A very interesting experiment, but you are missing a control. On the one hand, you are looking at people who are away from their home, and are probably always wary of scams. On the other hand, you are looking at people who are at home, with little likelihood that they would think you are there to scam them. I think you would also have to take the tourists and the Guatemalans, and put them in the opposite situation to see how they would react. Frankly, I don't think there would be much difference, but it would make the experiment more valid.
I am more of a country boy, so I am almost guaranteed to say hello back. But I am from New England, and therefore am less likely to smile on the outside until I get to know you. But, being from New England and being a country boy, I am more likely to help you out, even if I don't like you, than some people that smile. And being a country boy, that grew up not all that far from New York City, I would be a little wary if someone suddenly tried videotaping me on the streets of a city. Would I say hello back? Almost definitely. Would I smile into the camera? Definitely not.
How people react in different scenarios, depends on many things. But I agree, whether a person says hello back, and even to some extent how they say it, says a lot. Both about what kind of a person they are, and where they are from. You are from Indiana, where some of the most honest, outgoingly friendly without being in your face kind of people reside. Some places in the south, the people are almost annoyingly friendly, even if they don't like you. Go up to the Northeast and you could have trouble telling if someone likes you or not.
I look forward to the results of this experiment. I found the Guatemalan people to be wonderful.
FWIW, I don't know if you would like me in person or not. I get the feeling I would like you. I think you are more interesting than I am. Certainly more knowledgeable in travel and most other things dealing with places and people. Would you like me on first meeting? Maybe not. I tend to wear dark cloths, often black and sometimes wear a dark expression. I seldom smile on first meeting. My humor tends to be a little dark. would you like me after getting to know me? Maybe.
Not on subject, but for some reason I was reminded of this incident. I suppose it has to do with how we have opinions on things, and they sometimes change due to a single incident. This was written a while back when I was thinking about beggars and all that. Then this incident, along with others, caused me to begin to think differently about them.
I was in San Cristobol, Mexico around Christmas time. There were a lot of children selling chiclets and all kinds of things as well as a lot of adults looking for what amounted to a handout. Sort of like during the depression people sold pencils from a cup. Technically not begging, but.... So, some seemed to be selling junk to survive, and some seemed like alcoholics trying to get another drink, but some were different.
One old lady was great. I had seen her walking down the street carrying her cane over her shoulder along with stuff to sell. She was moving right along. I saw her set up outside a restaurant with her goods spread out on a blanket. Later I was in that restaurant when she came in with a home made stuffed camel with a wise man on it. A stuffed doll. She pushed past the waiters and talked to those at the tables. The waiters kept trying to get her out of the place but she kept skirting around them. She came to my table, hobbling along on her cane, looking to be 150 years old. I looked at her, smiled and shook my head. She could see I saw through her and she smiled back, with very bright, healthy eyes. At this point, I decided I really like the lady. The waiter came to get rid of her, but I shooed him away. I wanted to see her act.
She went to a table with a couple on it. The man told her to leave. The woman hit her boyfriend and bought the camel at the asking price (maybe a little more, she refused her change). I am guessing it was in the range of $10 to $20. WAY more than the old woman was trying to sell this item on the street. After buying the item, the woman put her camel on the table and gave her boyfriend a satisfied look basically saying he is an ass. I saw the old lady outside later taking to another old woman (neither were using their canes). They were counting out their money. The old lady had more cash than I did. They were amazing. For some reason, I thought of my Grandmother.
I used to think these people were beggars, selling crap and serving no useful purpose. Now I realize I was wrong. These people are selling good will. The good ones make you feel like a king, like you helped out some needy person. The ones that are not good and are more like beggars are just selling an inferior product. That woman who bought the camel felt great. She felt like she did the right thing and went home happier than if she had not given that woman any money. An interesting look at it.
Call this a game, a test, just me checking the happiness level of people.
I was playing the last day saying Hello to more people who obviously were avoiding eye contact.
Iteresting I havce learned older people above 60 say hello back often and the 18-30 bunch ignore.
In the end, I believe there is no excues for this, I consider a person who does not reply both bad manners and in serious danger.
This is Fear and lack fo respect for another country. They could nod, wink, eye contact, bow, I do not care, they do not need to stop and talk, and I am great at shaking my finger at people saying, so not follow me.
However, I acknowledge all people.
I believe fear is the big problem, then this status problme. They want to be high status, to say hello to a person on the planet mean I am of the same status or social level.
I am a lucky man, I feel confident to say hello to the world and because of this, they say hello back.
People that do not say hello, are easy to dominate, easy to make scared, and easy to annoy. What a great way to get rid of this trash from my life.
I consider people with bad manners the low status trash.
I consider people that are too afraid to make eye contact needing to go home and hide, and learn to live.
Interesting. I like it.