|"I have to PAY to piss here?!"|
But enough about the waiting, there are other cultural differences that are actually quite nice to have and make us Americans seem quite rude! For instance, whenever you enter a building, shop, bus, even an elevator, you greet the people there with either Bom Dia (Good Morning), Boa Tarde (Good Afternoon) or Boa Noite (Good Evening/Night) and you do the same when you leave. This can also apply when just passing people in the street or going through a door at the same time. In many situations, an added Hello and Goodbye are used with the greeting. Now I must say, it has been a rare occasion for me in the US to get on an elevator and have everyone greet me and say farewell when they got off, and if you do something like that there, many times Americans will kind of look at you weird and think you want something from them, how sad is that?! Though I admit, I did feel a bit the same way when I first encountered that here and hadn't realized it was custom, and I also thought at first to be quite annoying to say hello and goodbye to strangers all the time. But now I've come to appreciate such politeness and many times it comes off more friendly than just polite and makes me feel a lot more welcome :)
But to add to this, one thing I still find odd and unnatural here is the custom of saying Com Licença ("Excuse me") when hanging up the phone after talking to a business or after when someone comes to my apartment door, be it my neighbor, servicemen or solicitors. It still makes me want to say "Excuse you for what?" like if they had just bumped into me or something, but what they mean out of politeness is that they are excusing themselves to leave/hang up. Americans only seem to do this when getting up from a table with a group of people to excuse themselves to go to the bathroom or take a call, etc, but it is meant because we are interrupting something. I guess I never thought I was interrupting someone hanging up the phone at the end of a conversation or going back inside my apt, and I will probably always find it strange but hey, it's never bad to be polite! hahaha.
So even though another country's cultural customs can be new and "foreign" and hard to adjust to at times, there are always good things that should be embraced. They have made me realize how much of a "typical American" I could really be, and glad to have my opened my mind just a bit more ;)