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US invasion of PNG: a light-hearted view

So, you're an American? Have you ever worn a fanny pack and tennis shoes while exploring historical European cities? Or maybe you asked for "iced tea" in a small café in Paris. Or maybe you simply used a selfie stick or tried to pay with a credit card instead of cash.

If your reaction is, "how did you know?" scroll down for the surefire, tell-tale signs that most commonly divulge your national heritage while traveling abroad. In homage to Jeff Foxworthy's classic "You Might be a Redneck" standup act, here's our best-practice guide for spotting a Yank. You might be an American tourist I f…

The number one dead giveaway for spotting an American is — ice, ice, baby. Let's face it, ice is the surefire way to make a tasty beverage even more refreshing. First, one will observe the shock of indignation on the American tourist's face as a glass of Coca-Cola is handed to them sans ice.

Accustomed to a heaping pile of bubbly and refreshing fizzing cubes, the Americans will panic, assuming the foreign nation expects them to consume a room-temperature soft drink. That's when the second sure-fire sign sets in. The typical American will ask for ice. Because it's always the real thing.

If you are an American, you may not realise that MLB is not a worldwide sporting league. After all, they go to the World Series each season. The fact is baseball is a very American sport, and the baseball cap is a unique type of lid. It doesn't just keep your head protected from the sun, but it makes anyone look automatically 10 times cooler.

It's practical and comfortable and even stylish, in your homeland, that is. So, if you're wearing a baseball cap while traveling abroad, the cool factor might not be there, and it's a red-flag sign of where you're from.

In Europe, wearing white socks is a fashion faux pas. Sock colour should match the colour of the pants, according to Europeans. A leaked memo out of the Dutch Finance Ministry stated that wearing white socks is "transgressing the limits of decent dress behaviour." Pardon us for our cultural insensitivity, but that's a bit strong, don't you think?

If an American is spotted wearing the ubiquitous athletic socks, locals may laugh. But since sneakers (also a red flag) are the most common shoe for Americans—again, practical and comfortable—naturally, athletic socks are a closet essential. What is it with Americans wearing white socks wherever they go?

If you are traveling abroad, you have managed to escape notice; a big, friendly smile will be your outing. In America, orthodonture is an inescapable part of life. Being fitted for braces is like an adolescent right of passage, not so in the rest of the world. Showing off our pearly whites is one of the quickest ways to expose our citizenship...

How comes every American, no matter where they are from, seems like they are about to star in the next Indiana Jones movie? In the rest of the world, it's just not guaranteed to have a set of pearly whites.

Uproarious applause is the United States of America's favourite way to express appreciation. From ballparks to rock concerts, clapping, shouting, whistling, and making as much noise as possible is normal. It seems like Americans will clap at nearly everything. But it does not stop there.

Tourists will clap for a server if he makes an exceptional save on a teetering trayful of drinks or for the conclusion of a tour guide's spiel; it is too much! And, It could get you labelled as an "ugly American." If the table at the Parisian cafe you are visiting ruptures into applause, they are probably American.

If you walk up to someone and say, "'Sup, bro!" you will definitely be identified as an American. Of course, the proper response is "'Sup!" but the average non-American speaker will find this very awkward. Every language has its slang usage, but ours is widely identifiable around the world because of our movies and TV shows.

So, say "bro," "brah," or "dude" at your own risk! We recommend going for more generic greetings while traveling around the rest of the world. Say things like, "hello," "greetings," and "excuse me." You can't go wrong this way. But definitely avoid "howdy," that's immediately going to blow your cover.

We hope you appreciated that "How I Met Your Mother" reference. Whatever the case may be, Americans dig fanny packs out from the bottom of the closet because, quite frankly, those bags on a belt are practical. And mostly because Americans are terrified of pickpockets. And that is certainly a problem.

In America, sports are a big deal as long as it's football, baseball, basketball, hockey, or pretty much any sport other than soccer. Frankly, Americans are annoyed and bothered that football would mean anything else besides the tackle sport that requires helmets and body armor, never mind that it was invented after the game everyone else in the world calls football.

So, it's not so much that Americans are ignorant of the worldwide sports craze; they are willfully ignorant. It's an easy way to spot an American. And that doesn't bode well when you consider that the USA is co-hosts of the 2026 FIFA World Cup with Mexico and Canada.

In America, people are always eating on the run. In their cars, commuting from point A to point B or on the way to the metro station. We do not always have time to sit down and eat. Likewise, on vacation, Americans want to see as much as they can.

This makes it easy to be able to spot one. They're the tourists who are always walking and eating. On the contrary, locals in many countries around the world like to take their sweet time, appreciate their friends' company and not rush their meals as they take in the ambience at the restaurant they're sitting at.

Much to the chagrin of U.S. scientists and academicians, America never made the switch to the metric system. Everyone else in the world uses that very organised system of measurement. So, when Americans travel abroad, one of the simplest ways to spot one is that look of confusion on their face when he or she is asked how many kilograms their luggage weighs.

Heck, Quentin Tarantino even made a joke about the whole thing when he wrote "Pulp Fiction" back in the early 90s. What do they call a quarter pounder with cheese in Europe? That's right, "Royal with cheese." Why? That's right, because of the metric system!

You'll see happy families with happy meals inside McDonald's. While it's true that half of worldwide McDonald's diners are locals, the happy smiles immediately confirm the suspicion—perfectly straight teeth. Some travellers can't visit a country without checking out one of the local golden arches. And that's definitely the case when it comes to many Americans.

Americans on vacation tend to celebrate by boozing it up. Getting plastered, however, is not common in countries where the drinking age is not enforced. Europeans wonder if the age restriction in the States causes Americans to rebel by overconsuming. Just to clarify, it's 18 years in most of Europe.

And so Americans under the age of 21 really take advantage of this loophole when they travel across the pond and indulge in Europe's finest, sweet nectars. Do you want some limoncello in Venice? Sure, why not? Put some absinthe to the flame in Paris? Oh, oui oui, monsieur! The possibilities are limitless!

Unless you are traveling in the Muslim world, people are going to be much more relaxed about public nakedness or steamy love scenes. In fact, there are plenty of beaches around the world that are specifically for people who prefer sunbathing with their clothes off. But Americans generally can't handle this kind of laidbackness when they lay eyes on it.

The prudish nature of the average American obsesses over these things, and as a result, we have a flood of shocking performances and outward behavior in our culture. Musicians are the best example of those who rebel against American prudishness.

One way to spot an American is by their fondness for small talk. They will strike up a conversation with anyone. In contrast to Londoners, who are stereotypically cold and do not want to talk to anyone on their way home after a hard day of work, Americans cannot wait to let someone know how they feel, wherever they are.

They will speak loudly, enunciating each syllable, as if volume will help the non-English speaker understand our foreign words. And, as long as that person is nodding and smiling, we will talk on and on and on. Just shut up already!

In some countries, informal conversations with new people are taboo. In France, using the familiar greeting inappropriately is a big faux pas. Many people around the world find our TMI tendency to be awkward and a bit annoying. Yet, some people welcome it and enjoy a chance to chat with a real, live American.

It's not just that we're talking to strangers. Americans are super, weirdly, intimately open with them. Maybe it's the security of knowing we're never going to see this person again that makes us open up like they are a bartender and we are four drinks in.

In Southern California, you may get a sideways look if you're wearing dress pants at the beach, but American men get those same looks for wearing shorts all around the world. In some countries, shorts are only worn by boys, so you risk looking immature and silly.

To stay cool, it's probably worth the risk, but, in the end, it's an easy way to spot an American. Generally, a non-American will stick to something typical, like a pair of jeans or chinos. Americans just need to show off those calves wherever they travel. It's tradition. It accentuates the fact that they're on an adventure.

Tipping is an American tradition. We tip our waitress; we tip the valet, tip the concierge, and tip anyone we come into contact with during our vacation stay. It's a polite way to appreciate people who we assume are not getting paid enough for their crucially important service. We are having a great time, and we can thank these people.

Well, my fellow American, guess what. Tipping abroad is unnecessary at best and, in places like Asia, downright insulting! However, in many places, people are happy to take your tip. So read the room, and maybe do some research before you tip willy-nilly.

If you've dressed to fit in, withheld tips, steered clear of small talk, and consumed your beverage without ice, there is one thing you cannot hide—your American accent. The rest of the world has done their homework after binging every American show Netflix has to offer.

It doesn't matter which territory of the expansive American land that you hail from. An American accent is very easy to recognise. So don't even waste your time trying to hide it. Maybe just write what you're trying to say on a whiteboard instead. At the very least, that will be less annoying for everyone around you.

In general, people you meet abroad will appreciate it more if you try to communicate in their home language. But if you're in Italy and start sounding like Brad Pitt in "Inglourious Basterds," we think you're probably better off avoiding it altogether. Maybe just stick to one-word requests and try and stay quiet.

Americans are notorious for being monolingual. In Europe, where national borders snug up to each other, people are forced to be multilingual. So, it's true. Americans are just too busy learning other things at school, like history, science, math, and, dare we say ... English.