I have a theory that there are always telltale signs when you see Arabs in a foreign country. You know you wanna know them. Because even though you think you're up for an adventure, you kind of always want a little bit of home around you.
Here you go:
1. We walk in packs, but it's an organized chaos of sorts.
When Arabs are out and about in a foreign country, they group up into small packs and everyone does their own thing.
There's the leader of the group, who's usually way ahead because he/she knows what they're doing. There's the one who loves information and so stay with the leader. There's the compulsive shopper who stops at every tourist-y shop he/she can find, thus delaying the group. And then there are those who are just lost, trying to find their way.
2. We Arabize everything
While in America, my mother and aunt took to calling Trader Joe's "Amo Youssef."
We also relish in the opportunity to talk Arabic around other foreign people to gossip without them knowing.
3. We love to take group photos
Arab parents haven't really gotten used to the fact that you can share photos, and so have to ask the photographer of choice to take photos with 100 different devices while the big group just poses... again and again.
4. We're always on the hunt for other Arabs
There's something to be said about how Arabs can find another Arab within a 10 km radius of them. Do we smell a certain way? Do they just know? Is it the way we walk?
There's also something to be said about the fact that my family found a Lebanese restaurant on the island of Rhodes in Greece...
5. We don't simply have a conversation, we broadcast a conversation
True a lot of people claim that they're the loudest, but cracking jokes and laughing extremely loudly is explicitly an Arab trait.
So, if you happen to be in a restaurant, trying to guess where the table next to you is from since they keep bothering your dinner with laughing, they're probably Arab.
6. It's not a vacation if we're not constantly disagreeing with each other
When we're not laughing, we nag.
While touring, we have this insane notion that we have to stick together no matter what. And surprisingly not everyone wants to do the same thing.
So, you have people who wanted to go to the museum complaining, and you have people who want to go to a certain shop complaining, and people who just wanted a rest complaining, and it's just a complain fest that makes you promise to never go traveling with your family ever again.
7. Needless broken English
For some reason, even if we speak perfect English in their own country, that seems to disappear once they travel to a country that's native language is not English.
My mother's English turns into the most broken form that I can barely understand. And it's such a bizarre scene, having two people, who probably speak English very well, just speak it so brokenly that they need intense hand gestures to get the point across.
8. Nothing says I went on vacation like obsessive souvenir shopping
Of course your mom needs Greek statues of Gods and Goddesses, what else is she going to decorate the house with?
By the end of the vacation, we usually end up buying a new bag just for all the clothes, shoes, souvenirs, and other useless things we don't really need.