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Stranger Encounters
The Impact of Tourists in Cuban Bed-and-Breakfasts
Kim E. Kozaki
Book excerpt:
"For many tourists, casas particulares appear to be divided into two worlds: areas to which they had access and could use, which they referred to as ours, and areas reserved for the family or private activity. Tourists felt that there were spaces they should not enter, but when questioned about how this was indicated to them,
they answered that no formal indication was made. As one tourist explained, Nothing was mentioned, but I just respected the owners privacy, while another described, When we came to the casa they showed us our room and bathroom and the patio and dining area. This would indicate to us this was our usable space. Tourists were
not told that spaces in the home were off limits, so they applied their own criteria to determine to what areas of the house they had access. When questioned, tourists said that they considered the living room [sala] a family space. Their responses indicated they did not feel comfortable in this space and as a result spent little time here. One
tourist explained they did not want to spend time in the living room because Most of the family members were sitting there, and another commented, The husband was watching TV in the front room, and felt it was not a space where they should be. The general perception of all the tourists I surveyed is perhaps exemplified by the statement given in one questionnaire: I felt it [the living room] was a private space for the use of the family, where the family seemed to relax or carry on their personal activities and work. As one tourist noted,
There was the feeling that I had to hurry through and not look around too much because it felt like a private space and I didnt want my hosts to think I was snooping. However, no verbal requests
dissuaded tourists from using this space; rather the tourists assumed they were imposing in the familys space in the living room. As one tourist deduced, it was not my space.
2017, Caribbean Studies Press, 176pp, b & w illustrations, softcover
ISBN 978-1-62632-537-1 Cat# CSP 5371
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