It can be frightening to contemplate America's power in the world when one travels internationally with many of her citizens. Too many seem not to have the slightest idea where they are or where they are going. On a very recent eastern Mediterranean cruise [HAL's Noordam] we visited Alexandria, Egypt, and a convoy of 18 buses took us to Cairo to visit the pyramids; at least one of our fellow passengers was heard to proclaim her surprise at being told she was in Africa...On a Panama cruise I listened to two men debate whether they were moving from the Caribbean to the Pacific or vice versa, and two others argue about whether it was worth taking a shore excursion the next day in Guadalupe [our next stop was Guatemala]...On the bright side, these folks provide the "bulk" that keeps prices down.
As most of the people are on the cruise for a vacation, what does it matter whether they have a clue where they are or not. YOU are on vacation too, so again what does it matter if there are scores of ignorant masses about you. You obviously feel strongly enough about it to post such a message on a very apolitical message board. Lighten up and enjoy your vacation. That is unless you derive pleasure from a relatively cheap form of intellectual snobbery.
I also am amazed at the geographical ignorance of most Americans. I am an American living in Northern Greenland (the country/island near the North Pole) and it amazes me how few people know where the largest Island on earth is located. The reason that these ignoramuses bother me is that they tend to be proud of their stupidity and will usually proclaim it loudly while amongst non-Americans, thereby giving the (false) impression that all Americans are quasi-illiterate - the old "Ugly American" syndrome. For all they care, most of these sheep could be put on a cruise ship and travel from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami to Ft. Lauderdale and most would never know the difference. These are the same people who assume that everyone on earth should speak English, accept US dollars, and that Canada is the northern-most US state, where everyone lives in igloos.
Phil <---stepping off the soapbox and carefully backing away...
If it makes you feel any better, I've travelled all over the world for most of my life and find that Americans abroad are no worse than any other nationality, sometimes better. For example, try travelling in Paris with a group of Germans.
(I was quite happy to standout as the lone American!) The problem here is that if an Egyptian tourist acts like a goon in some foreign country, nobody cares because few people envy the life of the average Egyptian. Despite what you may see anectodally, America has one of the best educated societies in the entire world (though we ought to do better in relation to the developed world.) We tend to stand out because we are proud of who we are, and we tend to make a splash because we have more money to spend when we travel abroad. There is a tremendous amount of admiration for the US and Americans around the world, but there is also a degree of envy and resentment that we are blessed with so many gifts. Does that mean we have a duty to conduct ourselves in a manner consistent with other's image of who we are? It may, but we can't condemn all Americans for being who they are just because they leave their home state. So your average tourist doesn't know Dominica from the Dominican Republic -- so what? Do you think the AVERAGE resident of the Dominican Republic knows where Iowa is? Often times ignorance stems from lack of exposure. Take heart in the fact that many of the buffoons you see outside our fine nation's borders are in fact expanding their horizons and learning something of the rest of the world. Rather than obsess that others spend time looking like idiots, drink heavily and enjoy yourself!
The geographically ignorant,yes.That largest island on earth you posed the question living in Northern Greenland had me think you meant Northern Greenland,where as a few of the ignoramuses you are bothered by may have thought it was AUSTRALIA and guess what ? THEY'RE RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!
> The geographically ignorant,yes.That largest island on earth
> you posed the question living in Northern Greenland had me
> think you meant Northern Greenland,where as a few of the
> ignoramuses you are bothered by may have thought it was
> AUSTRALIA and guess what ? THEY'RE RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!
Except for Australians, the vast majority of the world's geographers AND the United Nations call Australia a continent, not an island. Using the same thinking one could call Africa an island or Eurasia and island.