Cross-Cultural Education.


Lest anyone think that vacationing in Puerto Vallarta is all sun, sand and drinking, I offer dancing as a cultural reprieve from all things frivolous.

In addition, and on a slightly more serious note, yesterday I discovered what some of the staff here are paid.  Turns out it is less than $10 per day maybe even less than $5 per day, which means that they are totally dependent on tips to provide for themselves and their families.  I’m not such a bumpkin that I thought they were paid vast amounts of money but I didn’t realize just how minimal their salaries are.

I come from such a “I can do it” upbringing that it never occurs to me not to handle my suitcases myself or make my own arrangements for things.  It isn’t a matter of being cheap, it’s just a matter of habit. Here, however, letting someone else do those tasks and then tipping them for their service is essential to their economic well being.  Just another cultural thing to wrap one’s brain around.

It reminds me of what we were told in India about litter on the streets and in the parks.  When Americans see all the crap blowing about, we tend to think that the people who left the stuff there are not very good stewards of the environment but in India there are entire armies of people whose job it is to pick up all the litter.  If there wasn’t litter to be picked up, they wouldn’t have a way of making a living; so, to leave the stuff on the ground ensures the litter-picker-upper’s livelihood.  Perhaps a lesson in not immediately imposing one’s own cultural norms on another culture.


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