A special thanks to the Spanish
As many of you know, I am from the south. Traditionally, the southern states of the U.S. are known for their hospitality and warm-minded attitude towards others. This is especially true my home state of Louisiana. Seriously, if you thought chivalry and manners were dead, you clearly haven’t made your way down to Louisiana. We men still hold the door for our ladies; we still make good use of sir and ma’am when talking to elders; and it is completely normal to say hello to a perfect stranger while walking down the street. Something that is illegal in the north (not really though). Although things have changed a bit, I still know men who will stand when a lady gets up from the dinner table. No joke.
I’ve been amazed to learn about hospitality abroad. In the past, I have been treated extremely well by friends and other’s families as in many cultures the guest is the most important person. Namely a memorable time with a Bengali friend.
I attempted to come up with a solution for why southerners tend to be more friendly, but I am not really sure if there is an exact reason. Talking with many travelers who have mentioned this topic to me before, I think the most conclusive guess I can make is weather. In warmer regions, people are just happier. That doesn’t mean that you won’t find hospitality in the north, it just happens to be more generally true in every place that I have traveled.
Since I began traveling in Spain for the Big Blog Exchange, I have been met by nothing but open arms and friendly people. Europeans, are not typically known to accept outsiders up front until you get to know them a bit, but in this trip the Spanish have been wonderful. For example, when I was in Córdoba walking down the street I nonchalantly slipped out a “Hola, buenas tardes” to a random older woman walking down the street. Instead of looking at me funny or thinking that I wanted something, she stopped and with a big smile asked, “¿Quién erés, por favor?” further telling me that she assumed we already knew each other but had just forgotten who I was or whose child I was. Then after realizing I was just saying hello, she smiled largely and said returned the gesture wishing me a great day. I thought for a moment that I was home.
Furthermore, whether it is in asking for directions or for explanations, the Spanish people have been extremely helpful in my travels. I have been given rides, lengthy explanations, and people have been very willing to show me around or to help me in improving my Spanish. (By the way, I do believe that speaking Spanish has helped with respect to being more well received. Speaking the local language is ALWAYS appreciated, which is why it’s a firm belief of mine.) I have learned a tremendous amount about the culture and history of Spain and that is in thanks to the hospitality of the people here.
Spanish people are used to their visitors as there are many beautiful things to see in Spain. They could easily be rude or obnoxious, but they are anything but. They love to talk and are more than willing to show you around. We may have different forms of hospitality in Louisiana, but nice people are nice people, from Dushanbe to Rio de Janeiro. I have greatly enjoyed my time thus far. I am looking forward to another month of España!
Peace to you from España!
Have you experienced southern hospitality somewhere or in España?
*Tags: southern hospitality, spanish hospitality, spanish hospitality customs**