Saturday, March 15, 2014

What they think we are

Dominican flag 
Being in a place that is 12 hours different from Macau and 13 hours from Thailand, we always introduce ourselves as I’m being Thai, my husband as Portuguese but we live in China! With no surprise, the new people we meet, put a wondering face expression, being also surprised to know that Joao works for the Chinese Government! How about Macau? When we talk about Macau we need to mention China, and even so, only less than 10% know exactly where and how it is. What is even more surprising here is that many people don’t even know that Thai food is spicy.

We meet as many locals as we meet sailors and most of the sailors are experienced ones. The route to Thailand and Southeast Asia is no secret for most of them and they all love Thailand. However, we were only able to meet one that sailed to Macau in the 80’s, when he was working in Hong Kong!
Most of the sailors around here are from The States and Canada, mostly because it’s nearby and the Caribbean weather is their heaven. There are not many Asians probably because Dominican Republic it’s very far away from Asia. But, at least, I met one guy from Burma, a professional captain for an Italian boat owner.

In Dominican Republic Spanish is the official language and the only language they speak. Few people in the village can speak English. Joao can speak Spanish, not with native accent but quite fluent. Being able to speak their language makes the locals wonder where he came from. Of course not from Spain, however he’s “gringo”. One local even asked him if he was from Chile! Why? Not only because of his Spanish skills but, mostly, because he was with me, Asian! Apparently in Chile there are a lot of Chinese people and they thought I was Chinese!

How about me? No, they don’t say that I’m Chinese because I have big eyes. The problem is that they think all Asian’s are Chinese and they can’t guess my nationality unless they ask me. At least doesn’t happen like what happen with Joao when someone asked him where he came from. He said from Portugal, and the person said, “Ah! Portugal, South America”! 


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