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Olympic Torched

Claim:   List collects snappy answers to dumb questions posed by tourists visiting the Olympic Games.

LEGeND

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2006]

QUESTIONS ABOUT 2010 OLYMPICS

Now that Vancouver has won the chance to host the 2010 Winter Olympics these are some questions people the world over are asking!!!! Believe it or not these questions about Canada were posted on an International Tourism Website (frightening, isn't it!)

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q: Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto - can I follow the Railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only Four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: It is imperative that I find the names and addresses of places to contact for a stuffed Beaver. (Italy)
A: Let's not touch this one.

Q: Are there any ATM's (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big country to your North...oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you sell it in Canada? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada, but I forget its name. It's a kind of big horse with horns. (USA)
A: It's called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.
 

Origins:   This list of cheeky answers to dumb tourist queries has been circulated on the Internet in various forms since at least 2000. While 2006
iterations of the list positioned it as having to do with the 2010 Winter Olympics (which were held in Vancouver, British Columbia), earlier Canadian versions merely noted the questions and answers had come from "An International Tourism Website" (always unnamed).

This list of howlers exists in at least two other forms, however: Australian and South African. It is an omnibus humor piece, in that the questions and insolent responses thereto can be reworked to fit most any country.

In 2000, the purported tourist inquiries were presented within a framework of their having been asked in relation to the Summer Olympics (which were held in Sydney, Australia, that year). Versions being circulated offered the claims that these questions and answers were from "the Sydney Olympic Committee via their Web site," or were "Questions e-mailed to the Olympics Info Line," or merely "Posted on an Australian Tourism Website":
Here are some of the classic questions that were asked of the Sydney Olympic Committee via their Web site, and answers supplied.

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: Upwards, out of the ground, like the person who asked this question, who themselves will need watering if their IQ drops any lower ...

Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)
A: Depends on how much beer you've consumed ...

Q: Which direction should I drive - Perth to Darwin or Darwin to Perth - to avoid driving with the sun in my eyes? (Germany)
A: Excellent question, considering that the Olympics are being held in Sydney.

Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, so you'll need to have started about a year ago to get there in time for this October ...

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Australia? (Sweden)
A: And accomplish what?

Q: It is imperative that I find the names and addresses of places to contact for a stuffed porpoise. (Italy)
A: I'm not touching this one ...

Q: My client wants to take a steel pooper-scooper into Australia. Will you let her in? (South Africa)
A: Why? We do have toilet paper here ...

Q: Are there any ATMs in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)
A: No, I can't.

Q: Where can I learn underwater welding in Australia? (Portugal)
A: Under water?

Q: Do the camels in Australia have one hump or two? (UK)
A: What's the time frame?

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)
A: Why bother? Use your fingers like the rest of us ...

Q: Do you have perfume in Australia? (France)
A: No. Everybody stinks.

Q: Do tents exist in Australia? (Germany)
A: Yes, but only in sporting supply stores, peoples' garages, and most national parks ...

Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? (UK)
A: This HAS to have been asked by a blonde ...

Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes. Gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)
A: Yes. At Christmas.

Q: Can I drive to the Great Barrier Reef? (Germany)
A: Sure, if your vehicle is amphibious.

Q: Are there killer bees in Australia? (Germany)
A: Not yet, but we'll see what we can do when you get here.

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)
A: What's this guy smoking, and where do I get some?

Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: Another blonde?

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: I love this one ... there are no rattlesnakes in Australia.

Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)
A: Face North and you should be about right.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Americans have long had considerable trouble distinguishing between Austria and Australia.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)
A: Would you believe the Panda?

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia? (USA)
A: From Liz Taylor, perhaps?

Q: Are there places in Australia where you can make love outdoors? (Italy)
A: Yes. Outdoors.

Q: I was in Australia in 1969 on R+R, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Kings Cross. Can you help? (USA)
A: No. And even if I could ...

Q: Will I be able to speek English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.
By 2003, a South African version was doing the cyberspatial rounds:
These questions about South Africa were posted on a South African Tourism Website and were answered by the website owner.

Q: Does it ever get windy in South Africa? I have never seen it rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

Q: Will I be able to see elephants in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: I want to walk from Durban to Cape Town - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only two thousand kilometres take lots of water...

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in South Africa? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in South Africa? Can you send me a list of them in JHB, Cape Town, Knysna and Jeffrey's Bay? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about Koala Bear racing in South Africa? (USA)
A: Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the pacific. A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe which does not... oh forget it. Sure, the Koala Bear racing is every Tuesday night in Hillbrow. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is north in South Africa? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 90 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into South Africa? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is...oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Hillbrow, straight after the Koala Bear races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in South Africa? (France)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in South Africa? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in South Africa where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in South Africa? (France)
A: Only at Christmas.

Q: Are there killer bees in South Africa? (Germany)
A: Not yet, but for you, we'll import them.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Cape Town and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilisation of vegan hunter-gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Please send a list of all doctors in South Africa who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca, which is where YOU come from. All South African snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

Q: I was in South Africa in 1969, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Hillbrow. Can you help? (USA)
A: Yes, and you will still have to pay her by the hour.

Q: Will I be able to speek English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.
Although couched as humor, these lists might also be considered as oblique expressions of unease from people contemplating the pending invasion of their home by outsiders. Such lists are typically associated with the Olympics, an event that brings to its host city large numbers of participants and spectators from all over the world for weeks at a time. Although many people consider it an honor for their country to be selected as the site of an upcoming Olympics, some residents of the areas where the Olympic competitions are actually held quickly become disenchanted with all the fuss, displacement, noise, crowds, increased traffic, and similar inconveniences created by construction and other preparations (which often begin years in advance) and by the staging of the Olympic events themselves. That such lists tend to circulate about some countries that have recently hosted the Olympics or been named as host countries for upcoming Olympics games (e.g., Canada, Australia) but not other such countries (e.g., USA, Greece, Spain) might also indicate a sense of disgruntlement amongst people who see their countries continually associated with simplistic, cartoonish stereotypes (i.e., all Canadians are lumberjacks or Mounties and reside in a country perpetually blanketed with snow; all Australians are beer-drinking louts who live amongst herds of friendly koalas and kangaroos).

Humorous lists of queries purportedly posed by gormless tourists exist in other forms, like this enumeration of howlers supposedly put to park rangers.

Barbara "take a fork for the road, rather than the fork in the road" Mikkelson

Last updated:   26 July 2012

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