Wednesday, August 09, 2006

When in Rome..don't ask for help

Anne Widdecombe has an interesting piece in today's Daily Express on what she calls the rudest place she has ever visited- Rome.
I can fully understand how she feels. My wife and I have visited cities and countries atround the world, but never came across such consistent rudeness and unhelpfulness as in the Italian capital. A shrug of the shoulders is the standard response to a polite request for help or information and to say people don't go out of their way to be of assistance is the understatement of the century. Where I don't agree with Widdecombe is holding London up as an example of a helpful, friendly city. Has she never been to New York?
New York was voted the most polite city in the world in a recent survey- and having visited the Apple for the first time in April, I can fully understand why. Everyone we asked for directions or information was extremely helpful, even to the extent of walking along with us to make sure we got on the right trains. En route to JFK airport, I left my wife for a couple of minutes at the foot of some stairs in order to buy a couple of sandwiches and on my return she told me that no fewer than three people had offered to carry our cases up the stairs!
And I am told by American friends that New York is the least friendly of all major American cities!!
American foreign policy leaves a lot to be desired- but many of its people are 14 carat gold.

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