10 Rules For Navigating Your New Life In Ecuador
Sept. 22, 2014, Quito, Ecuador: Here are 10 rules of etiquette for the expat and foreign retiree in Ecuador.
Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,
"Let's start with the rules of engagement," began Lee Harrison, addressing attendees at last week's Live and Invest in Ecuador Conference.
"Here are 10 rules for navigating your new life in Ecuador...
"Rule #1: Always start with 'Buenos días' (Good morning).
"People in this part of the world don't jump right into the issue when addressing each other. So, when you get into a taxi, for example, you don't start with, 'Take me to _____.' You start with 'Good morning.' When entering a store, smile at everyone you pass and say good morning or how are you. Then say, 'Do you have any ____?'
"In more personal settings, handshakes and kisses when coming and going are important. Your days of leaving a party by walking out the door saying 'See you all later' are over. When leaving a party, you go around, shake everyone's hand and kiss all the women on the cheek. It's the same thing when arriving somewhere.
"I used to go to the gym every morning. First thing I'd do when I got there was go around and shake hands with everyone else working out. Everyone knew everyone.
"That greeting is something you don't want to bypass, because if you arrive or leave a place without saying hello and goodbye to someone, the assumption is that you're mad at the person.
"Rule #2: Don't come to parties on time.
"The first time I was invited to a party in this country, my hostess told me to 'Come at 7 o'clock.' I came at 7 o'clock. The husband was running down the steps, buckling his pants, and his wife was still in the shower. So 7 o'clock meant 9 o'clock. The second time this couple invited me over, they said, 'Come at 9.' 'Does that mean I come at 11?' I asked. 'No, we tell you the real time,' they told me. 'Everyone else knows better.'
"Many people in this part of the world can't keep commitments. You will learn quick who can and who can't, and you'll learn to work with the people who meet your expectations. Many you'll find will give you their word for an appointment, then simply go somewhere else instead, to another scheduled appointment or to do something that came up or something they just preferred to do instead. Until you adapt to this, you will lose time sitting home waiting for people who don't show.
"Rule #3: Be courteous.
"You get what you give. People who smile and approach others with courtesy get the same thing in return. In my experience, people were nicer to me than to a lot of their fellow Ecuadorians because I was nice to them.