An Australian publication recently nominated candidates for the four worst tourists of the past few years. (To my knowledge, none are baby boomer travelers.)
Here are the four, with names omitted to protect the innocent:
1. Everyone who has been to London has no doubt seen the Queen’s Guards who march and stand stony-faced in front of Buckingham Palace, and I’m sure there have been a number of tourists over the years who have tried to make them laugh, smile, or even give the slightest reaction. And it never works — or almost never. In 2009, one young man from Colombia was so obnoxious in mimicking a guardsman’s gait as he marched solemnly along that the guardsman broke ranks and went over to give the tourist an angry shove from behind. And really, who could blame him?
2. Halfway around the world, three British tourists, in turn, stole a fairy penguin named Dirk from Sea World Australia. (Fairy penguins are the world’s smallest variety of penguins, and are very cute, but also very fragile.) Then they posted the whole thing (including an unauthorized swim with dolphins) on Facebook. Luckily Dirk was found on a beach the following day, after the tourists had apparently abandoned him there.
3. A 15-year-old Chinese boy, traveling in Egypt, etched his name on a 3,000-year-old hieroglyph, noting that he “was here” (in Chinese, of course). His mother later offered an apology to the Egyptian people.
4. A 36-year-old Norwegian man got so drunk at the airport in Rome that he passed out on the luggage belt and fell asleep, even passing through an X-ray machine without waking up. It’s not known whether the X-rays turned up anything inside his head.
I don’t know if these are the world’s worst tourists — they undoubtedly have some stiff competition — but I’d be interested in hearing from readers as to which you think is the worst of the four, and if you have other nominees of your own.
The reader with the best nominee (judged by me) will win a bound travel diary from Disney Cruise Line.
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