Sunlit Water

May 10, 2009

Mais Oui

Filed under: Personal — by teofilo @ 1:45 pm

Chaco is significantly harder to get to than most national parks in the west, and as a result it gets a lot fewer visitors.  We don’t get the constant stream of big package tours that a lot of parks get.  We do, however, get quite a few visitors from overseas, mostly Europeans, who are traveling around America on their own rather than as part of a big group.  These tend to be more adventurous sorts, and they also tend to have a considerable amount of background knowledge before they arrive.  I like them a lot.

We had a French couple come in this morning.  After I gave them their entrance permit they asked if we got a lot of French people, and I replied that we get some, but not that many.  “Only the best,” the husband said, and I laughed and agreed.  I gave them one of our brochures with information in French, which they appreciated.  The husband’s English was quite good, but the wife spoke very little.

A few minutes later, another French couple came in, paid their fee, and asked if we had any information in French.  I gave them another one of the brochures and watched them head back into the museum, where the previous couple already was.  I’m sure they saw each other, but I don’t know if they talked at all or realized what they had in common.

There’s nothing very dramatic or unusual about this sequence of events, but I was struck by the coincidence.  Great visitors think alike, I guess.  Only the best.



  1. I think I’ve mentioned before (perhaps in another venue), the museum guide at a small outdoor garden/museum in Spain that I visited, who asked each visitor his or her country of origin. Apparently the government keeps statistics. I was surprised to hear they didn’t get a lot of Americans, since I found out about the museum through a very mainstream guidebook.

    It would be cool to map, if you did have national-origin visitor statistics for a whole bunch of different American tourist attractions. Especially if you could sift out propinquity.

    Comment by Witt — May 10, 2009 @ 6:11 pm |Reply

  2. One of the more amusing tourism experiences I had was in a hostel in Venice. I was talking with another American and a Frenchman and we were sitting near some vending machines. Some French teenagers were having trouble with the machines and making all kinds of noise. The French guy started complaining about how he doesn’t like seeing other French people on vacation because they can be so rude and then proceeded to pretend to not know French when they asked for help. (They didn’t know English and likely couldn’t pick up his accent. His English was very good.)

    Comment by andrew — May 14, 2009 @ 10:16 pm |Reply

  3. That’s a great story. So much for American exceptionalism, I guess.

    Comment by teofilo — May 14, 2009 @ 10:20 pm |Reply

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