A lady, we’ll call her, “Lady #1” walked into my workplace the other day to ask a question. I happened to be in the front office when she came in. She said that she’d been here four times before (Cabo) — “but always with my husband…” and that she and her sisters and nieces were down here on vacation.
She asked where they should go to eat and shop; I gave her some ideas… happily. When you live in a tourist destination, this is just what you do.
At that moment, her sister (Lady #2) walked up and joined the conversation. I was recommending a completely organic, fantastic restaurant and I was explaining that the restaurant has great salalds, great ambience, etc. Lady #1 immediately said, “Oh, she won’t eat a salad… you know… here.”
I immediately asked, “Why not?”
Lady #2 says: “Well, you know… you shouldn’t eat produce in Mexico.”
I raise my eyebrows.
Me: “Oh…. well I can assure you that you can indeed eat produce in Mexico. In fact much of the produce in the U.S. is shipped in from Mexico — so you’ve probably been eating Mexican produce at home. That said, this particular restaurant is completely organic… so you’ll really enjoy it and have nothing to worry about.”
The disbelieving Lady #2 tilts her head to the size and continues to hold her cross-body purse with both hands over her chest (I was going to rob her? At my office? In Palmilla?) And said, “Well, I don’t know about that…”
(Because I was lying to her.)
Me: “Well, I’ve lived her for six years and I don’t believe I’ve ever been sick. In fact, when I go back to the States I always get sick! So many additives and hormones in the food there.”
(I’m ready to punch this lady by this point.)
Her: “Well, your stomach is used to this kind of food.”
Me, thinking: “WELL WHY ARE YOU HERE IF YOU CANNOT EAT ANY OF THE FOOD AND IF YOU NEED TO HOLD YOUR PURSE LIKE THAT?”
Lady #1 then says: “Well, I hear it is a really great restaurant… ” Then she puts her hands up next to her mouth and says, in a whisper, “…and an American owns it… so it’s safe.”
Me: Speechless. “Yeah, since an American owns it, it’s totally safe.”
You guys? The ignorance kills me.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE WOMEN?
Lady #2 then went on about the water. Apparently there’s cyanide in it and she’s terrified that she’s going to “catch something.”
Here’s the thing. There are in fact cultures outside of the American culture. And you know what? They exist successfully without ramptant chaos, disorder and dysentery.
The United States of America is not the end all, be all, greatest place on earth.
We are not wiser or more informed just because we are Americans with 24-hour access to CNN.
We are not better than anyone because English is our first language.
I could go on and on about this. But I won’t.
And you know what? The United States is an AWESOME place to live. I’m beyond proud to be an American. But I’m beyond embarassed when I encounter other Americans who behave so ignorantly.