Hats off to the Chinese National Tourism Administration for issuing a stern warning to their citizens to avoid picking their noses when traveling abroad. It’s about time someone tackled this potentially catastrophic issue. There are far too many tourists engaged in booger hunting when they should be worried about dressing in kitschy clothing, backing up an entire city’s worth of traffic, or stopping to take pictures of the buffet line.
NBC News reported on the new directive in a story published in early October. The directive is apparently just one in a long list of new rules Chinese tourists are expected to adhere to when traveling abroad.
Pardon my naïveté, but a general perusal of the list makes it sound like the Chinese don’t get out much. What’s more, Pardon my Naïveté would be an excellent name for French mime troupe specializing in annoying patrons at your favorite sidewalk café.
Anyway, the new Guidebook for Civilized Tourism strongly advises against urinating in public pools. Is this a problem in China? Do the Chinese regularly relieve themselves while swimming? If so, it’s time for them to catch up to the 1970s — a time when peeing in a public pool in the U.S. meant your legs would turn green. It only requires a simple and inexpensive chemical and voilà, pool urination equals swimming termination!
Some of the other guidelines for Civilized Tourism, and I swear I’m not making any of this up, are as follows:
- no stealing airplane lifejackets (who does that?)
- no public shouting
- no littering (we should implement that here)
- stop annoying locals by asking them to take your picture (you go China!)
- please, keep your nose hair well trimmed
NBC claims that Chinese travelers are among the most boorish in all the world. “Boorishness”, a Latin word meaning “Europeans don’t like looking at Chinese boogers”, has come to be equated in the West with behavior that is considered rude or uncouth. A good way to describe it would be to simply show any Rolling Stones video ever made. Mick Jagger thrusting himself around the stage while the timeless Keith Richards looks on with a smirk is far more boorish than any boogers from China. But I digress.
This latest round of sage travel advice from the Chinese National Tourism Administration is in direct response to, and I’m still not making any of this up, a young Chinese boy who embarrassed his mother, and his nation, when he urinated into a bottle at a restaurant while vacationing in Hong Kong. Apparently they do this in China?! Between the nose picking and public urination it would appear as though the Chinese have not mastered control of their bodily fluids.
Oh the humanity of it all! Where are Boss Hogg and Roscoe when you need them?
You may laugh, dear reader, but we in America have our own less-than-attractive tourism habits we could do without. For example, have you ever been at Disney World trying to get on a tram behind a woman with a dual stroller big enough to carry the entire population of Dubai?
As the tram operator is visibly aging before your gradually dimming eyes, your fellow traveler does everything she can to fit the SUV-without-an-engine into a seat designed to carry no more than two crumb crunchers and their exhausted parents. By the time the tram departs the Villains lot, the kid that used to ride in the stroller has already graduated from college.
If I were to create my own American Guide for Civilized Tourism, and I just may, here are some of the rules I might include:
- Cell phones should not be used in queue lines unless there’s a medical reason for doing so.
- Young men, please hike up your pants; the rest of the world thinks we don’t have belts.
- Don’t believe everything you read on Google maps.
- Don’t believe everything you read on Travelocity.
- iPads do not qualify as cameras.
- Thongs and Speedos are never a good idea if you’re over 28 – even on the French Riviera!
- When driving, a GPS is not a substitute for your brain.
- The hotel breakfast is a breakfast, not a full day’s supply of your nutritional needs.
Is it fair to say the world would be a much happier place if tourists learned to stop being so touristy? I think so. So next time you’re ready to leave home for 10 days of family fun and relaxation, just remember this: don’t pick your nose in public. The Chinese might be watching.