Con Permiso and Pase

Frank Sinatra

I may sound old-fashioned, but I want to think all women should be treated like I want my wife, daughters, and granddaughters to be treated. I notice today that good manners—like standing up when a woman enters the room, helping a woman with her coat, letting her enter an elevator first, taking her arm to cross the street—are sometimes considered unnecessary or a throwback. These are habits I could never break, nor would I want to. I realize today a lot more women are taking care of themselves than in the past, but no woman is offended by politeness.    Frank Sinatra

When entering someones home, gate or business the common practice here is to ask “permiso” which is permission to enter. The response would be “pase” which means pass or enter.  This extends to asking permission to walk on the porch and again asking permission to come into the house. Just walking into someone’s personal space would be considered rude. I even ask Estrella for permission to enter her tienda because people are not allowed behind the counter, but she allows me because I don’t always know what to ask for. We have seen this practice in Panama as well as the cities we have visited here in Ecuador. It shows a person has manners and is a nicety that we need to keep in this culture.

Good Manners

manners 3

In our case we have a very old wood and bamboo gate that we have repaired several times since moving in. This has caused it to stick and makes it very difficult for the gate to swing into our drive easily. The gate has a lock that we wind around the two sections to hold it securely. Most days I do not unlock it because I do not want folks to try to open it without my help. Most actually try to pull it out not push it in which just breaks it a little more. One day when we go to renovate the walls around the house we will also replace the gate but until that time this one has to last.

manners 2

I like when a man opens the door for me, when I am allowed to walk first through a doorway with a firm hand on my back assisting me, I love when Joe extends his arm and we walk down the beach. I love these small graces and appreciate anyone who would show those small kindnesses to others. I have been offered seats on the bus when a man has moved for me to sit, assistance climbing the stairs as well as help getting down from the bus. This culture shows extreme respect to older people, the handicapped, women of any age and children. I feel that most of the world has lost a bit of their humanity when they lost their manners. I for one would like to see their return.


19 thoughts on “Con Permiso and Pase

  1. Amen! I agree…And so does Jac. I would love to see these little respectful actions return in full force. The world cries out for it. Thank you Nancy.

    • Doug, it is a little more respectful, a little more peaceful and much more enjoyable for us “old souls” looking back at the 1950’s with envy! Have a great week, Nancy

  2. Very nice; ecuadorians are very polite and through their actions remind us to respect others.
    i do enjoy returning to mississippi where many of the men still remember to hold a door for a woman or open a car passenger door before stepping to the driver’s side.
    i remember on one trip back, dashing into a fuel station at west-memphis arkansa, and a much-younger stranger (man) held the door and let me enter before he did! I’ll never forget that – at least some are still honoring respect for women!

    ilove how ecuadorians address the room when they enter..’buenos dias.. ‘ or ‘buenas tardes’ or ‘buen provecho.’ ah, so comforting to witness – it’s like a ballet!

    • Z, We also love the beautiful buen provecho while we are seated at a restaurant, you could be a worker or a socialite and all are treated equally. We try so hard to remember to say it ourselves and are paid back with wonderful smiles and some surprise that we know this little custom. It warms us to see such lovely niceties and we are amazed by the reaction it has in most folks. They actually warm up or loosen up a bit because we know a little about their culture. Be well my friend, Nancy

      • late one afternoon i was walking down a street in cruzita and a man walking on the other side sneezed. i smiled and said, ‘sah-LUD!’

        he thanked me, and then he and his friend started laughing when they saw it was an extranjero who greeted them like a local, in a nonchalant passing.. i ambled on down in one direction with my bag of vegetables, and they ambled away in the other.


        • Z, I would like to get to the point where I can have a small conversation without playing charades..especially with my near neighbor Paola..I know she knows where my heart is, and most especially she almost intuitively understand me with very few words. Nancy

          • i totally understand. sometimes when i am really tired, my ability to follow the language is very difficult. the good thing is that learning a new language helps our brains stay healthy, so when you’re frustrated,smile and remember that you’re benefiting from that experience in positive ways! you’re helping her as well, and slowly the two of you will reach an easier place in regards to your communications!

            as i mentioned in a post, my ability to draw has been useful in getting my point across, but it also held me back – like a younger sibling allowing the older one to speak for her!

            • Hi Z, I honestly think having to think in English and then in Spanish is helping our memories…now if I could just remember more words and phrases. Nancy

              • based on my experience, i think you’ll start making those mental ‘conversions’ in your mind soon. like when someone makes a grammatical error in english, and you privately correct it in your mind, you’ll hear someone say, ‘hello,’ and you’ll convert it to ‘hola…’ or they’ll say, ‘beer,’ and you think, ‘cervesa.’ before long you’ll convert numbers.. ‘three’ to ‘tres” and one day you’ll red a paragraph in spanish and totally understand then suddenly realize, ‘eureka! i’m reading in spanish!’

                for those of us who have learned my trial and error and by ‘ear,’ writing spanish can be extremely hard and frustrating!

                i’ll never forget when i saw ’15’ written in spanish… ‘THAT’S how you spell that?’


  3. Yusuf-Very well written–Although travelling in local buses numerous times in Manta i did not observe the courtesy offered to women or the elderly and often times the younger people did occupy the row of seats reserved for the incapacitated–Hope things will change some day with education.

    • Hi Yusuf, we felt that coming to the city those niceties were not extended as freely as in the smaller towns…Nancy

  4. I agree with you totally! For the last few years Mike has been with me. Each day is so refreshing! To have such a kind person that that still believes in opening all doors, pulling chairs out,etc. For so many years that was not in my life. We go to town and so many women comment on his manners- they always make a comment to me to let me know how luck I am. The funny thing is we are away from each other for weeks or months at a time and during that time I get use to doing all this for myself, so once we are back together I have to learn all over again. But I love my life and the caring that the manners show. It shows that these guys had great role models in their life. I have not seen Mike since Christmas- should see him the first of April. I am already excited! Hope you and Joe are doing great! Take care!

    • Karen, I know that those small things mean so much to me as well. I am sorry that you and Mike have been apart since December. Hope your reunion is wonderful, Nancy

  5. The courtesy of the Ecuadorians never ceases to amaze me, though, it is quite a mix in the city (I’m in Quito). I’ve seen everything from what one gringo termed ‘blatant disregard for common courtesy’ to watching a traffic cop (on my ocassions and with different people) stopping the busiest rush-hour traffic for an elderly or handicapped person to get across at their own pace – and often arm-in-arm assisted by another officer (they often have two or more at busy intersections around here in Centro Historico).

    For me, it is a welcome site, however, strangely difficult to adapt myself into. Oh, I was raised to say “Yes, Ma’am!”, “No, Thank you, Ma’am”, etc. and opening doors for a lady was commonplace in my youth. But, then, something happened and for years I was chastised for this behavior in the US, so I learned (however unwillingly) to suppress it.

    Now, I find it oddly refreshing to do what, to me, seems rather natural – extending small courtesy to others, though I seem to always be on the lookout for some lady to snap back at me with a “I can do it myself” (chilling words from more than one time – how sad….. – for them, I mean….). I look forward to the day (hopefully soon!) that I can fully relax and be myself, with the knowledge that the Ecuadorian ladies appreciate (and some expect, which is fine with me) these small courtesies.

    BTW, I have recently taken a small partnership in a restaurant to provide karaoke three nights a week and the most requested songs are by (no surprise… – and thanks for the quote…), Frank Sinatra. The women even like it (and the men don’t want to bust my head in) when I sing directly to them and even extend a friendly hand on a shoulder or something. It is sooooo refreshing – making life fun again!

    Bottom line – “class” has not gone out of style – at least not in Ecuador!

    • Steve, your comment was lovely. I am touched that you have not totally given up on those learned manners and I know it must have been hard to be rebuked for your kindness. Hopefully that silly behavior of “we can do it ourselves” is behind us and allowing the small courtesies is back to stay. Sadly the younger generations have not seen these lovely manners, maybe it will return and kindness will prevail.

      Joe and I listen to a great deal of different music, our only two genre that fail to move us are Rap and Jazz but everything else is enjoyed in our home. Frank and Dean and Sammy are icons of a sooth sound that brings back memories from the early 50’s when our parents were listening to their hits. Nancy

    • Hi Steve, thanks for following. So sorry to read your article about having to move. I really don’t have any knowledge in the real estate market here, best thing to do is come to visit, see if this sleepy village holds any interest for you and look around for a place while you are here. Hope you find what you are looking for. Nancy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s