At one time or another when we were in school, we've probably all heard a teacher say that there are no stupid questions in an attempt to get us to express our curiosity about something without being embarrassed.
However, as an adult that old adage doesn't apply to all situations. The travel industry is filled with weird, quirky, and in some cases just plain stupid questions asked by tourists. Here's a sampling of some from various sources.
Actual Questions Asked On Cruise Ships:
Does the crew sleep on board?
Is the island surrounded by water?
What happens to the ice sculptures after they melt?
What time is the 2 o'clock tour?
Can you see the equator from the deck?
I know that ships often serve smoked salmon, but I am a non-smoker.
Can the iced tea be served hot?
Will I get wet if I go snorkeling?
Should I put my luggage outside the cabin before or after I go to sleep?
Does the outside cabin mean it's outside the ship?
Where is the good shopping in Antarctica?
And cruise ships aren't the only place that tourists seem to have absurd questions. Here are some actual questions received by Australians from foreigners, along with some well-deserved replies given to the questioner.
Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (question from the UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.
Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (question from USA)
A: Depends on how much you've been drinking.
Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney—can I follow the railroad tracks? (question from Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only 3000 miles, take lots of water.
Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Hervey Bay? (question from the UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?
Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (question from USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is the big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not…oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night at Kings Cross. Come naked.
Q: Which direction is north in Australia? (question from 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 wear high heels in Australia? (question from the UK)
A: You're a British politician, right?
Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (question from Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.
Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (question from Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.
Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (question from France)
A: Only at Christmas.
The Daily Telegraph in the United Kingdom put together an international list "of the most inexplicably simple queries fielded by tourism officials."
Are there any lakes in the Lake District?
Why on earth did they build Windsor Castle on the flight path for Heathrow?
Is Wales closed during the winter?
Why did they build so many ruined castles and abbeys in England?
Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?
And here are some tourist questions asked at Niagara Falls:
What time do the falls shut off?
How far into Canada do I have to go before we have to drive on the other side of the road?
How much does it cost to get into Canada and are children a different price?
And here are some goodies from Minnesota:
I'm coming in July and I want snowmobile rental information.
We want to tour the Edmund Fitzgerald. (the ship sank in a storm in Lake Superior in 1975)
One traveler asked to see the bridge in Minnesota with the arches. She was shown various photos, none of which were the bridge she was looking for. She finally identified a picture of the St. Louis Gateway Arch as the bridge she wanted to see. She was given directions to Missouri.
And finally…these tidbits.
One tourist to Scotland asked what time they fed the Loch Ness Monster. Another visitor to New York City thought they would end up in Holland if they drove through the Holland Tunnel. A traveler in Miami asked a tourism official which beach was closest to the ocean.
So…I guess the bottom line is to maybe think about that question a second time before you actually ask it. :)