Two local boys having fun together in La Baie de Grand Case, French St. Martin
It's important to remember that you are a guest in another culture. If you treat others with respect and kindness, they generally reciprocate. Don't expect others to speak or understand your language. If you make some efforts to speak a little French in St. Martin, it will be greatly appreciated. Of course, a smile is universally understood. If you want to take someone's photo, always ask their permission first. And don't forget that everything moves at a slower pace in the tropics, so you shouldnt expect or demand speedy service. If you can downshift and relax, you will blend right in and have a great time doing so.
In the US, making a circle with the thumb and index finger means "OK". To the French (and others), it can be taken as an insult. It means "worthless". A raised thumb gesture (one thumb up) will work better and avoid misunderstandings.
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