Another great story, Jack! Yes, I have been an idiot when traveling abroad. I remember assuming I could just get some local cash at the airport upon arrival, only to discover I couldn't use my American debit card there.
Another time, I had verified ahead of time I could get pesos at the airport ATM in Mexico with an American debit card, but I was so tired that I asked for only 200 pesos (thinking I was asking for $200 USD). I got the equivalent of $10 and couldn't pay cash for dinner for my family of 4! Thank goodness that restaurant accepted American credit cards.
I also don't always chat much with locals. The language is one issue, since I often only learn basic greetings and how to ask where the bathroom is. But sometimes people surprise me and chat me up in English!
I'm curious what other travelers will say!