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Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 in Culture, Moving to Costa Rica, Tips, Travel | 12 comments

Ugly American on American

American Airlines Wing in CloudsWe hadn’t even left Juan Santamaria airport in Costa Rica, for our 1st border run since moving here, before being reintroduced to the sound and feel of our homeland. A passenger, we will call him Richard, Dick for brevity, was a shining example of the term Ugly American. Dick started his journey by showing up to this 8am San Jose to Dallas jaunt drunk and pissed or pissed and pissed if you are from across the pond.

Since Jen and I were traveling light – with only a small carry on, we were able to board with the first group despite having seats at the very rear of the aircraft – excellent seats to enjoy the show. Dick begins his adventure by trying to find his seat. His seat, mind you, is not his assigned seat rather; it is a seat of his choosing on the aisle mid-way through the cabin. I should mention that Dick, I don’t know how, has a wife in tow. Upon choosing his seat Dick attempts to place his, too big to fit, oversized luggage in the overhead compartment. He shoves and shoves and his alcohol-taxed mind encourages him to repeatedly slam his fist into the poor piece of luggage until it finally finds its home. Face red, Dick plops down in his seat and his wife follows . This is directly followed by the woman in the seat next to the window telling them that they are in the wrong seats.


Dick and wife meander towards the back, near our seats, and Dick – who has calmed down from his luggage workout, starts talking loudly to the airline stewardess and mentions that he, Dick, was looking for a special seat. The stewardess states that the flight is pretty full and Dick would do best to wait until everyone has boarded to find an open seat that might better fit his needs than his assigned seat. This doesn’t dissuade Dick in the least and he takes up residence in the seat directly in front of me – for about a minute when he is kicked out again. “See, I told you” says the flight attendant; Dick finds his assigned seat.

Once all occupants have boarded the flight, Dick finds an open seat, away from his wife  (I am sure she is grateful), in the row of seats right next to ours and moves to it. After ordering a cocktail Dick starts chatting up the woman sitting in the aisle seat next to me and they quickly find something in common, lord help me, and they chat about work topics for the entire flight.

Once we arrived and made our way through customs we went outside to wait for our ride. The first thing I notice is the sound of a car horn blaring. Not the friendly toot of the bus driver on my route, in essence, saying, “I know you, how ya doing”. But more of the ugly American saying, “get out of my way…asshole”.

Good to be back home…?


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Greg Seymour is a quitter. At 41 Greg and his wife Jen quit their jobs, sold damn near everything they owned and became Intentionally Unemployed and retired early to Costa Rica.
In addition to writing on this blog, Greg has written for other online publications and has written two popular books about living in Costa Rica:
Greg Seymour Amazon Author Page

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    I don,t remember being on that flight.

    • Haha RP – Sounds like you are having fun in Nicaragua. Keep in touch.

  2. Hahaha classic story. We are pretty sure it was either him or his rude brother on our border run with us. Drunk & Pushy American complainer. As one of our dear friends said…Those people will ultimately be flushed out.

    • Yep – unfortunately classic. I think that guys parents were quite prolific in their procreation. It would have been more amusing if, after his musical chair act, he had not ended up next to me.

  3. Hmm…sounds like a lot of people I’ve seen, on a lot of flights, all over the world. Being a pushy, loud drunk is by no stretch limited to people from the US.

    • No Doubt about that. This one was from the US and while I would have been annoyed at any drunk disrupting me and other passengers, it is much more embarrassing having a fellow citizen be a moron.

  4. Have been on flights with ‘Dick’ and doesn’t matter where you are flying from or to they still give North Americans a bad name. If the ‘Dick’s’ of the world feel so privileged the let them pay for first class ticket!! Great article Greg.

    • Thanks for the comment Helen. Something tells me the staff of first class would not have tolerated this guy.

  5. men, women, black, white, young, old, assholes are assholes…….nothing ‘s going to change that…….welcome home Pura Vida

  6. Ah yes the sweet sounds of inconsiderated and the rudeness of good ole america…lol

  7. Now I remember why I haven’t been back to the US in over 8 years! Maybe your family can start visiting you here?

    • Some of our family has visited. But really, I don’t mind going back. We don’t do it often but our last trip where we visited Texas, Oregon, and Wisconsin, was a blast.

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