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(Google)   "Do you take American money?" and other dumb questions asked by tourists in Alaska   ( divider line
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14332 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Jun 2002 at 8:30 AM (15 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2002-06-12 12:23:01 PM  
Str8ballin....not all Alaskans are as you put it "snooty". WE simply ask if you have a state tax or exemption if you are an Alaskan resident. Washington State has a "tax exemption" if you are an Alaskan resident. You would be amazed at the additional cost we pay for items here that originate in the Lower 48/Continginous US. Our own country, the US of A charges Alaska export fees to send us products from them. Maybe we in Alaska should start charging you an export fee for the oil/gasoline we send to you.
2002-06-12 12:24:37 PM  
Hey Buck, You guys should just hook up with BC or the Yukon. We can be friends.
2002-06-12 12:27:08 PM  
Americans are dumb
2002-06-12 12:27:33 PM  
Maybe american tourists seem stupid because one only notices the tourists that are stupid and the intelligent ones don't register, thus your mind developes a skewd and incorrect model of American intelligence. What do psychologists call this again?
2002-06-12 12:28:59 PM  
or maybe american tourists are stupid becasue they are people, and people are stupid.
2002-06-12 12:31:48 PM  
the correct word really isn't stupid. I'm sure most of them aren't all that stupid. They're just iggnorant about most things outside of their own direct surroundings.
2002-06-12 12:36:48 PM  
Or you have people like me. Once on a dive trip I asked the Captain of the boat,"Does the water go all the way to the bottom?" (It's called Humor). Some people don't recognize "Tongue in Cheek".
2002-06-12 12:39:09 PM  
In a related story...

I was in a place in britain called Iron Bridge, which is a big recreation of a old iron mining city or something like that. They had a bridge there made of iron (hence the name of the place) and I think it was probably one of the first built or something like that. The only real thing you need to know about it is that there were signs all over the place saying "Iron Bridge". Anyway, we were on the Iron Bridge, getting the speil from the guide and since I was 15 and thought I was a great wit put up my hand and in my most innocent voice asked what the bridge was made out of.

The tour guide, of course, didn't get the joke, and just quite patronisingly told me it was made of, well, Iron. The rest of the tour group got a great laugh out of it though...

The point of this ramble is that I do wonder how many of these things are/were jokes.

Oh well.
2002-06-12 12:41:14 PM  

8. [asked in July]" What time do the Northern Lights come on? (G. Jones)
Geesh. How many people outside of Alaska know that the Northern Lights happen only in the winter? (Although the use of "turning on" the Northern Lights designates an idiot.

The northern lights happen in the summer, but that far north it never gets dark enough in July to see them. It's the "land of the midnight sun."
2002-06-12 12:46:02 PM  
FarOut:, You're right, I don't get it. If someone said something like that to me, I would quite likely label them an idiot. But then again, different strokes for different folks, right?
2002-06-12 12:46:04 PM  
How's this for a dumb question (I heard it once on a cruise ship):

"What do you do with the ice sculptures when they melt?"
2002-06-12 12:55:58 PM  
I just got back from 2 weeks in Alaska, I did a road trip from Anchorage to Valdez, to Palmer, to Tok, to Whitehorse (canada), to Scagway, then took a ferry to Haines for the 10th annual Home & Craft beer fest then back to Anchorage.
I covered over 2200 miles and had to go thru customs 4 times.

There are many places in Alaska that can only be reached by boat or plane. You do not need a passport to enter or leave Canada but you do need a Drivers License and Birth Certificate. Every place in Canada took the U.S. dollar and they (Canadiens) all said "Our money is crap"

There are many place where people live in beautiful, large homes that don't have bathrooms or electricity (they use solar panels/outhouses and generators)

The Northern lights are always "on" but not always visible, one thing most people forget is that the majority of Alaska has long summer days (20 hours of sunlight when I was up there) and long winter nights.

Much of the ALCAN, Alaska/Canada highway is unpaved. We saw Grizzly's, black bears, moose, eagles, sea lions, otters, beavers, porcupins and pufins (close to a Penquin, but not really)

The best strip club was the Great Alaskan Bush Company in Anchorage. No cover, full nudity, good looking women, full bar - but, closes at 2am.

There is no State sales tax in Alaska but certain tourist towns like Scagway, Haines and Juneau have local sales tax. There is also no State income tax, residents over 12 years old also receive a dividend check from the oil companies every year - Last years was around $2200

Anything else - Oh... Mosquitoes everywhere the size of a quarter.

2002-06-12 01:01:40 PM  
Call it what you want but when someone call into a resort reservation booking line and inquires "can you see England from Canada? cause they look so close on the map!" -stupid

Or when the US tourists come into a store in Canada paying with US funds FREAKS out because the store will not give them their change in US $. -stupid

And the next time I'm in the US on a vacation or what not I do not want anyone who finds out I'm Canadian to ask me, "Was it a long boat ride coming all the way from Canada?" and no we don't live in igloos!!


[image from too old to be available]
2002-06-12 01:08:48 PM  
My favourite was while in Florida, someone remarked on how good my english was and asked my to speak some Canadian for them. I was somewhat taken aback.
2002-06-12 01:15:44 PM  
Hoosier Daddy, you are the wind beneath my wings.
2002-06-12 01:41:47 PM  

06-12-02 09:11:22 AM Jbb
Some of these don't seem stupid to me :-

9. Of course there is the travel agent in Florida who told my mother not to forget her passport when visiting Alaska. (G. Jones)

- You may have to travel *through* another country to get there.

+It's probably already been addresses, but US Citizens don't need passports to enter adjoining countries, including Canada, Mexico and The Conch Republic :)

10. "Let's go to the post office and get some Alaskan stamps." (JP Somer

- Why's that stupid? They might well have their own stamps. Or not. How would anyone know without finsing out?

+The way you interpret this, it's not stupid. Still, it seems more like the tourists were thinking that somehow stamps were strange and different in Alaska. They very well might have their own stamps, but they're still US stamps. Besides, who's ever heard of say, Texas stamps or Massachusetts stamps?

12. [ferry passengers, several times!] "Which side of the boat do the whales come up on?" (Colleen Easley)

-- Assuming there *are* wales, why is it stupid to want to know that?

+ Well, after 5pm the whales come up on the left side, unless it's Sunday. Come on. This tourist is an idiot.

27. [in Barrow]"Why are there so many Orientals here?" (J. Lindell)

-- Well, if there are, what's wrong with asking that?

+ I think the assumption here is the tourist was confusing Eskimos or the like for Orientals.

42. [Northworst counter agent in Minneapolis] And does one need a passport to get there from the U.S.? (Rich Ahrens)

-- Well, does one?

+ See above.

48. "MD" queried in "This summer I plan on driving to Bristol Bay, AK from my house on Long Island, NY. I was hoping someone could give me some real general info about routes you may have taken, sights to see, things to do, what to bring, etc."

-- Maybe I'm missing something here, but what's wrong with that?

+I dunno. I'm a pretty dumb guy but I'm aware that it's ass hard to get anywhere in Alsaka driving. Hell, there's only one highway.
2002-06-12 01:46:03 PM  
As an aside, what if stupidity was actually painful? Would people learn? Good idea or bad?
2002-06-12 01:58:05 PM  
I once told an American that I was from Australia. His response?

"That's near Ireland, right?"

I've find with American tourists it's not so much ignorance as an unwillingness to bend to local customs. I think this accounts for some of the hostility towards them.
2002-06-12 02:00:36 PM  
Sounds like a great trip! How could anyone not like wildlife, stripclubs, and a beer festival? Heh
2002-06-12 02:14:46 PM  
Major^4: That is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. BTW - What denomination is the 'Kirk' bill? :-D
2002-06-12 02:34:21 PM  
I am reminded of the fellow visiting Canada a few years back who jumped out of a moving Greyhound bus.

He was from outside North America. (Japan I think).

He boarded the bus in Toronto destined for Vancouver (or was it Banff?) and was pissed off that the bus had not arrived at his destination after 3 hours.

Ignorance is everywhere. Americans, at least, have an excuse. It is the hugeness of their land, and the size of the population. L.A., for example, has more residents than Sweden and is, on its own, the 7th largest economy in the world.
2002-06-12 02:38:17 PM  

Wouldn't Kirk be on the Looney?
2002-06-12 03:09:31 PM  
Doctor_X: "I've find with American tourists it's not so much ignorance as an unwillingness to bend to local customs."

Pretty much each time I've been to Europe, I've had people ask me directions - as though I'm a local (Ireland, especially). I always go for low-key appearance, trying to blend in, and learning as much as possible. But you're right, most of the American tourists I've met over there were the typical ignorant loud type.
2002-06-12 03:40:00 PM  
wow i love this. i know about half of the people who posted to that list. and have heard most of those questions. my favorite is when i get asked "why dont you move the glacier to a more convinient location?"

living in juneau is lame but the tourist are fun to pick on.
2002-06-12 04:26:50 PM  
I worked for a grocery store in Florida. We had a Japanese tourist faction (about 5 or so) come into the store. They purchased sixteen (16) fly-swatters. The girl at the register took her sweet time counting them, and turned away from the customers so they didn't see her laughing.
2002-06-12 04:31:03 PM  
A few years ago I was living in Colorado Springs and took a bartending job after I got out of the Army. One day, a woman and her husband, who were obviously tourists, came to the bar for a drink. The woman asks me in all seriousness, "These mountains are gorgeous. How long have they been here?"

Her husband looked embarassed as hell, and I didn't even know how to reply to her.
2002-06-12 04:38:03 PM  
This is a Northwest one:
I'm cruising along in my cheap Amtrak business seat between Portland and Seattle, minding my own business and grinding through the nonsense associated with email when I hear from across the train;
"Oh look at those eagles!"
American bald eagles are common site but I do smirk a bit at the interest and excitement they generate from the tourists. Then I hear;
"I wonder who taught them to catch those tennis balls."
Yup, Canadian Goose migration and breeding season in the old pacific northwest.
2002-06-12 04:43:07 PM  
Rookie: the dividend check comes from the state, not oil companies. You're right about the bush company, but you didn't even mention the superior chiba quality here.
2002-06-12 04:43:42 PM  
Some of these don't seem stupid to me :-
9. Of course there is the travel agent in Florida who told my mother not to forget her passport when visiting Alaska. (G. Jones)
- You may have to travel *through* another country to get there.

Um... Jbb... you don't need a passport to fly over another country.
2002-06-12 04:46:02 PM  

I live in Anchorage. My favorite question so far was, "Where can we go to get pictures of our kids with the penguins?"

Another odd one was, "Why doesn't McDonalds serve moose burgers?"

Oh, and Sixdeadpandas, the Dividend Fund is paid for by the oil companies as part of their agreement for the rights to drill here.
2002-06-12 05:38:18 PM  
I can fight with a yo-yo. My favorite cereal is count chocula.
2002-06-12 05:45:07 PM  
48. "MD" queried in "This summer I plan on driving to Bristol Bay, AK from my house on Long Island, NY. I was hoping someone could give me some real general info about routes you may have taken, sights to see, things to do, what to bring, etc."

-- Maybe I'm missing something here, but what's wrong with that?

The biggest problem is that someone from there should be aware that Alaska is on the other side of the continent.

This would be like asking what to go see in Russia on your trip from France to Belgium.
2002-06-12 05:56:09 PM  

I used to live in Anchorage. When I tell people I lived in Alaska, the next thing out of their mouths is almost always, "Was it cold?" No. It was hot. Really hot. So hot, my igloo melted.
Other FAQs:
"Did you live in an igloo?"
"Did you see any polar bears?"--Yes, actually. In the ZOO.
"Did you have to dogsled everywhere?"
"Didn't you get snowed in all year?"
"Wasn't it, like, dark all the time?"

They think it's some other planet or somethinng. They don't realize that there are CITIES and ROADS, and normal, civilized people living there...
2002-06-12 06:10:50 PM  
Actor_au - "most of these damn things can apply to Australia as well, it really shiats us all when stereotypes are used as an example of what we(and other countries of the world) are like, 'Do you have a pet Kangaroo?' I'll farking kill the next person that asks me that."

For a lot of the stereotyping, you can blame your own tourism board (and Quantas...) They don't run a single commercial in the states that isn't loaded with shots of kangaroos and koalas... Makes it look like the whole freakin' continent is overrun with them. And, don't forget Paul "Crocodile Dundee" Hogan, he's always willing to pimp his country out on every cliche possible for a few bucks. The Australian government really needs to get some kind of gag order going on him. (...and Yahoo Serious)

G'Day Mate!!!
2002-06-12 06:28:37 PM  
I tell you what... living in South Louisiana you get a lot of stupid questions. Try telling a yankee that you live an hour south of New Orleans and they start asking stupid questions like "Do you have cars down there or do you go everywhere in a boat?" and "Do you live in a house that it built on stilts?", or my personal favorite, "Do you guys actually keep aligators as pets?" I tell you what, they are some stupid PEOPLE in this world. I gave my phone number to a chick once who was from New York and she refused to believe that we had cellular service down here.

That is all

2002-06-12 07:09:46 PM  
I spent 8 years piloting subs for Atlantis. Our standard tour lasts about an hour, max depth 150 ft., along a spectacular wall dropping from 80 to around 1500 ft. This was an excellent template for comedy gold....


1) "Is this fresh or salt water?" (Cruise ship passenger!)

2) "Do you live here?" (Standard Answer, said with straight face: "No. I commute from Cuba every day.")

3) "When will it stop raining?"

4) "Is this an island?"

Plenty more where they came from.
2002-06-12 07:23:55 PM  
If it's tourist season why can't we shoot them?

I live in Whistler and we have two mountains[whistler mountain, blackcomb mountain]. There is a pass you can buy for both mountains called a "dual mountain pass" anyways it always gets me when people ask me: "where is dual mountain"
2002-06-12 07:44:19 PM  
people are morons. even online, when they hear I'm in Alaska I can tell them two polar bears are mating outside my seal-blubber-insulated giant-igloo and a fellow eskimo is using whale teeth to scrape the fur off a moose her husband just killed with his bare hands, and they believe me.
2002-06-12 07:50:22 PM  
I work at the U of AK Museum in Fairbanks and here are my personal favorite questions:

1. I stood out all night looking for the northern lights and all I saw were these long green clouds. What were those?

2. Where can I get some good seafood?
(For the geographically challenged, imagine someone asking that in Kansas and you'll see the humor.)

3. What's it like in winter when it gets to 10 below?
(My answer is WARM! It's usually 30 to 40 below)

4. Is there a university in Alaska?
(Hmmm...the museum is on the U of AK campus, and it's called the U of AK museum...I'm inclined to say no.)
2002-06-12 08:15:44 PM  
Coming from New Hampshire, everyone seems to think that all the people there have a cow and ride a tractor. Granted, there are some farm animals if you look in the right places, but the stereotype just amazes me. I mean, New York state is full of farm land, but no one from NY probably ever got stereotyped as a hick. Unless, of course, they're from the Ozarks.

People have not believed me (and have laughed at me) when I tell them that Hampton Beach, New Hampshire has a gang problem (most recently the Latin Kings) and that Exeter, NH if full of Klan. And don't even get me started on the Technology industry in and around Nashua/Manchester or Portsmouth being a hip, contempo city. If it ain't about a farm, they don't believe it.
2002-06-12 08:20:44 PM  
I work as a security guard at HersheyPark, and the stupidest questions I hear are "Do you work here?" and "Are you a security guard?" No, I just wear this outfit because I'm practicing for Halloween this year.
2002-06-12 09:31:00 PM  
Silencio_Templar - Coming from New Hampshire, everyone seems to think that all the people there have a cow and ride a tractor.

I feel your pain (in fact, all of you who suffer under the weight of ridiculous and untrue stereotypes have my understanding and support...)

I'm from Alabama... (rimshot, please)

Huntsville, Alabama... A city of about 200,000 people in the northern part of the state. It's home to the Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, U.S. Space Camp and more aerospace engineering and misc. technology firms than you can shake a stick at.

You can't swing a dead cat in this town without hitting an engineer or "rocket scientist" and the bartender at my favorite bar does microgravity research for NASA when he's not slinging beers. (on the way to that bar I have to drive past a Saturn V rocket and life-size mockups of the Space Shuttle and the SR-71 Blackbird)

Yet, say the word "Alabama" and people assume you and your sister-girlfriend spend weekends "watchin' the Klan chase 'dem coloreds' out of town."

Oh well, I guess we've all got our burdens to bear...
2002-06-12 10:53:32 PM  
I worked in Yellowstone National Park for two years. American tourists are the most stupid in the world!
"When do they let the animals out?"
"Do they turn the geysers off at night to conserve water?"
"Was that a deer or an elk I saw yesterday?"
"What's that awfull smell?" (standing next to a sulfer pot)

It seems that people who come to American parks from overseas actually look up what is there, and Americans just go there and act stupid!
2002-06-13 03:01:43 AM  
3. A Juneau cabbie tells me a woman passenger asked him if they turn the waterfall off at night. (Colleen Easley)

This isn't such a dumb question. They practically shut down Niagara Falls every now and then. They can control flow over the Falls by routing the water from the Niagara river upstream into the hydro-electric plants. If they fully divert it they can practically shut the Falls down. So this question in Alaska isn't so far off. Who's the dumbass now???
2002-06-13 03:03:21 AM  
I'm from Alabama... (rimshot, please)

Tell me about it.

2002-06-13 05:02:56 AM  
Technicolor-misfit So, uh, are you saying you DO have a pet kangaroo, or not?

2002-06-13 05:04:45 AM  
D'oh. I meant to say Actor_au.
Never mind, it's not funny anymore.
Oh, wait, it never was.
I'm an idiot.
2002-06-13 02:24:24 PM  
steveo: true, the money originally paid to the state by the oil companies for drilling rights was set up as a permanent fund, but the dividend we recieve is from the interest on that money and not additional comtributions from companies
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