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When do you stop being surprised?

When do you stop being surprised?

Old Feb 5th 2013, 2:02 am
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Default When do you stop being surprised?

A colleague of mine is going to our UK office for some meetings, and then onto mainland Europe - they've never been to either before.

They were asking me for hints and tips, so I was advising them on the area and mentioned that they need to take a small amount of cash. Mainly for personal things, eg snacks as paying for small items by card in the UK can be difficult, and for using public loos etc. The conversation went like this:

I can take dollars, right?
No, they aren't accepted in the UK. You need some pounds.
Really? I can't use dollars?
No. In the same way I can't spend British pounds here, you can't use US dollars in British shops.
Oh, but I'm going to Europe. I'll just take Euros then.
Well, yes you'll need them for Europe, but you'll still need British pounds in England.
Really? I can't use Euros?
Well, in the odd shop in towns with ports, maybe, but, no the only currency where you are going is Pounds Sterling.
Oh, but I don't understand pence. I dont know what pence coins look like and won't know what I'm paying. Are you sure I can't use dollars?

This is a college educated person working for a multi-national company. I won't bore you with the details at their horror of only getting British tv channels and not US cable in the hotel while they're there, and their relief at having a McDonalds nearby. But really - I thought such attitudes were apocryphal amongst professional type staff. Obviously not!

I'm not sure how much practice it will take for me to master my face and voice into a more professional tone than the one I took today....
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 2:18 am
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

Makes a change from them thinking it's all foggy and cobbled
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 2:42 am
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

I think that many Americans think or assume that Britain uses the Euro. It's been mentioned to me on more than one occasion. That said - assuming you can purchase things in the UK using the American $ is beyond ridiculous!!
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 2:55 am
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

It's kind of weird. My office is 4 people, me, my boss born in Germany, mother brought her here 40 years ago I think, one colleague local, but Puerto Rican heritage, went to London 20 years ago and still raves about it, and the other has Spanish parents and a Cuban husband. Not a "Yank" amongst us

Furthermore, not highly educated, but certainly aware of worldy things like pounds and Euros.
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 3:32 am
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

Originally Posted by yellowroom

This is a college educated person working for a multi-national company. I won't bore you with the details at their horror of only getting British tv channels and not US cable in the hotel while they're there...
Hotel porn is hotel porn, so who cares about the local cable channels.

Who actually watches tele in the hotel anyway, other than the weather/news?

Tell him he can get shit faced in a pub and eat at the same time....at lunch....with clients....and it won't be a dirty little perverted thing equal to touching little children.
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 3:50 am
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

Originally Posted by Bob
Hotel porn is hotel porn, so who cares about the local cable channels.

Who actually watches tele in the hotel anyway, other than the weather/news?

Tell him he can get shit faced in a pub and eat at the same time....at lunch....with clients....and it won't be a dirty little perverted thing equal to touching little children.
Ah, classic Bobisms, and on a Monday too!!

Thanks for the chuckle.
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 4:39 am
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

For many Americans, their introduction to foreign travel is a trip to Canada or Mexico. It isn't really necessary to change money when visiting tourist destinations in either country, as dollars are widely accepted in both places. Some may presume that this situation is typical elsewhere in the world.
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 5:29 am
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

The wide held belief in the ubiquitousness of the dollar is odd, RoadWarrior partially explains it, I also think it might be because many hear that the world economy runs on the dollar and this gets extrapolated to, everyone takes the dollar.

Shared taxis were the norm when I lived in Korea, I'd often find myself sharing one with an American, when they got out I would sometime find myself forced in to an ad hoc money changer because dollars is all they had, and they did not understand why the driver looked like he was about to punch them.

Last edited by kimilseung; Feb 5th 2013 at 5:34 am.
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 1:18 pm
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

On reflection, I think I'm just going to have to keep my mouth shut and avoid these type of situations because I have a terrible poker face....

A few of us are heading to the European meeting, and the company has said outright that they are fine with us extending our stay (and having guests join us) provided we pay our own excess accommodation. No-one in my office is doing it apart from me. None of them have been to this historical city before, but they shrug and ask why they would want to do that.

Now, I know not everyone is interested in travel and some people have family commitments, but if you had an all expenses paid business trip to somewhere interesting, and you were unlikely ever to be back there again, why wouldn't you take even one day to explore?

We're not talking executive level here, this is normal cube and office dwellers. I'm mystified - when we have similar meetings here, European colleagues nearly always take an extra day or so to do something here, and our US colleagues go straight home.

It's the lack of curiosity that gets me, I suppose that's how we end up with people not knowing about currency etc.
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

Originally Posted by yellowroom
On reflection, I think I'm just going to have to keep my mouth shut and avoid these type of situations because I have a terrible poker face....

A few of us are heading to the European meeting, and the company has said outright that they are fine with us extending our stay (and having guests join us) provided we pay our own excess accommodation. No-one in my office is doing it apart from me. None of them have been to this historical city before, but they shrug and ask why they would want to do that.

Now, I know not everyone is interested in travel and some people have family commitments, but if you had an all expenses paid business trip to somewhere interesting, and you were unlikely ever to be back there again, why wouldn't you take even one day to explore?

We're not talking executive level here, this is normal cube and office dwellers. I'm mystified - when we have similar meetings here, European colleagues nearly always take an extra day or so to do something here, and our US colleagues go straight home.

It's the lack of curiosity that gets me, I suppose that's how we end up with people not knowing about currency etc.
I think a lot of American's work 'frightened' that they may be sacked for daring to take holiday or take an extra day after a trip like that.
Sometimes I do try and take a day or two but sometimes I do just want to get home to my family. It depends on the type of trip to be honest. Some trips I'm on 12 +hrs 7 days a week and those I just want to get home, but put me somewhere interesting and I'll try and make time to see at least a bit.
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 3:44 pm
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

To be fair, back in the 80's when I was backpacking in Europe and North Africa I always used to carry some dollars, especially if I wasn't really sure which countries I would be visiting. They were useful in a pinch on a few occasions - far more acceptable than Pounds, especially the further east or south you got. But that was then. Pre-Euro. Backpacking - just one step above living on the street. I cannot imagine going on a business trip and not even knowing what the local currency was. If they haven't even bothered to find that out, what about finiding out any other little local customs that may impact on a business relationship with a foreginer. Maybe a bit nanyish, but in my last job many moons ago, if we booked a trip though the internal travel agent, along with the tickets we used to get a little executive summary of the basics of the country - currency, government, trade, religion, customs, taboos, etiquette etc. Not comprehensive by any means, but could help you avoid pissing off the contact in the first 30 seconds!
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 3:54 pm
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP
For many Americans, their introduction to foreign travel is a trip to Canada or Mexico. It isn't really necessary to change money when visiting tourist destinations in either country, as dollars are widely accepted in both places. Some may presume that this situation is typical elsewhere in the world.
When my daughter decided to go to uni in Canada...other mums insisted she was going overseas. I tried to explain there was no sea between the US and Canada...that it was in fact the same land mass. In the end I gave up.
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 4:15 pm
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP
For many Americans, their introduction to foreign travel is a trip to Canada or Mexico. It isn't really necessary to change money when visiting tourist destinations in either country, as dollars are widely accepted in both places. Some may presume that this situation is typical elsewhere in the world.
Exactly! NOT understandable or excusable at first glance, BUT 'tis true when you haven't crossed the pond. Also, back in the day when I lived in Germany, on the shopping runs to the "Crystal border" they WANTED dollars, not marks.....
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 4:15 pm
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

Originally Posted by Yorkieabroad
...........Maybe a bit nanyish, but in my last job many moons ago, if we booked a trip though the internal travel agent, along with the tickets we used to get a little executive summary of the basics of the country - currency, government, trade, religion, customs, taboos, etiquette etc. Not comprehensive by any means, but could help you avoid pissing off the contact in the first 30 seconds!
The US Department of Defense publishes (or used to publish) little handbooks to foreign countries for service members going overseas. We have a number of them from the 40s and 50s in our Government Document collection here in the library. Here's a quote from the Pocket Guide to French Morocco, published in 1956;

A Moslem may sometimes kiss your hand, or raise his fingers to his lips after he has shaken hands. Don't laugh at him; it's his way of showing pliteness. Remember also that a man can wear skirts and earrings and still be a man. And when you see grown men walking hand-in-hand, ignore it. There's nothing wrong with them.
So true!
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Old Feb 5th 2013, 4:19 pm
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Default Re: When do you stop being surprised?

You people deal with some true dumbasses.
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