Patriotism – Buenos Aires, Argentina

The other day, I went out for a nice dinner with friends. While we were eating someone was having a birthday and the entire restaurant proceeded to sing clap hoot and holler (ALL the men generally drooling like love sick puppies) along with the stunning musician/singer. This went on for at least 20 minutes and they even sang La Bamba which I could also sing along to. It was a wonderful feeling and I thought about this special kind of charisma that I would miss back home.

Next we went to a bar where some of my friends met some foreigners and brought them back to meet me. One guy in particular behaved very rudely insulting Canada and this was pretty much the first time this had happened to me. I didn`t really know how to react but just shrugged it off saying “Well, that’s your opinion, I guess. I think its a pretty cool place.”

Just recently I observed an Irish guy and a girl from the United States arguing loudly about politics in the middle of a club. The guy was attacking US policies and the girl was in heavy defense, exasperated on the brink of apologizing. I broke in informing them that I had been to both places so I ALSO get to have an opinion. I hugged the girl telling her that I was her neighbour and she bubbled excitedly that her BEST FRIEND was from Edmonton. What a coincidence that that is my home city! I then told the guy to stop picking on her. She is not your enemy, but traveler in a strange land, just like you. The Irish of all people should know what it feels like to be bullied. Its just not right.

Hey, I am all for free speech but when I am in a foreign country, I am a guest. I try to mind my manners. Wherever I am, I am representing my country. If I am the only Canadian someone ever meets, then I am like the ambassador. My behavior and attitude may determine how they judge Canada. It may shape all their ideas and beliefs perhaps even making them want to come…or stay away. Right or wrong, that is the way it is.

There are good and bad people in every country…I have met lots of the nice ones as I have found travelers generally are respectful. I have also met a few crummy travelers but they are not only from a country called BadLand. They happen all over the world and every basket has a bad apple or two. But hey, teach by example. Einstein said “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” I think he may have been onto something there. So I hope I have left a good impression and that others want to come visit my homeland. I DO have a flag on my backpack but its not there to say I am NOT from another country. Its there to say I AM CANADIAN. I am proud of who I am and a big part of that is because of where I am from.

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