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Old 20-04-2013, 16:09   #136
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

The word "Gringo" derived from the Greeks.
The Spanish couldn't understand a word they said, so whatever they were trying to say was "All Greek to me".
The Castillion dictionary mentions the use of the word "gringo" in 1787 as being unable to understand what the Irish were trying to say.
I cant understand them either - especially the Scots!
In my "Spanish for dummies dictionary" - Gringo in an adjective/noun and translates to Yanqui - Yankee.
Just in case you're dying to know.....
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Old 20-04-2013, 16:25   #137
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Having lived in the Middle East ever since I graduated, dressing conservatively comes second nature to me. I am horrified when I visit the UK and see girls walking around in what appears to be their underwear. And they wear the very same clothes when in Dubai etc...

Don't get me wrong, I dress very lightly (if at all) when on the boat - but when visiting offices... I cover up. APart from anything else, I find the AC a killer if I haven't got enough layers on!

When travelling though, we often travel though airports and stations, and dressing down is always part of my game plan. A part which comes naturally, since I ditched all my 'teacher clothes' long ago! It also horrifies me when I see guys in the lounge using those gold airline tags on their hand luggage - I mean are they trying to tempt the pick pockets or what?

Being clean and respectable is NOT the same as being smart, IMO.
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Old 20-04-2013, 16:57   #138
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

I noticed when I started to wear a shirt (rather than a T-shirt) and a sombrero, there was a noticeable positive shift in the way I get treated. I also started to feel better - it is way cooler in a shirt and under the sombrero.

Also, I avoid using rare phrases. I do not say ¡Hola! where people say ¡Que hay! and I do not mix 'pantalan' with 'pantalon'. It helps.

Last but not least: socks with jandals - take them off. Socks, not jandals.

b.
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Old 20-04-2013, 18:31   #139
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

No self respecting gringo would wear jandals . . . . . . kiwis on the other hand . . . .
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Old 20-04-2013, 19:25   #140
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Well, I once heard that we should attire ourselves as do the locals. If any of you ladies should visit North Korea, remember that high-heels are de rigueur.

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Old 20-04-2013, 20:18   #141
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

To Zee and Blue Crab and the rest of you, Thanks for the laughs. I am sitting here with a broke leg and my 4 daughters and G/F all think I have lost my mind because I am laughing so hard. Now I know that all I need to avoid looking like a Gringo is a smile, a sombrero, and shiny toe nails. Good advice or maybe just good pain meds. anyway thanks for the laughs.
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Old 21-04-2013, 17:56   #142
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

"Captn Phil's post really hit home. I am more comfortable in a set of work clothes then a suit but I think that in the future I am going to keep a set of clothing just to go meet with the officials. They will be my "work" clothes -- when I need to "work" the system."

Exactly! Great idea! Especially Port Captains seem to appreciate it that you make the effort. They have to wear what amounts to cruisers as "dress up" clothes. They appreciate it when the guys wear long pants and a sport shirt, at least, and the women have their shoulders covered and wear a skirt.

Zeehag, I didn't always know this about the skirt deal, but it's pretty common. I would have a shirt of some kind on, bring a wraparound skirt (easy to make) and wrap it after I got out of the dinghy. Sometimes I'd have to wait for me to dry, but I was already on the beach, in "beach attire", so no worries. I'm sure my sandals gave me away, 'cause I never wear high heels. But as you suggest, the moment one opens ones's mouth, one gives oneself away -- and that's all part of it, too.

When you behave as if you respect people, you become an acceptable "gringo", "kei valangi," or whatever.

One thing I would add, is that Norteamericanos (but not Canadians) tend to become loud in groups (particularly when alcohol is added, but also when it is not), and are identifiable because of it. The French tend to speak softly in social groups and not get loud. Just an observation.
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Old 21-04-2013, 18:32   #143
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoduck View Post
The word "Gringo" derived from the Greeks.
The Spanish couldn't understand a word they said, so whatever they were trying to say was "All Greek to me".
The Castillion dictionary mentions the use of the word "gringo" in 1787 as being unable to understand what the Irish were trying to say.
I cant understand them either - especially the Scots!
In my "Spanish for dummies dictionary" - Gringo in an adjective/noun and translates to Yanqui - Yankee.
Just in case you're dying to know.....
Actually I have it on Federal Authority that the official translation in DC derives from behavioral policies and advice given to our southern cousins.

When approaching the US border…. Just Grin & Go…!..
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Old 23-04-2013, 00:33   #144
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

So then we move on to the intermediate lessons about Gringos.

Latin people do not always have money, and they don't wear stained, frayed, or worn clothing, so they take greater pains to protect their clothing.

As a result, there are certain behaviors which have been pointed out to me as distinctly "gringo", most of them having to do with habits of eating and cleanliness:
- Gringos eat with their hands (and sometimes wipe them on their clothing)
- Gringos eat over the sink
- Gringos eat foods that are gloppy, smelly, and greasy

Latin people don't have a word for "gravy". They eat saucy foods with a fork and knife. They always sit for a meal. They touch their food with a roll or utensil, never their hands.

You should have seen my girlfriend's face the first time she saw me EAT a piece of bread she served with a meal! For her, it was like teaching a two-year old how to eat at the table. The bread was for eating the other food, not to be eaten until the end of the meal soaked in mojo!

She always washes in cold water with Woolite - a trick I hit upon myself several years earlier, but for her a simple matter of common sense. All clothing is treated as delicates.

Old or out of style clothing is donated. Worn, stained, or faded clothing is turned to rags. Even the poor won't wear rags.

Skin is treated as a precious possession, and carefully protected from damage at all times .

None of this is a matter of vanity or self-absorbtion, as we in the west interpret it. The very opposite, it is seen as a matter of self-awareness and of respect for others in public.

Shaven bodies, plucked eyebrows, beautiful but simple jewelry, smooth beautiful skin, manicured hands and feet.

Hoochy-mamas are the jewels of the Latin world and deserve the very greatest respect and admiration!
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Old 23-04-2013, 00:37   #145
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Zeehag, I didn't always know this about the skirt deal, but it's pretty common. I would have a shirt of some kind on, bring a wraparound skirt (easy to make) and wrap it after I got out of the dinghy. Sometimes I'd have to wait for me to dry, but I was already on the beach, in "beach attire", so no worries. I'm sure my sandals gave me away, 'cause I never wear high heels. But as you suggest, the moment one opens ones's mouth, one gives oneself away -- and that's all part of it, too.
This is not to say that you should do anything more, but part of this approach to life is understanding that, if you wish, there is always a litte more that you can do.

If your old sea-sandals feel out of place, just keep a pair of clean "dress flip-flops" near your wrap-around skirt. It's not what you wear, but how you wear it. A clean pair of matching color flip-flops will beat a worn out set of work clogs any day.
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Old 23-04-2013, 01:13   #146
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
As a result, there are certain behaviors which have been pointed out to me as distinctly "gringo", most of them having to do with habits of eating and cleanliness:
- Gringos eat with their hands (and sometimes wipe them on their clothing)
- Gringos eat over the sink
- Gringos eat foods that are gloppy, smelly, and greasy

Latin people don't have a word for "gravy". They eat saucy foods with a fork and knife. They always sit for a meal. They touch their food with a roll or utensil, never their hands.


This is true. Generally (yes, it is a generalization), you can spot an American from far away, because they eat with their hands. In europe pizza is eaten with a knife and fork, as are burritos. Even hamburgers and french fries.

The american trait of eating with their hands is unfortunately growing in europe (MacDonalds etc). Generally europeans tend to sit down when eating, and use napkins.

Actually, many younger americans do not know how to use a knife and fork. They've always just used their hands.

But those are cultural differences.

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Old 23-04-2013, 06:43   #147
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pirate Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

I dunno, Art. The last sentence about Hoochy Mamas seems a bit out of place with the rest of the lesson. And, as a friend of the working girl, I find it terribly insensitive to a group of women hard at work while their men are all drunk in the cantina. ¡Hola!

And, I can suggest a few other reasons for the behavior you find offensive:

Gringos eat with their hands as we have ready access to soap and running water. If you're called into lunch from the fields, perhaps you use utensils rather than use valuable water that has to be carried. A rolled up tortilla is a handy tool I have used myself in Mexico.

Perhaps you have toileted recently but couldn't wash because you're 10k from the dirt-floored hovel where you hang yer sombrero, and you haven't even heard of Baby Wipes. I have logged enough time in Latinoland to know whereof I speak.

When eating tacos/pescado from a street vendor, one doesn't use utencils. The Queen of fooking England eats with her hands, and has a hand maiden to take care of the mess. [Maiden? Not since meeting Nigel last weekend.]

We wipe our hands on our clothes because we can. We have easy access to water, laundromats, our parents' homes, even the ocassional weekend stand. Here in barbq kuntry, ya get that greeezy handwich up to yer mouf, take a giant bite, ya know that vinegar and red sauce is going on yer shirt, and so what? Tomorrow's laundry day.

One has to have access to a sink to be able to eat over it, avoiding cleanup. I'd like a taller armchair, so I could eat over the sink at each meal.

All in all, I have to question some of your advice as lacking in street cred. Ya got yerself a ladylike latina. Count yerself lucky. Personally, I'd rather have Eva Longoria covered with barbq and beer, amigo.
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Old 23-04-2013, 07:02   #148
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

ok hoochie momma this=---from a flyng dink onto a beach at 70 kts-skirt flying and high heels a digging into the sand....with dnghy overhead, gonna land on brains....

ok...

i have seen no fishermen wearing beautiful clothing. i have seen fishermen wearing clean t shirts and shorts with blankets and other niceties to remain warm during night, and i have seen em coming back in looking like fish goo.

there was one cutie inmazatlan--goin gto school--university-- for ocean studies and biology and such--he would go out inhis new shiney panga wearing nice clothes and changeinto wetsuit and spear fishies .... he would give me fish when he was back in from his fishing. but he is only well dressed fisher i have seen in mexico. the fishermen in the lil fishing communities dont wear slacks and a nice shirt either--they wear clothing suitable for fishing.

even mexicans eat at tacos on the street, and i never once saw them eating with utensils. nor did the danes who also ate on the street with our neighbors. i will eat the leftovers of my tacos with a fork, but not the tacos.

if mexicans dont eat tacos, why did they invent them, just to watch gringos eat with paws??

i even watched a hoochie momma eat with her hands a taco at a street taco stand..lol...

many mexicans styand on a beachin just board shorts.

i even watched a non gringo tourist who was wearing a disgusting speedo in the surf....we were wondering if it was enough clothing for the hot day....so ugly.

bringing clothing to the beach, where even plastic bags filled with computer are destroyed by surf..clothing gets wet in water....so does everything--so far--lost 2 puters to surf. not chancing clothing, nor puters any more.
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Old 23-04-2013, 07:02   #149
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....Personally, I'd rather have Eva Longoria covered with barbq and beer, amigo.
Definately would not use utensils for that meal !
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Old 23-04-2013, 07:13   #150
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Re eating w hands and washing in Latin America...it depends on socioeconomic level. When dining w wealthly Guatemalan friends in their home in the City utensils are the norm...fresh ones brought to the table by their staff after each course. When enjoying some delicious caldo with indigenous Mayan friends its hands or tortillas. Im not sure they even own eating utensils.

For our indigenous friends washing hands before a meal makes no sense...microbiology was not part of the education they never received...they wash the food off thier hands after the meal. I remember trying to explain to them once that there are small critters on your hands which can spread diseases...they looked at me like I was nuts.

Regardless of socioeconomic level, street food should ALWAYS been eaten w your hands!
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