Do you like to meet the local people?

@maximax8 (29148)
United Kingdom
August 16, 2008 3:10pm CST
When you travel have you met any of the local people? If so what were they like? Have you ever had any language difficulties? Have you noticed any different customs that you are used to in your home country?
3 people like this
8 responses
@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
17 Aug 08
One of my main goals when I visit a new country is to meet the 'real people'. By that I mean those not influenced greatly by tourists. I buy a map, and then lose myself, either by foot or public transport. Try to find a quiet spot, stop for a cool drink, or coffee, and strike up a conversation with some local people. This was easier in Europw than Asia for obvious reasons. I have found the people I met this way were far more genuine than those that had been involved with tourists.
@maximax8 (29148)
• United Kingdom
17 Aug 08
I think that some local people can get jaded from seeing so many tourists every day. It is far more interesting to get off the beaten tourist track. Meeting the 'real people' is delightful. In Bulgaria I asked around in order to find a private room. I met a charming local family and they were fascinated to meet an English person. I found the people in Samoa very genuine and their culture was fascinating. Traveling on public transport can be slow but an interesting and enjoyable experience.
1 person likes this
@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
18 Aug 08
I couldn't agree more. Locals who have had little or no experience with tourists will create a bigger challenge language wise, but I have found them to be more honest in what they are willing to discuss. You learn more about he country this way. In 1966, I visited East Germany, via Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. My friend and I walked for two kilometers into Eat Berlin and sat in a small cafe with only locals. What they were willing to talk about was amazing. Locals closer to the wall aould never discuss some of the situations these people openly talked about.
@arkaf61 (10882)
• Canada
17 Aug 08
I sure do. That's one of the best things about traveling, getting to know other people try to communicate the best we can - it's funny sometimes but it always works :) - learn new things and see how they are done differently sometimes. It's a treat, really :) Usually we are always able to communicate even when the gap in the language is big. People are great communicators regardless of the language differences.
@maximax8 (29148)
• United Kingdom
17 Aug 08
I had some amusing moments in Australia with the language differences. We did understand one another though without any real difficultly. One foreign guy asked me what "good da' mate, how ya goin'?" meant and I told him it was "good day my friend, how are you". In Bulgaria I was tried to book a train and it was challenging with the language barrier. I had to have a place in a sleeping car for a journey by day. Coming back from Romania the most unlikely thing happened. My train was late into Bucharest. I asked when the next train was to Bulgaria, in two minutes! I got my ticket quickly and ran to the platform, I just made it.
@jillhill (37383)
• United States
16 Aug 08
I love meeting the locals.....when I was in the Netherlands I would visit a bakery everyday and take pictures of the employees and talk to them a bit....The only place I found language difficulties was in Belguim in a restaurant....the waiter wasn't very fluent but somehow we still managed to communicate! Oh in that same restaurant I almost went into the wrong bathroom but two of the workers there managed to motion to me and through sign language steered me to the right restroom.
@maximax8 (29148)
• United Kingdom
17 Aug 08
I asked in Dutch and the local people of the Netherlands replied to me in English. I learned a tiny bit of it when I studied there for four months. When I went to Belgium I spoke to a man in French and he got really angry. He explained that he was Flemish and preferred to talk in English. It must have been funny for you in the restaurant. I took my toddler into a disabled bathroom in Latvia but there was really a baby change room but I wasn't to know that.
@wolfie34 (26792)
• United Kingdom
16 Aug 08
Whenever I have gone abroad most of the locals speak English as their second language so it's very rare to have language problems, one thing that I did admire when I was in Cyprus is that in the mountains and in the villages the children were able to speak English fluently! That is wonderful, it puts us to shame that we are not bilingual, I wish I could speak another language but I don't have the acumen to learn, I have schoolboy French but that's about it! In Rhodes most of the locals spoke English as did in Cyprus so there was no problem at all. I think the only problem I had was actually in France! English is so widely spoken that language barriers are never usually a problem.
@maximax8 (29148)
• United Kingdom
17 Aug 08
The French don't seem to enjoy speaking in English. I can speak French but don't always understand the reply that I get because the people speak so quickly. I wish that we as a nation were better at learning foreign languages. We are lucky that English is a language that many people in the world like to learn. I had language difficulties in Hungary in 1990, the local people there spoke basic German but no English. I went to Bulgaria off the tourist trail and had a confusing time with the Cyrillic language and found very few people spoke English. I am learning Spanish at the moment and hope to join an evening class in it next month. Cyprus sounds like a really little island my friend Wolfie, thanks.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
1 Sep 08
I met artists in France. In America, they make every effort to make you look like you, but better. In France, they draw what they see. I was very upset at the age of 16 when an artist drew my facial hair. They don't see that as a negative, just as the way it is, but since my Mom wouldn't let me buy a razor or shave (she mistakenly thought it made things worse), it was a touchy subject, esp. since many kids at school called me "Freak!" because of it. Since I didn't shave, I'm sure the artist felt that I was OK with it. But I was devistated. He looked at me so proud of what he had drawn, I thought, for a moment he was picking on me. It was a difficult situation. I paid him and later on distroyed it. I wish I had kept it. Other than a hairy upper lip, I think it was a nice picture. I just didn't appreciate it at the time.
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Aug 08
I have not been into any foreign country where the people speak a language other than English, and the only country I saw and was able to remember was the United States, and they are a bit different from Canadians, more open, and I had no problem speaking to them. I do not take notice of different customs. Oh when they make a lemon meringue pie, they make a lemon meringue pie and pile it up with lots of meringue. It is so delicious! But really there is no difference, except they do not know that much about Canada, but then again, they have to memorize all those states, while we here just have just Ten Provinces. And it is warmer there.
@poona_m (336)
• India
17 Aug 08
I have never traveled outside of India but have been traveling to many places in India. India is such a vast country that when someone from the southern tip of the country comes to northern parts she would feel like visiting a different country. its the same for person traveling from north to south, east to west or west to east. languages, customs and culture everything is so different and contrasting. this is one of the reasons I love to travel all around. meeting the locals at the place you are visiting gives you the true pulse of the place. It would load you with informations that no travel guide book or website can offer you. And I have found that invariably people are very warm to tourists who want to know more about their place. Language sometimes does become a small barrier in communicating with them but if there is a will there is a way. And I have almost always been able to communicate using hand gestures and facial expressions. And interacting with these people would really make you understand the true importance of the places you visit and you will be able to truly respect and admire the places. All the local folklores and legends about the things that are famous about that place should be known so that you can share these with your friends and family when you are back home.
@faith210 (11233)
• Philippines
17 Aug 08
Hi maximax8! It will be very nice if I could meet the local people in each countries that I have visited and hopefully will still visit. I had a hard time talking to some locals in China and Thailand because at the time I have been there, they are still having difficulty to converse in English and I couldn't speak their language. I just depended on our tour guide in everything. It was not difficult when I went to UK because mostly everyone speaks English and have been able to make friends with the locals there. It was a great experience. Take care always..God Bless!