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Old July 17th, 2010, 01:41 PM
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Paul Motter Paul Motter is offline
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Let me ask you this: how do you feel about strangers on cruise ships? Do you openly engage in conversations, or do you only talk to people you have been introduced to?

Here is the background on this question.

I just read another post about "asking people to take pictures" The thread asks if one should be embarrassed about asking people to take your picture with your camera.

One note mentioned that "we were approached by a man on a ship who offered to take our picture with our camera, and my wife started acting threatened. I said to her 'let him take our picture, where is he going to go?" and his wife was then suitably embarassed about her initial reaction.

I admit I also sometimes offer to help strangers, like if I see them trying to read a map, and sometimes I get a rather harsh rebuke - and it always surprises me. I was reminded of something that just happened to me on Epic.

I was traveling solo, so I had been engaging in a lot of conversations with strangers. 99% of people were very happy to chat for a long time. But one quiet afternoon I was strolling in the buffet area. I saw a middle aged woman reading a "Guide to New York City" and writing copious notes. I lived in New York and as Kuki will tell you I have given a few tours of the city, so I just asked her "would you like some help planning your visit in New York?"

She just looked at me and said "No!" in an obvious "end of converation" tone. Okay, no problem, but I admit that is exactly the kind of thing I was referring to when I have said traveling solo on ships can be not fun - especially for single men. People will take very honest ans simple conversation and sometimes turn it into something confrontational. (I am happy to Say Epic was a real departure from that typical scenario - but on my first cruise as a solo back in 1996 I have to say 90% of my conversations went the wrong way, and I really don't know why).

Now, it is not as if she was attractive and my question sounded suggestive. I was just trying to be helpful. But I felt as if I had just been slapped in the face for being too forward.

Here is one caveat, though: Europeans (she was one) are far more threatened by strangers offering to help, because some cities (like Amsterdam) have taught homeless people to help tourists and then ask for a 'donation.'

Obviously, I dont look like I need a donation, and I doubt that woman didn't need a single question answered. but for some reason she obviously felt threatened - hence my original question.
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