I’m a very big fan of the writing of Thomas Swick over at the Florida Sun-Sentinal. The paper is one of those small-town (well, sort of) sheets that has managed to really create and maintain a voice all its own. Or at least, the travel section does ,largely because of Tom Swick. Here’s a fine little piece, a page of bite-sized advice nuggets that might come in handy should you be making travel plans in the near future. What caught my eye was the first bite here:
In South America, don’t tell people you’re from America. — Why, we wonder? Because THEY are from America, too.
I encountered that exact sentiment when I was living in South America way back when. I caught myself numerous times saying “Back in America” etc., and then getting both nasty looks and admonitions from my friends. But the list of advice doesn’t stop there. There are a lot of great little bits here to perhaps print out and commit to memory.
Here are a few others:
In Muslim countries, don’t express admiration for Danish cartoonists.
In the South Pacific, don’t tell people they live in paradise.
In Cuba, don’t say you hope things never change.
In Australia, don’t go into a restroom marked “Sheilas” (if you’re a man) or into one marked “Blokes” (if you’re a woman).