one side and say, "Really?"

1. Mr. Deltoids. OK, so there was an animal sitting on a low branch, and tourists were taking pictures of it. A common scenario. This particular tourist took 7000 pictures. Finally, I just took a picture of the tourist and wished a plague on his children. How many pictures do you need of the animal sitting in the tree? And another thing while I'm ranting here: it takes some people so long to focus, to adjust little buttons on their cameras, to decide on the best composition. It's amazing to me that this particular fellow could keep his arm up for as long as he did. He must have excellent deltoid strength. Was he filming this motionless creature? You all know this fellow: he's the guy who makes you watch his dreary vacation videos! At any rate, be warned, Mr. Deltoids: Don't be surprised if some adorable tourist behind you slaps you on your bald spot and screams, "Just snap the fricking picture!"

2. Mr. Hot Pants. Holy places that have signs asking you not to enter them if you're not wearing the appropriate clothing should be respected for what they are--even if you're not religious. No wonder our world is full of bullies and bitches. If you're wearing short shorts, don't go into the church. There are several reasons for this. 1. It's considered disrespectful, whether you think it is or not, and 2. If you're a man, you look ridiculous in short shorts. Wait, there's a number 3: You look really really ridiculous.

I actually took a picture of a man wearing very short cut-off shorts in a church, but I can't find it. The picture has mysteriously disappeared from my hard drive. Hey, even my hard drive thought you looked ridiculous, Mr. Hot Pants.

3. Mr. Butt. Speaking of holy places. The mountains are sacred to me. I can't understand why someone would hike up a mountain while smoking in the first place. And then you throw your butts on the ground? You bring shame on yourself (along with cancer of course). And this one IS against the law. In some places you could be fined as much as 25,000 dollars for dropping a cigarette butt.

4. Mr. Stuff-it. I'll never ever understand why the guy in front of me on the plane thinks it's OK to stuff his jacket, two pillows, a blanket and a newspaper on top of my feet. Does he think the space on top of my feet is the place for these things? "Excuse me, kind sir. The space under your seat is the place for my things. The space for your things is the space 'under the seat in front of you'. The announcement at the beginning of every flight makes this clear. Maybe you were distracted or sleeping at that moment. What? No, I'm not a smart-ass. I'm adorable. What? Oh no, I can assure you, I am. A-DOR-A-BULL."

5. OK, I'm adding a fifth one. Have you ever been sitting on a bench overlooking, say, Rio de Janiero, enjoying the view and thinking how perfect this day is . . . when along come twenty teenagers to block this view with their behinds? And the only recourse you have is to take a picture of their behinds?

I know it's not their fault. I don't own the view. But being the adorably tiny person I am, I am quite sensitive to the tourist who steals it (although technically I don't own it--I get that). Usually it's the tall guy who chooses to stand right in front of me so that I can no longer see the parade passing by. And who doesn't love a parade? I wouldn't know. I've never really seen one, except when I chose to jump up and down or climb onto the backs of tall guys.

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type


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