Post details: Blog Your Blessings Sundays: Diversity and Discovery


Permalink 06:00:00 am, by Email , 1023 words   English (CA)
Categories: Blog Your Blessings Sundays, Day Tripping & Travel

Blog Your Blessings Sundays: Diversity and Discovery

Blog yer Blessings

"I want the cultures of all lands to blow about my house, as freely as possible, but I refuse to be blown off my feet, by anyone of them"
- Mahatma Ghandi

We were discussing recently the worst thing any tourist can do when visiting abroad... the one we agreed was worst of all was loudly mocking, commenting negatively, or otherwise doing negative comparisons to the place and culture you're visiting and your own home...

Sadly, in my experience, I've only seen this twice... both times in Paris.

Last time I was in "The City of Lights", I was doing the mandatory tourist thing of heading up the Eiffel Tower... we shared our elevator up with about a dozen people and one very loud young woman with a thick Southern (American) drawl started commenting VERY loudly...

"Look at their money, daddy... it's so colourful... it looks like play money! Want some play money, daddy?"

You've never seen a group of people so utterly put-out as this elevator save these three travelling Americans... and it was difficult to not want to bury my head in the sand lest people think (because of my language and accent,) I was with this woman.

Oddly enough, when I reached the main platform of the tower, I was in line with a fellow with a thick "Bronx Honk" (New York) who saw that I had two patches on my leather jacket... a maple-leaf flag and a Canadian Armed Forces Tri-Force crest.

I can only assume he figured I was a Francophone because he interrupted his loud conversation on how easy "French Chicks" are (apparently, buy 'em a few drinks with real American money and they'll do anything...) to say in a semi-stage chat to his comrades, "What an a$$hole. He's wearin' f*cking Canadian bullsh*t on his jacket. I bet he thinks he gets special f*ckin' treatment!"

Well, after being told that the French Franc was play-money and that Parisian girls are... um... of loose virtue when presented with the American dollar, I was kinda glad to stand out as Canadian.

(...and sadly, yes, I have seen "better treatment" from people outside North America when they discover I'm Canadian... which is a little sad in many ways...)

Now, these were the WORST two cases... I had other run-ins with other "ugly" tourists... and not just American... to be totally honest, I found German tourists to be really much worse on my travels as far as manners and whatnot on the whole... and yeah, you can hate me for this stereotype, but I'm talking from personal experience... but I digress...

...oh, quick secondary digression... in all my years, I think I've experienced FOUR "ugly Americans" in tourism mode... and two of them were more "humorous" than really despicable... so a total of four to hundreds...

Still, I love experiencing new cultures... and learning... and I'm thankful that Canada is "multicultural" in design.

You see, unlike a "melting pot", we only ask that people respect the laws of the land and live in harmony with others... but maintain their ethnicity, culture, and even spirituality.

Oh, we're ALL still Canadians, but one can experience a plethora of cultures, food, and genuine people without going too far... which honestly sets you up nicely when you're abroad. You're already used to the concept that you are the visitor and you're there to experience... not to "compare" or "challenge" things that aren't like "back home where it's better".

In fact, perhaps things AREN'T better back home and you could learn something from the place you're visiting.

I don't think there's a better thing in this world than learning and experiencing... and when you can do that first hand... try to sample and even get the complete experience of a different land or culture...

...and provided that only the best qualities of these cultures are at the fore, more's the better.

You see, Canada never had much infighting amongst the people that live here that got terribly out of hand... in Toronto, people of ALL races and stripes pretty much coexist without as many issues as one might think...

I wish I could say there's ZERO intolerance, but I can say that intolerance even "under one's breath" is not the norm here... most people LOVE the fact that there's such a diverse cross-section of the globe in this one city.

There's even been serious talk that if the United Nations "re-structures", it might relocate to Toronto! (Believe it or not!)

Now, I'm not saying Toronto is the only city like this and that Canada is the only country that is welcoming... we may not even be close to being "the best"... but we do seem to have a "reputation" within the globe... and it's one I'm quite proud of...

...and I love it!

So my blessing for today is celebrating other cultures and civilizations...

Save wars and intolerance, you gotta admit, this planet is very, VERY interesting and great on many levels... and I love 'em all.

Matthew's Taking a Couple of Day's Off!


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Comment from: MsDemmie [Visitor] Email ·
What a fantastic blessing - one I wish would spread world wide.

Happy BYB Sunday - have a great week.
PermalinkPermalink 05/20/07 @ 10:28
Comment from: Blue Panther [Visitor] Email ·
Nice post!

Being born and brought up in India I can relate with most of what you have said.
PermalinkPermalink 05/20/07 @ 11:16
Comment from: admin [Member] Email ·
Hey MsDemmie... Indeed! I think it might when the dust settles.

Hi Blue Panther... Thanks kindly... like I said to MsDemmie, I have a feeling once the powder-kegs that are out in view now have expended their powder, the planet's in for a bit of an awakening of tolerance and acceptance... after all, we're all in this together!
PermalinkPermalink 05/20/07 @ 12:35
Comment from: CyberCelt [Visitor] Email ·
So true. It is so embarrassing when the US President does not even the culture of visiting dignitaries.

Why people travel all over the world to stay in the same environment as they live is beyond me.
PermalinkPermalink 05/20/07 @ 17:28

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