On Tipping In Other Countries

I don’t get it! I thought tipping waitrons was customary in all countries, especially taking into consideration that they’re not exactly getting paid six-figure salaries.

Whether you pay via cash or a card transaction, tips should be easy to give. The problem is not when paying with cash – it’s when paying with a card that it becomes interesting.

Some countries make it easy to tip waitrons and others don’t. Take South Africa for example. Tips are expected, normally 10% of the bill. The bill has an extra field to put in the tip amount and the point of sales machines are configured to add this to the bill amount. The whole lot then goes off your card and then it’s up to the waitron and the restaurant to square up at the end of their shift.

Well, in Europe there’s no such thing! At least in the countries that I’ve visited. Imagine my dismay on not finding the extra line for the tip on the bill. I wanted to tip the waitron but couldn’t, because you see I don’t always carry cash. So when I see no field at the bottom of the invoice I think there is no tip expected. And this could be a totally erroneous assumption.

The one time I asked the waiter where I could write in the tip amount and he looked at me as if I had two heads. Perhaps I misunderstood and tips are always given in cash to the waiter.

Another time I gave the waiter some coins (that’s all I had in the local currency) and they were almost reluctant to take it. I don’t know if it was because they didn’t expect it or the amount was too small to accept.

I’m usually a good tipper, but I don’t always carry cash with me and adding it to the bill makes it much easier.

At Heathrow airport the other day (I was practically asleep at the table due to the long layover) the waiter asked me if everything was ok with the food. I said yes, it was. Then he half-asked half-stated the amount on the invoice. Confused as to why he’d do that because I could see the amount on the invoice for myself, I said yes again.

So he put that amount through my card. After he walked off I realised that he was probably giving me the opportunity to add a tip. Unfortunately all of this was lost in translation (and I was practically asleep at the table) and he didn’t gain one from me. So he probably thought that I was just another broke or scroogy tourist passing through his airport.

It would be much easier if all point of sale machines had an extra line on the bill for the tip amount.

It’ll prevent us temporary nomads  from offending the local watiers. Don’t you think so?

Oh oh oh! I’ve just realised – perhaps the reason why restaurants don’t do that is because it adds to much overhead to their cashing up at the end of the day.

Do you think it could be that?



I had a weird dream last night. I don’t remember it, just that it was weird, a feeling without any basis for existing except that it was because of a dream. I had. Last night.

Only in my dreams do I write beautiful poetry that rhymes perfectly and makes sense. Only in my dreams do I craft intricately woven and best-selling plots for my novels that don’t exist. Yet.

Only in my dreams do I take beautiful long exposure photos that rival any National Geographic photographer’s work.

Only in my dreams is it normal to walk on air and chew bubblegum at the same time whilst talking to a friend.

Dream logic makes no sense.



Another Rushed Day

I can hear the sounds of a lively group of people singing “Happy Birthday” from a few houses down. The roads are very narrow in this historical part of Lisbon and sounds carry in the quiet of the night.

The day was rushed and long. I did manage a lovely lunch with a friend at RTP and I had dinner at her house as well. She showed me a few of the studios and I snuck in a photo of the RTP Africa one that was about to go on air.

I had conversations with two taxi drivers, walked more than 10,000 steps (6,65kms), burned 1,866 calories and climbed 21 flights of stairs, all while taking loads of photos.

I took some photos of some of the gorgeous buildings at the Campus de Justiça – a government department campus where some courts are located. A security guard came out of one of them and politely told me to not take photos of the government buildings. I complied as  I forgot that most countries don’t like you to take photos of their government buildings. There are some countries that would’ve arrested me on the spot for doing that.

I have more errands to take care of tomorrow and I hope to be able to put my feet up as well, and maybe, just maybe, have time to download some of the pics I’ve taken and post them on this blog.

Until then…




Hello all, I’m on holiday and my intention is to blog as often as possible. I’m taking lots of pics and some of them will make it onto these pages.

I’m in Portugal and what’s playing havoc with my internal clock is the fact that the sun sets well after 20h30. Even in summer it is dark at this time in South Africa, so when it gets dark where I am now, I realise how late it is already.

I will post as often as I can – I did the WordPress Weekly Challenge – you can find it here. Hope you enjoy it.

©2016 Regina Martins
©2016 Regina Martins


26 Weeks Letter Challenge: “E”

This is late by a couple of weeks but who’s counting…?

I saved this photo on the “E” folder but have no clue now why it was there. It can’t be the smiley face because that would be “s”. It also can’t be “c” for coffee, cup or cappuccino. Maybe it’s “e” for eyes.


This one is more obvious…

IMG_6820 reginamartins.com

And this one…

IMG_5420 - reginamartins.com

Entered in Lori’s 26 weeks letter challenge.



One of the things I love about what I do is that it’s real. “Real, what’s real?” you may be asking, “that is such a broad generalised statement to make.”

Yes I agree, and one of the things I love about what I do is that it’s real 🙂

I’m not sure if it’s by nature or by design that people who are involved in Agile coaching have decided to challenge so-called accepted ways of working and being to help teams collaborate and achieve great things through the power of “we”.

You can recognise an Agile coach by the amounts of “we” in their conversation. This is what makes this community such an awesome one be a part of. Yes, we do travel around the world working and learning and we challenge the status quo of eschewing offices. Most of our bases are at home. If we’re not at a client we’re at our home offices.

Some people call us hippies and this is their need to order their reality by putting people in boxes. We don’t believe in boxes. We believe in people. People don’t fit in boxes because we are not box-shaped. We are all sizes and not all sizes fits all.

Agile is slowly starting to become more used – I’m reluctant to say “mainstream” because this would mean trying to put it in a box where it is supposed to be better than other ways of working which are not “mainstream”. Who and what determines that something is mainstream or not. And if something is not mainstream does it mean that it is not good or effective or “hippie-like”?

Take the conference I’m at the moment. It’s an unconference using Open Space Technology. We, the participants, are the ones to determine the conference programme. Anyone can propose a session and host it. It’s about what I want to learn and share with the community.

It’s a place where I can experiment with coaching techniques I’ve been thinking of applying. I know that I will get good feedback and a space to improve it.

I read an article today that reported that the US government is widely adopting Agile software development methods. This gladdens my Agile coach heart.

Two of my colleagues at this conference have brought their 2 cute kids to the conference – a months old baby and a little girl of about 4 years old. They are in the conference room with us and there is no need for them to whisper because they are part of their parent’s system – so it’s important to acknowledge this. Once organisations start seeing their people as systems, part of a bigger system that transcends the nine to five (and not as resources on their clock to move around at will) our workplaces will become much happier places. Happy people make happy workplaces make happy families make happy societies. Happy societies have more empathy.

Imagine what we could do with more empathy in the world. The possibilities are endless. So I go back to what I said at the beginning of this article – one of the things I love about what I do is that it’s real. And these are some of the things that make it real for me.

Thanks for reading.

Personally speaking…


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