Thursday, April 17, 2008

So this is my country?

Check out this song.

So, THAT is the way people see us? Let me just list what might not be true:

I love my neighborhood bar, where they welcomed me effusively and let me run a tab the first time they ever laid eyes on me. Each time I go to that happy place, you would think I am their most regular customer. I've been there three times in the past year.

I love receiving a discount from just about every store and business in the country simply because I smile and say "buenos dias" to everyone when I enter. I enjoy watching other gringos in the same stores seriously "get right down to business," having not learned this little touch of Costa Rican social grace - and then watching them pay more everywhere every time. You think cultural difference do not matter? You feel that simple, basic courtesy doesn't pay?

I love when I ask someone for directions and he or she completely stops what they are doing in order to escort me personally halfway across town, deliver me to the door, and proudly introduce me to the proprietor.

In a very small town, it might be true.

I love that the buses will stop to pick up and drop off people anywhere along the road between towns.

Actually, car drivers, and the other bus passengers hate that.

I love watching a teenage boy holding hands with his mother while walking through the public park in the center of town in full view of all his friends.

Only if she's old, sick, or a controlling bitch (his friends are actually smart enough not to mention anything outloud).

I love the politeness most teenagers display to people my age. Yesterday I watched a teenage boy leave his friends waiting while he went back across the street and assisted an elderly gentleman in making his way. No snide, smart-alecky remarks greeted the good Samaritan when he returned to his group of friends.

The kid probably knew the eldery person before hand.

I love when a storekeeper informs me that I am the greatest living customer that he has ever had the honor and privilege to humbly serve and that my presence in his establishment has surpassed any possible visit in the future by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England herself. (A slight exaggerating, I suppose but, hey, it worked - I'll be back!)

Ok, that is never happening.

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