Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Top Ten Baja Travel Tips - #8 and #7
Tip #8: Stray from the beaten path.
Resorts are nice, but immerse yourself in the destination. By all means, stay safe, but get away from the visitors’ venues as often as you can. See what the place you are visiting is really like. Learn how the regional fare is, not just how the hotel interprets it for your tender tourist tastes. Find a local hangout, return a few times, and foster a friendship with the proprietor. You’ll learn more from him about where to go and what to do than from any concierge. He might even tell you his favorite fishing spots.
And, as you get out and about, do your best to present a friendly face, not just an American dollar. Above all else, show respect. Be a good ambassador for your homeland.
Lord knows we can use it.
Tip #7: Learn the language. At the very least, give an effort.
Speaking of showing respect, I can think of no better way than to put in some time to learn enough of a destination's language to get around. Possessing a three-year-old's vocabulary is better than projecting a "What? You don't speak my language?" attitude, especially if you're following Tip #8.
And know more than just your standard "fish, beer, bathroom, pharmacy" progression, even if that's all you typically use at home.
In truth, plenty of folks you will encounter may speak a modicum of English (and some probably more than they let on) but you should neither expect nor demand it. You'll get more consideration and better info if you try to use the native tongue. If they then switch the conversation to English, most likely to save their own sensibilities from your destruction of the dialect, you can smile and say Gracias.
And while those cute little translation apps may come in handy when deciphering a menu, an application for a fishing license, or the Prohibido sign that the frowning policía is pointing to over your head, it's pretty much useless in a regular conversation. Siri has enough trouble with English.
And you look silly talking into your hand.
They are, however, pretty useful in cleaning up your potty mouth.