by Alexandra Black Paulick
"I made a major cultural mistake early on in my Asia adventure. It was in Thailand and I started blazing across the foyer to the reception desk in our small off the beaten path lodging. It had been a long day and I was more than ready to claim my room and curl up for a long night sleep. A bustling grandmother behind the counter quickly came running to block my path, utterly in shock at my onset.
You see I still had my sandals on. I had crossed the barrier of the lobby still wearing my chacos.
Much to my surprise, the older host of the house requested that our shoes be removed outside. It suddenly dawned on me that in my haste, I had passed a small group of shoes outside on the steps leading into the hotel. Slowly a memory of someone commenting about shoes and customs in Asia came to the forefront.
I went to slide my sandals off, still holding them in my hand but proceeding barefoot. Strike two. While our host was friendly and accommodating, she was committed that my shoes remain outside."