Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Helping hands (Spain VI)

People here will help you to death. It seems that it is considered bad manners to say "I don't know" to someone asking for an information. A bit like Japan.
As a civil service to all of you reading this and traveling to Spain, here is what you should know:
If someone you just asked for directions starts by shaking his or her head, it's a bad sign. What will follow is probably completely wrong, just a way to avoid admitting ignorance.
In the 5 days we spent in Spain, we got the funny "I see you're very disoriented. You'll never get there from here", the subtle "Keep driving for another 4 blocs and then ask again", the obvious "Just turned around, you may find someone who can give you direction further down the road".
The best, though, was the small town meeting that my asking provoked in one instance. The old man that I had called from my car, just turned around to ask a small group of elders sited nearby and there it was, a group of 4 or 5 men discussing among themselves with from time to time the first man turning to me and smiling as if to say "Be patient, we'll have the answer after one more round of intense discussion".
It was too funny to get annoyed even if we were a bit behind schedule.
We were on our way after about 10 full minutes. We started to follow the indications but soon were lost again and had to ask someone else after about 4 blocks.


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