How to avoid embarrassing experiences in new countries?

Essay by chim0bay October 2004

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Some savoir-faires to know to avoid embarrassing experiences:

Did you know that in some parts of the world putting your hands on your hips is impolite? The thumbs-up sign is downright offensive? A wink is unacceptable?

In Australia, it's rude to wink at women.

In Brazil, pulling down the lower lid of the right eye means that the listner doubts what you are saying.

In China, point with an open hand and beckon or signal with the hand facing palm down. To use a finger to point or beckon is rude.

In Hongkong, only animals are beckoned with a finger. To signal someone to come to you, reach out, palm down and flutter your finger.

In India, grasping your ear means either "honesty" or "I'm sorry".

In Indonesia, hands on hips while talking means that you're angry and is impolite. Beckon with your palm down and your fingers moving in a swooping motion.

In Japan, it's unacceptable for 2 adults of the same sex to hold hands while walking together. A smile can mean happiness, anger, embarrassment or sadness. It's an insult to point at someone with 4 fingers spread and thumbs tucked in. When someone compliments you, respond by waving your hand back and forth in front of your face. Because it's considered impolite to show their teeth, women cover their mouths when they laugh. To make a promise, 2 people hook their pinky fingers together.

In Korea, it's rude to blow your nose in front of people. When talking to someone, keep your hands in full view. It's rude to keep your hands behind your back or in your pockets.

In Spain, snapping the thumb and first finger together a few times is a form of applause. If you think the person you're talking about...