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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Intercultural awareness - all sorts

Good luck for me this week that I ate out two nights in a row. Bad luck that in both places I attracted waiters who want to try out their intercultural skills. Slowly and helpfully they say everything to me in their loudest and best English. When I pause to think if I'll reply in Portuguese or English, or if I'm considering what food choice to make, they fill the pause with an affectionate reformulation of what they said in English - more loudly, more slowly and more authoritatively.

Ignoring the Portuguese women at the table - this only happens if I'm eating out with women - the waiter gives me all his fond attention, telling me what to choose on the menu in amongst long stories of his experience of life in Britain or the States.

I could say I find the waiters intrusive or boring - but, in truth, they are only a symbol of one type of intercultural awareness that I see in many different contexts.


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