The rum-wielding, cigar-chomping, sombrero-wearing, pot-bellied American to the left is the original Ugly American, made famous by photographer Constantino Arias (who coined the term) in 1950s Havana. On one hand, I loathe him as everything that is wrong with a certain breed of American traveler: loud, obnoxious, arrogant, self-absorbed, and largely ignorant and blind to the people and places encountered on his travels. And yet, I can’t help admiring his ‘I don’t care what you think, I’m gonna enjoy my goddamn vacation’ attitude. And if some unwashed local were bold enough to join him on his reveries, I get the feeling Mr. American would make him an instant friend for life. It’s also louts like him that helped start the global tourism trade we see today, making it easier for my own personal travels, which you’ll find chronicled in this blog.
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