Author Topic: North American Thorn Owners (NATO) Photo Album  (Read 9363 times)

Istanbul_Tea

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Re: North American Thorn Owners (NATO) Photo Album
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2003, 02:28:44 PM »
Truth be told...

WE all probably look rather dumb when traveling in someone elses country(at least based on what the citizens of that country assume "normal" to be).
 

Istanbul_Tea

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Re: North American Thorn Owners (NATO) Photo Album
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2003, 02:33:35 PM »
BTW...

An example of the much dreaded Mullet-

 

Cephas

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Re: North American Thorn Owners (NATO) Photo Album
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2003, 06:23:56 PM »
As promised,
THE GERMAN TOURIST STORY

 Mexican Hat, Utah, (named after a sombrero-shaped rock formation on the edge of town) is a dusty little crossroads village a couple of cycling hours north of Monument Valley. I had stopped there for lunch at a TexMex cantina and to pick up supplies at the general store. After resting for a while on the porch of the store, letting my tacos and refried beans settle into my GI tract, I grabbed the handlebars of my steed and started threading my way on foot across the busy gravel parking lot shared with the cantina and a motel. As I passed a mid-sized American sedan, a well dressed gentleman (no socks and sandals) of about 60 years got out, smiled and and spoke to me......in German.

I had encountered plenty of Euro-tourists on this trip but this was the first time one had spoken to me in his native tongue. Now, my language skills are limited to a bit of broken Spanish learned in grade school nearly 40 years ago, so I smiled back and said "Sorry, I don't speak German." He quickly switched to perfect English, with only the slightest accent, and apologized for assuming I was German. No problem, says I, commenting on the fact that there seemed to be more Germans touring the Southwest US than east-coast Americans. Easterners are more likely to travel abroad than visit their own country. He agreed, saying it was a shame and that many Germans prefer visiting the grand scenery of the American west to any of the urban centers of the world. In fact, this was his fouth visit. Feeling somewhat like a stranger in my own homeland, I politely asked why he assumed that I was not an American.

A brief pause, then he says that I don't look like an American cyclist. (see picture above) No tight clothing. No bright colors. American cyclists all look like professional racers. True, I say, I'm often snubbed by 'serious' cyclists for my appearence.

He continued, adding that Americans all ride mountain bikes. It sometimes seems that way, I agreed. On this two week trip every American bicyclist I encountered was on a mountain bike.

Another pause. Then he states that the most unAmerican thing about me was that I actually used my bike to travel. Americans only drive around with their bikes mounted on top of their cars. He didn't think we rode them at all. I totally crack-up laughing, congratulated him on his insight, wished him well and headed south. Proud to be an honorary German.

Post Script. In the course of my two weeks in Utah I met only two cycle tourists along the highways: A German and a German-speaking Swiss. And for three days on a remote jeep trail I followed the fresh track of a lone cyclist, but was never able to catch him. An SUV going the other way said he was just a couple miles down the trail. And that he was German.  
« Last Edit: December 10, 2003, 08:23:00 PM by Cephas »

Istanbul_Tea

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Re: North American Thorn Owners (NATO) Photo Album
« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2003, 02:30:16 AM »
Great story!!  Isn't that ironic as hell??  I particularly love the parts about the clothes and bikes being mounted on top of their cars... fantastic!!

Americans=Car Obsessed...

Thanks for sharing... I may have to Cut-N-Paste your story onto a very hostile 'roadie' board I frequent... I love going there to witness their amazing gull about everything from attire to shaving their legs and how much their bike cost to their latest carbon fibre purchase.

 

hoogie

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Re: North American Thorn Owners (NATO) Photo Album
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2003, 08:01:59 PM »
I was touring Colorado witha  group of others by  motorbike in 1998, and we stopped off at a petrol station [gas in your speak??] in Carbondale, and a truck driver struck up a converstaion with me, asking where we all came from ... I told him a few other riders came from Colorado, a couple from N.Carolina, another couple from who knows where out west somewhere, and me from New Zealand ... He actually knew where New Zealand was, and we chatted for a few mintues while I filled the bike, then he says "You know, for a New Zealander, you speak pretty good English." ... I thanked him very much and said that I been practicing a very long time!

It was surprising how many Americans had no idea where NZ was, or asked which state is that in ... most even had blank looks when I tried to explain it to them ...

Don't get me wrong ... I found most Americans very warm and friendly people, but still couldn't understand why they held world championships and never invited anyone else?

cheers,
hoogie
timaru/oamaru, new zealand
 

Istanbul_Tea

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Re: North American Thorn Owners (NATO) Photo Album
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2003, 09:39:40 PM »
LOL!!  Hoogie- Don't feel bad about folks not knowing where NZ is... most Americans don't know who the president of the US is and cannot find their own State on a US map.

They can tell you where the nearest McDonalds is located or Ben and J-Lo's current marriage plans and even last years Superbowl champion BUT usually are clueless about anything meaningful or relevent.  

 

Mario

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Re: North American Thorn Owners (NATO) Photo Album
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2003, 12:01:56 AM »
I found The German Tourist Story heart-warming. Normally they are portrayed as a bit thick, wearing Lederhosen and constantly eating Sauerkraut. But I liked the (by now very old) story where an American comes to Stuttgart to buy himself direct from the factory a brand-new, beautiful Mercedes because he had wanted and saved up for one all his life. Being aware of the way the Gs. drive with no speed limit on their Autobahns,  fast and aggressive on other roads he has his baby carefully wrapped and crated and shipped from Stuttgart direct to New York and he accompanies it on the Liner. On arrival he oversees the unpacking of the Merc., tries out all the buttons and carefully drives down to the quayside. And just as he accelerates with happiness in his heart, there is a great big crash and he is hit by a car. He sits there, stunned. The other driver winds his down window and shouts: Ja koennen Sie denn nicht aufpassen?!!

The English actually know where NZ is because lots of them go there on holiday (at least four of my friends are there now), but it is possible that they believe they are going to some island in the Med., although the fares would appear rather steep.
Nobody knew where the Falklands were - somewhere north of the Hebrides?? -
And the world has become a better place since England is Rugby world champion.
Hoogie, if you see my friends give them my regards. (Earlier on this year in LA I was ask if I knew Mrs Gerstenhauer, she also lives in London)