November 12, 2013

Stupid American Problems

Some days I am a total, culturally-aware rock star, navigating the norms of a new country easily. Some days I am that stereotype, that stupid American who has no idea what they are doing.

Recently, a few friends - who wish to remain anonymous - and I went to some natural hot springs. The whole deal is outside and kind of thrown together haphazardly, and for sure not up to any codes. There are no signs or posted rules. Its free and open to all, so we went and fumbled our way through. Generally when we did something wrong, like attempting to touch the water without rinsing off with the water from the particular pool we wanted to go into, a random stranger or two gestured and yelled. So, mostly we figured out what to do by that and observing other people. But after an hour or two we were hot and wanted to go into a cooler pool that some boys were snorkeling in. Seemed reasonable... Until about 20 minutes later when a Taiwanese man who spoke English informed us that we were in the foot-bath. That pretty much sealed the deal, they didn't want us back in the normal pools afterwards. We rinsed off and headed back to Taipei, tails between our legs. The joys of expat life, eh?  

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