October 2nd, 2009 at 3:25 PM ^

ThWard you are exctly right. In Europe a most workers are given nearly a month off for summer holiday plus regular holidays and other PTO. While here in the States most people are given 10 days or so at best annually. A MASSIVE difference.
Just getting to some far off places can take you a full day or days to get to or from and if you only have 10 days a year TOTAL how is that going to work exactly? It's just not practical.


October 2nd, 2009 at 1:22 PM ^

Why are my anecdotal experiences meaningless? I lived in Chicago for 9 years. That certainly makes me more qualified to have opinions Chicago than, say, San Diego, a city I've only visited once. Similarly, I've spent multiple years of my life living in and visiting developed countries. Does that not at least give me a little insight as to what I'm talking about?

Funny you should mention Swedes in South America. About a third of the travelers I've encountered in South America have been Scandinavian. So yes, there are Swedes making the same trip.

03 Blue 07

October 2nd, 2009 at 1:37 PM ^

Because when compared to macro-level data, they are far less accurate at predicting large-scale trends. (I can't believe I am explaining this.) Ever take stats in college or a social sciences course? It's the same kind of logic of "Everyone I've run into who's X is Y, therefore all X are Y." You aren't god. Nor did you conduct a scientific study. Therefore, your anecdotal experiences are fine for your own experiences, but please don't try to extrapolate those to some larger concept, because it's faulty logic.

Example: Let's say you've travelled to many places, and met, hell, 3000 different foreign travelers (I doubt it). Given the fact that I am sure TENS OF MILLIONS (if not hundreds of millions) of foreign people travel EVERY YEAR, unless your 3000 experiences (again, doubting you've had in-depth conversations with 3000 different foreign travelers, but let's just assume you have) is completely useless unless it was a specifically targeted study of those 3000 people to demographically match up with the population of the world. And even then, it would be too small a sample, with error. So, again- your experiences are your experiences. They are not some sort of basis for bold proclamations. Sorry.


October 2nd, 2009 at 1:43 PM ^

So, based on your post, we should never form opinions or hypotheses unless we do a large-scale targeted study? Shit, I guess we just debunked 99% of MGoBoard. It's over people. There's not point to us being here anymore.

I didn't say "all" or "none". I said more than comparative populations in other developed countries, specifically those in Europe. And I sure as heck never claimed to be God. Where in the world did that come from?

This is not, "I went to such and such a country this one time for a few days and there weren't many Americans there so clearly this means Americans are scared to travel."

This is, "I've spent significant periods of my life abroad and my observations, combined with those of hundreds of other travelers and locals I met, indicated a distinct trend in the way Americans travel (or don't)."

03 Blue 07

October 2nd, 2009 at 2:02 PM ^

But I read your post to be you saying that your experiences mean more than just being your experiences, and you think others should grant them some credence than being more than your experiences- as if I am supposed to learn something from your experiences. And I explained to you (multiple times) why I will not do so, nor should other people. They are anecdotal. They are no more informative re: the attitudes of people abroad on a macro level than would the information gleaned from someone regarding race who says something racist and says "I've met 3000 people of race X, and they're like Y." (I'm sorry if that's an extreme example; I'm just trying to get you to see where I'm coming from.)

And, umm, analyzing the performance of sports teams is a little different than social science proclamations about nations of people. Sorry. Opinions on why U of M should play player X or run play Y are a lot different than stating something authoritatively about the attitudes of groups of millions of people based on your personal experiences.


October 2nd, 2009 at 4:45 PM ^

No, Mr. Intensity (you really are intense, aren't you), I do not think "others should grant them some credence than being more than (my) experiences". What I think is that others should grant the exact amount of credence appropriate for the experiences I've had. My OPINION, based on extensive time spent in developing countries, reactions received from Americans when they learn about the places I've been, and conversations with people in the tourism industry the world over - people who interact with thousands and thousands of tourists every year, is that A) as a proportion of population, Americans don't travel nearly as much as people from many other (not all) developed countries, and B) that ONE of (not the only) reasons for that is that many (not all) Americans have unsubstantiated fears about safety in developing countries.

Look, I'm not saying anything revolutionary here. Enough with the veiled insults and contrived exasperation.


October 2nd, 2009 at 12:55 PM ^

But why is Colombia the most striking example? Because you have an anecdotal experience?

Honestly, it's time for Occam to opine.

Is it possible that Americans aren't "paranoid about travel" but, rather, just travel less due to working more hours? Couldn't the simpler explanation be that, yes, while we anecdotally have experiences of being abroad and surrounded by traveling non-Americans, that we shouldn't confuse cause/effect? (i.e.- cause - Americans vacation less, effect - Americans travel less... vs. cause - Americans are paranoid, effect - Americans travel less)...

"The International Labor Organization reports that the average American worked 1,815 hours in 2002, well above the comparable figures for France (1,545) and Germany (1,444), for example. (The average South Korean, on the other hand, worked over 2,400 hours.)"

How many South Koreans did you see in Columbia?

Not being antagonistic, just looking to chip away at what you've admitted is a very broad generalization. Those numbers are stark - American workers work on average 270 more than Germans in 2002 (note: there's probably an updated study - if someone finds it, and the ILO has found crazy different numbers, negbang away)... assuming a 40 hour work week... that's over 6 weeks less....


October 2nd, 2009 at 1:16 PM ^

Certainly there are myriad factors involved and paranoia is not the only one. Your argument about working more is a valid one, but then we could go further and ask, what are the underlying reasons behind this working hour discrepancy? Perhaps if we were more interested in travel we'd have a society that placed a higher premium on vacation days and, consequently, our working hours would be more comparable. I'm not saying Americans don't value vacation days, but we clearly don't place the same import on them that someone from, say, France does.

To your first question, Colombia is a striking example for a number of reasons. First, because it's so close to America. It's easier for us to get to, it's cheaper for us to get to, and yet it's filled with non-American travelers. And yes, of course it's anecdotal - it would be silly for me to include example of countries I don't have experience with. I'm not the only one with that opinion of Colombia, however. I have friends who have lived there and they've made the same observations.

Colombia is far from an isolated example, however. In my travel experience, which includes close to 50 countries and multiple years of my life, I've met very few fellow Americans. When I'm back in the States, the first question I receive when I tell people about my travels is not about the food, or the culture, or the history. It's about my safety. "Weren't you worried about getting robbed/kidnapped/shot/something else bad?" I'll reiterate. A disproportionately large population of Americans are paranoid about travel outside of developed countries. This is my overarching point.


October 2nd, 2009 at 2:28 PM ^

Americans are less likely to be inclined to travel in general, but there's another good reason for that. We live in a huge country that offers a wide variety of attractions, environments, and cultures. There's less incentive to travel outside of the country when you can downhill ski, swim in an ocean, climb a mountain, hike in a desert, etc all in one country. There are all kinds of cultures, entertainment, and cuisine to try out. This in addition to our geographic isolation, more hours worked per week, and that fact that yes, Americans are targets in some places. Regarding Columbia, its poor reputation was well deserved for a long time. Now that it's improved, Americans will get around to checking it out. At least after we're done overrunning Costa Rica.


October 2nd, 2009 at 12:49 PM ^

Also, just because people won't ride a bus at night doesn't mean they might not be willing to travel to Rio. Hell, there are buses in Chicago I'd be damn hesitant to ride after midnight. That didn't stop me from being willing to Sudan, Sri Lanka, or Kashmir. Harboring some fear or caution isn't a bad thing. Overreacting to it is.


October 2nd, 2009 at 1:25 PM ^

I don't doubt that. I still find the English to be one of the best traveling groups of people around. Almost everyone there takes a gap year between high school and college to travel. Although if you really want to talk about well-traveled populations, the Irish take the cake.

03 Blue 07

October 2nd, 2009 at 11:37 AM ^

The plans looked spectacular, and, unlike Rio, I am pretty sure Chicago was actually going to DO what they said they were going to do in their bid. If Rio gets it, you watch- it will be a fiasco with a bloated budget, their rail system won't get completed, etc. They're already royally fucking up their World Cup responsibilities. I guess, in my opinion, Rio DOES deserve them because no nation in South America has ever hosted, but color me skeptical that they will be able to properly pull it off. See: Montreal, 1976.


October 2nd, 2009 at 11:36 AM ^

Very surprised. NBC is gonna be pissed if its not Rio. I guarantee that the 2020 games are in the US, or NBC is gonna pull the plug on some serious olympic money.

03 Blue 07

October 2nd, 2009 at 11:39 AM ^

In what way would they "pull the plug"? If they're locked in by contract, which I am certain they are, they aren't "pulling the plug" on anything, if by "pulling the plug" you mean breaching their contract. Yeah. Bring on a $1B lawsuit that they'd surely lose. That sounds like a good idea.


October 2nd, 2009 at 11:43 AM ^

Well, the contract doesn't last forever. Perhaps he's implying that at renegotiations they will offer a lot less money.

Or maybe he has secret inside info that there is a contract rider that states they can "pull the plug" if there are no American olympics for over 16 years. For all we know, that is Jacques Rogge using his Blackberry to tell us this important info.


October 2nd, 2009 at 11:44 AM ^

NBC's contract only runs through London 2012. US Olympics bring higher ratings, due to the excitement that surrounds them. Since American Television is the number one source of IOC money, the IOC is gonna be forced to push an American bid or lose a significant amount when the next contract is signed.

This is less of a case if the games are in Rio, which could still be broadcast live during US Primetime. Any olympics on tape-delay gets lower ratings than a live one.


October 2nd, 2009 at 11:37 AM ^

From a Chicago suburb dweller. Daley had his hands all over this, of course, and that gives me a bad feeling. But probably would have been great for local small businesses. Publicity wouldn't have hurt.


October 2nd, 2009 at 11:40 AM ^

It might've just been time for South America. I wouldn't argue with that.

On the other hand if Madrid wins then you have to figure something fishy is going on. Samarach (sp?) was very shady when he was in charge of the IOC and he's heavily involved in Madrid's bid.


October 2nd, 2009 at 11:42 AM ^

Chicago would have been awesome. I've never had the opportunity to go to the Olympics (I was too young and too far away from Atlanta) and this would have been my opportunity. Too bad, I just hope Rio beats Madrid for the bid. Why? I don't know I just do.

oriental andrew

October 2nd, 2009 at 11:51 AM ^

"The Chicago presentation seemed to lack an overarching theme, touching on many aspects. Some media observers felt that, with the exception of the Obamas, much of Chicago's presentation was a bit flat.

Olympic historian David Wallechinsky, author of Olympic reference books and a TV consultant during recent Games, minced no words in summing up Chicago's final presentation.

"Without the Obamas, Chicago had nothing," he said."…


October 2nd, 2009 at 11:46 AM ^

I wanted Chicago to win for the wrong reasons - i.e., prestige. Fact is, losing the bid probably saves me 7 years of nonstop construction, annoying commutes, constant CTA "upgrades" and "temporary" track closings, and higher prop taxes....

Still... would've been sweet.

edit: Also agree that Rio would be very deserving. Would be majorly lame if the IOC taps Europe back-to-back and continues to shut out South America, particularly with Samaranch's influence here.


October 2nd, 2009 at 1:00 PM ^

Im from New York via Detroit. Sorry if i don't like Chicago. Thats just like one mans opinion, dude. But what other city built an express-way with the sole purpose to keep black people on the other side of it? But yeah I could just walk up and down Michigan Ave talking about how nice the flowers are and how pretty everything is.

And douche-bag? I'm not the one putting on my only pair of black dress shoes, jeans, and a striped shirt slammin yager bombs. Running up an down Lincoln Ave. yellin at my bro's to hurry up and and finish thier buttitos so we can get to the "late nite" spot before all the bitches are gone.

But Im sure you can think of a better way to express yourself. You will have just about enough time on your train ride from the Loop to Fullerton.


October 2nd, 2009 at 1:02 PM ^

That was clever. You should post it on a satirical blog. It would make tons of people laugh.

Don't apologize for not liking a city. I feel the same way about NYC. I just wouldn't have been a dick about it, is all.

And yes - what other city has historically made decisions based on racist influences.... hmmm... [checking the entire US map]... nope! Not one, besides Chicago! Great point!