I love pretending that I am a local in a city where I’m clearly not. It’s not that I like fooling people. No, I think there is a certain bond that locals share that I want get in on. Perhaps it’s also my ego and aversion to embarassment that makes me hate playing tourist. It’s almost a challenge to me to see if I can fit in. Here in Hong Kong, it means dressing like an office worker and speaking Cantonese. I’ve failed on a few occasions due to some tell-tale signs of not being a local:
- Not speaking fast enough in Chinese
- Not arguing in Chinese
- Carrying English books or an English newspaper
- Not holding chopsticks properly when eating
- Ordering cold water at restaurants
- Pointing to an item on the menu instead of speaking the order in a restaurant
I’ll add to the list as things come up. What are the signs of being a local in your corner of the earth?