I had an experience today in the middle of the desert that underscored the differences between the culture in the Middle East and the US. Our Guest and I walked into a movie set from the 1970s that we had thought was abandoned. It turns out this was someone’s home, it was clear that we made the owner very uncomfortable. To compound matters, we knew only one word of his language.
In the United States, we would have been informed of our mistake and shooed away, and there’s a pretty good chance there would have been a gun involved. This literally happened to me twenty years ago. And imagine how that would have gone had I not spoken the native language.
Here, the man offered us tea, because that’s what you do.
And that brings us to the second point. The only thing more rude than invading a person’s property and taking pictures in this part of the world is refusing tea when it’s offered.
We drank the tea, said thank you, and waved awkwardly to each other on our way out. And then he locked the gate behind us.