Archive | October, 2012

The List of Correct Responses

31 Oct

From the inventor of the social anxiety game, here is the list of correct responses to many social situations:

How are you?

-Drunk on power

-Well, you know how it is, everyday is like Christmas when you are this pretty

-I can’t answer that kind of question, start off with something easier.

-(holding your fingers to indicate a small space, closing one eye as if looking at the space to measure correctly) just a littttttttle bit drunk

-I’m no philosopher, I’m not qualified to answer that question.  Hitler probably thought he was doing well when he was in power, but in reality he was such a force of evil that he is synonymous with evil.  To the point that i am using him in this analogy
.-Sexy as a bowling shoe

What do you do?

-(whispering) A spy never tells

-as little as possible

When someone is telling you about their baby

-So you are keeping it then?

Como estas?

-Estoy sexy como siempre

When friends of a female friend ask how you know each other.

-She tells everyone we are friends from high school, I don’t know why, we met on an online dating site.

When asked to translate:

-She wants you to stand over there, and (with a puzzled look on your face) do jumping jacks, yeah that is weird I don’t know why, but she is in charge

-he said to raise your right hand if you ever failed a class, (when the pastor stops and asks why they raised their hand, turn back to the person with their hand up) ok tell us about it, translate the story

When asked about black eyes (or other visible bruises)

-people are just waaaay to sensitive about their weight…..you try and educate someone in the checkout line at walmart that junkfood just isnt what a person their side needs……

When told you are looking rough

-yeah…..one day….i’m going to…get off the meth…..

When someone is getting engaged

-congratulations, or condolences whichever you think are more appropriate

-sit down and think this through, marraige can only end in death or divorce, you can’t just live for the moment and not think long term

-and i’m going to be your best man

What have your been up to?

-just drinking myself into oblivion

Ok, that is all for now, if you have other correct responses you may add to the list.  P.S. there is one response on the list that i have never actually used

 

Cultural Differences

15 Oct

Often the biggest challenges in travel isn’t the language barrier, but cultural differences.  Things that you are taught from a small age as being disrespectful and rude in one culture is often not insensitive at all in another.  I am going to list some of my favorite cultural differences i have encountered.

When i was in college, i was having lunch with two Taiwanese students.  We went to a dorm that had a buffet, and i wound up taking more food than i could eat.  The Taiwanese girls were upset, and a little shocked.  They said “in Taiwan, if you waste food, they say you will marry an ugly person.  But maybe you don’t care because your American and American’s get married more than once.”

The best friend of my  Brazilian ex-girlfriend was coming to the USA, to study English.  She wanted to visit me while she was here, I would be out of town the day she arrived and so i told her to email my mom about picking her up.  While she was emailing my mom she said “I like David so much.”  My mom almost flipped out, told me I better be careful with her, I had to explain in Brazil to say you like someone means just that….it doesn’t imply romantic interest.  I told my friend about it, and she was horrified.

In Korea women will openly say that they want a rich husband.

In Brazil, if you make plans with someone, make a confirmation call before you go to meet them.  If you don’t get a confirmation call, and can not reach them, then don’t go because you will be stood up.  This is not rude in Brazil, it is assumed that something has come up if they don’t call and confirm they are coming.

Never double book in Brazil.  If you plan two social events on one day, you will wind up missing the second one.  No one arrives on time for social events, and leaving a party to go somewhere else is frowned upon.

Latin cultures are much more accepting of a guy openly pursuing a woman.  Once i went on a camping trip in El Salvador with a friend and her  church group.  Her boyfriend of 5 years was on the trip.  Mis-interpreting her smiles and looks at me, i confessed my feelings to her.  Again, this is on a camping trip that her boyfriend is on, amazingly nothing bad happened from the situation.  We are still friends.

The idea that hospital visits should be solemn and un-smiling is also just a cultural norm.  Our secretary’s boyfriend/fiancee was on the back of a motorcycle that got hit by a bus.  He was in a coma, and when a group of us from work visited, his family and friends were waiting outside the intensive care area.  Everyone was smiling and greeting each other, no one was crying.  I had been talking with the secretary about buying my motorcycle after I left, before the accident.  While I am talking to the secretary, Chicken (another cultural difference nicknames like Chicken) comes over and says “I don’t think she will be buying the moto now”  I braced myself for either fireworks or waterworks, from a severely offended fiancee.  Instead, she just smiled and said “No, no i won’t.”  She didn’t seem to think of it as offensive at all.

In Korea, at the time I was there corporal punishment was still allowed in middle schools.  However foreigners were not allowed to give the physical punishments, because they knew that in America we don’t allow it.

In Brazil, the average guy on the beach wears what we call a speedo.  The Brazilian bikini bottom doesn’t cover all the bottom.  Probably 1/3 of all women wear a thong, and my entire time in Brazil i only saw less than 10 women in one-piece bathing suits.  (including old women)  American’s are often shocked, but Brazilians don’t think of it as any big deal.  In fact, I have often seen women rubbing sun block or sun tanning lotion on the butts of their friend.

In Korea, I was in a car that was waved through the police checkpoint for drunk driving, simply because we were foriegn.

In El Salvador, any tattoo implies you are a gang member.  My friend Nestor often wear dress shirts and a tie to cover up his tatoos when he is going to a rough area.

In Korea, instead of it being rude to call out to the waiters, it is necessary.  Tipping isn’t part of the culture.

 

 

Waterfalls

15 Oct

So the last part of Holy Week, me Nestor and Anna all headed back from the beach.  We picked the right time, because the traffic was rush hour traffic all the way to the beach.   The three of us, and Beto, Nestor’s friend, decided to go to Juyua to visit some waterfalls.  The waterfall pics are in Anna’s facebook, and i got to say i’m looking pretty good in them.  They had me drive, so that was a good start.  We get there, and we peer pressure Anna into taking a pic with a Giant python wrapped around her.  As she was telling Richard about it, she was like well it was only a dollar, Richard responded it would take more than a dollar to get him to put a snake on him, and then realized she paid to have the pic taken.

If you have been to SE Asia you have probably ridden in a tuk-tuk, a motorcycle that has a big metal covering that makes it into a 3-4 passenger vehicle.  This is what you take down to the waterfalls, or walk about a mile down a dirt road.  This road is so bumpy and dusty that the drivers had to Flinstone it part of the way.  On the way back when they hit the part that is just 2 inches of dust, they jump out keep their hands on the steering wheel and throttle and run next to it.  Good times.

So we get to the waterfalls, and turns out none of the others want to climb the waterfalls to jump in.  They swim in the bottom, but don’t feel like climbing.  There is a place where people jump in, and it’s relatively safe, there is another spot that people jump in but there are rocks under.  This girl was about to jump from the rocks spot and Nestor asks me to check out the area and be sure there are no rocks where she is jumping.  I decide to show her where to jump from, and after i swim to the side Nestor tells me the girl who is about to jump doesn’t know how to swim.  I thought he was kidding, until her mom is yelling for someone to go get her.   It wasn’t super risky, it’s only like 15 or 20 feet to the edge of the dam, but she should have arranged for someone to get her before she jumped…..

The rest of the story

8 Oct

Ok, early on i posted about my motorcycle buying experience.  I promised i would include the better story after i left El Salvador, but since I hadn’t heard any comments or feedback on my blogs i kind of gave up on it.  However I am going to give it one last go round….here is the story i didn’t want to tell until after i left.

  If you don’t remember the lesson learned about the moto-after searching for weeks, i finallly found one in an alley between two tire shacks in a neighborhood called Mejicanos-where the guy selling the bike didn’t answer his phone because he was worried it was gang members trying to shake him down.  So this story picks up there.

  Now, i don’t know if i shared this with you, but i didn’t know how to ride a motorcycle before i bought one.  So, after we bought it, me and Nestor went on a ride so he can teach me how while he is driving.  For those of you who don’t know, Nestor is the guy i stayed with.  He was deported from the USA after he found God during a prison riot.  Part of the cultural differences in El Salvador is that very few non-gang members have tattoos.  So, everywhere we go, security is always checking out Nestor.  Once we were in a van of 10 gringos and Nestor, the guards or police pulled Ness out of the van to check him out.  Another time i had to talk to a store manager because the security guard was treating Ness like it was a prison.  This might seem like a rabbit trail, but it relates.

  I don’t know if i mentioned this earlier, but when i asked people how you learn to drive a moto without a license, they said just keep on side streets, because cops can take your bike if you are driving without a license.  So Ness is driving me around, explaining the intracacies of driving a moto.  Well, a tattooed guy driving around in circles at night in a middle class neighborhood must have arose suspicions.  A pick-up truck full of police pass us, turn on their lights, and have 6 automatic weapons pointed at us.  I put my hands up and get off the bike.  One cop is yelling at us, but he is speaking so fast and angrily i can’t understand anything.  He realizes I don’t speak Spanish and says in Spanish “Oh, you don’t understand Spansih, I’ll make you understand, and points the gun up closer.”  The joke was on him though because i didn’t even know he said that until Ness told me about it later….Well, i’m somewhat worried now, because not only do i not have a license to drive a moto, Ness doesn’t have any paperwork, and he was driving.  Ness after being deported found out that his birth certificate and other papers were all forged, and has been in a nearly 3 year process of trying to get some form of ID.   At this point I am mostly worried that my moto is going to get confiscated on the very first day i bought it.  (as i was telling the story for my other brother and cousin i said “in latin america it;s not all that unusual to have a gun point at you by the cops” to which my brother responded “i’ve lived there for 4 years and it’s never happened to me” i responded “i’m just saying it’s not my first time, so i wasn’t fearing for my life” )  Then the cop who had the new Spanish immersion lesson said to me “oh you don’t understand, mouth on the floor in English” well the floor was the street, he starts checking me and gets my wallet.  I still am telling myself how it’s going to be ok, he just is going through the motions, when i hear him pull back on the slide.  At this point, the only thing i am thinking is, “well, this guy is about to murder me, and there is nothing i can do about it”  About this time though, the neighborhood security guy, who Ness lets sleep in a hammock in the back of the house, comes down the street, tells the cops that Ness lives there and backs up his story.  So, as I get up, I look up, Ness is still straddling the moto.  This guy with tattoos, no helmet, no id, and was the whole reason we looked suspicious to start with is still on the moto while I am on the street.  There has to be a moral of the story in there somewhere……