Greetings in Nevis and the Caribbean that you should know [new blog post]
There are certain greetings in Nevis and the Caribbean that you should know. If you haven’t visited, this one is for you. Aged 14 when my parents were getting married on the island, I was bored with waiting in the hairdressers for the women who were getting their hair laid. An older lady walked in and said good afternoon and I said nothing. I never made that mistake again.
“An older lady said good afternoon and I said nothing. I never made that mistake again.”
If saying this makes you feel uncomfortable you get an older ‘auntie’ who will not be afraid to tell you about yourself. You should greet people when you enter a place and respond to that greeting, whether you know them or not. Also, if you don’t, those awkward stares are not because you are a foreigner, it’s more than likely because people think of you as rude. I learned this the hard way at a young age when an elder woman embarrassed me. but I’m glad she did.
On the island, I live in the ‘country’ so I’m around mainly local residents. However, there is a medical university close by. When I see students in the shop attached to the local gas station, where, yes, people do lime. I find it frustrating when students (who I know) have been on the island a while, walk in and don’t greet people in the shop. This is also true of young children who live on the island.
It doesn’t take much effort to greet people and it makes such people appear rude. I often observe the awkward look on people’s faces. They clearly know they should greet the people in the room but still refuse. I don’t know whether it’s privilege or pride. Don’t expect the friendly island service if you fail to adhere to this basic custom. You only need to be here for 24 hours before you know that it’s norm on the island.
Whenever I return to England from a trip to the Caribbean, I automatically continue this custom and greet people. I would get the stares and would have to “catch myself”. Some would ignore me, and I would get a few “you’re so well-mannered”. I was in a lift with only two work colleagues, I said good morning and didn’t get an answer. I was in a bit of a bad mood, which was strange considering I was being polite. My mood was clearly nothing to do with them but they both ignored me. When I snapped at them with “rude” they both responded.
When in the Caribbean, speak to locals people, they don’t bite. I met a family who was staying at a hotel on Nevis during a bar crawl. They had been on the island for about a week and found it boring. Read my previous blog to find out how I feel about this. They should have left the resort in the week they had been on the island and experience the island life. If you haven’t spoken to a local at a local bar, eaten local food or participated in a local activity then you can’t truly say you’ve been to the destination, in fact, you just visited to stay in a hotel.
Taste some local food. I saw an American family at a beach hotel eating club sandwiches. I was mortified. When you can get fresh fish from the ocean but you chose to order bread and fries crying emoji face. Nevis is a pretty safe place. Like anywhere, there is some crime. You will see a lot of wild donkeys strolling the streets, sheep, goats roaming around, and even the odd cow if it manages to escape its home. Not to mention, St. Kitts and Nevis have a lot of monkey’s. Caribbean people are friendly. Yes, some people who work in certain places can be rude but they are the exception and not the rule.
What are some of the customs in your home town or country of decent?