UK to Introduce IQ test for people travelling abroad

Posted: July 28, 2008 in Life, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With growing concerns about Britain’s increasingly poor reputation abroad caused by some British tourists’ lack of sensitivity regarding other cultures and even awareness that they are actually in another country, the British Government are considering introducing IQ tests to determine whether tourists are fit to act as the country’s ambassadors when holidaying abroad…

Okay, that’s a load of old baloney; I’ve just made it up, but recently I’ve come across some Brits who make me think that it might be not such a bad idea. Andy says I’m just being a fascist, but really sometimes I despair.

The first two incidents were on blogs people had posted on return from their hols.

One woman moaned that the island of Tenerife was vulgar and lacked sophistication of any kind. Now everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but this woman had chosen Playa de las Americas (after seeking advice so she knew what she was getting) as her resort and also chose to ‘party’ in the famous, or infamous depending on personal preferences, Veronicas area.
Okay, call me Mr Picky, but anyone who makes those two choices knows exactly what sort of holiday they’re about to have, that’s usually why they choose them and sophistication is not a word usually associated with either.
There are trendy, sophisticated new bars and restaurants in the more upmarket areas of the resort, but this woman chose to ignore them, seeking out the cheap and cheerful instead and then complained about the lack of sophistication! SACRE BLEU, it’s like someone going to the Sahara and complaining that it was too sandy.
The other thing, which is annoyingly common, is that, without venturing outside the bubble she was staying in, she dismissed the whole of the island as vulgar. For the millionth time, Playa de las America is a resort on Tenerife IT IS NOT TENERIFE AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH.

Second eejit of the week award goes to the couple who posted a blog about their holiday, also in Playa de las Americas. First, they complained that there wasn’t much of a beach. Strange comment considering there are a number of very nice beaches around PDLA, so god alone knows what they were talking about. Secondly, they complained that what beach there was had black sand which made the water look dirty…WHAT? I’ve never heard such twaddle and anyway the beaches at PDLA are golden-ish.

Iglesia de la Concepción, Santa Cruz

Is this an oil refinery I see before me? No it's the Iglesia de la Concepción, Santa Cruz

Worst of all was an account of their day trip to Santa Cruz. This was the extent of their constructive critique of our capital city.
“Not worth the price of petrol…there’s only an oil refinery and a couple of shops.”
They clearly got nowhere near the city centre and had obviously carried out no research at all before setting off in their hired car. Who visits any city without checking out what to see first? Furthermore, name me one city whose outskirts are attractive? These people, thanks to their own lack of preparation, completely dismissed a wonderful city with beautiful architecture, great restaurants, sophisticated bars, fabulous shops and tranquil parks.
I wish people would invest in a guide book (any guidebook, not necessarily Island Drives… but if you insist) before they go bumbling blindly about the countryside, then moan that there’s nothing to see.

The final comment about their trip to Santa Cruz is possibly the most enlightening.
“The best part of the trip to Santa Cruz was the MacDonald’s we stopped at which had air conditioning.”
All those traditional Canarian restaurants around and they opt for Maccy D’s…hmmm, sort of says it all doesn’t it.

I felt a bit sorry for the third example as she seemed a pleasant person even though I was left feeling gob smacked after my encounter with her.
We were in a resort in the west of the island for a meeting that lasted till near three. As we hadn’t eaten, we decided to pick up a sandwich at a local supermarket and wandered into the first we saw to have a look round. The girl behind the counter was English.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“Yes, have you any bocadillos?” I replied.
“Sorry; what?”
Her face went blank.
“Bocadillos,” I repeated. “Do you have any?”
“I’m sorry,” she looked at me as though I was speaking a foreign language, which technically, in relation to one word, I was. “I have no idea you’re talking about.”
“Errr,” her reply stumped me and for a second I couldn’t think what the English word for a bocadillo was. “Err, it’s a…it’s a…a…roll…a baguette…a filled baguette.”
Before anyone points it out, I know baguette’s a French word.
“Ahhh,” she shook her head. “No we don’t.”

I know only too well how difficult it is to get to grips with the local lingo; languages are not my strong point, but bocadillo is about as basic Spanish as you can get. There are signs for them at every café (well Spanish ones anyway). It’s one of the things that nearly every visitor learns within hours of stepping off the plane, after gracias, adios and dos cervezas, por favor.

What I really couldn’t fathom out was why anyone with such a non-existent level of Spanish would dream of opening a business which was likely to bring them into contact with Spanish speakers, but maybe I’m just being naïve.

Footnote. Just as I’m starting to think that Andy’s right – I am being a fascist (she says I’m becoming more like Victor Meldrew as I get older), I read about the two drunken female Brits who tried to open a plane’s door in mid-flight because they wanted some fresh air!!!


Bring on those IQ tests.

  1. Pamela says:

    I remember a line from “Room with a view” that suggested tourists should take an exam at Dover. What’s really needed is a decent education for all – that encourages open minds (which I think is rather non-fascist) – in the first place.

    Sadly, I’ve heard the one about the “dirty” black sand before. And seen the TV holiday program that supported the view and went on to make a joke of it (while the presenter was sitting on Puerto beach, actually), saying that at least you would see the grains on your sarnies.

    It’s infuriating, but there’s no cure for it. Remember though, that for every 7 eejits, there are 3 potentially quite normal humans (the 30% who do venture out of their bubble) out there somewhere. Where? Beats me too!

    The two on the plane from Kos should have been allowed to get out mid-air, IMHO. 🙂

  2. Interesting Read! Very detailed blog,thanks for sharing

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