Tourist’s Declaration of Understanding


I, ___________________________, intend to visit your country as a tourist.
In the interest of international harmony, understanding, and in order to defuse some of the potential anti-me sentiment acquired as a result of my government’s pre-emptive and unilateral policies, which I may or may not disagree with, I hereby do declare that I understand the following rules and statements herein contained, and agree to abide by and acknowledge such during my visit to your country, that we may all enjoy this experience with as little discomfort as possible.
AS A GUEST, in your country:
I understand that speaking louder does not necessarily make me more understandable.
I understand that speaking English but adding your country’s accent is not the same as speaking your country’s language. Therefore, I agree not to say things like ‘Cane you put zee luggage in zee room?’ and expect to be understood.
I understand that possession of one or two phrases does not make me fluent in your country’s language.
I promise to make an effort to speak your language, and will not begin a conversation by shouting ‘Do you speak English?’ at you.
I agree not to make audible, snide comments about your country to its inhabitants while I am located inside its borders.
I will not make mocking your piddling water pressure, bizarre toilets, warm soft drinks, corny advertisements and hyper-ineffective national healthcare program the cornerstone of my visit; however, I reserve the right to mock said things after returning home.
I will not make sweeping generalizations based on a single experience with one of your countrymen; though let’s admit French and Italian guys will harass anything with boobs.
I agree not to discuss your country’s history, politics and culture with you if my knowledge is limited to something I saw on the History Channel.
I understand that the American accent has inundated the majority of the planet through film, television and music, and therefore does not turn heads as much as a Scotsman in Cleveland would.
I agree not to laugh openly at your country’s celebrities whom I’ve never heard of.
I understand that by nature, 88% of Americans speak horribly loud. I will attempt to keep all conversations in the same decibel range as those around me. I do this (a), as a courtesy to you, and (b), to not aid any fatwa-minded Muslims in identifying the American guy.
I agree not to point at landmarks and make outrageous assumptions about their historical merit.
I understand that your food service professionals have most likely not been instructed to greet me and place beverage napkins on the table within 1 minute, serve appetizers within 7 minutes, and main courses within 16 minutes.
I admit that different countries have different takes on what a pizza and hamburger look like. I will not suggest that my version is better, no matter how strongly I feel.
I will not take a good look around your country and tell you how I would have done it.
AS A HOST, taking advantage of my terribly weak dollar:
You agree not to make me the whipping boy for my government’s policies, should you happen to disagree with them. I can provide you with an address for written protest, if desired.
You understand that my country has 280 some-odd million people in it, and that your bad experience with two American college kids in 1987 does not constitute a deep knowledge of the populace, nor a good reason to hate me before I’ve said ‘hello’ in your tongue.
You understand that if I am making an effort to speak your language, but am not quite getting the ‘r’ correct, that you will admit that you understand what I am trying to say, and not pretend to have no idea.
If I am making progress with one of the citizens of your country, and there is hook-up potential, you agree not to get jealous and try to muck things up by disparaging my homeland.
You understand that not everyone in my country lives or acts like the people in ‘Dallas’ and ‘Falcon’s Crest.’
You understand that energetically repeating the same phrase in your language will probably not help me understand it.
You understand that not-tipping is completely unnatural and hard for an American to understand, and that this habit should be appreciated rather than mocked.
You will not ask me if I know Michael Jackson personally. I do not, and if I did I would not admit it.

Signed, _______________________________.
Representative of the United States of America

Agreed to by, __________________________.
Representative of:_______________________.
[To be stapled thrice to Passport.]