Americans Traveling Abroad for Independence Day Should Not Expect Parades, Fireworks or Celebrations
The most tame 4th of July that I ever spent was in Santorini, Greece.
And friend and I woke up and sprinted into the Town Square of Fira – the centerpiece of activity there for much of the day – proudly wearing our red, white and blue, only to be greeted by the normal polite “hellos” but no high-fives.
Nobody was waving flags, cheering or playing the Star Spangled Banner.
Later, when we went to the Tropical Bar for our usual drinks to watch the sunset, we expected to be greeted with some “happy birthday America” toasts. But again, nothing.
In fact, when we told others we were celebrating, they had to be informed it was the Fourth of July. It wasn’t that they were rude, they just did not know and, no offense to our country, they didn’t really care all that much. We would feel the same indifference about their country’s independence day, too.
Now Santorini and the other Greek Island we hit on that trip – Mykonos, Paros and Ios, all part of the highly popular Cyclades Islands – was a great place to be in July. Especially for a pair of single guys if you get my drift (wink, wink). But on the 4th, it was “just” another day and night.
Americans traveling overseas or even across the northern border to Canada should expect the same treatment. People like Americans again and want to party with us in particular, so that’s not the issue. It’s just the 4th is not a big deal outside of America (yeah, hard to believe when there’s parties like this happening from USA sea to shining sea).
With that in mind, I’m offering this advice:
• Pack red, white and blue clothes or even an Uncle Sam suit or hat to wear on the 4th;
• Have a small American flag and keep it with you all day;
• Go ahead and celebrate and remind people you see and meet that it’s America’s birthday;
• Do cheers to the USA in each bar you visit that day and night;
• And finally, do your share of acknowledging the 4th but don’t over-do it. After all, if there’s one thing foreigners hate about the USA it’s loud, obnoxious Americans acting as if they are in America.