Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3rd World Patience...

Well it was somewhat of a stressful weekend in that I got to learn just how remote my area is technologically speaking. But the down time at least forced me away from my computer for some days, and I have to admit that I do feel pretty refreshed. My day usually consists of waking up at 6:30 AM doing my regular job until 3 PM and then working on my other projects (like this blog) until about 10 PM and then try to fit in two hours of amusement before I go to bed around midnight, then and rinse and repeat. So the great Internet outage of the Cartago province, though hatefully cursed on Saturday morning is warmly remembered now a few days later.

At first I was out of the of a loss as to what to write today, but as always I try to draw as much from my personal experiences as possible so let's talk a little bit about the importance of patience when living in a country one might classify as "Third World".

I don't know how many times I've walked through the plaza in downtown San Jose and seen the same thing happen over and over again. A tourist gets irate with a local, loses his cool, and makes the rest of us groan for the lack of proper educational funding in our home country (thanks GOP!). It might be at a little souvenir stand or a street vendor selling shaved ice or whatnot, but if you live in a vacation destination you will eventually see this very same scene. For realism purposes, any sentence that has a "*" after it, means that it's translated from (sometimes very bad) Spanish...

Don't be a Tourist...
Gringo Tourist: "Oh gee, look Martha look at the stew this adorable little man is selling, I'd better reach into my fanny pack and pull out a wad of greenbacks to entice him into giving me a discount!"

Gringa Tourista: "Good thinking Fred! I'll summon up all the Spanish that I remember from high school 40 years ago to assist in our negotiating efforts!"

Hapless Merchant: "Homemade dog food! Get your fresh homemade dog food here! Made with the finest roadkill from here to Alejuela!"*

Gringa Tourista: "he says this stew recipe has been in his family for about 100 years, and that he is the only one who likes shoes."

Gringo Tourist: "Poor guy, he probably supports his entire family on his craft. Let's swoop into his world and show him the divine benevolence of the English-speaking  universe! Tell him we will buy his whole pot!"

Typical San Jose Street Diner
Gringa Tourista: "Excuse me sir, polar bears with strawberry eyes have shoes in their moon."*

Hapless Merchant: "Huh?"*

Gringo Tourist: "Your stuff. How much do you want for all your stuff? I'll give you... two American dollars." (that he takes out of a wad of fifties and hundreds...).

Gringa Tourista: "My husband is a motorcycle"*

Hapless Merchant: "Huh?"*

Gringo Tourist: (visibly irritated): "YOUR. STUFF. HOW. MUCH. FOR. YOUR. STUFF?"

Hapless Merchant: (visibly frightened): "Dude, louder and slower doesn't change your language, I still can't understand a damn word you're saying. And I think there is something wrong with your wife (gestures at her), you might want to get her looked at."*

Gringa Tourista: GASP! "He said he will give you his entire stock for a night with me! The savage!"

Gringo Tourist: "GRINGO SMASH!!"

This is usually the part where the cops get called and our intrepid travelers are given a choice of either paying a "fine" or going to a Costa Rican jail for screwing with this poor guy's livelihood. The cop and the merchant will then split the "fine" and another American walks away with another "nightmare" vacation story...

Can you spot what went wrong?

The moral of the story is that "Type-A" personalities are screwed alot of the time when they travel to lesser advanced cultures. If you are used to getting your way all the time in your home country and lose your cool when the guy at the drive through gets your order wrong, you might want to just stay on the cruise ship when it docks. Just sayin'.... 

So I forgive you Costa Rica. No sweat on the internet outage that put me three days behind. Pura Vida! 





31 comments:

duffboi said...

Never thought about that before. Of course, I haven't done much traveling yet, but this kinda sux for the 'rest of us'. heh. hope the fine is worth the local's time :)

Banacek said...

I act the same way when I buy stuff here in Canada. For some reason the locals are not impressed by my American superiority. I think they hate our freedom.

My heart shaped blog. said...

I do think that when you're travelling to someone elses country, you should try and learn some useful phrases.
I think being that English is so widely spoken, we've become a bit lazy and assume everyone can speak English, when it reality maybe we should make more effort to speak other languages!

The Angry Lurker said...

Patience is a virtue or just shouting louder at the locals.

MxC said...

i dunno!
but nice blog!

following and supporting!

http://www.daily-life-of-mxc.blogspot.com/

Rachel Neilson said...

Lots of Canadians hate Americans.

Megan said...

love your writings as always.

i completely agree with you about type A personalities though. luckily for me, i have a type A at work, but type B in my personal life...so it makes these encounters and adventures less cumbersome for me. :-)

WizWayne said...

haha wow thank you! good stuff tho

clique said...

Haha, you made me smile.

mac-and-me said...

great post, keep em coming!

Questions said...

Those sorts of tourists make us all look bad. And by "us" I mean humans.

Shutterbug said...

What can't we all be friends with one another? The world would be a happier place! :)

amBored said...

good points :)

Astronomy Pirate said...

The entire reason American assholes travel the world is because the rest of us convinced them that it was a good idea and it gives us some free time away from them.

So, sorry world, we aren't all that bad, and we can't stand them either.

Jay.CA said...

haha, thanks for the story, unfortunate though it is.

Kevings said...

I had a friend who was so used to being cuddles at home, that the first time he traveled he couldnt understand why he met so much hostility when he kept "demanding" things

YourArgumentIsCurrentlyInvalid said...

true!
great blog btw!
i'm following u now

Andrew said...

Makes me want to travel more.

Robert Fünf said...

We Type B personalities would've overthrown the Type As and kicked them out long ago, but alas, nobody wants to lead the rebellion.

Meghan Moran said...

They all come out looking bad in that example. Glad you survived the three day outage.

Anonymous said...

Aaron — your blog is truly a gem (I just sounded like my mother there for a moment ... shudder), but I am seriously impressed with your writing and the Internet side of your blog, too (at which I am totally inept). I'm surprised that you took the time to give my dinky little thing a read. I am an official follower of your blog now, and I think you're really cool. If you want to get together for a beer sometime, drop me a comment. -jean (http://savemylifestories.wordpress.com)

Agustin Creevy said...

ahaha i lol'd at the "talk". i live in Argentina, and i love seeing tourist here, i usually talk to them when i get the chance (when im drunk) and they're pretty cool and they have a lot of respect for Argentinian culture.

me acabo de dar cuenta que te puedo escribir en español jaja soy un boludo, en fin. tu posteo me hizo acordar a algo que me paso hace un par de semanas...yo salia de un boliche (bar, pub, lugar para tomar y bailar) y estaba un poco ebrio, el boliche esta en una zona bastante cara de buenos aires y da al puerto que desemboca en el rio de la plata, todo un monumento de belleza...por aqui caminaba yo cuando veo a un grupo de extranjeros y uno haciendo pis sobre el rio, indignado pero con ganas de justicia le comente el hecho a Gendarmeria Nacional, y basicamente me trataron de borracho y no me dieron bola, por lo que tome justicia por mano propia, fui al trote y le meti 2 manotazos en la nuca al que estaba haciendo pis, que se dio vuelta con cara de ponerse a llorar. era un Brasilero...un amigo mio vino y me separo para que no haga una de las mias y las amigas del brasilero en cuestion vinieron a "pedirme perdon" de alguna manera mientras yo desaforado como una hiena le gritaba "IM GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU" hasta que vino gendarmeria, amenazo con llevarme preso y me marche.

quiza la historia no tenga mucho que ver, pero aveces lidiar cno turistas es bastante pesado, yo siempre intento hablarles, si estan perdidos ayudarlos y he hasta regalado monedas para que puedan tomarse un colectivo y llegara su destino, pero hay cosas que en mi tierra no permito!

un abrazo grande

ed said...

as i was reading that, i kept thinking american when i saw tourist

Tasos said...

"Excuse me sir, polar bears with strawberry eyes have shoes in their moon" man that's pure Monty Python's randomness. So seriously most of the tourists think that they can take advantage of the local for $2 because they are poor? pricks!

Lhosreiff said...

"Polar bears with strawberry eyes have shoes in their moon."

Bahahahaha what?

Marlene said...

Can't help but giggle at the tourist pic! thanks for stopping by my blog! appreciated!

Malkavian said...

Yep thats about right. im from Ensenada and this is quite accurate.

The_illustrative_Mind said...

explained it beautifully, haha.

Sam said...

Thank you for the story and images, nice read.

Electric Addict said...

great insight. love reading your posts :)

Anonymous said...

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