Hilarious Things Locals Have Said to Me During My Travels

Interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, but it's also a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest :p. Check out this list of hilarious things that locals have said to me during my travels! | http://passportandplates.com

During my travels, I do my best to interact with locals wherever I go – even if the exchange only happens while I’m haggling for something at the market. Not only is interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, restaurants and other hidden gems, it also provides a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest :p. But hey, now I have a list of twenty hilarious snippets of “local wisdom” that have been shared with me during my travels. Enjoy!

 

“You’re from Sudan?! Like the country? But your skin…!” – Kenyan vendor

Maybe this guy helped inspire this scene from Mean Girls? “If you’re from Africa, then why are you white?”

 

“Wait, you’re only 1.5 meters tall? You’re legally a midget!”- extremely tall Danish guy

Apparently Denmark is where the tall guys are hiding.

Interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, but it's also a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest :p. Check out this list of hilarious snippets of "local wisdom" that locals have shared with me during my travels! | http://passportandplates.com

Not the guy that said this to me…although people from The Netherlands are really tall too…and I’m SO short.

 

*Snaps photo.* – person in China

This happened in Indonesia too, and I was hanging out with blondes both times.

 

“You’re traveling alone? Have you seen ‘Taken?’” – anonymous 😉

Yes, I’ve seen Taken. For anyone that thinks getting into a cab with a random stranger is a good idea…you should not be traveling alone.

 

“Don’t speak to them in English!” – Parisian father to his daughter

Yep…Paris is one of my least favorite cities, and I’d rather forget this bit of “local wisdom”. #rude

Interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, but it's also a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest :p. Check out this list of hilarious snippets of "local wisdom" that locals have shared with me during my travels! | http://passportandplates.com

 

“What is it with you Americans and peanut butter?” – Australian friend

I actually don’t care much for peanut butter, but if you study abroad, you’ll see that the peanut butter thirst is REAL.

 

“Can you please explain why Americans don’t want free healthcare?” – Spanish friend

LOL. I mean, I’d like free healthcare. And tuition that doesn’t put me in debt for the rest of my life. I don’t get it either, guys.

 

“You look like Adele!” – some children in Indonesia (yeah, I was mystified as well)

Was I experiencing one of those “every foreigner looks the same” moments? That was a first. This is Adele’s fan club by the way:

Interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, but it's also a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest :p. Check out this list of hilarious snippets of "local wisdom" that locals have shared with me during my travels! | http://passportandplates.com

Hellohhhh. It’s me!

 

“You aren’t Indonesian?!” – so many Indonesians

This even happened to me at an Indonesian restaurant in Los Angeles. Apparently I look really Indonesian.

 

“Hello. Hola. Salam.” – vendors in Turkey

They couldn’t tell where I was from either.

 

“Americans have machines for everything! Even machines to peel bananas!” – my Spanish Airbnb host

FALSE. But we do have banana slicers!

Interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, but it's also a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest :p. Check out this list of hilarious snippets of "local wisdom" that locals have shared with me during my travels! | http://passportandplates.com

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“You live in America, but you like Egypt better, right?” – all the citizens of Egypt

I guess that depends if I’m in the mood for chaos or order that day. Not that we Arab-Americans are that quiet either :).

 

“Americans take casual to a whole new level.” – British friend

Errrm, you mean you flip-flops aren’t appropriate attire at a nice restaurant? I saw this phenomenon in action at a Michelin star restaurant in Spain. Cargo shorts were also present. *facepalm*

 

“It’s more important for a guy to know how to dance than to cook.” – Spanish teacher in Chile

If this bit of local wisdom is true, then…baila, baila!

Interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, but it's also a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest :p. Check out this list of hilarious snippets of "local wisdom" that locals have shared with me during my travels! | http://passportandplates.com

Tango in Buenos Aires <3

 

“I’m here with the bule (foreigner).” – My Indonesian coworker helping me get an apartment

Setting expectations.

 

“Muzungu (foreigner)!” – children in Kenya

This might be my favorite way to say foreigner, ever.

Interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, but it's also a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest :p. Check out this list of hilarious snippets of "local wisdom" that locals have shared with me during my travels! | http://passportandplates.com

They learned my name…eventually :). Also, those glasses are SO obnoxious. My B.

 

“Braziliana! Peruana! Mejicana!” – Argentine men

The ethnic ambiguity is strong, guys.

 

“I opened the newspaper and saw an article about your friend Donald Trump.” – Spanish friend

This is why so many foreigners follow our politics. Just sayin.

 

“I’ll give you a special price…so cheap I have to write it down.” – vendor in Turkey

It just wasn’t cheap enough for us to buy.

Interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, but it's also a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest :p. Check out this list of hilarious snippets of "local wisdom" that locals have shared with me during my travels! | http://passportandplates.com

 

“I love when Americans say, ‘you know what I mean?’” – vendor in Italy

Slayin’ with that California accent…you know what I mean? 😉

 

I look back at all these things and I just have to laugh. I know people generally hate stereotypes, but most of the time, people are just as fascinated by your culture as you are with theirs. And frankly, that makes for some (hilarious) cultural learning.

 

What are some funny or unexpected things locals have said to you while traveling? Share your favorite “local wisdom” in the comments below!

Interacting with locals the best way to learn about culture, but it's also a fun way to see stereotyping at its finest :p. Check out this list of hilarious snippets of "local wisdom" that locals have shared with me during my travels! | http://passportandplates.com

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  • Christina

    What an entertaining read! Reinforces the value of travel for me- to learn more about other cultures and to break down stereotypes.

    • Agreed wholeheartedly! I don’t take any of the comments personally but it definitely reinforces the need for all of us to travel deeper and really learn about new cultures instead of making assumptions.

  • Vyjay Rao

    Oh this is so hilarious! Loved reading it. 🙂

  • HAHAHAHAHA! Loved the first ones, actually all of it! Didn’t know you’re friends with Donald Trump. Lol.

    • LOL. So ridiculous! I’m definitely NOT a supporter! My response was “don’t even get me started on that topic.” :p

  • Travel Gretl

    Hahaha, laughed so hard about this list! Very much relates to my experiences too. Being from the Netherlands we get the drugs related (how surprising!) questions and statements.
    ‘You’re from the Netherlands? Are you from Amsterdam?!’
    ‘Well, actually I am but……’ (… there is more in the Netherlands than Amsterdam)
    ‘You want to do Marijuana?’
    ‘No’ (I can do that at home, and I don’t do it really. Why do it here so illegally with probably more shitty drugs?!)
    ‘Yes, but really, you must try, you are from Amsterdam….’ etc.

    Haha, fortunately this does not happen all the time, but while traveling you sure get some stereotypes! Have almost the same kind of experience in Paris though….

    • hahahaahah oh that’s a good one! It’s so funny how people stereotype all the people from an entire country! I’m from Los Angeles and sometimes I get “so do you see movie stars all the time?” All you can do is laugh at the stereotypes 😀

  • That’s one of the “perks” of being a “brown” person. Other people have a tough time figuring out whether you’re a local or a traveler!

  • Haha! Some of these are really, really great. Lately I’ve got a lot of questions about why Americans want Donald Trump for president. So that makes things pretty interesting.

    And people seriously need to understand how real the need is for peanut butter abroad. When I studied in Rome, some of my classmates were just beside themselves with lust for peanut butter again. Ha!!

    • LOL thanks. And yessss that happened a fair amount during my last couple of trips as well! I think people are often mystified by our politics!

      Hahah! I’m not a big peanut butter person but I definitely noticed this phenomenon when people studied abroad. Apparently it’s a staple part of some people’s diets!

  • I just have one question…

    Are you sure you’re not Indonesian?

    Haha! This was such a fun post. I’m right there with you with the photos in China and the vendors in Turkey lol!

    • hahaha last I checked! BUT depending on who you ask, I can be Middle Eastern, Latin American or even Malagasy (seriously someone asked me if I was from Madagascar once LOL).

      Glad to hear other people have similar experiences! It certainly keeps traveling that much more interesting 🙂

  • Maggie

    This was a fun read. I frequently get, “Oh, you’re American? Which city – NY or LA?” We don’t have other cities in America apparently. I live in Portland, and when I explain that it’s the state above California (huge sigh), I then get, “Oh, you must go to LA all the time!” What is it with foreigners and LA?? I haven’t been and honestly don’t even have much of an interest..I’m perfectly happy in the north. Haha

    • Thanks! 🙂
      Hahahah this used to happen to my friend from New Hampshire ALL the time during study abroad. People are obsessed with LA and they think I see famous people every day. It’s hilarious!

  • Lol the PB thirst… totally. My coworker is form Mexico and was losing her mind when (like 5 minutes ago) she spotted me dipping apples in pb haha!

  • Ann

    lol. I don’t get the Peanut butter and never been asked that. I don’t even like PB. Your post is quite interesting post and I can relate to some. I’ve also had some interesting remarks said to me on my travels. Particularly because I’m black and the braids I rock. I caught a girl filming me on the bus with her phone while I was standing at an intersection. I’ve been called “Michelle Obama”, “Brown Sugar”, “Chocolat”, etc. I’ve had strangers ask me if they can take photos with me. I’ve also had people ask about my political views.

    • Haha I think because I studied abroad and people were gone long enough to start really missing peanut butter. Strange, right?

      Oh, I can only imagine the kind of attention you get being black and having braids! My younger sister is a lot darker than me (my family is from Sudan, not that you can tell by my skin tone lol) and she would get called “chocolata” all the time in Europe and Asia!

      It’s funny because I think people genuinely do it out of curiosity – makes for some hilarious stories! Also LOL Michelle Obama.

  • Kara Newhouse

    Lol. I love your commentary on these. Should dig back into my own experiences to come up with my own favorites. When I lived in Hyderabad, India, most random people I met asked me what I ate while living in India. They were surprised or tickled that I ate Indian food, but the thing is, it’s not a tourist city. There was no other option!

    • haha thanks! I had a lot of fun writing this post to be honest. LOL I didn’t realize not eating Indian food was a thing in India! People have some hilarious comments!

  • Mona Marvin Sowers

    One of my favorite funny moments abroad was when I was in the Madrid airport and several people became convinced that I was Nick Nolte. I think they must have been comparing me to Nick’s arrest photo! (I’m the “Marvin” of Mona Marvin Sowers.)