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#57784 - 09/15/00 10:25 PM Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
uphilldeb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/00
Posts: 16
Loc: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Hi everyone!
I didn't know where the best spot to post this would be, so...

I would like to bring some small gift from my town or from California or from the United States that could show my appreciation to my hostal hosts.

Does anyone have any suggestions of something from the states that the Spaniards cannot easily come by, but that they like?

Thanks,
Uphilldeb

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#57785 - 09/16/00 11:48 AM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
rgf Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/20/00
Posts: 666
Loc: New York, New York
something from your very TOWN. Pins are popular, or mementos of where you live. Sounds like a nice thing to do!

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#57786 - 09/18/00 03:30 AM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
uphilldeb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/00
Posts: 16
Loc: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Thanks for the suggestion, Rgf!

I suppose since I live in a beautiful tourist town myself, it will be easy to find something like pins.

In addition, I thought I should like to bring something like a bag of Hershey's kisses to leave a piece on our pillows each day for our housekeeping service.

You know, "Hershey's... The Great American Chocolate Bar!" LOL

But then, maybe they have Hershey's in Spain, too? Or maybe they don't like American chocolate. If not the chocolate, can you think of any fun, individually wrapped American candy that would be good for such a purpose?

Hmm...I don't have a clue if customs would have a problem with this sort of thing either.

Thanks again!!!!
Uphilldeb

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#57787 - 09/18/00 06:48 PM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
Diana Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/00
Posts: 506
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Hi, Uphilldeb!

Please, please, please, don't take Hershey's kisses. Compared to the wonderful European chocolate all Spaniards eat, kisses taste like cardboard! I once had a terribly embarrassing experience when I gave a Spanish woman a Hershey's kiss to try, and she could barely swallow it. Even now, I can't bear to eat kisses after so many years eating rich European chocolate.

All the Spaniards I know love chocolate, so the idea of taking chocolates is actually a good one. But it would be better to take mini Snickers, or 3 Musketeers, or something like that. (Now that Halloween is coming, you can find sacks of good little things.) Just not Hershey's kisses, or plain Hershey's chocolate bars!!

I don't think you'll have any trouble with customs. And you may want to buy some chocolate there yourself!

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#57788 - 09/18/00 07:21 PM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
connie Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 153
I would not buy mini snickers because snickers are available all over Europe, so they would be nothing particular. I have never seen 3 Musketeers and I am not exactly sure what it is.
I think in Europe a product that is sold as chocolate has to have a certain percentage of cocoa butter, which is more expensive in production. Probably that is why the taste of chocolate is different.
What about peanut butter cups, or something else based on peanut butter? That is something not easily available there.
Anyway, I do not think you have to worry about customs.

[This message has been edited by connie (edited 09-18-2000).]

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#57789 - 09/20/00 10:34 AM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
uphilldeb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/00
Posts: 16
Loc: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Gads, girls!

Good thing I asked about the Hershey's! Hahaha. That would be so embarrassing to try to give them a gift and have it be disgusting! Yikes!!!

Hmmm...if chocolate is kind of iffy all together, I even wonder about Reeses Peanut Butter cups...they're made by Hershey, I think.

Sheesh! This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It is good that the small sizes of candy are available right now, but picking something fun and interesting and GOOD is going to be a problem.

If you have a brainstorm, let me know. I'll keep checking here for a few more days. We leave the 27th!

With appreciation,
Deb

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#57790 - 09/20/00 01:12 PM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
rgf Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/20/00
Posts: 666
Loc: New York, New York
I still think something typical from your town, and that's all, is more than enough to bring. Please remember that los hostales are family run hotels, and they probably never get gifts. They will appreciate a small gesture but more than that would probably seem demasiado (too much) to them. If you are going to hostal Lopez, it seems everyone is treated very well by that family, so a small gift is certainly going to be a nice touch! looking forward to hearing of your experiences....

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#57791 - 09/20/00 01:33 PM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
Jen Offline
Member

Registered: 08/01/00
Posts: 217
Loc: Chicago
What about fridge magnets? Who doesn't like those!? Also, they're practical!

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#57792 - 09/20/00 11:14 PM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
sheba Offline
Member

Registered: 08/20/00
Posts: 118
Loc: Minneapolis, MN USA
I think I have one. What about Pez? There are so many different kinds and sending refills with letters always seems to work for me. It's a great way to keep in touch with people and everytime I pass a Pez display, I think of that person. Or does this sound too hokey?

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#57793 - 09/21/00 06:13 AM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
WDJunior Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/17/00
Posts: 21
I have to agree with rgf (is there a smiley for "waving white flag"???).
I think itīs more than enough to bring your host one little gift. Spaniards wouldnīt really understand the gesture of leaving a candy bar or some chocolate on your pillow every morning.
And one thing I definitely would not bring is Reesseīs Peanut Butter cups. I mean peanut butter is a little better known in Spain now than 10 years ago, but itīs not really THE thing to eat
What I think is very american is a Cheeseburger, although I donīt think the housekeeping service would think itīs very funny, finding a burger on the pillow every morning
Saludos
PS: To avoid missunderstandings-the last sentence is a joke, OK?

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#57794 - 09/21/00 07:30 PM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
uphilldeb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/00
Posts: 16
Loc: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Hi everyone!

Well, Reeses and chocolate is WAY out of the question then. Thank you all for keeping me from doing some kind of American faux pa. I'm trying to be a bearer of good will, for goodness sake! LOL Besides the fact that bringing a small token for your hosts is a family tradition (Portuguese).

I got a note from Stephen Drake-Jones who told me that the Spaniards love ceramics. So I think I'll try to find something local here with writing on it. Maybe a cup or something. I don't think that would seem too ostentatious.

I'll let you all know what I get. I think I'm going out to look tomarrow!

Thanks again!

Deb

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#57795 - 09/22/00 02:09 AM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
uphilldeb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/00
Posts: 16
Loc: South Lake Tahoe, CA
O.K.
I went out shopping tonight.

I knew I couldn't bring a typical thing from home...a pine cone?! It would never make it past customs! LOL

And I didn't know if the Lopez family would understand the Pez gesture. Although I thought I'd like that myself!

Cheeseburgers! Hahaha! I could get a miniture refrigerator magnet of a cheeseburger!

Actually, I looked at some beautiful refer magnets...I was tempted!

Anyway, I went looking at souvenir coffee cups. Hated them!

But what I found was this pretty neat trivet hotplate thingy. It's in that rustic "mountain" style that's so popular here in California right now. It's a round stoneware disk the size of a salad plate. It has a raised relief (I think that's what you call it) picture of the mountains, lake, pine trees, and black bear in a dark blue glaze on a terra cotta background. It also has "Lake Tahoe, California - Nevada" painted around the border. Certainly, it's not the fine pottery one would find in Spain, but it's kinda neat. I'd like it, anyway.

They can use it to put hot dishes on, or put a plant on it or something. Whatever. I dunno. Just seemed practical and VERY Tahoe-ish.

So. What do you all think?

Deb

P.S. I bought some Peppermint Pattys too. Decided to eat um myself. LOL!

[This message has been edited by uphilldeb (edited 09-22-2000).]

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#57796 - 09/22/00 05:23 AM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
Eddie Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 06/05/00
Posts: 1713
Loc: Phila., PA, USA
In Spain, we usually stay with relatives and take gifts for them; but 'hostal hosts?' No!
When we stay at hostals, we are paying guests and the hostal owners or managers are 'for profit' entities renting us accomodations as long as we pay for them.

I, for one, don't think it is necessary or appropriate to consider oneself obligated to bring a gift for what you call your 'hostal hosts.'

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#57797 - 09/22/00 08:50 AM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
WDJunior Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/17/00
Posts: 21
Hey there Deb!
If you want to bring a gift, that "hotplate thingy" you got, might be alright. Although, as I have posted before, I see things actually like Eddie does: I wouldnīt bring anything, UNLESS itīs the 3rd or 4th time I go to the same hostal and everybody was really nice and everybody got along really well... - get what I mean? Spaniards are different in that matter (I remember there was this TV spot some time ago where Severiano Ballesteros - whoīs a great golfer - sort of invited the world to come visit Spain. The spot ended with Severianos words: Spain is different. It sure is ) (Thank god!!)
Saludos

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#57798 - 09/22/00 10:01 AM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
uphilldeb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/00
Posts: 16
Loc: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Hi guys,

Hmm...interesting comments.

True, I am a paying customer. And true, I should be able to expect a certain amount of quality service without any extra gratuity, or whatever. We have no argument with each other.

However, I have been emailing this family back and forth and am very grateful for their extra kindness to me. I was raised with customs in my family to show my appreciation. These people are not the front desk of the Hilton Hotel or something!

So...obligation. NOT! Appreciation. YES!

It is interesting to me that you would think the Spaniards would not like this. I've gotten such a different sense of them.

So, what is it...Are you telling me that presenting my hosts with a small gift would be weird or offensive to Spaniards as a people? Or are you telling me it would be weird or offensive to YOU?

Just curious.

Hmm...I'm also wondering if this would be a universal thought, or more of a "guy" thing? Of course, I'm not implying you guys are less thoughtful than women, or anything. You might be women for all I know. So please, don't get me wrong. You have just stirred my thoughts.

With my best regards,
Deb

[This message has been edited by uphilldeb (edited 09-22-2000).]

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#57799 - 09/22/00 12:32 PM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
WDJunior Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/17/00
Posts: 21
Here I go again!
If these people have been helpful even prior to you arriving, than you certainly do have a reason for bringing them a nice present. Absolutely no problem with that.
Donīt get me wrong. Itīs not that spaniards donīt buy presents for each other, itīs just that in my modest opinion, they do not do it as much as itīs done in other countries. Maybe in that matter spaniards do keep a little more of a distance to others rather than expressing their thankfulnes (does this word exist??-well itīs "gratitud" in spanish) in that kind of way.
Deb, donīt let us confuse you!! Presents are great and, I mean, itīs not that your asking "should I kiss and hug my hosts when I meet them for the first time?" weīre talking about a nice little present here
Have great fun in Spain.
Saludos

PS: by the way: YES I am male

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#57800 - 09/22/00 03:29 PM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
Castiza Offline
Member

Registered: 09/11/00
Posts: 176
Loc: Madrid
As a spaniard female, I would't bring a present to the hostal hosts. After all, it's their business, they're not inviting you. In fact, the way americans and spaniards see gratuities is very different.

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#57801 - 09/22/00 08:50 PM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
uphilldeb Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/00
Posts: 16
Loc: South Lake Tahoe, CA
OMG! Now I'm getting depressed.

I read the other day on one of the other threads where a couple of Spaniards couldn't find anything humorous or qwerky about their country, and were quite offended by the implication that there might even be something humerous. Then I read where the people from Barcelona have some kind of attitude if other Spaniards don't speak the right kind of Spanish or something, which then made me think I was actually glad I can't speak any so I can just be a dumb American. And now, I'm hearing that Spaniards won't like to accept a gift of appreciation and they might think something weird!

At one time, and from so many different testimonies of friends, I was CONVINCED the Spanish were the warmest, nicest people on the planet. That is why I chose to go to Spain. Now I'm starting to get paranoid!

Well...I think I'm finished with this conversation. A girl's gotta follow her heart. And I just want to believe it's a nice thing to be thoughtful and giving. Call me crazy. I don't give a rat's ass.

I'd rather be remembered as the idiot from America who gave her hostal hosts a silly little present and a full and thankful heart! And that's that.

Uphilldeb

P.S. Hey, WDJunior, I figured you for a guy. You are adorable and very diplomatic, sir! I Thank you for your input! Oh! And by the way...now, if we were in France, wouldn't it be ok to do the kissing thing you mentioned? LOL (Just kidding, just kidding!!!!)

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#57802 - 09/22/00 09:51 PM Re: Suggestions for gifts to bring hostal hosts?
Diana Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/00
Posts: 506
Loc: Pennsylvania, USA
Hi again, Uphilldeb!

(I just love your username! My best friend's name is Deb, and she's also an uphill person!)

Anyway, I just want to say that I agree with everyone else about the giving-of-the-gift to hostal owners, but I also agree with you :

"I'd rather be remembered as the idiot from America who gave her hostal hosts a silly little present and a full and thankful heart! And that's that."

As an American who lived for 13 years among Spaniards in Spain, I often did things differently, and would see looks of shock, or simply amazement, on the faces of the Spaniards around me. I didn't do anything outrageous - I was just a little different. But they love me just the same, and refer to the memories of what I did with affection. They ARE the warmest, nicest people on the planet, and they will accept you with grace and kindness. Be yourself, and have a wonderful time!

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