Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Americans being, well American"

Today HM, TMP and I headed on a train to Sevilla; “the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of Andalusia and of the province of Seville” (Wikipedia 2009).  During this 2 hour train ride my colleagues and I talked about what we anticipated seeing, the famous Cathedral,  the Alcazar, and the Torre del Oro.  We were excited and chatting away when all of a sudden we heard a familiar sound aboard the train.  English.  There were a couple of women that had just boarded the train and came into our cabin talking very loudly in their heavy Jersey accents.  They took their seats a few seats down from us.

These two women in their 50’s continued to talk throughout our trip and we could hear their entire conversation, even while we took a siesta we could hear them talking.  Most of their conversation was about their respective daughters in college and the traveling they had done.  Then their conversation was interrupted by a young Spanish woman who politely asked them in Spanish to please move because one of them was sitting in her seat.
Apparently the train has assigned seating.  Very much like in an airplane, plainly printed on the train ticket is the car, row and seat you should be sitting in.  My colleagues and I quickly looked at our tickets and wondered aloud if we should move or just wait to be told that we were sitting in the wrong seats.  While we were holding this discussion we couldn’t help but overhear our New Jersey compatriots very loudly complaining that they had to move and find new seats.  

Some of the comments made:
“I don’t understand why she couldn’t just sit somewhere else”
“we shouldn’t have to move”
“I liked my seat over there better”

As my colleagues and I uncomfortably cringed in our seats, slightly embarrassed, I thought to myself.  Is it any wonder Americans have the reputation we do around the world?  I mean really where do we get off with this great sense of entitlement and in someone else’s country no less.  I was hoping that the Spanish woman did not understand English, as these American women continued to complain, loudly, about having to leave their seat.  It was embarrassing and annoying all at once.

We continued on our ride listening to the annoying sound of our entitled compatriots and finally arrived in Sevilla.  We went through the day and enjoyed many of the sights of the grand Cathedral, and the Alcazar, we boarded a city tour bus and heard of all the great sights, many of the buildings dating back to before Columbus.  But all throughout my stay, in the back of my mind all I could think about were the obnoxious American’s, I was very conscientious of my tone, volume and attitude for the rest of the time there.  Being extra polite and gracious, so as not to come across, American.  This experience gave me something to think about going forward regarding our great sense of entitlement and in general in more particulalrly the current generation's sense of entitlement.  We will see how it goes going forward.

1 comment:

  1. I love, love, love Sevilla! Isn't it lovely? There's a museum of Flamenco dance that you should check out. And you should eat all the jamon you can find. And Sangria, of course.

    As for the Jersey-ites. Shame on them. I also wish we had queues in America, especially for buses and cabs. I like the fact that in Spain people wait their TURN! I'm glad you're having a good time. The photos are amazing! I feel like I'm right there.