It is nice for locals realizing that you are giving your best to speak their language, but it ain’t funny anymore when you make a foolish mistake that puts you in an awkward situation.
On 2009 I did a round trip in Italy passing through Milan, Florence, Pisa, Siena and Venice. Many years before this trip I took some Italian lessons and of course I wanted to practice it on spot. I must say that after so many years my memory was not fresh at all. I went to the hotel reception and wanted to ask something to the receptionist, so I started with ‘Ho una Domani’. The receptionist simply looked at me with a confused expression on his face and asked me to repeat it; and I did it again….. As I realized my words were not understood I said it in Spanish ‘Tengo una pregunta’. The receptionist looked at me grinning and said: ‘ahh!! Ho una Domanda!! ‘. I felt quite silly and later on started to speak only clear Spanish with everyone. So… what was I saying?? I have a tomorrow 🙂
Everybody wants to be on the sea side in summer, but I prefer visiting any place when I have more chances to get to know locals. This is how I got to know the beautiful hospitable temperament of Greek people.
Some years ago I went to ‘Ios’ in the Cyclades Islands of Greece with my friend Viviana. It wasn’t peak season yet (April) and the island was almost empty. My friend and I were at the port waiting for the ferry to Santorini and killing the time in a restaurant, for many hours and with a small consumption. After a while, the owner came and invited us for a cup of Greek coffee, later on for a shot of the traditional liquor ‘Ouzo’, and at the end, for a great Mediterranean dinner. The restaurant’s owner introduced us to all his friends and family and we could enjoy the company of these lovely Greeks that made of our wait time a pleasant one. Sometimes low tourist season is a good excuse for tourists and locals to get in touch with each other and therefore the chances to have such a fulfilling experience are greater.
Being newbie for a long haul trip means oftentimes that you have to pay the price of inexperience. This is exactly what happened to me when I came to Europe for the very first time.
In 2008 was my first time in Europe and my farthest trip since I was a child. At that moment I was ‘slightly’ inexperienced as a long haul traveller and the first consequences showed up pretty soon. In Sao Paulo’s Airport I had to hand over all my cosmetics with a package over 100 millilitres, which I didn’t know I am not allowed to carry in my hand bag. Even though I made an effort to hold my cosmetics with me I had absolutely no chance. This annoying policy (especially for women) is in force since 2006 because of ‘the increased risk of liquid explosives being introduced onto aircraft’ (Commission Regulation EC No 1546/2006), and there is nothing you can do against it. After so many years I’ve seen many other times, and in the same airport, people giving up their belongings at the security check due to lack of knowledge about this restriction.