07 August 2012

The Country Game - where are they from?

So when I'm in a tourist destination city or even somewhere rather common but I hear accents, I play a game. It's the guess-where-people-are-from game. I look at their clothing and shoes. I look at the way they are communicating with the people around them and the game is afoot.

When we were in San Sebastian, the northern beach town in Spain, we ran into so many U.S. Americans it was uncanny. I rarely hear that many in Madrid and I never did figure out what could be such a draw to a city that isn't famous. The famous Pamplona running of the bulls was going on, so possibly that brought more people to a nearby place too. It seemed a more, uh, middle aged crowd which I don't think of as the bull run people, but maybe it's on a lot of people's bucket list.

In Madrid last week, the tourist crowds were in evidence in a big way. It's August after all and that seems to be a big time they come in waves, while all the Spanish leave the city. I love when I have someone pegged and then I sidle up close to them to hear what language they are speaking. I saw a man that made me think South America or Central America but then I noticed the clothes -- sure enough good ole USA accent. Or sometimes I totally have a person pegged as and fellow Estado Unidense and turns out they are German or Dutch.

I'm not judging people. It's just fun to try to spot the country from external clues and what I've found is there is little rhyme or reason. It seems like I spot the U.S. A. residents easier likely because they are my fellow Americans. I can't put my finger on it. Sometimes it's a little too sporty, or sometimes just too well put together, or shoes. Chunky birkenstock type sandals are a sure sign of what the Spanish call guiris (foreign white folks). Those from the US often talk loud so obviously I spot the accent, but Spanish people speak loud too. Weight isn't always a good indicator of the "fat American." I've run into some larger Spanish folks lately and some of our Eastern European neighbors can get to a substantial size. Taller people I tend to guess as being from the Netherlands (the tallest in Europe) or possibly German or American. It's an interesting accumulation of clues that make me guess and I'd say half the time I'm wrong! Am I the only one who does this?

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a fun game, though I'd stink at it! I just don't have the international experience to know what little things to look for.

    Your logical deductions of who comes from where are intriguing. Birkenstocks being a giveaway for being an American is hilarious. I wonder if the same could be said of those individual toe shoes.