Brits abroad; in the spotlight of many a TV show, internet forum or news report— more than likely, for all the wrong reasons. Meeting fellow Brits in foreign lands could be a refreshing opportunity to share missed English humour, be inspired by others’ travel successes or exchange top tips but the embarrassing truth is that the Johnny Vegas –a- la- Benidorm types are much more conspicuous than the Michael Paliners.
The good go fairly unnoticed; blending in to the habitat by learning the lingo or doing as the Romans do and letting their British habits take a back seat – the few home traditions that can’t be shifted are still no obstacle to embracing the inherited culture. Good Brits befriend more locals than fellow tourists and hit the party scene in style; dancing the night away until the music stops rather than the self-control. Ring any bells?
The bad Brits are those who make little effort in acculturation; the two-way cultural exchange is forgotten as the expatriate communities, fleeing the island in search of sun, sea and sand, bring all that is British with them. TV channels, regular imports of favourite food from visiting family, English written papers and magazines, and radio broadcast from abroad with English presenters. The expats came, they saw and then they conquered a community, with their beauty salons, English tearooms and Irish bars removing almost all traces of the original culture whilst creating an exotic Blighty. Oblivious to what is going on around them, cultural events and bank holidays, they stick with the befriended fellow expats and wonder why things pass them by. The worst of the lot, dare I say it, are the older generations who, having retired to the idyllic location years ago, still insist on getting by with the three words they have bothered to memorise accompanied by bellowed English. Do they assume that locals who were born and raised in their chosen location should learn English, just to ease their adaptation to a holiday lifestyle in the sun? If the shoe were on the other foot…
The ugly. Ignoring the aesthetics (although half naked lobsters and ankle socks teamed with those Grandad sandals are cringe-worthy eyesores) the ugliest characteristic of Britons is their notorious behaviour. Shrieking girls on Hen do train wrecks, Club 18-30 crowds on a mission to fill up their little black books – ending up with more antibiotic prescriptions than phone numbers—and lads competing with ladettes in a marathon of boozing, stripping, vomiting, passing out then sleeping it off and sweating it out on sun beds before starting the race all over again. Doesn’t it make you proud to be British?