Tuesday, February 3, 2015

You Might be a Gringo if. . .

Many people in North America are aware and perhaps familiar with comedian and game show host Jeff Foxworthy's standup comedy routine "You Might be a Redneck if. . . ".  Well, in that spirit - what fun! - I would like to perform, at least here in print form its South American cousin.  Sit back, relax and please enjoy the ensuing laughter!

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You Might be a Gringo if. . .

you flush toilet paper down the toilet.  You know, those South American sewer systems are hundreds of years old and not made for the stuff, right?  When the pipes overflow, the natives know who to blame. . . the Gringo!

you drink water right from the tap.  Now in most of South America, you need to boil your water, or get bottled water.  Places like Cuenca, Ecuador are a blessed exception to this, however. . . but in Ecuador, Salinas and the Amazon are decidedly not!  Great way to get yourself "on the porcelain throne" so to speak. . . drink water straight from the tap.  Now ya know!

you expect continuously hot water to flow from your shower when taking a shower.  You might be in for a shivery surprise when you turn on the tap!  You might get hot water at first, like has happened to me, and then the hot water runs out.  Brrr!  It will eventually get back on after 10 to 15 minutes, however, and then stay that way for the rest of the day.  There may not be water rationing like in California currently, but taking a "navy shower" to conserve *hot* water is the best on some days. . . no way to be able to predict which ones in advance, of course!

you don't know how to give the proper macho handshake to a fellow male individual.  In the US, we know it as the "La Raza secret gang member handshake."  Here in South America (S.A.), there are no race or gang connotations to it.  If you want to be buddies with guys here, learn the handshake!  You know. . . regular handshake, then the hooking of the fingers, then the pairing of the opposing thumbs in succession.  

you don't hug and kiss the cheek of a female friend (if you are male) and vice versa if you are female.  Strangers get hugs in a first greeting, but not the kiss.  That comes after you've already met!

you tip baggage carriers, drivers, shoe shiners, laundry deliverers, and pizza deliverers the same amount of money as in the US.  You don't. . . and you are a fool if you do.  You *DO* tip airport and taxi baggage delivers, but not as much as in the US,  The rest of them - with the exception of a long distance tour driver - you *do not* tip at all. . . their earnings are already included in the service.  

you don't look down while you are walking.  Scanning for obstacles is necessary due to the uneven sidewalks and pavement and terrain found here.  You look ahead like most people here, and you look down from time to time to ensure you don't find your left foot wedged in a hole in the sidewalk or something!  True story.  And watch out for the morning dog doo doo too!

you don't have and show patience.  Impatience and arguing to get your way gets you nowhere, and leaves you with a overheated head, while the cultural offense you have brought makes the S.A. person wince in disgust.  You have now lived up to the stereotype of the  "Bad Gringo" . . .  The one to whom natives say, "Gringo Go Home!"  Just. Don't. Do. It.



  1. Hi David and Carolyn, Hope your first week in Ecuador has gone well. Please let me know if you get this message. Love you both. Maryann

  2. Hi Maryann! Congratulations on being the very *first* commenter on this blog! You just answered one of my questions: can readers leave comments to my posts? The answer thanks to you is "yes!"

    Our first and second weeks have indeed gone well. I will be posting a new post soon about yesterday and what transpired. . . some very good news to relate to all our friends who love and pray for us!