Olympics 101: How to be nice to foreign people
Everyone’s got pet hates. Mine include sniffing milk to “see” if it’s still ok to drink, spitting in public streets, couples who refer to themselves in the third person and people that persist in holiday countdowns on their Facebook updates.
But just because this is my list, that doesn’t mean that all Australian people want to throw up when they watch someone’s nose nestle into the lid of a communal carton of milk or clears their throat and deposits the contents onto the street.
Yet VisitBritain thinks that you can take the behaviours of a few people and apply it to everyone who comes from that country. In fact they’re so worried about it, that as part of their planning for the 2012 Olympics, they’ve created a guidebook called “how to be nice to foreign people when they come for the Olympics”. Well, it’s something like that anyway.
You can find the full list here but here are some of the highlights:
Don’t wink at anyone from Hong Kong, or attempt any physical contact the first time you meet someone from India.
If you’re pouring a glass of wine for an Argentinean then make sure the glass doesn’t tilt backwards and if you’ve struck up a conversation with someone from Brail, whatever you do don’t ask if they’re married or what they do for work.
The French will be picky in restaurants, Middle Eastern people don’t like being bossed around and always be sure that you never mistake a Canadian, for American.
Australians and New Zealanders also feature on the list and Briton’s are encouraged to indulge our sense of humour and “not take offence” to our colloquial use of the word “pom”.
“It is more of a friendly endearment than an intended insult,” the guide advises.
Whatever your take on the sweeping cultural generalisations, there’s a strong argument for wanting to “spruce the place up a bit” in time for the big games.
VisitBritain is said to be expecting approximately £2.1 billion in additional tourism revenue over the July to August 2012 period and around 320, 000 extra people on the streets of London.
That’s an awful lot of pints to pour and forced cheer to muster for the Brits, so let’s just hope the weather holds out too.
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