"Tour" Is Not A Four-Letter Word in China

Guest blogger Heather Sullivan, reposted from her Discovery Student Adventures China blog. Image from Heather’s China Pics.

Heather poses an interesting question, and after reading her post, please share your thoughts.

(Sorry, Heather, for not posting this one sooner–very thought-provoking, as usual).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Just a quick post about something that’s been on my mind this entire trip…I live at the Jersey Shore where we have a special name for our Summer tourists: Bennys. And let me tell you, it’s by no means a term of endearment. The origin of this slang term is debatable, but regardless of its roots, no one debates its derogatory meaning. Ask anyone who lives at “The Shore”: “What do think about Bennys?” And you’ll most likely hear the following: “Bennys Go Home!” We even have t-shirts, bumber stickers, etc. stating it proudly.

New York City is less than forty-five minutes north of The Shore and you can spot a tourist there in a New York minute. Once spotted, you can see them being scowled at by taxi drivers (actually, by all drivers) and nudged out of the way on sidewalks by busy business people scurrying to work.

Now for China. General consensus of everyone on our trip is that our Asian hosts actually seem GLAD to see us! There literally has not been one single place we’ve visited that someone didn’t ask to take a picture of us or with us. The students think this is the coolest thing- they feel like rock stars (us grown ups don’t mind so much either!)

What do you think is the reason for the different attitudes towards tourists in America and China? Is my characterization of the NY/NJ attitude just limited to the North East or to big cities?

PLEASE share your thoughts!

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One Comment;

  1. Techy Nana said:

    What a wonderful and insightful post. Certainly gives one pause and wonder why it is that Americans say, “Glad to see you, now go home” from more than just the NY/NJ shores. I hear it in CA (where I live) and other states I’ve visited. Many times it’s said in jest but the bumper stickers don’t seem so funny when I’m on the receiving end as I visit another state.

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