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Gingersnap
09-27-2010, 08:23 PM
Local Taboos That Trip Up Travelers

By Paul Eisenberg

Published September 27, 2010

| FoxNews.com

If your travels ever take you to the United Kingdom, you may want to avoid sticking your index and middle fingers in the air with your palm facing toward you.

“It’s the equivalent of giving someone the finger,” explains Heather Dickson, assistant publisher at Lonely Planet as well as a Brit. “Don't order two beers in this fashion in UK bars,” she adds. “Doing it palm facing out is okay [as if you were flashing someone] the peace sign."

Speaking of okay, in Brazil it’s not okay to make the “OK” sign with your fingers as “it’s extremely vulgar and means you’re talking about fornication,” says frequent overseas traveler Philip Guarino, who advises business travelers about cultural behavior. In lieu of the okay sign, he says, you might want to give Brazilians a thumbs up. However, if you do that while while visiting Iran, it’s the same as flipping the bird.

Can’t we all just get along?

Even if you do bone up on your destination’s customs before you go, it can be all too easy to slip up, in which case it also helps to know where the locals are the most forgiving. VirtualTourist.com member Suvanki isn’t a big thumbs up flasher so she wasn’t too worried about slipping up on her trip to Iran, yet “within a few hours of arriving, to affirm a ‘yes’ to a question, there I was with my thumb up, which I quickly tried to cover,” Suvanki recalls. “My guide gave a smile of understanding. Then I did it again, and yet again during my trip. Luckily, this was recognized for what it was, and not meant as an insult."

For other ways you may be ticking the locals off, read on.

Put your right hand out.

When in Japan, “don't smile, and always cover your mouth when you laugh,” advises Michael Fazio. “If you don't, especially in business, they will assume you are either being patronizing or you are not highly intelligent,” he says. Also while in Japan, says Marian Goldberg, “bowing should become a habit, for greeting people, thanking people, and saying good-bye. When you are leaving always wave, and keep waving until you don’t see your host anymore. They will do the same.”

If like me you’re left-handed, you may have some adjusting to do in Morocco, Nepal, India, Turkey, and Africa, where the left hand is traditionally used for the toilet and the right for eating, according to several Lonely Planet editors. Virtualtourist member Odinnthor concurs, based on his travels to Ghana, that “when interacting with the local people, be conscious of using only your right hand. Hand over money with your right hand, eat only with your right hand, and if you forget and use your left in an interaction, apologize and smile,” adding that “although conditions in Ghana have greatly improved regarding personal sanitation, the custom will remain for a long time.”

While in Thailand, “don't be alarmed if a local unabashedly picks their nose while talking to you,” says Lonely Planet warehouse manager Scott Stampfli, who’s married to someone from Thailand. “It's considered a natural act of good hygiene.”

More zany culture at the link. :D

Fox (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2010/09/24/local-taboos-trip-travelers/)

Rockntractor
09-27-2010, 08:39 PM
While in Thailand, “don't be alarmed if a local unabashedly picks their nose while talking to you,” says Lonely Planet warehouse manager Scott Stampfli, who’s married to someone from Thailand. “It's considered a natural act of good hygiene.”
What if they pick their, nose, ears and scratch their butt and then pick their teeth?:confused:

Gingersnap
09-27-2010, 09:05 PM
What if they pick their, nose, ears and scratch their butt and then pick their teeth?:confused:

They're tourists from Oklahoma? :p