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Old 15-04-2013, 08:41   #46
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Hoochie mamma...great term Zee.

I find myself agreeing that dressing nicely shows respect for the locals and their culture. Most North Americans are going to look like visiting foreigners regardless of how they dress, so you might as well dress to impress, but not flaunt it with expensive watches, jewelry or cameras. Attitude is huge as well.
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Old 15-04-2013, 09:00   #47
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

As I mentioned in another thread - no wife-beaters and camo shorts. Beach-wear only on the beach, please. Something classier than a t-shirt. And as someone else mentioned - no Crocs! They're not street-legal .

I get by with tan chinos, boat shoes, a polo or a short-sleeve collared shirt. That works just about anywhere.
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Old 15-04-2013, 09:11   #48
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

What's wrong with sombreros ?


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Old 15-04-2013, 09:14   #49
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

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Originally Posted by Starbuck View Post
This thread could be very educational. I'd love to read more from anyone who has any experience/perspective to tell about.
A few years ago, complements of the US Dept. of State, I attended a symposium hosted by the Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador. Our pre-departure briefing was clear on one point: do not wear shorts in public. In Central America, adult men other than soccer players are never seen in shorts, which are only appropriate on pre-pubescent boys.

Our group was comprised of faculty from a half-dozen North American universities, one of whom ignored the "no-shorts" advice. Our Central American colleagues never took this fellow seriously, regardless of the fact that he had a PhD, taught at a prestigious university, and had published numerous books. To them, he was just an adult wearing children's clothes.
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Old 15-04-2013, 09:48   #50
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

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In central America, I am a little to tall, fair skinned. wear a big hat, shorts, tee shirt and sandals and my hair is gray. I don't feel like I am doing anything flamboyant but we still stick out like a sore thumb.
It's the wallet. Loose the money and they'll ignore you.
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Old 15-04-2013, 09:52   #51
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

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A few years ago, complements of the US Dept. of State, I attended a symposium hosted by the Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador. Our pre-departure briefing was clear on one point: do not wear shorts in public. In Central America, adult men other than soccer players are never seen in shorts, which are only appropriate on pre-pubescent boys.

Our group was comprised of faculty from a half-dozen North American universities, one of whom ignored the "no-shorts" advice. Our Central American colleagues never took this fellow seriously, regardless of the fact that he had a PhD, taught at a prestigious university, and had published numerous books. To them, he was just an adult wearing children's clothes.
Also, wear leather shoes. Not sneakers or sandals. This was pointed out to me by a mexicana in La Paz. "We only wear those on the beach". Ever see a mexican wear huaraches? Only tourists or really poor campesinos.
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Old 15-04-2013, 09:56   #52
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

The shorts, the sleeveless shirt, the sports sandals, and that very annoying we-own-the-world arrogonance. Change them for decent clothes and a little humbleness and friendlyness, and you will be okay.
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Old 15-04-2013, 14:22   #53
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

rodl..i am loud , obnoxious, socially unacceptable and always the total misfit--yet the locals seem to find me interesting and fun to be with.
i do not flaunt cash nor wealth, and i give a damn about the local folks...we get along well.
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Old 15-04-2013, 18:25   #54
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Here's another way to think of it. The idea that a person is compromising their personal integrity by choosing to look and dress a certain way is a distinctly gringo attitude. We in America take it for granted, and understand that slovenly style is an expression of personal freedom.

In other countries, the attitude is different. If you are in a public place, it is merely respectful to others to maintain a neat appearance. You can still have a personal style as long as it doesn't come with a "I-don't-care-what-you-think" kind of attitude. The hoochie mamas are there to be enjoyed by all, and they want you to be enjoyable to be around too. You don't have to look or even act like a local, but if you're going to come to their "party" you should at least come with something to offer besides attitude and bad manners.
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Old 15-04-2013, 20:25   #55
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Well...no matter what I do no one will mistake me for a hot latina, but I do plan to shave more often and buy some better shoes.
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Old 15-04-2013, 20:29   #56
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Many years ago I spent some months in Mexico and Central America. The trick is not so much how to not look like a gringo, but how to not look like a rich gringo.
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Old 15-04-2013, 20:51   #57
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Last year when having a stop over in Porlamar, Margarita Island I went down town to do some small shopping. To get there from the anchorage one has to venture in to very raugh barrio, so I put on my working shirt and pants that were full os paint a grease stains. Nobody in the the barrio gave me a glimpse, as I really looked like a hobo. Everything changed when I was happily strolling through the main street, full of expensive hotels and fancy boutiques. The hustlers that make a living on exchanging Bolivars to $ at the black market price started harassing me. After a fifth guy offering his service I finally asked how do they know I'm not a Venezuelan?
because you look like an American, look around! nobody dresses like you in this part of town
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Old 15-04-2013, 21:20   #58
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Gringo is only derogatory if used in that context… so just be yourself and respect local dress codes.

In Asia you can be a ‘Barbarian’; a ‘Gwai Lo’ (Ghost person), or my favorite… ‘FILTH’…. Failed In London Tried Hongkong’

Personally I found most 3rd world communities don’t worry about being politically correct
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Old 15-04-2013, 21:29   #59
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Zee's outlandishness is refreshing and I'm sure gets her through a lot of situations that the normal 'Americano' would have a problem in. ArtM also seems to be pretty savy IMO.
My experience over the years as a delivery skipper in and out of Mexico and dealing with the Zarpe/Dispatcho dance taught me several things not the least of which was to give deference to authority no matter how petty they might seem by American standards.
I remember several instances when checking in or out of Mexican, Costa Rican and Panamanian ports, getting showered, shaved and dressed in a clean white shirt with my bars and Capt's topper, clean black slacks and dress boat shoes walking into the Capitan de Puerto's office and seeing a bedraggled bunch of American sailors sitting in a row in wifebeaters, shorts, sandals and five days growth of beard. The officials took one look at me and i went to the head of the line immediately. I carried a leather briefcase with ships papers, crew lists, insurance documents and my last Zarpe all in triplicate along with my personal stamp, ink tray and hand embossing equipment.
As the official stamped all my documents. I stamped them again with my stamp, hand embossed a copy which I gave to him, smiled alot and was out of the office within 10 minutes.
Rituals and documentation are very important in Central America and providing respect and deference to people in authority appears to be out of the norm when they deal with Americans. In addition, learn to speak enough spanish that you can make yourself understood and understand what they are talking about. you don't have to be fluent, just trying to converse in their language is many times enough. Most of the port officials speak english better than they let on, anyway. It is a requirement of their job.
It may seem like alot of trouble to go to but it saved me hours of waiting and I imagine countless problems with 'migration' and other bureaucratic roadblocks one meets when traveling south of the border. To me, time was money!
Good luck in your travels, everyone. Phil
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Old 15-04-2013, 22:05   #60
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Re: How to not look like a Gringo.

Well said Phil

By the way.... What is a 'wifebeater'?
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