Whilst we get quite a few Canadians in the hostel, we don't get many Americans.
According to the manager Miranda, this is because Americans tend to prefer hotels and are less au fait with the concept of "backpacking", preferring organised tours.
So when two Americans turned up last night, it was a rare occurence. A couple of people wasted no time and immediately queued up to take the piss. And lets face it, it's not difficult. Cliched descriptors can be rolled out with ease: stupid, fat imperial aggressors, less grasp of geography than an undiscovered tribe in Borneo etc
The couple took the jibes on the chin, choosing to smile through their perfect teeth. I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt; it's unfair to pigeonhole 300 million people, and being English I certainly wouldn't want people to assume I'm a lager drinking football hooligan.
However, the next morning they popped into the TV room to say hello and tell us they were visiting the botanical gardens. When someone mentioned they should also check out the "Chinese Garden" the American girl responded, admittedly in jest, "Well, maybe I should dress as a Geisha Girl then".
There was a silence for a couple of seconds, before I was forced to point out that Geisha Girls were, in fact, Japanese.
"Oh" she said, and realising that there and then she was confirming our faith all the worst stereotypes she added "...that's was a really bad thing to say wasn't it", before slinking quietly away.