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Old 14-04-2013, 19:27   #31
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My perspective as an anglo American living in Central America since 2005. Some of which may seem a little harsh...

Get real .... minor wardrobe and behavioral changes will not disguise a gringo...but they will make you more amusing...all the locals will still recognize you as a gringo...just a really goofy one.

I think that this idea is a pretty sillly American one bred by too much isolationistic xenophobic thinking. I mean really, who from a more well travelled open minded culture would come up w such naive foolishness.

As a few native latin americans of european decent have posted...guess what...they look like gringos too...the original gringos if you will. The upper socioeconomic classes here in Guate, and much of latin america, are almost all light skinned...many whiter than me.

Rather than trying to pretend you are something else, why not just try to respectfully understand someone elses culture...you might just learn something about yourself too.
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Old 14-04-2013, 19:40   #32
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
My perspective as an anglo American living in Central America since 2005. Some of which may seem a little harsh...

Get real .... minor wardrobe and behavioral changes will not disguise a gringo...but they will make you more amusing...all the locals will still recognize you as a gringo...just a really goofy one.

I think that this idea is a pretty sillly American one bred by too much isolationistic xenophobic thinking. I mean really, who from a more well travelled open minded culture would come up w such naive foolishness.

As a few native latin americans of european decent have posted...guess what...they look like gringos too...the original gringos if you will. The upper socioeconomic classes here in Guate, and much of latin america, are almost all light skinned...many whiter than me.

Rather than trying to pretend you are something else, why not just try to respectfully understand someone elses culture...you might just learn something about yourself too.
A great portion of the mexican elite are of german decent,Names such as Schwertz,Klutz and Lutz come to mind...Argentina too
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Old 14-04-2013, 19:48   #33
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.

Rather than trying to pretend you are something else, why not just try to respectfully understand someone elses culture...you might just learn something about yourself too.

+1.
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Old 14-04-2013, 20:31   #34
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

This thread could be very educational. I'd love to read more from anyone who has any experience/perspective to tell about.
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Old 14-04-2013, 20:37   #35
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Sometimes it's just your genes. Went to Colombia years ago for a friend's wedding. The groom who was Colombian, had light brown hair and blue eyes. I have dark brown hair and brown eyes. When we went out to the market everyone though I was the local he was the tourist. That only lasted until the first word came out of my mouth.
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Old 14-04-2013, 21:12   #36
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

There is just no way I could be mistaken for anything but a Gringo! 6ft2, shaved head, and white beard(well trimed of course) blue eyes, Tanned everwhere one can see. But I do fair in spanish, and smile alot! I have found that if you at least learn to speak enough of the local lingo to be polite, and smile, you can get a good reception most places!! But then Im from a time when ckin in and out was not expected ! Connie always gets along with local folks better then most, because she is NICE Person, and most everyone can tell it just from her smile !! I think anyone that acts like a Ulgy American, should just saty home or take up cruise ships !! LOL
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Old 14-04-2013, 22:24   #37
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I'm a southern brazilian, so I just got used to be treated as a gringo in my own country.
Twenty something years ago, northeastern girls don't even considered us brazilians. It became an asset when we learned the trick.
Even coming from an arab family and considered kind of dark around here, up north I'm an undisguisable gringo.
That's it. Get used to it, don't worry and enjoy.
Wear your hawaiian shirt with proud and some grace! Just ditch the Crocs.

:-)
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Old 14-04-2013, 23:29   #38
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Get real .... minor wardrobe and behavioral changes will not disguise a gringo...but they will make you more amusing...all the locals will still recognize you as a gringo...just a really goofy one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Rather than trying to pretend you are something else, why not just try to respectfully understand someone elses culture...you might just learn something about yourself too.
Ok this is real - Gringo is a derogitory term. And although the term is not universally defined, in most usage it is reserved for a particular type of person. The poster wants to know how changing the way you dress can change their perception. I submit that the style of dress is merely indicative of a wider set of attitudes and cultural ideals.

Also real, I'm offended that you believe that because I choose to keep my nails neat, wear a different style of clothing, and practice the overall style of my hosts that I am not "being myself". Maybe your being is defined by your personal style, but that is not true for everyone.

I think what a Gringo can learn about themselves from the latin people is that being neat, stylish, and generally attractive and attentive to others is a way of expressing respect and appreciation for others.

Again, I would not want you showing up to my party in frayed cargo shorts and dirty sandals - the Latin people don't want that either. The difference is that with them, it is always expected and appreciated, not just at formal events.
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Old 15-04-2013, 07:04   #39
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Ok this is real - Gringo is a derogitory term. And although the term is not universally defined...

Also real, I'm offended that you believe that because I choose to keep my nails neat, wear a different style of clothing, and practice the overall style of my hosts that I am not "being myself". Maybe your being is defined by your personal style, but that is not true for everyone.

I think what a Gringo can learn about themselves from the latin people is that being neat, stylish, and generally attractive and attentive to others is a way of expressing respect and appreciation for others.

Again, I would not want you showing up to my party in frayed cargo shorts and dirty sandals - the Latin people don't want that either. The difference is that with them, it is always expected and appreciated, not just at formal ...
My original comment about "being yourself" was not made w physical apperance in mind, but you do raise a very valid point. (in fact I opened this thread to comment on that when I saw your post).

Alhough I do resemble that remark, I also agree with you regarding physical apperance. We gringos should respectfully do a better job of attending to our physical apperance. And this discussion may motivate me to do just that (Im sure my GF would appreciate that too).

We sometimes joke about slovenly looking gringos and the contrast w neat and clean locals. The rural indigenous here in Guate amaze me...often they live in thatch huts w dirt floors but their physical apperance is immaculate...how do they do that?

Also as you point out the term "gringo" is not universally defined. And the usage varies by region. In my experience (many years of living and traveling in Central America), it is not always used in a derogatory sense. For example, it is commonly used in the small rural Guatemalan village I call home and it is not meant negatively.

So, I plan to start being more concious of my apperance. I will be driving to Panama City today. Maybe I will go shoe shopping there...to replace the conterfit crocs I normally wear!
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Old 15-04-2013, 07:16   #40
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

females here wear hoochie momma clothing and hoochie momma shoes that would kill a steelworker .....wtf...i dont kare what i wear--i am me. i willnot try to impersonate others, and i mingle with locals.
i am not dissed by the folks i meet nor am i trashed by them, as in usa. these folks dont care what you are, they care who you are.
just be yourself, and have a great experience. dont try to emulate others--just be you.

but we can tell who is fresh from canada or montana easily--neon white with big hats and shades..lol they shine at ye...so bright...
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Old 15-04-2013, 07:35   #41
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

So, Sombreros - yes or no?
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Old 15-04-2013, 07:35   #42
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

I think the consensus is that you shouldn't try not to look like an American, just to never be the "Ugly American".

That means dress modestly in decent plain clothes.
Take reasonable care not to offend the locals by learning what offends them and not doing it.
While you're learning how not to stick your foot in your mouth, learn some of their language, at least enough to ask directions, order a meal and be polite.

And last but not least.....don't be a dick.

Do I have it? :-)
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Old 15-04-2013, 07:36   #43
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

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So, Sombreros - yes or no?
Dude, I wear a sombrero here when it gets really sunny. Target sells cheap straw ones for a couple of bucks.
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Old 15-04-2013, 07:40   #44
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

some places actually have overhangs over the walkways...no sombrero needed--is good for in that back window of your car.....looks cool there....
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Old 15-04-2013, 08:33   #45
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

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females here wear hoochie momma clothing and hoochie momma shoes that would kill a steelworker .....wtf...i dont kare what i wear--i am me. i willnot try to impersonate others, and i mingle with locals.
i am not dissed by the folks i meet nor am i trashed by them, as in usa. these folks dont care what you are, they care who you are.
just be yourself, and have a great experience. dont try to emulate others--just be you.

but we can tell who is fresh from canada or montana easily--neon white with big hats and shades..lol they shine at ye...so bright...
Hilarious zee hadn't thought of it from a ladies perspective. Have to agree with being comfortable and being yourself, but in my case I do dial it up a notch, without having to wear hoochie mama jeans.

People that don't spend much time in latin america are always surprised to find european looking people. There's some truth to the fact that they don't wear shorts as much, and do take a lot of care with appearance. I'm amazed in Havana that without consistent power and water, people are always so fresh and pressed. Since I'm there for work, I do the same and don't wear shorts, t-shirts or running shoes unless I'm at the beach. Or running.

Fitting in is more about being a good guest than trying to be a local. Not being loud and obnoxious is a good start, language is huge. In the end, being a decent, polite person is really what matters.

Gabrielm, funny stuff about S. Brazil. I've spent time in Santa Caterina and Rio Grand du Sul, and might has well have been in Germany. Some of thise kids don't even learn portuguese until they get to school. Then there's the Japanese in Sao Paulo state...... Mogi das Cruces, etc
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