Friday, February 27, 2015

You Might be a Gringo if. . .

Time again for another installment of the quite popular episode of "You Might be a Gringo if. . . ".  I received more hits for this subject than anything else lately, so maybe I've struck a nerve or something! 

Once again, in the spirit of comedian Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might be a Redneck if. . .".  So here goes!

You Might be a Gringo if. . .

You tip the taxi driver $5 like you do in the States.  (Pssst. . . don't do that. . . taxi drivers here in Ecuador don't get tipped.  If you are really happy with their service, 10 to 20 cents will do, though for the typical Cuenca fare of $1.39 to $2.00.)

You think the waiter is supposed to bring you the check for your food.  Here in Ecuador, you get up from the table and get the check at the cashier's counter.  If you stay at the table, the wait staff won't take the hint, even at the Gringo restaurant hangouts. . . trust me on this.  I've seen it happen too many times!

You don't bring your passport when you spend money.  Yup. . . let the grimacing begin. . . you walk out of your hotel, hostel or vacation condo and only bring money. . . you'll be in for a big surprise!  "?Tienes su pasaporte, Senor?" they will say.  If you can't produce it, you will have to get it. . . or get bailed out by a more astute and assimilated extranjero like myself who lets them use my passport number to get them out of a jam - I've bailed out more than one lately!

You don't bring a book to read when you are at an appointment.  Say that the appointment with the lawyer, doctor, or whoever it may be is at 3:00 PM.  They have an emergency to attend to, so your appointment ends up to be 5:30 PM.  It happened to us yesterday!  The lawyer's office has magazines and newspapers to look at, but the doctor's office sure doesn't!  Wise to bring along a good book. . . or even The Good Book.  I've seen a few Ecuadorians with their Bibles reading while waiting for their appointments, and they are evangelicos - evangelicals - every time. 

You think the women here wear tight pants to get your attention.  Nah. . . sorry.  It's merely the fashion here among the Fairer Sex.  Cultural difference between here and the States. 

You wonder why people have their umbrellas up in bright sunshine.  Here in Cuenca, at 2560 meters high (8300 feet) you are closer to the sun than you were previously in the US.  It's to ward off skin cancer, silly!

You knock yourself silly walking under a two poled street sign on the sidewalk.  Ecuador has no uniform height, width, or length requirements on public works such as sidewalks - watch out for that old metal pole remnant embedded in the sidewalk! - curbs - watch your step leaving the sidewalk to the street . . . the first one is a doozie! - or signs - the previously cited instance.  Yup, that sign can bang your head if you are a gringo - Gringos are taller.  The average Ecuadorian would never be concerned.

You look for things in the store with pounds, ounces and feet and inches on the label.  Sorry!  Ecuador is on the metric system.  Kilograms, grams, meters are used instead.  Sure is different. . . but you'll get used to it in time. 

You think milk comes in a plastic gallon jug or paper cardboard half gallon container.  Surprise!  Milk - the liquid stuff - comes in plastic bags.  Yogurt hardly exists - too expensive for many.  Oatmeal!?!  Fat chance of finding the stuff!  Finally found bread crumbs at Coral Mall del Rio, though. . . in the bread section tucked away in a bottom shelf corner.  Who'd a thunk that?

You are at the restroom at the mall and you wonder why there is no toilet paper in the stall with you.  Silly gringo!  It was on the back wall dispenser full of paper for you to tear off first before you went in to do your business!  and remember to put it in the sanitary bucket. . . and not flush it down the toilet!

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