Maple Leaf on Baggage Irks Sensitive Americans

The lovely Feòrag sent me an amusing story this morning. It seems that having obnoxiously plastered their flag everywhere, Americans are upset to note that Canadians have a flag too and that they are sporting it to avoid being mistaken for Americans.

Canadians should be careful not to appear boastful to Americans, who are insecure because of the war in Iraq and admit they are annoyed by northerners showing off the red maple leaf on their luggage when they travel…

A country that wraps everything in the flag, to the point of condemning their own countrymen as unAmerican if they dare to suggest that slapping the American flag on a toilet seat cover may be just a tad tacky, dare to have a go at their neighbours for using a sticker on their luggage. You have the laugh at the double standards. Funnier still that it has taken them this long to notice the maple leaf on Canadian luggage.

Unfortunately Americans have a well-earned reputation as obnoxious tourists, even within their own country. They are loud and opinionated, and while sometimes they have every right to be, mostly they just embarrass themselves, those around them and generate some really bad karma that is likely to bite the next unfortunate American tourist who follows along in their wake.

At one point my cousin was conducting tour groups where you take a bunch of tourists on a 4WD type bus, bounce them through the bush and point out interesting things. She used to bring back stories of US tourists that always made me wonder why they travelled abroad and how they survived to adulthood.

One particular pair, we’ll call them George and Martha, highlighted the closemindedness that is a frequent complaint of the breed known as the ugly American. The object being pointed out was a Banksia, a tree with particularly large and hideous seed pods. Instead of listening to the tour guide, George loudly informed Martha, and the entire bus, that the tree had a tumour. No amount of explanation to the contrary was to be entertained. No doubt, George and Martha’s friends and family back home now believe the Australian bush is full of trees with tumours.

It’s travellers like the loud and ignorant George and Martha who have forced Canadians to arm themselves against pissed off tour guides and harrassed foreign citizens. Even the cannier US travellers will pretend to be Canadian when abroad to avoid being mistaken for the ill mannered morons who have sullied the name of their country with their appalling behaviour whilst overseas.

When you’re overseas, you’re not just on holiday, you’re also an ambassador for your country. If you behave like a complete wanker, the people you deal with are going to believe that your behaviour is an example of how you would behave at home and be very wary of dealing with your countrymen in the future. So don’t be surprised if your neighbours are just as embarrassed by your behaviour in public and take steps to be recognised as Canadians.

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One Comment


  1. sbszine

    17 December 2003 at 3.39 pm

    How odd. The maple leaf luggage has been a long standing Canadian tourist tradition, even before the latest raft of dubious US foreign policy. Canadians have always struck me as closer to Australians than Americans in their outlook anyway, so I’m surprised that anyone sees any of this as a new phenomenon. Too much navel gazing perhaps…

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