Debbie's World of Books
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Embarrassing geography questions

May 22nd, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books

I heard about this Dear Abby column on the radio and then my mom mentioned it.  I thought it was funny and might be of interest to those who missed it especially since a lot of you might be traveling over the long weekend.  The title of yesterday’s column was “TOURISTS’ NATIONAL NAIVETE IS CAUSE FOR EMBARRASSMENT”.  See the full column here.

Being from Hawaii I’ve heard some funny statements about where I grew up.  When one of my cousins was flying home she heard someone behind her ask “What does Mahalo mean”.  The other person replied “I think it means trash because I see it on all their trash cans.”  I had to laugh about that and for those who don’t know Mahalo really means thank you.

My favorites from the column:

  • My son lives in Hawaii and over the years we have visited him many times. The questions I have heard travelers ask flight attendants as they deplane in Honolulu run the gamut: “Where do I go to change money?” “Which side of the road do ‘they’ drive on?” “Is it safe here when it rains?” or “Is English widely spoken?” I think I’ve heard them all.
  • DEAR ABBY: I am from Oregon and when I would go to visit family on the East Coast, some people did not know where my state is located. When I told them it was right above California, more than a few would then exclaim, “Oh, you’re from Canada!” — DIANE IN PORTLAND, ORE.
  • DEAR ABBY: I work for the tourism department in New Mexico and want Cheri-Ann to know she is not alone. We frequently have to respond to questions like, “Do I need a passport or visa to visit?” or, “Can I drink the water?” We even received a letter from a wedding magazine requesting information regarding our “traditional” customs for marriage so they could run an article on our “country.” And yes, you CAN drink the water here. — MAX FROM THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO

Posted in Random rants

5 Responses

  1. Michelle E.

    I know, it is pretty embarrassing. I can’t understand how this can possibly happen but it still does, apparently…my friend from New Mexico swears that there are loads of people who don’t understand it’s a state. Oh, dear heavens…

  2. Katie

    that is so funny! My brother-in-law is from Hawaii too and tells stories like that a lot! My husband is from Canada and is always amazed at how little some people in the US seem to know about Canada. It always makes me laugh!

  3. dsuzuki

    I’ll admit when I was at a conference in Toronto it was embarassing how much the Candians knew about the US and how little the Americans knew about Canada.

  4. gwendolyn b.

    I’m from Rhode Island, and it never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t know the difference between Rhode Island and Long Island. You’d think that the distinction of being the smallest state in the Union would leave an impression, but it doesn’t always!

  5. dsuzuki

    LOL. You’re kidding!

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