Guest Post by Peter Klika
Ask About the Culture
When traveling, I try to ask questions about the local culture:
- What is a typical wedding ceremony like?
- What special dishes are prepared during local holidays?
These type of questions are more likely to be appreciated than the more mundane (but totally legitimate) questions like: “Where’s the best restaurant?” or “Where’s the best beach?” Local people will almost always politely answer these questions, but they are less likely to lead to an in depth conversation like asking questions about their culture.
I’ve been invited to weddings, family dinners, and college graduations just by asking more interested and interesting questions. And even when there is no invitation ( which is not expected), I always enjoy the ensuing conversation.
Pictured below is a party I was invited to in Bali when I asked about typical alcoholic beverages (Bintang beer and Arak a type of palm wine).
So, ask away. You never know where the conversation will lead, but it’s likely to be good, very good.
Whenever I’m trekking I always wave whenever I pass a house or village even if nobody is in sight. I do this out of respect and to show I come as a friend even if just passing through. These photos were taken in eastern Tibet (Kham) when I was walking by my self through a small village. A door opened and I was invited in for Tibetan butter tea. I ended having dinner and spending the night.
Peter Klika is currently “rewiring” after working for the U.S. State Department, NASA, the University of Hawaii, the Governor of Hawaii, and the law firm of Klika, Parrish & Bigelow. He painted cranes at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard to put himself through graduate school and worked as a professional navigator on various yachts while writing his PhD. He has sailed both around the world and the rim of the Pacific Ocean, led several Himalayan expeditions, and walked solo across Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. He has contributed to such diverse publications as National Geographic, Arts of Asia, UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. He participated in five documentaries on Tibet including “Finding Shangri-La” which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival. He divides his time between Seattle and the Big Island of Hawaii and various exotic destinations. His is most passionate about his family and friends and tries not to take himself too seriously. He knows fortune has smiled on him and takes nothing for granted.
Check out Peter’s other posts on this site: