Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Walk like an Egyptian...

I was waiting at the hospital, and decided that instead of getting impatient and ill-tempered as I usually do when I have to wait, I'd people watch, and a hospital and especially one in Dubai is the best place to do that [there are people from all over the world here].

I noticed a really funny thing, now mind you, this is just a hypothesis which has been induced after a few random observations and would need much deeper investigation to be proved or disproved. And of course this will be a continuing endeavor in which hopefully you all can help as well.

So my hypothesis or observation is this:
People from different parts of the world walk differently. Arabs have a different walk, Indians a different one, Central Europeans a different one.

Seriously I'm not joking. I realized this as I saw a woman's back as she was walking past me, she was wearing the traditional Arabic dress, the long black coat [abaya] but the way she was walking was not like an Arab [the women look like they are gliding when they walk, and this one was walking very purposefully]. So to assuage my curiosity I walked to the cashier a little ahead and lo and behold I was right although she was wearing the hijab, she wasn't an Arab [different language]. After that I watched a few more people and a fascinating pattern emerged and I decided this is something that I'll investigate further.

I intend to continue observing people to see whether this was a random occurrence or do people from different parts of the world do have a different walk. Maybe I'll have to broaden my groups but it seems like it'll be a fun thing to do.

Have you noticed this?


Tom said...

Hi RM,

Interesting observation. Could it be that as with so many things, we observe our parents and other people around us when we grow up and try to imitate them.
According to me that's how we develop customs, habits, culture in general.
Why not with the way we walk :-)

Just a thought for now but one worth considering.

Thank you for igniting the spark

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i HAVE!!! finally someone else did too... i can hear certain people in the next isle in the grocery store and tell you their nationality! funny, huh? the way the drag their feet, or a shuffling noise, or a fast clip clop sound...

smiles, bee

Rambler said...

yep interesting observation, need to check next time around :)

I personally feel its just the person and may not have anything to do with a particular country..

Stealth said...

I HAVE noticed this... but in a different way. I live in Georgia. We have either true southerners (who walk normally), yankee transplants (who walk very quickly) and illegal immigrants from Mexico who either stand around waiting to be picked up for a job or are running away from the INS. Fascinating, isn't it?

Random Magus said...

tom: It could well be. The way we walk and also how we talk to others and how open we are.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea):
I am so glad - as soon as I wrote and put up this post I was thinking hope I am not the only one who has noticed this.

rambler: Maybe you are right, but I can't say definitively until I observe a bit more.

It is fascinating. I am quite excited by this new project of mine. Thanks for sharing!

QUASAR9 said...

Random, did you check what they were wearing on their feet,

a large woman wearing a long black coat and arab slippers will certainly walk different from a young girl wearing a mini-skirt and six inch heels

and funny how many young and not so young girls don't know how to walk on high heels, but they will persist because they think its cool or makes them 'taller'

I'm guessing more than where they come from it will be what they are wearing on their feet, though of course there is a decided egyptian shuffle among arab women wearing long black coats and slip ons on their feet.

The indians I don't know, were they wearing flip-flops, plimsols or 'western' type italian shoes - lol

That aside of course, how we walk is partly nature partly nurture.

But I always wonder if Clarke shoe fittings (for kids) still existed whether we'd have less knee and hip wear from wearing improper shoes (and/or walking improperly)

Random Magus said...

quasar9: She was wearing sneakers, I noticed because that was another odd thing. Arab women never wear sneakers and their abaya is pretty long so that you don't get to see the shoes. Plus they glide. I think part of our personalities come through in our walk and different groups do have certain similar personality traits. Americans are very confident and open, Asians are reserved, Arabs are proud. I might be totally wrong here of course. Just some observations.


i do notice.Infact always.It's been subconsciously embedded into my mind.I don't even have to make additional effort for that.

Mark said...

Very cool observation. The question now is why, is it mental, immitation or is it influneced by the clothes and underclothes they wear?

The Real Mother Hen said...

Interesting! Ok I'm going to people watch from now on :)

And that got me thinking... if I walk like a model doing cat walk, you know swinging from side to side and blowing kisses here and there, do you think they will simply assume I'm a model? Man now I so want to carry out this experiment! :) Maybe I will be sent to a mental hospital or something :)

HollyGL said...

I think you're right about the different countries walking differently. I will say that in America - like Stealth mentioned - the region can greatly influence the way people move - which is really the same point you're trying to make, I guess.

Then, of course, we have my walk when I'm happy - more of a trot; when I'm angry - a charge; and when I'm pensive, or feeling low - a shuffle. :):)

the domestic minx said...

It is so true.
Having lived in Indonesia for so long I can always tell when I am in the presence of one of her countrymen. The shuffling. The relentless shuffling..
Indonesian people (in general)simply do not lift their feet when they walk!!
Perhaps borne from humidity and heat, there is not the compulsion to apply any effort to their walk. It is a curious thing.
And we do learn it.
Everyone says I walk just the same way as my mother and that we are often indistinguishable in our gait..
tip tap tip tap tip tap

paisley said...

i live in an extremely un-diverse area of the country... we are either white americans or mexicans... period.. so i do not get to see this... but it definitely is an interesting take... i will have to look for it when i am able..... i love little stuff like this!!!!!!

Stealth said...

Holly also has a special walk when she wears her sexy boots. She forgot to mention that....

Anonymous said...

Yes i have...too and its good that others have noticed this as well.. i thought it was just me...

Bobby said...

I love to watch people and and the little thing you can see and notice about them. So much is revealed in everything we do or say!

When I think of different cultures, the music of them comes to mind. Asian music paints a picture as well as the percussion of Africa. When I hear the music of India, the music feels mystical and philosophical!

This is a fascinating post, and I love your keen sense of observation. You seem too feel and sense as much as you see!

Thanks Amber!

Bilbo said...

This is an interesting topic. I think the general characterization of walks by the Magus ("Americans are very confident and open, Asians are reserved, Arabs are proud") is pretty much correct, although there tends to be a huge variety in America, because so many of us are from somewhere else. I often see a young lady roaming the halls of the Pentagon that we've nicknamed "Stomper" because of her leaning-forward-treading-heavily-arms-swinging-wildly walk. I think I need to report her to the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks.

Amel's Realm said...

Hey, this is SO interesting! I've never realized this before. Next time I'll try to observe this, too he he he...

Anonymous said...

I am a keen observer of people, it's always something I've done. I think it goes far deeper than just walking. Mannerisms are a big indicator of culture and place. One of my friends is Saudi, and the first time he grabbed my hand as we were walking somewhere, it freaked me out a little. It was second nature to him and somewhat 'taboo' for me. I have other friends that have no concept of 'personal space' that hail from Peru. George will get two inches from me while talking and I have to gently remind him to back off just a little. There was no concious thought about it with them... it just is.

meleah rebeccah said...

I LOVE to watch people.

When I lived in CA (coming from the East Coast) I noticed that California people have a MUCH different WALK then us in NJ or NYC.

California people STROLL

While NYC & NY people have more of a hustle to them.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

It may well be linked to the clothes or shoes that people traditionally wear in each country.

Random Magus said...

Hi! I noticed it only recently.

I think it's do with cultural traits as well.

The Real Mother Hen:
lol. That would be so cool though.

Of course. I totally overlooked the personal mood element, which is such an important component.

the domestic minx:
Arabs, especially the women walk pretty gracefully.

This was a product of a bored mind and an endless waiting period. :)

Ahh! Sexy boots ensure the coolest walk possible.

So did I. Then I read all the comments :-D

Thanks Bobby. It's fun to observe people and make stories about them in your mind.

Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks. That's priceless.

Amel's Realm:
You'll have a lot of fun doing that. We were out today and I was trying to see if my observation held any truth and I swear I was able to guess quite correctly.

You're so right. People here kiss thrice on the cheeks as a greeting.

meleah rebeccah:
In Dubai people stroll.

Jean-Luc Picard:
Yes I'm sure that is a huge part of it.

QUASAR9 said...

"Americans are very confident and open, Asians are reserved, Arabs are proud. I might be totally wrong here of course. Just some observations."

Hi Random, I wasn't disputing your observations, and didn't mean to question them - just pointing out that walking on slippers, or flip flops or cloggs, alters our walks

As do six inch heels, not that I use them myself.

Random Magus said...

six inch heels are murder - seriously they are

Rolando said...

I'd have to agree with Meleah. Us Californians stroll while New Yorkers have a quicker pace.

I guess you have to other there or else get trampled by people coming off the subways, taxi cabs, and busy streets :)

John said...

Great observations. My wife is more of the people watcher. I tend to be more observant of the people that I interact with or may interact with in an audience.

The magician tends to observe for potential participants, the speaker to make a connection to the audience, the preacher to sense the movement of the Spirit.

As for your waiting in the hospital, I hope that all is well.

Blur Ting said...

I have never really observed in my own country but in Hongkong, the people there walk so fast...and even faster in Japan.

I like people watching in the hospital too. Too many hours of waiting... I look at the mother-daughter faces to find similarity.

Random Magus said...

You're right the pace of the city you live in would determine your own.

Thanks for the kind wishes. Undergoing some treatment.

Blur Ting:
I try to guess their life story and then make a fictional one. Helps pass the time. As I'm very impatient, it makes waiting slightly better :)

insanity-suits-me (Dawn) said...

I have never noticed... hmmmm... I'll have to be more observant from now on!

Mike French said...

My wife likes people watching and is good at anaylsing data, I'll get her onto it!

Ricardo said...

I would surmise that there may indeed be a difference. I have noticed that the amount of "personal space" that people allow each other varies from culture to culture. People from areas of the world that are crwded are not as afraid to stand as close to you or sit right next to you as opposed to a few seats over.

My gosh I woder how my walk seems to people overseas and if it's distinctly "American." That would be funny.