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25th of September, 2017

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The Friendly Tourist

If anybody ever tells you that the world hates Americans because of Bush or 9/11, just nod knowingly. And spit in their face.

The people who hate Americans now, have always hated Americans; and they likely always will. In fact, they hate everyone. It makes them feel better about their position, and distracts them from the obvious deficiencies they suffer themselves.

I’ve had, thankfully, just a few run-ins with anti-Americanism over the years since I left the States. The one incident I think of the most, when the subject comes up, was an encounter with someone I refer to as “The Friendly Tourist”. Here are my journal entries, starting in Koh Samui, Thailand, in July of 1999.

July 2, 1999
Koh Samui, Thailand

This morning, we were again awoken by the same knuckleheads who had kept us up all night. I drag-assed out of bed like a man who hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for a week, and took a shower. We went into town and grabbed breakfast at the usual place, then rented a motorbike for the day.

[later that night...]

Afterward, I went to bed, too. The Danish Girls nextdoor were in full voice, and were totally out of hand. They kept falling onto our porch, shaking the whole hut and keeping us awake. I went outside once, to let them know that there was someone in the bungalow. When I’d gone back inside, they started jumping on the porch again, so I opend the door and asked them nicely to stop it. They did, but they still sat outside our bungalow yelling, singging, running the engines on their bikes. Why are Europeans so obnoxious?

July 3, 1999
Koh Samui, Thailand

Well, today got off to a great start. I got to sleep about 3:00 am last night, in spite of the noisy roommates. Then, about 7:30, they started trying to crank a motorbike right outside of our window. I guess they’d never heard of a manual choke before, because tehy’d crank it, rev it up to about 8,000 RPMs, and then it would die. And they’d do it again. This went on and on, and finally, I just got out of bed.

By the time I’d gotten dressed and had gone out onto the porch for a cigarette, they were all gone. They had apparently never gone to bed, and had taken up all the showers, so I sat on the porch brushing my teeth. Then, Mr. Motorbike came back. He pulled up and stopped his bike of front of one of the girls’ bungalows, almost killing himself in the process. He had a bamboo water-pipe in his front basket, which he grabbed and took inside the Hut. He came back out and had a puzzled look on his face.

All this time, I was sitting there on the porch of our bungalow, staring at this burn-out and thinking he, and he alone, was to blame for my being out of bed. He saw me and said, Hey, can I have some water?. I was surprised that he was English, and not Danish like the rest of them. I looked at my water-bottle next to me, which had less than an inch of water left in it.

What, you’re serious? I asked him.

Did this loser actually think that, after keeping me up all night, and forcing me out of bed at 7:30 in the morning, I was going to give him the last of my water for his bong?

He really went nuts when I told him no. He jumped on his bike, cranked it up, and tried to gun it straight at me. He made it about a yard before it almost dumped, since he’d left the kickstand down. He pointed at the Australian flag-patch on my pants, and slurred, “Is tha’ where you come from?”

When I said I was from the U.S., he got right into my face and started yelling that same old shit.

“American? You want to know why everybody hates Americans? It’s because you’re all a bunch of fookin’ pricks, tha’s why!”

He walked his scooter closer to me, almost falling over twice, all the while babbling away.

“Everybody fookin’ hates Americans, because they’re not fookin’ friendly!”, he continued. “That’s why everybody loves the English, because we knows how to be friendly, see?”

He had reached my porch by this time, and he leaned to within about an inch of my face. “That’s what I am: I’m a friendly tourist! I’m gonna fookin’ rip ya!” he screamed at me. The irony was apparently lost on him.

I just looked at him. It was no use talking. He was so drunk and stoned he wouldn’t have listened, and if he’d taken a swing, he probalby would’ve just falled over or punched himself.

I made a motion to stand up.

“Where you think you’re going?”, he asked.

“I’m going to put my boots on. Then I’m going to stomp your guts out,” I replied.

He defused, or rather postponed, the situation by saying that, since he’d been drinking all night, he was going away, but he’d be back tomorrow ‘cause he knows where I live and all that. Then he drove away, almost killing himself by forgetting about the kickstand again. He really wasn’t much of a scooter driver.

I was glad when he left. I grabbed my stuff and went to take a shower. Afterward, D_____ and I went to the cantina for breakfast, but I wasn’t very hungry, then checked out.

On the way out, I saw the Friendly Tourist was back, driving his scooter awkwardly around and being a general nuisance. I went back to the front desk and told them what was going on. Well, actually I told them he was driving around asking for hookers and selling drugs, which, ironically, is frowned upon in rural Thailand. The lady there went out and found the guy and told him to beat feet, with a couple of scary-looking Thai guys not too far away. The Friendly Tourist looked like he was going to argue, but as I walked by I heard that he was almost crying, yeelling about how nobody understood him. Typical drunk-shit.

We quickly grabbed our packs and walked right past the guy, b ut he didn’t say a word, just stood there tying not to get bum-rushed. We walked up the sandy main street, until we got to the north end, where all the taxis to Na-Thong were. We brabbed on for 30 baht each, and we were away.

Comments

Flashman

Beautiful. Priceless, even. Enough to make you want to celebrate our imperialism, doncha' think?

I've found that most of the pierced, tattooed, international layabouts abhor Americans, at least in Europa... But I've gotten free drinks from older Frenchmen in the more quiet estaminets.

They remember.

Danielle

When I lived in Canada for three years, I experienced more anti-americanism than you can imagine. It was constant there. Stupid american this, dirty americans that. I had my car keyed with "go home" when I still had my Florida tag on the car while I was traveling back and forth.

Even now, you can see this manner of thinking in their media. Of course there were wonderful people there but it is not the overly polite nice place that people seem to think it is.

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