This blog post was originally published in July 2012 under the title "Etiquette for XXX Olympiad". But this blog post written during London Olympics will be good for Olympics in any city in the world.
Puleeeze. I am not a pervert. In Roman numeral XXX means 30 (not triple X-rated). The 30th Summer Olympics, which is officially known as Games of the XXX Olympiad, is beginning tomorrow in London, England.
Britain’s tourism agency has issued guidelines on the etiquette of dealing with thousands of foreign visitors who will come to attend the games. The advice that is being given by the tourism agency is for those who are likely to work with tourists arriving from foreign countries. This includes people such as hotel staff, taxi drivers, etc.
Here are some of the guidelines: (My own interpretation is given in brackets)
For Brazilians – Don’t ask personal questions (Sir, Did you bring your mistress with you?)
For people from the Middle East – Never be bossy with them. They are not used to being told what they can’t do. (Sir, please don’t strap that bomb on your chest while you are in my taxi. I am just making a request, Sir.)
For the Polish – They don’t like be stereotyped as drunks. (Would you like a tall glass of Vodka with your breakfast, Sir?)
For the French – They are very picky in restaurants. (No Sir, we don’t have escargot here and no croissants as well. However we do have FRENCH fries and FRENCH bread.)
For the Argentineans – They don’t like jokes about their clothing or weight. (Sir, please use the stairs when you are going up to your hotel room. Our elevators have a weight limit. Also, please remember that only wearing underwear and black business socks is not appropriate attire at our swimming pools.)
For Indians - They are in general, an impatient lot, and like to be quickly attended to. The more affluent they are, the more demanding and brusque they tend to be. They also don't like being touched by strangers and may be suspicious about the quality of British food. (I don’t vant to stand in queue. I vant my dal and rice immediately. Don’t touch me. My mommy will be mad. I have to call her and explain to her vhy you touched me. I don’t like Yorkshire pudding. I hate subghetti also. All I vant is 2 idlis and 3 buckets of sambar.)
China and Hong Kong – Winking or pointing with an index finger is rude. They don’t like to talk about failure, poverty, or death. They are unimpressed by the landmarks that are only a few hundred years old. (Thank you Sir, for building HUGE and impressive Olympic buildings in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics. I hear that they are unused and failing miserably. Welcome to London. We (pointing to my chest) won’t make the same mistake as you. (pointing with index finger) wink, wink)
Mexicans – Don’t discuss poverty, immigration or earthquakes. They prefer to talk about history and art. (Sir, I would like to hear about the history of East Los Angeles. Sir, do you personally know Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio?)
Canadians – They will be annoyed about being mistaken for an American. (Sir, I will never mistake you for an American. So far you have spoken 4 sentences and all of them ended with “eh”. My name is John Doe, eh. You are also here for the Olympics, eh. I like pizza, eh. Buckingham Palace is beautiful, eh.)
Americans – They are so informal to the point of being very direct. They won’t hesitate about complaining. (Now that we are in London, I want some real American food. Where can I get a burrito or some pizza? Why is everyone a foreigner in London? How come the bartenders never look at you and acknowledge your presence? London hotels charge $300 a night but why is there an additional charge for WiFi? I am going to enjoy this vacation…even if it’s going to kill me.)