Funny, but Also True?

Joel saw this funny video posted by a Facebook friend. A “northerner” was terrorizing Londoners by *gasp* saying hello to complete strangers!

But, much of humor has truth behind it. In some places it is not customary to greet strangers and it makes people very uncomfortable. Here in Panama it is quite the opposite. Greetings are customary with strangers on the street, on the bus, in a waiting room, everywhere! After five years here it has become my normal and I really miss it when I’m in the US. It makes you feel good to be aknowledged by everyone but isn’t the custom in many places.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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12 Responses to Funny, but Also True?

  1. susie says:

    Just another thing I love about Panama!!!

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  2. I love it when someone walks into a doctor’s waiting room and says “buenos dias” to everyone there, and everyone responds in kind. It always makes me smile!

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  3. Yes, it’s an island thing too. In Cayman, everyone always smiles and says “Good morning”. On the two smaller Cayman Islands, everyone in cars waves at everyone else going by! When I first moved back to Michigan, when I walked Chloe down to the park on the corner, I caught myself waving at all the people going by in cars, and they would often slow down to stare. You could see them thinking “Do I know her??” LOL!

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  4. Laureen says:

    Yep, same in Mexico. It is customary to greet others as one passes on the sidewalk, or a buen provecho when passing someone in a restaurant ready to dine. I love the warmth of the friendly Latin American cultures too Kris.

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  5. jim and nena says:

    Hola Kris,
    We say hi to everyone, and smile. Most folks can’t help but smile back and respond. Nena has learned where all the clerks are from in the stores where we shop, many are from Mexico, some Salvador(?), and quite a few Bosnians(!). But this is in Fort Worth. In Dallas, very few people respond. It is somewhat the same in Panama. Panama City, on the street, few people are looking away from their smartphones long enough to avoid getting run over. In David, everyone will respond. So will the folks in Dolega, or La Concepcion. Boquete used to be really friendly for the locals but not so much now.
    I sometimes get caught when addressing someone here who seems Latino. I started speaking to one guy in Lowes in Spanish and he just stared. I thought he was having a bad day but he just laughed and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish”! Oh dear. I apologized and we talked about our projects for 10 minutes. Ya just nevah know the number of ways I can get into trouble in 2 languages.

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    • My daughter and son in law lived in Austin and said people there usually have friendly greetings. They also miss that now they are in the Northwest.
      I’m used to speaking Spanish anytime I’m out except Boquete where I often guess wrong. Many Panamanians would rather practice their English and gringo looking people don’t always speak English. I met a lady I thought was Panamanian but she didnt seem to understand a thing I said. I learned later that she is Swiss and doesn’t speak any Spanish. Thank goodness most Europeans speak English because outside of English and Spanish, I’m dead in the water.

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