Thursday, July 17, 2008

Faux Pas Infraction List

Ugly-Americanisms committed thus far:

  • Offered rickshaw fare with my left hand. Driver shook his head "no" when offered the money.... free fare day, perhaps? No. Left hand is considered unclean... he made me shift my rupees to my right hand before handing to him. Woops.

  • Wore a polo shirt to work (with slacks, dress shoes, etc). A summer Friday in the corporate office in America is not the same here- business casual is for SATURDAY. Polos referred to as t-shirts here (glad I didn't wear an actual t-shirt... what's that downgraded to, a rag?).

  • Wore shoes (in: power plant control room, chemical laboratory, temples of any sort, houses...). For housekeeping issues and out of respect, feet and shoes are viewed as dirty and should be kept away from others as such. You are not to step over any part of someone either, even bums blocking your path on the street or someone's outstretched feet at a restaurants.

  • Wore shorts. Well, this one isn't such a faux pas, but it is certainly not in line with local custom. but it looks quite bizarre to locals. May as well put a "tourist" clapboard on your body. Even though it's the Bay of Bengal, summer, and near the equator, the dress code is either tight, tight 70's retro pants, business slacks, or the local dhoti. No shorts.

  • Invited our two housemaids out to a local fruit drink shop while the house was empty. Apparently, they are not allowed to leave the house, even while the owners are gone.

Additions to this list surely to come soon! And just think of the ones that haven't been pointed OUT to me...

1 comment:

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