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This is a question Brits Abroad

Union jack shorts, bulldog t-shirts, bars named after soap operas, hen parties in Malaga. Tell us about your encounters with the worst (or best) of our fair country's travelers around the world. Alternatively, tell us about your own doomed quest to find a decent cup of tea in Moscow.

(, Thu 24 Apr 2014, 13:01)
Pages: Popular, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Final Boarding call for Albert

(, Thu 1 May 2014, 15:22, Reply)
No mention of Portugal?
Clearly Maddie is no longer edgy internet content. End of an era.
(, Thu 1 May 2014, 14:41, 3 replies)
Brody's got friends in every town and village from here to the Sudan, he speaks a dozen languages, knows every local custom, he'll blend in; disappear - you'll never see him again. With any luck, he's got the grail already.

(, Thu 1 May 2014, 12:32, Reply)
Best T-Shirt I ever saw
was proudly on display, worn by a loud Scouser in a crappy bar, somewhere in London;

"When in Rome, act like a Cunt"
(, Thu 1 May 2014, 9:43, 3 replies)
Real Wives of Playas de las Americas.
Tenerife is a nice place to holiday. Fantastic landscapes (a goddam volcano for crap's sake), tropical wildlife, cheap booze, local colour and culture and if you go out of season, no hordes of scumbags from Peckham ordering 'Oi Pedro Facking Four Beers Here Now' of the local bar staff and refusing to tip.

The North isn't so touristy but our first go out there was late October in the South and there it was your quintessential lairy lads' paradise, a mile-long street of pubs/clubs/taakeaways (Los Christianos)which was thankfully ghost town like at that time of year. Walking on around the seafront Los Christanos merges into Playas de Las Americas, the very worst example of 'All Day Breakfasts/Free Shot per customer/Premiere League football on in every corner' kind of venues. Step back from the seafront and you get the hotel/apartment block zone, intersperced with some shiny shopping centres full of big label name shop fronts (Chanel, Versace, Louis Vuitton etc) and it is here you will find the Greater Leathered Middle-aged Expat Woman in her natural habitat.

Their mottled tan hide gathers in folds and wrinkles so as to better flap in the wind, plumage a uniform brassy bottle blonde and vivid colour streaks adorn their face as of someone shot in the face with a makeup bazooka. Large gold adornments around the neck, wrist and fingers show off their low natural tolerance for restraint or subtlety and their cry is that of a screeching baboon which some people have said sounds like human laughter. Their main diet consists of gin and cigarettes which they consume noisily in packs in open bar fronts next to their shopping area. Although fully capable of walking under their own power, these lazy wretches instead choose to use mobility scooters to transport themselves back to their apartment as the 200ft walk would require something akin to expending energy. This is apparently a trait evolved to avoid having to take a shower when they get home. See here closely, one of the flock doesn't have a mobility scooter, and so is bullied by the others into getting one despite having no need of it.

Something may have startled the flock as they quickly stub out their cigarettes and shoot off on their scooters, hooting and cackling in a line like some mahogany chain of convoy truck drivers, ignoring traffic instructions and depositing another layer of cholesterol inside their aortas.
(, Thu 1 May 2014, 8:38, 4 replies)
I met a young man from Essex in India
a few years ago. His name wasn't Wayne, but I'm going to call him that anyway.

"Nah, mate, nah, aw don't 'ave an accent," Wayne informed everyone present who wasn't from Essex, in all sincerity. "You goh' an accent, aw don't 'ave an accent."

On a train journey, Wayne returned from his inaugural visit to the toilet (essentially, a hole in the floor) and announced to the entire carriage that there was "piss all over the gary".

When asked to clarify what that meant, he conceded that he kept forgetting that we weren't all his mates from back home. "Gary", apparently, is rhyming slang: "Gary McGraw - floor". Despite nobody present knowing who the fuck Gary McGraw was supposed to be, or McGraw not rhyming with floor if you can speak properly. Perhaps he cleverly avoided saying "shitter" because he was trying to impress the cute Australian girl he subsequently failed to get off with.

Still, the best moment was when he returned to pick up his key at the hotel, pissed, and asked the receptionist - who spoke no English - for some agua:

"Alwight mate, can aw geh' a boh'le o' waw'ah?"

The receptionist returned a look of pure incomprehension.

"WAW'AH! WAW'AH!" Wayne exclaimed again, miming drinking. "BOH'LE O' WAW'AH!"
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 23:52, 2 replies)
When in Rome......
for all of the shifty folks roaming the streets trying to hoover up stray tourists to 'Join our walking tour, jump the queues' we had to say, No Thanks politely one million times. For all of the walking salesmen trying to flog us umbrellas at the slightest hint of drizzle, we politely said 'No thanks' two million times. The last one was particularly ridiculous as the mobile vendors come so quick and fast it's like every 10 yards someone's stepping in your path and waving an umbrella in your face- if I didn't take it off THAT guy (10 yards behind) and THAT guy (20 yards behind), why would I get one off you?

But one particularly insistent bloke followed us alongside the queue offering us bot both a tour queue-jump AND an umbrella, at which point I did lose patience somewhat and explain loudly that being British, we INVENTED queueing and this (gesturing up at light drizzle) was NOT what I'd classify as real rain, thus I don't need an umbrella. Again, I explained, being British does involve having to put up with shitty weather and queues so I'm happy as a pig in much (typo *MUCK*) right now.

Raised a few chuckles with the other Brits in the queue. He gave up.

/Imperial arrogance.
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 17:27, 4 replies)
On the way back from Spain...
...there was a couple who had quite clearly had a massive argument in the airport and when we were seated on the plane they were right behind us. I could hear her huffing and puffing for the short flight, but they didn't speak to each other for almost the whole journey, until he (trying to break the ice as we landed) said "Oh, look, rain drops on the window, must be raining in Bristol" to which she screamed at the top of her lungs "OH REALLY? WELL, THANKS FOR POINTING THAT OUT TO ME, BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT WAS SPERM"
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 16:47, 1 reply)
Eh? You wha'?
My first trip to Amsterdam. Having procured weed, we didn't want to sit in the silly stoners' cafe, but instead fancied a beer in a proper pub.

We found a nice little bar, and piled in - the seven of us filled a substantial portion of it - and as I went to get the round, was instructed to ask if we could smoke in there.

"Can we smoke in here?" I asked.
"Depends" said the large barman, very cooly, rather stern.
"Er ... hash?" I enquired.
"Yeah yeah," he said levelly, "Depends - where are you from?"
"Er ... England ... ?" I said, slightly confused, "London?"
"London!" he suddenly beamed. The tension was completely gone, replaced instead almost by low camp, "Of COURSE you can smoke here! You want some munchies? I'm so sorry - I thought you were from Liverpool!"
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 16:27, 12 replies)
Like the Vagman I too like to learn a bit of the lingo when I travel
I was in The Netherlands and I attempted to order some beer in Dutch

the barman said in that Sean Connery way the Dutch have "It's okay I can speak your language perfectly well, please stop murdering mine"
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 16:03, 8 replies)
The water in Majorca don't taste like what it oughta.

(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 15:08, 9 replies)
There was an English tour to Australia last summer
11 blokes or so, plus hangers on,

Talk about a bunch of muppets.

TL:DR 5-0
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 14:31, 13 replies)
I don't go on holidays.
I "travel".
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 14:17, 2 replies)
...Yes I quite agree I mean what's the point of being treated like sheep. What's the point of going abroad if you're just another tourist carted around in buses surrounded by sweaty mindless oafs from Kettering and Coventry in their cloth caps and their cardigans and their transistor radios and their Sunday Mirrors, complaining about the tea - "Oh they don't make it properly here, do they, not like at home" - and stopping at Majorcan bodegas selling fish and chips and Watney's Red Barrel and calamari's and two veg and sitting in their cotton frocks squirting Timothy White's sun cream all over their puffy raw swollen purulent flesh 'cos they "overdid it on the first day." And being herded into endless Hotel Miramars and Bellvueses and Continentales with their modern international luxury roomettes and draught Red Barrel and swimming pools full of fat German businessmen pretending they're acrobats forming pyramids and frightening the children and barging into queues and if you're not at your table spot on seven you miss the bowl of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, the first item on the menu of International Cuisine, and every Thursday night the hotel has a bloody cabaret in the bar, featuring a tiny emaciated dago with nine-inch hips and some bloated fat tart with her hair brylcreemed down and a big arse presenting Flamenco for Foreigners. And then some adenoidal typists from Birmingham with flabby white legs and diarrhea trying to pick up hairy bandy-legged wop waiters called Manuel and once a week there's an excursion to the local Roman Remains to buy cherryade and melted ice cream and bleeding Watney's Red Barrel and one evening you visit the so called typical restaurant with local color and atmosphere and you sit next to a party from Rhyl who keep singing "Torremolinos, torremolinos" and complaining about the food - "It's so greasy isn't it?" - and you get cornered by some drunken greengrocer from Luton with an Instamatic camera and Dr. Scholl sandals and last Tuesday's Daily Express and he drones on and on about how Mr. Smith should be running this country and how many languages Enoch Powell can speak and then he throws up over the Cuba Libres. And sending tinted postcards of places they don't realize they haven't even visited to "All at number 22, weather wonderful, our room is marked with an 'X'. Food very greasy but we've found a charming little local place hidden away in the back streets where they serve Watney's Red Barrel and cheese and onion crisps and the accordionist plays 'Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner'." And spending four days on the tarmac at Luton airport on a five-day package tour with nothing to eat but dried BEA-type sandwiches and you can't even get a drink of Watney's Red Barrel because you're still in England and the bloody bar closes every time you're thirsty and there's nowhere to sleep and the kids are crying and vomiting and breaking the plastic ash-trays and they keep telling you it'll only be another hour although your plane is still in Iceland and has to take some Swedes to Yugoslavia before it can load you up at 3 a.m. in the bloody morning and you sit on the tarmac till six because of "unforeseen difficulties", i.e. the permanent strike of Air Traffic Control in Paris - and nobody can go to the lavatory until you take off at 8, and when you get to Malaga airport everybody's swallowing "enterovioform" and queuing for the toilets and queuing for the armed customs officers, and queuing for the bloody bus that isn't there to take you to the hotel that hasn't yet been finished. And when you finally get to the half-built Algerian ruin called the Hotel del Sol by paying half your holiday money to a licensed bandit in a taxi you find there's no water in the pool, there's no water in the taps, there's no water in the bog and there's only a bleeding lizard in the bidet. And half the rooms are double booked and you can't sleep anyway because of the permanent twenty-four-hour drilling of the foundations of the hotel next door - and you're plagued by appalling apprentice chemists from Ealing pretending to be hippies, and middle-class stockbrokers' wives busily buying identical holiday villas in suburban development plots just like Esher, in case the Labour government gets in again, and fat American matrons with sloppy-buttocks and Hawaiian-patterned ski pants looking for any mulatto male who can keep it up long enough when they finally let it all flop out. And the Spanish Tourist Board promises you that the raging cholera epidemic is merely a case of mild Spanish tummy, like the previous outbreak of Spanish tummy in 1660 which killed half London and decimated Europe - and meanwhile the bloody Guardia are busy arresting sixteen-year-olds for kissing in the streets and shooting anyone under nineteen who doesn't like Franco. And then on the last day in the airport lounge everyone's comparing sunburns, drinking Nasty Spumante, buying cartons of duty free "cigarillos" and using up their last pesetas on horrid dolls in Spanish National costume and awful straw donkeys and bullfight posters with your name on "Ordoney, El Cordobes and Brian Pules of Norwich" and 3-D pictures of the Pope and Kennedy and Franco, and everybody's talking about coming again next year and you swear you never will although there you are tumbling bleary-eyed out of a tourist-tight antique Iberian airplane...
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 14:06, 13 replies)
so did we ever find out what happened to Albert's imaginary German poo mistress?

(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 13:35, 10 replies)
Ma bite ... est un grand bite - c'est comme un mammouth!

(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 12:57, 2 replies)
Apparently I sound funny speaking French with an English accent

(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 12:39, 36 replies)
I'm really well-travelled, and also a very brave soldier with a sense of freedom and adventure.
I DESPISE package holidays, and am SO much better than people who go on them. I, like, speak all the languages in the world, and wherever I go the locals really take me into their hearts and love me, and like, I'm really accepting of their SWEET little cultures and stuff. I've eaten LOADS of different types of food, and totally think travel broadens the mind. I'm very spiritual, as well.

Basically, I'm waay better than you are, and if you go to a country and aren't immediately cognisant of the local language, habits, customs and food, then you're SCUM. SCUM. I HATE you. YOU'RE SCUM. I AM MUCH BETTER THAN YOU ARE, YOU HEAR?
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 12:10, 4 replies)
French cheese, Swedish car, chap called Rodney
Bree it Saab Rod.

(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 11:52, 9 replies)

(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 9:05, 10 replies)
A conversation I once overheard
consisted of one bloke telling an acquaintance about a holiday he'd just had in - oh, wherever it was. Let's say it was Sharm el-Sheikh, for the sake of the argument. He was talking about how good the resort had been, and how the staff were great, and the pool was nice. "We didn't have to leave the hotel once for the whole two weeks. It was that good."

He then said that he was thinking of going to Mexico for his next holiday, if he could find somewhere equally good.

Moral of the story: no matter how bad the Brits you meet abroad, you can assure yourself that there're worse ones that you never have to meet, because they've corralled themselves behind a wall a safe distance away from you with a supply of cheap lager and three-day-old copies of The Sun. The exception to this rule is that you might meet them if you're also one of those Brits who thinks that flying to a different continent in order not to have to see anything of your chosen destination is a good use of your time. But in that case, you deserve each other.
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 9:02, 40 replies)
Brits Abroad!
What a fucking disgrace.
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 4:08, 3 replies)
In college I lived in a house in Japan with two Brits
and a bunch of people from other European countries.

There was also a very nice German girl, and I was impressed that every argument would ultimately end with the two Brits bringing up the events of WWII, which actually seemed to work pretty well.

They also taught me how to understand common British sayings like "Hold on, he is locked in the Gary having a Thomas," and "Bloc Party is the greatest band."
(, Wed 30 Apr 2014, 2:55, 1 reply)
"Marbella's really close to Africa!"
My mate got a job in southern Spain so we went out there for a weekend of congratulations, drinking and tapas. On Saturday he pointed out how close we were to Another Actual Continent, so we decided that was definitely the mission for the next day: bus down to Algeciras, ferry to Morocco, see the sights, back to Spain again in time for the flight home Sunday evening.

It was a bad choice, therefore, to play vodka drinking games Saturday night. I took it the worst - I vaguely remember opting for double-or-quits three times in succession, resulting in an 8-shot punishment; I don't remember the debate over whether or not we'd have to pay for the hospital to pump my stomach. (They decided they probably would, so they didn't call an ambulance. Cheers.)

Anyway, I was the keenest to Go To Flipping Africa, so I tipped the others out of bed at seven in the morning and made us all run across town to make it to the bus station on time. We'd booked nothing and found there was a massive wait for the next ferry, so we stopped in Gibraltar for a full English breakfast. I was in no fit state to eat anything and could only force down half a slice of dry toast.

Eventually on the ferry, we found the Spanish ferry port's timetables were all on Moroccan time (because why not?) so we had another hour (maybe two?) to wait before it actually sailed. Lunchtime found us still on the boat and by this time I was starving, so we went in search of food.

"Oh sorry, no - we don't have anything. It's Ramadan."

Dammit. Never even thought of that. Literally the only food available for purchase was some overpriced chocolates in duty free, so we bought those and ate them far away from everyone else (outside on the top deck) in case doing so should offend the locals (we had no idea if it would or not, but better safe than sorry).

We ended up having exactly one hour in Tangiers before having to catch the return ferry. That was just long enough to find a cashpoint to get some local currency, ask a local what the currency was called and (vaguely) what that was in Euros, accept said local's offer of being a guide, go round the local market and pick up some tat to prove we'd been there, gaze longingly at all the closed food establishments, narrowly avoid having my wallet stolen, bribe someone to let us jump the queue at the ferry terminal, bribe someone else to do his job and stamp our passports, and bribe his friend to give us our passports back.

Worth it, but I've never felt more like a British nob abroad, and have never set foot in another country without doing some basic research first!

[Slightly off-topic now, but it turns out that if you learn the translations for "hello", "yes", "no", "please", "thank you", "excuse me", "sorry", "this" and "that", you can get by pretty much anywhere. If you open with a smile and, "excuse me! Hello. This, please; no, that", you can manage almost any transaction. And when you get stuck, just say "sorry" and revert to English and pointing. By then they're on your side enough to forgive you and help. Even in France.]
(, Tue 29 Apr 2014, 21:53, Reply)
I once worked as a waiter in a Spanish hotel.
The owner kept hitting me.
(, Tue 29 Apr 2014, 21:25, 4 replies)
In a bar in Sandefjord I was welcomed as a Brit. They were very drunk, it was 3pm, and we got to
talking as to why I was there. I said business with company X. They were horrified and they seriously accused me of collaborating with the Nazi collaborators and then things became a little heated. I thought we English could hold a WWII grudge but hats off to the Sandefjord Norwegians. Relevance to the question, none and I don't care.

I met loads of migrant Geordies in Oslo, they seemed okay.
(, Tue 29 Apr 2014, 18:48, 6 replies)
Hilarious story at the expense of my ex-wife
About 2 weeks after our first date we decided to go on holiday together, to Portugal, over the Christmas break.

On the 25th, the future Mrs Punch wished everyone 'Buena Vista', despite being repeatedly informed that 'Boas Festas' was Portuguese for Merry Christmas and Buena Vista is Spanish for 'lovely view' (or something to do with Disney).
(, Tue 29 Apr 2014, 17:01, 12 replies)
To Flanders Fields The Idiots Go, but only if they can survive the ferry.
Just to clarify, my previous story was written by my twatty friend who discovered my laptop open at this site. Most of you agree that it was quite cringeworthy. God knows if it was true. This story, however, is real and my own.

It was my last year of high school, and we were on a trip to Belgium to see the WW1 battlefields. We were perfectly equipped with sod all apart from a Gameboy and about 80 euros each. The mishaps happened when we discovered that our ferry cabins going from Hull would be next to where about 2 stag dos and a hen party were staying. Needless to say, our group encountered them all at about 11pm at the bar area when they were completely hammered. I remember one of my friends trying to dance, then tripping over a lorry driver gyrating on the dance floor.

We discovered a shirtless bald man asleep outside our cabin the next morning. Our misadventures continued in Bruges, where we were assaulted by the plague of mimes rampant in many European cities, attacked by Belgian cyclists and ripped off when clubbing our money together to by a second hand guitar. After we got to our hotel, we were reliably told that 'we shouldn't get too settled on this floor, because a girl's school will be needing rooms too'. As we were testosterone-crazed teenagers, we couldn't believe our ears. Later, we discovered that it was an all girls primary school.

Worse came when I cut myself on barbed wire in Sanctuary wood and nearly got tetanus, my friend got food poisoning from a Belgian burger and a teacher was detained by customs. My friend Charlie, having collapsed and subsequently recovered, had demanded his phone returned. it was, but he wasn't happy. The porn certainly hadn't got there by itself.

Afterwards we discovered that our dorm had put 100 consecutive hours into pokemon emerald.
(, Tue 29 Apr 2014, 16:54, 12 replies)
when i was about 11, we went to california for my parents' holiday of a lifetime. none of us had been to america before, and we were absolutely beside ourselves with excitement
that's a long flight with and for 2 young kids, and we were all beside ourselves and exhausted when we landed. we stood at the airport, blinking around at all the strange but familiar things. finally, we got to passport control, where an enormous american man approached us. our first ever american! and he began...

"y'alright wack? know what i mean, like?"

in the thickest scouse accent you've ever heard. goddammit liverpool.
(, Tue 29 Apr 2014, 15:44, 1 reply)

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