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All About Americans

April 20, 1986

The article "All About Americans" by Arthur S. Harris Jr. (March 30) confirms that there may be inexperienced American travelers who need attentive guidance during a possibly first trip to Europe. It demonstrates also, much less pleasantly, that they are likely to be herded by provincial, snobbish and aloof European guides.

It appears that Mlle. X is totally unaware that many Americans abroad wouldn't be caught dead on her tour and do not need hers or any other. They are travel-wise, speak at least one European tongue, are well-acquainted with customs abroad and do not startle the natives with purple slacks or brocaded gowns.

These travelers are not on guided tours; they travel independently. When Mlle. X glimpses them on the street or in a restaurant she does not know, and would not believe, that they are Americans. She will never meet them.

The lesson to American travelers? Do some reading (including the L.A. Times Travel Section), study a language, and try to avoid Mlle. X, even on a first trip.

C. WILLIAM ALTMAN

Santa Barbara

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