Cultural Differences

Friday night after driving all day to get to San Antonio we decided to take the kids to the Riverwalk and to eat dinner at one of the many restaurants. We had wanted to go to the Alamo as well, but we were running too late.

cultural differences

I don’t know if you ever saw the video from Mama Kat after her trip to Greece about Europeans being rude, but I just have to say that they aren’t the only ones. Here’s the video for reference if you haven’t seen it.

Granted she was going over the top to make a point, but there is some definite truth to what she was saying. I think the fact is that different cultures see different actions as rude. Let’s take the people that were sitting around us on the Riverwalk cruise we took.

cultural differences

This is one of the things I was really looking forward to doing with the kids. David and I have been on one before so I knew the kids would love it. Plus Big Girl is totally into history and museums and stuff like that. I know. She’s a weird kid. But cool. And fun to take places.

Anyway… we were going to wait until after dinner to go, but the kids just could not take it. The minute they saw the boats they just HAD to go right that minute. We bought our tickets, waited in line, and finally boarded the overcrowded little cruise boat. We sat there bumping knees with the passengers sitting across from us.

cultural differences

On the boat with us was a huge group of people from either Brazil or Venezuela. I can’t be specific of course (because I didn’t ask them), but they definitely had that international vibe that jibed with other people I’ve met from South America. Plus this one chick looked like she could have participated in the Miss Universe pageant and we know how those Venezuelans are about beauty pageants (go google it if you don’t know).

Oh my word the rudeness. It started off with one particular woman in their party being extremely loud and taking tons of photos and practically shouting to the rest of her party right in my and Big Girl’s ear. I thought it would stop once the tour guide started, but it didn’t. Big Girl kept complaining because she couldn’t hear anything the tour guide was saying and she really wanted to listen.

I would have said it was just the one woman, but really she was just the loudest. Everyone in their party just kept yak, yak, yakking through the entire tour. It was extremely disappointing. Finally Big Girl had enough and she very loudly said, “these people are rude. They need to sit down and be quiet.” I don’t know if they did not hear her over the din, just didn’t care, or maybe didn’t understand, but it didn’t help.

cultural differences

Something that was supposed to be super fun turned out to be a huge pain in the ass for our family and probably several other families on the boat, all because of a cultural difference. I’m sure they didn’t think they were being rude. They seemed like very nice people, whom, I’m sure, in other circumstances were perfectly lovely to be around.

The lesson here for me was to really pay attention before I do something like this again. I want to make sure if I’m going to be trapped somewhere with a group of people that we all observe the same cultural norms. At least I’m going to TRY to do that.

Have you ever been in a situation like this? How did you handle it?


  1. says

    That STINKS! I haven’t had that experience but I think you’re right…assess the situation and see if the cultural expectations are the same before hopping on board.

    • says

      Yeah, in tons of other situations this group would have been really fun to be around. Plus I guess I should add that I could NOT stop staring at the one lady. She was absolutely stunning. I’m pretty sure she thought I was being rude. LOL

  2. says

    When we were on our honeymoon in St. Lucia, a group of Americans (yes, Americans) arrived on our resort. One lady in particular, and I’m guessing she was in her 50’s and old enough to know better, was SO obnoxiously loud in the pool. She then proceeded to get insanely drunk and was shouting, laughing loudly and stumbling everywhere. I could tell her husband was embarrassed. It was awful b/c this was an adults-only resort and all week long things had been so peaceful and quiet and relaxing. She really ruined that last day there for us. The only thing that made me laugh was that I saw her the next morning and she looked like she really regretted all that alcohol!
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted…Life’s Lessons: Good House HuntingMy Profile

    • says

      Drunks are rude regardless of cultural differences in my experience. Plus in America that behavior would be considered rude so that wasn’t really a cultural thing.

  3. Erika says

    I actually don’t think it’s quite far to assume just because this woman was not from “around here” that she was rude because of that. There are rude and nice people all over the place! Whatever “culture” they come from.

    I am echoing Rach’s comments because I encountered lots of rude people in St. Lucia who were TERRIBLE to all the local taxi drivers/restaurant workers/etc. They were mostly American/Western European. I don’t know if they were just racist or feeling entitled or what, but it was sort of disgusting. My husband and I stayed at a little bed and breakfast and really immersed ourself in the wonderful culture, and didn’t act “touristy” (a huge faux pax while traveling, in my mind).
    Erika recently posted…CelebrationsMy Profile

    • says

      My point is that while I thought the behavior was rude, they did not realize they were being rude because of a cultural difference. For instance, in some cultures personal space is not the same as it is in the US. If someone was standing right in front of your face talking to you, then you would probably think they were being rude, but to them it would be rude if you backed away. I think they were perfectly lovely people. I just wish I had not ridden the boat with them.

  4. says

    Oh golly, don’t get me started. I’m sorry your experience was pretty much ruined by them, that’s just not cool.

    I really like your pictures though, those kids are growing UP! 😀
    Elaine recently posted…The Egg ScrambleMy Profile

  5. says

    I totally get this. We encountered a lot of the cultural differences in Disney this past January.

    I think it is also challenging because they don’t get our signals. A lot of times even when you don’t initially realize you are being obnoxious you catch the eye roll, or look, or sigh of someone else and can reign it in. Different cultures don’t understand those signals.

    Sorry your cruise was so rough. :(

    BG would love Golden Boy. He is a total history buff and loves to learn about all that stuff!

  6. says

    I’m sure you had to pay to go on that as well, right? I hate when people are inconsiderate. You are nicer than me, chalking it up to cultural norms. I probably would have said something…after bitching to my husband about it until his head exploded.
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