10 Fatal Mistakes of Travelers
In the age of globalization, cultural differences between people seem to almost disappear, however, travelling the world, it’s so easy to be impolite or even accidentally offend the locals. Guardian.co.uk describes the most common mistakes travelers make. What we should not do during the tours in foreign countries?
1. Showing “thumb up” in Iran
In all the countries of Europe and the United States compressed fist or raised up thumb are completely innocent gesture, telling you that everything is correct, everything is going well, you are completely satisfied. But we should not express our feelings this way in Iran. It is considered a gross and obscene insult there.
Another familiar Euro-American symbol is “OK” when the thumb and index finger form a circle, it should not be used in Turkey and Brazil, because the locals will think you are comparing them with some intimate parts of the human body.
2.Touching your head in Thailand
In Buddhist countries, heads of human beings are sacred, as the soul lives there, and therefore, touching the head of even a tiny baby means to offend him. One should never refer to something with a finger. For example, in Malaysia it is considered to be very improper, and in the Philippines, local residents can allow themselves to point to objects and people only with eyes.
3. Calling Ireland, the British Isles
Each state has its own “taboos”. It is not necessary to discuss the Aborigines in Australia, dowry in India and human rights in China. Irish categorically do not like it when their land is called “one of the British Isles”. By the way, if you are not sure whether you can talk about something in a particular country, it is best to stay on neutral issues – the gastronomy and the beauty of the landscape.
4. Dressing as gauchos in Argentina
Some tourists can not resist the temptation to try on a national costume. However, before you dress like the locals, learn the laws of the country. Thus, for the wearing of batik in Indonesia you will have to pay a fine, and it is really quite improper to try on gaucho in Argentina, and go to the barbecue.
5. Entering the Japanese house in shoes
In Japan and other Eastern countries be prepared to take off your shoes before entering the temple or to any house. In the Land of the Rising Sun you will certainly be offered to replace street shoes with slippers, in which you can walk from front door to the living room. However, before you embark on the mat you will have to part with interchangeable footwear. Therefore, always wear clean socks!
6. Presenting bouquet of 12 carnations in Germany
Bouquet seems a perfect gift; however, one should be careful with them as well, because the flowers, their color and the number may have a hidden meaning. In Germany, Poland and Sweden a carnation is brought for the funeral. In Belgium, Italy, France, Spain and Turkey chrysanthemums are used for this purpose. In France and Austria, red roses mean romantic interest, and in Mexico, Chile yellow roses are a sign of grief and separation. An odd number of colors can bring misfortune in China and Indonesia, and in Germany, Turkey and India, as in Russia, by contrast, there should not be an even number of stems in the bouquet.
7. Confusing the name and the surname of the Chinese
The Chinese write their names and surnames not in the usual order, as it is customary in Europe and America: the name usually follows the surname, and therefore appealing to Lee Wong Chi “Mr. Chi” will sound just as absurd as if you call James Smith “Mr. James”.
8. Presenting alcohol to Muslim
Islam does not allow people to drink alcohol. And even if the Muslims drink, they do not do it publicly. Therefore, to give Muslims a bottle of cognac – means to show him his sin. And if the bottle is enclosed even in a luxury case made of pig skin, it will be an obvious insult, because dogs and pigs in the Islamic countries are considered unclean animals.
9. Drinking between toasts in Georgia and Azerbaijan
In Northern Europe, Russia and the former Soviet Union countries toasts are treated very seriously. In Scandinavia and Germany, when saying “Ska!” Or “Prost!” one needs to look into the eyes of those who lift their glasses. In Russia, foreigners are recommended to drink vodka in one gulp. And in Georgia and Azerbaijan, toasts can be pronounced for hours. However, little sip from the glass between the toasts is considered very impolite.
10. Inserting sticks into rice in Japan
If you have decided to take up hashi – chopsticks intended for food, you are to examine the many rituals associated with it. They should always be kept a little up; they cannot intersect or be used as a pointer. And the worst thing that can be done with hashi is to stick them upright in a bowl with rice. So, in Japan they do so only during the funeral rituals.