Subject: Re: Rude locals

I've been thinking about this topic for a couple of days & either I'm so senile my memory is worse than I know, or I'm some kind of pollyanna.

Traveling is my passion & I go as often, as far & as long as I can, usually on a verrra limited budget. And I can count on the fingers of one hand the encounters with locals I would call rude. And one of them was in New York!

I've sampled local transport on every continent, been lost in more places than I care to recall, & relied on the kindness of strangers more than once. On Isla de la Juventud in Cuba, I made the mistake of not booking package accommodation & there literally was no place to stay & no way to get off the island for a couple of days. Faced with either sleeping in a hole on the beach or being creative, I wandered up & down the docks of a small marina, hallooing skippers to beg a berth. At first Juan was hesitant, distant & cold, but we overcame that in a hurry & spent a cozy evening swapping tales & laughing. And I didn't have to sleep in a hole in the sand.

If travel involves a foreign language, I try to learn at least a few words. I am fluent in several languages & get them mixed up when under stress, so I love it when a local smiles, shakes her head & says something like, "good answer, but wrong language!" I even picked up enough Hindi to enjoy northern India some years ago.

Studying up on culture, history, art & even poetry of my target location is helpful. I expected I'd meet a real culture wall in Jordan, but I read lots of good stuff ahead of time & encountered grace, even when wandering the cold early morning streets of Amman looking for a coffee. I stopped a man who kindly gave me directions & walked with me for a few blocks.

I am willing to laugh at myself when I do something silly. But I have to admit I'm fairly outgoing, not easily discouraged & slow to respond to rudeness with rudeness. Kill 'em with kindness & leave 'em smiling. I really try to leave my vanity at home & I pack as few preconceived notions as I can.

A bigger worry for me is being rude to someone & not knowing it because I haven't read the culture clues accurately.

Gail In Eugene but never for long