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Spot the Tourist ?

By Jo Green - Fri 7th May 2010

I have often wondered if there was a specific period of time that it takes for the average British expat living here in sunny Spain to become fully indoctrinated into the ways of the culture of their new home country. Like an exact age: weight: time ratio, or something scientific - just something that is marked, explainable and quantifiable.

Of Course, there’s always going to be that small handful of people who simply refuse to adapt to a different way of life in a new country in the slightest – all British TV, refusing to speak any Spanish at all and only drinking down the Red Lion or Rose and Crown, as opposed to visiting their local Spanish bars, attempting to engage the locals in conversation and watching Spanish TV. Sadly, there is always going to be that minority who either can't, or don't want to change.

But I was thinking this – at what point does the newly arrived expat stop behaving like a tourist just here for a short holiday, and adapt to their new lifestyle accordingly, and is there somekind of mystical equation that decides when this point in time arrives? - It’s sometimes a game myself and some friends play when we are in our local bar – trying to categorise the various clientele.

Firstly, it’s trying to guess the nationality of whovever comes into the bar (easy!); Secondly, are those that we have identified as being British expats or are they tourists? (normally just look out for the pasty white legs and ridiculous shorts in the middle of February - it can be a bit of a give-away!); Finally, how long have those that we have been able to identify as being expats actually been living here in Spain?

So I’m interested to know this: What are the idiosyncracies that easily identify a Brit from being either a Tourist on holiday over here, or an Expat living here? - And further to this, is there a marked and noticable difference between ‘recent’ expats and old-timers? - Add your thoughts and opinions to the comments box below and we’ll see how many we can get.

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