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post #4 of Old 08-01-2003
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BVI charter report

I, too, have just returned from a July sail in the BVI -- my 5th. During our visit, I only had one encounter which I would term "rude" -- but it was clearly my fault. I was at the airport waiting on a lost bag, had sent my husband to the charter base to have our checkout (hoping to leave base that afternoon), flustered and frustrated, and was looking to an airport official for assistance. As I launched into my request, she looked stonily at me, and then cut me off mid-stream, saying "Good Afternoon." This, instantly, reminded me that it is considered the height of rudeness to launch, American-style, into a request or question without a greeting or pleasantry. As soon as I offered the appropriate greeting and apology, the lady became correspondingly more polite to me. I knew better, but let my annoyance over my lost luggage get the better of this well-ingrained practice (which, after years of island travel, I find myself using at home -- and it almost never fails to disarm the most indifferent clerk).

If this sounds too simplistic, then I apologize. However, I''ve observed Americans and many Europeans speak to people in the islands without any preamble, and the result is striking.

On the other hand, I do agree about the leisurely pace of service. However, unless I''m trying to catch a plane, I just don''t allow myself to worry about it (though it can get awfully annoying at times!)
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