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7 Travel No-No’s to Avoid At All Costs



Around most of the U.S. Spring break is just getting started and this means one thing… Lots of traveling.  Traveling is a fantastic way to get away from home for a short while and shed the stress of everyday life.

One of the greatest pleasures of traveling is stepping out of your comfort zone and allowing yourself to be exposed to a whole new world of customs and cultures that are very different from your own. But this can lead to some unexpected problems. Gestures and customs that we may consider harmless at home can land you in hot water in another country.

Here are seven common cultural faux pas that are best avoided:

Not everyone loves the camera as much as you

While everyone wants to capture that perfect travel snap of their holiday, taking photographs of local people without permission is not only rude and intrusive but can cause great offense. In some African countries, such as in rural Ghana, people in fact believe that by photographing them you are stealing their soul. Always ask permission first and respect people's wishes if they don't want to be photographed.

Hands off the head

In Thailand and other Buddhist countries it is extremely insulting to touch someone's head without asking permission — even a small child. As the highest point on the body,( closest to the heavens) the head is also considered the holiest part of the body. If you do accidentally touch someone's head, apologies immediately.

Sticking your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice

Did you know that there are actual rules when it comes to eating with chopsticks?  If used  “incorrectly” your host could become quite offended? In fact there are many rules that govern the proper use of chopsticks;  such as you should not  cross them over each other, point them at people or rest them on the opposite side of your plate. Whatever you do though, do not stick them upright in a bowl of rice. In Japan it is customary to make  offerings of food to the dead in which the chopsticks are placed upright.

Entering house without taking off your shoes

In many Scandinavian, Eastern European and Asian countries, it is impolite to enter someone's home without first removing your shoes. While leaving your shoes at the door will obviously keep dirt and mud from being tracked into the house and saves wear and tear on the flooring, culturally it's also a way of showing respect. By removing your shoes, you are showing the host that you are  leaving  all your outside concerns outside before entering into the sanctuary of someone's home. A quick scan of the entry way will help you decide the right course of action. If you see a pile of shoes by the entrance, you should remove your own shoes before entry.

Eating with your left hand

Never touch or eat your food with your left hand when traveling in Muslim or Hindu countries. The left hand typically used when cleaning oneself after a trip to the restroom.  So handshaking and eating are always performed with the right hand. You should also avoid gesturing or shaking hands with your left.

Giving the thumbs-up sign

While in many European and English-speaking countries the “thumbs-up” sign means that everything is okay, all is good or you are having a fun time, the same gesture can be construed as highly offensive in other parts of the world. In countries like Iran, Turkey and Brazil, giving the thumbs-up sign is one of the highest insults. It literally means “sit on it” and as such carries the same connotation as the middle finger does in the U.S.

Keep your hanky out of sight

Another no-no — particularly in Asian countries such as China and Japan — is blowing your nose in public. They find it disgusting, especially if you blow your nose at a table, and as such are repelled by the mere sight of a handkerchief. If you have a cold, excuse yourself and find the nearest bathroom.

These are only 7  of the most common cultural faux pas that need to be avoided when traveling.

How many more can you name?

Learn more travel tips with these great articles we have for you, check it out today:

Making a Safe Travel Kit

Traveling Don’ts: Learn From My Mistakes Part 1

Traveling Don’ts: Learn From My Mistakes Part 2

Continue Reading


  1. wizzardous

    March 14, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    In SE Asian countries, do not point your foot at someone else’s head while sitting with your legs crossed. Nor should you expose the sole of your shoe. It is considered an insult to place your arm around another’s shoulder. It is impolite to expose the inside of your mouth while yawning or laughing or picking your teeth; you will see people cover their mouth with one hand while using a toothpick with the other.

    • Beverly

      March 14, 2013 at 6:27 PM

      In Japan it is also impolite to pick your teeth with a toothpick without covering your mouth with the other hand.

    • Cheri

      March 14, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      It is also impolite to wear shoes into the house in Alaska as well. They must be left at the door.

  2. Mike jones

    March 14, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    I enjoy learning and sharing what I know as well.
    In my back yard, I am gardening, and setting snar and cage traps for squirrels and doves as practice in case I ever have to actually need them for a food source.
    I am currently planing a poor mans root cellar as well.
    Water, food storage is high on my priority list.


    Mike Jones

  3. Mike

    March 14, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    I have to agree that blowing one’s nose in public is revolting, almost as bad as carrying around a snot laden rag in your pocket. I once read an article where a guy was sitting across from a Thai man on a train or subway. He extended his leg, toe pointed at the man so he could scratch his ankle. The Thai pulled out a gun & shot him. In other countries people can take these things very seriously.

    • Charlie

      March 14, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      In that case, I’ll have to forego the pleasure of some of those lands. I have a condition known as “gustatory rhinitis” (look it up) that causes my nose to run and for me to sneeze when eating. It doesn’t seem to be an allergy; it happens everywhere and every time, even when snacking at the computer…..

    • LynnB

      March 18, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      That reminds me of the funny tune:


  4. Bill

    March 14, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    I wouldn’t waist my time traveling to any of those third world hell holes. There is enough crap to take care of here to waist my time there. I don’t care about their culture or the people. People from those countries should be expelled from the USA. With their treatment of women and honor killings, their culture is crap.

    • Joe

      March 14, 2013 at 10:50 AM


    • bmamn

      March 14, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      10 4 Bill.

      Funny how we are pressured into accepting everything and everyone but when traveling we are told to accept the status-quo. F’em.

    • Darcie

      March 14, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      That’s so sad that you have no tolerance. So, in return, when they kill Americans in their own countries, that should be OK as the Americans are viewed as crap as well?

      • Bill

        March 14, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        First off, I never said we should kill them in this country, just eject them. Second, they already kill Americans. Third, all cultures are not equal, specially ones that are yet to discover toilet paper. So I guess you can say I have no tolerance. I will be able to sleep fine tonight. Some people are so open minded, their brain falls out.

        • TAK

          March 14, 2013 at 6:37 PM

          Bill, we would be great friends.

    • CaptTurbo

      March 14, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      I agree. Even here at home everything offends the pantie waist liberals … except sucking us working folks dry with taxes.

    • Scott

      March 14, 2013 at 2:28 PM

      have to agree with Bill. most of the lames who don’t are just pretending, never leave the US and don’t have a clue. who cares what offends… I am so tired of everyone attacking the US and at the same time having both hands out like beggars in the street. and hey cathy, why is it people like you always want us to have an open mind, but never try to see our side?

    • TAK

      March 14, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      You said it (wish I had first)! In other words, I agree!

    • kate

      March 16, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Great discussion and I agree with lots of sentiment here. Like the article too! It’s good to know cultural information. There are occasions right here in the US where you don’t want to offend someone just because, so why not? I don’t travel outside the US, partly due to expense and also because I feel much safer at home, don’t trust the medical care or police in other countries. That’s just me.
      I’ve seen people from other countries walk down the street and blow their nose without a hankie. Talk about gross! I think moving to a new land and trying to take it over by having 10 children, and harboring thoughts such as killing your neighbor the infidel is the height of rudeness. Never mind killing your daughter for dating an infidel. In that case, you and I have nothing to talk about and you’re on my turf too bad if I offend you. Please, please go back to the land you came from. Live and let live, the best philosophy, and be friends if you can! But I think we’ve all seen that does not seem possible, and right now, France is being over-run with people who are going to “take over without firing a single shot”. Good luck with that.

    • Loarae

      March 20, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      Just an FYI – Waist: a part of the body halfway between the shoulders and hips. Waste: to allow time to pass in an unproductive manner.

    • Kallie

      May 28, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      Yes you should spend much more time living an uneducated and uncultured life. Ignorance and hatred is fostered by ignorance and hatred. I see that you are not only a terrible speller but a racist, a bigot, and incredibly shallow minded. And since all foreigners should be kicked out of this country I wonder which country would be the proudest to call you citizen? For undoubtedly I think you are not of the indigenous people of this country. And if you were of the People I would not claim you for you have no honor. You are a disgusting, slimy creature who propagates malice and revels in it like a cancer. We all came from somewhere else no matter how long you’ve been here. –Knowledge brings power with the freedom of enlightenment but ignorance is a mighty weapon wielded by others from the shadows to forge fear and fetters.– Always seek to empower yourself not to empower others.

  5. Christine

    March 14, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    In Canada, at least on the Prairies, where I live in Winnipeg, you take off your shoes when going into someone’s house too.

  6. Kevin

    March 14, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    I always read your articles and appreciate the info that you give us.
    Thanks Joe!

    As far as other cultures go… I really like to hear about other people and there cultures. Some are weird and strange to us, but being a relatively new peoples (U.S.A.) we can see where we came from and in some cases where we are going.

    We are not that far from becoming third world ourselves.

    Keep up the good work Joe. I look forward to reading tomorrow… Hopefully!

  7. Phil

    March 14, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    If I’m not mistaken, in some countries the American “OK” sign; the thumb put together with the index finger, three other fingers up, is calling someone an A-Hole. Be very carefull with that one, too!

  8. Rick Carter

    March 14, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    This is a great article, because many Americans too often assume that being “well mannered” is enough. Case in point (me!):

    I was in Tokyo with my wife (who is Japanese) on a train. The door opened and 2 young women got on. The train was nearly empty but did have every seat occupied, so I stood up to offer my seat to them. And my wife nearly tore my arm off, pulling me back down!
    Me: “Why did you do THAT?”
    Wife: “These girls don’t know you. They will think you want them to sit near you, so you can hit on them.”

  9. cathy

    March 14, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Wow Bill, that’s quite an open mind you’ve got there…

  10. Joe

    March 14, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    I have to say that while I have no bias or intent to sway your opinions in either direction when it comes to how you interact with other people,

    I am a bit shocked at some of the responses to the article.

    Stating that another persons culture is “crap” doesn’t sit well with me. Especially considering that America is a melting pot of cultures.

    Essentially the only true Americans are the Native American tribes. So if you truly believe that some one with different beliefs and culture than you should be ejected from this country then maybe you should be the first one to pack a bag and lead the way.

    We Thrive on a mix of cultures, It is that mix that made our country strong, and asking that certain cultures that you consider “unequal” to your own, is asking for the sterilization of variety…

    And by the way, let me know If you have ever read this:

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Again you can Have your opinion and I will have mine.


    • Bill

      March 14, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      To stir the pot some more. My ancestors did not come here to that French statue in New York harbor. They waded through the last few feet of Massachusetts Bay. They were at war with the indians, who by the way came here across a land bridge from Asia. They were here 150 years before the country was born. When it comes to it being acceptable to kill your daughter for dating an infidel, covering them from head to toe with a potato sack or blowing themselves up to kill as many Jews or Americans as possible, I have no use for them.

      • curious

        March 15, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        It would seem that your ancestors and mine may have come here together.Mine came in 1610.And to Joe…In a study of the origins of the ones called the Clovis people,it would appear that the first people did NOT come to this continent by way of a land bridge from Asia,but from Europe by following the ice edge from about southern France to around the Chesapeke Bay.These people were most likely called the Solutrians.Their projectile points and the Clovis points are nearly identical,while projectile points and blades from Siberia are micro-blades.(look it up).

        • Bill

          March 15, 2013 at 7:18 PM

          Were clovis points used in Asia?. I know they were in Europe but how they got here, I dont know. The North American and European points are very similar.

          • curious

            March 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM

            From all that I have read and studied,the Asian preferred method was to use micro-points.This was done by making a groove in a piece of wood,bone,or antler and fixing,or gluing,small fingernail-sized chips of stone to the shaft piece.This is precisely the method that the Aleut and Esquimo cultures used in the near past.The Clovis point dates from 12,500 BCE back.It is believed these are the offshoot of the Solutrian point from Europe.After 12,500 BCE,the artifact record goes blank,probably because of a climactic event called the Younger-Dryess.After around 10,000 BCE the Folsom point began to appear.It is similar to the Clovis point,except that is is generally smaller,with a more rounded tip,and flutes that extended about 75% of its length.Hope this helps.

      • Steve

        March 25, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        Bill, you are such an ignorant man. I am shocked how you call other people’s culture “crap”. If you don’t like someone else’s culture it’s your own business and you are free to dislike it, but you haven’t the right to call it “crap”. Maybe people in other countries don’t like the american culture but that doesn’t give them right to call out culture “crap”. Everyone is free to like or dislike whatever he wants, but we should show respect to others.
        If this is not convincing, take this. I dislike you Bill and I hate the name Bill, but I won’t call you “crap”, unless you are convinced to call everything we hate “crap”. That way you are “crap” Bill 😉 .
        Also, if you think only Americans have the right to live in the US, I will tell you only Native Americans Tribes should stay here. You are a stranger to this land no matter the year or where from your grand parents came. You remain a stranger.
        Have a happy life Mr. “Crap”.
        I will call you by your name once you stop calling other people’s culture “crap”.
        I forget to tell you that other nations don’t give us a damn care and they

  11. Cat

    March 14, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    To Bill, Scott and Joe…..First, Joe: ANYONE who is born in the US, or
    Canada or South America, is a Native American. That term as we have come to use it only for “Indians” is more PC run amok. Their tribes may have
    been here first but originally, maybe 10,000 years ago, they came from Asia; across the Bering Straights.

    To Bill and Scott; If you don’t want to travel to countries with different
    cultures, fine and I can’t exactly balk at the idea of expelling every Muslim from the US. Until I stop and remember that many or even most of the anti terrorist reports to authorities come from the Muslim community.

    As for offending Muslims or any other foreign person in our country: I don’t give a damn, either. In fact I go out of my way to offend Muslims
    in this country, and in Europe. I have a dark blue tee-shirt with a US flag on it that says: ‘Proud to be an American Infidel”. I wear it on planes pretty often. But if I am in one of their countries, I behave as
    their guest and live by their rules and customs. I’ve been in Egypt, Dubai, and Morocco. I have found nothing but friendship and kindness.

    That said….I hate Political Correctness and I refuse to watch what I say or do in the US. If the Muslims don’t like it; no one is keeping them here. I hate that they come here for asylum or whatever reason then
    expect us to do things their way. This is my message to Muslums, Mexicans or any other foreign based national or even naturalized American: “You came here because it’s better here than in the pest hole you came from. It’s better here because we do things OUR WAY. You have
    to fit in with us; not us with you. If you don’t like it, get the hell out!

    • Lori

      March 15, 2013 at 4:46 AM

      Excellent–completely agree!

  12. Gabrielle

    March 14, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Been to Japan twice. Nice people. They saw I had trouble sitting on the floor, hooted at my chopstick use. I would be at a disadvantage in a Muslim country as I’m left handed. Sort of 2nd nature to me. Makes me wonder about the immigrated Muslims who see lefties all over the place using our dominate hand. Does that make me a double infidel in Allah’s eyes. What do USA born Muslims do if they are naturally lefty? But thx for the insight on customs. Remember when Pres. Bush gave the peace sign and it means the same as the raised middle finger. I think I’ll stay here. Lots of stuff I’ve never seen. Natives don’t like how I am I don’t care. I’ll give then a pray & peace sign.

  13. Beverly

    March 14, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    In Japan it is considered impolite to go out in public without wearing a cloth mask, if you have a bacterial or viral illness. I wish we could adopt that act of consideration for others in this country! The only people I see wearing masks in America are those who have a low immune system, like a cancer patient.

  14. Beverly

    March 14, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    My daughter visited in Slovakia and traveled to surrounding countries during her three months there. She told me Americans are the noisiest people she saw when in restaurants and stores. She could be sitting at the next table by a person talking on a cell phone or carrying on a conversation with another person, and could not hear anything he said. In America we seem to think that everyone in the room with us is vastly interested in everything we have to say. That is why going to a crowded restaurant is so annoying and so loud that we have to shout to be heard by those seated at our own table.

  15. richard1941@gmail.com

    March 14, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    I was traveling once, and photographed some natives. I was given a line that I had taken their sould, and that I must pay a fee so they could go to the holy man and hire him to retrieve the souls. I countered with, “You don’t have souls, the tourist who was here yesterday got them!”

    Clearly a desparate scam to separate the yankee from his dollar.

    Most of those supposedly religious people don’t really believe in it at all, but are afraid to speak out because that could mean beheading upon orders of the holy man.

    Take care not to subject natives to such danger by exposing their disbelief.

  16. Maxilyn

    March 14, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Anyone has a right to his beliefs and culture in his home, his place of worship, the enclave where those of his nationality choose to live. When he mingles with the general populace he needs to respect the common curtesies. As my German grandfather said, “We are Americans; we speak English!” When Americans are in another country we should be respectful of their culture if we want our culture equally respected. That means covering elbows and knees when in Isreal, not taking white chrysanthamums as a dinner guest (traditionally sent to funerals) in Arabic nations, or arriving on time in South America. Guests are expected to arrive up to two hours past the time stated.

    If you’re unwilling to be that polite stay here. There’s enough racial, religious, and sexist bigotry in our own country. We don’t need to export it.

  17. shooter111846

    March 15, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    I have traveled to many countries in the far east. I have seen many cultral differences. I tried to be a good guest. I also studied the culture prior to traveling. Unlike in the USA most were intolarant of people not of their culture. An example I was stationed in The Phillipines, prior to going I learned Tagolog to be able to comunicate with the locals in their own language (even though most spoke english).
    I found that many Phillipinos that realized that I understood tagolog would change to the local dialect. I also found that the price of something cost the American 2 to 3 times the local.After my experiences overseas I will never travel to any other country except England or Canada. I find that most legal immigrants will be hard workers,learn english and try to mesh there culture with the US culture. However I find that others (not legal) will resist the cultural meshing. I find that age has a lot to do with the resistance. I believe that any illegal should be deported when found, this includes those born to illegals in the US. I believe that english is our national language and am offended that other languages are used in advertsements and govenment documents. Illegals have broken our laws and should be treated as criminals. An american in any other country who breaks an immigration law will be treated as a criminal. i also am extremely offended by those (mostly Hispanics in the area I live) displaying their country’s flag ABOVE the US flag. When pointed out that it is not proper they become biligerent. Please forgive the poor typing and sentences as I am not an english major or typist.

    • Bill

      March 15, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      When I first read your comment about only going to Canada and England, I was thinking why you were writing off Australia. I always have to be careful with the spelling of that one because spell check changes the country on me. I’m talking OZ, the land down under, kangaroos and shrimp on the barby (no a fan of shrimp myself. more burgers, dogs and steaks for the grill here. With my position on alien cultures, what would you expect) that place…….But then it hit me, I always thought it would be an adventure, but I wont go there either. EVERYTHING is poisonous there…..and it is a long ride.

    • Michael Nottingham

      March 15, 2013 at 9:45 PM

      So you think that the immigrants need to learn the language? As a native shouldn’t you know how to read and write English? You don’t see your comments as hypocritical? Perhaps you should “learn the langauge before you claim your rights as a citizen? Or maybe you could try a little tolerance.

  18. Paul Murphy

    March 15, 2013 at 4:13 AM

    Interesting comments here. As a world traveler I’ve experienced many different people, cultures and customs. Until you get off the couch and travel, see how things are for yourself, not how the mainstream media portray’s things to be, you won’t know enough to make a comment or judge how others are. You see, people are very different, even within there own cultures. They shouldn’t be lump summed together as being this way or that. There’s good and bad on both sides of the ocean. Until people can stop hating each other for their differences the world will be a chaotic place to live. That’s my opinion for what its worth.

  19. David

    March 15, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    In japan you do not leave tips. I was chased down by a waitress who wanted to give me the 100 yen she thought I forgot. In the philipines you do not flex the upraised index finger at someone to indicate that you want them to come to you. This means something very vulgar. You use the whole hand with all your fingers pointed downward in a sweeping motion. In Japan you should present your credit card to the cashier with both hands and a slight head bow for respect. Handing it over with one hand or throwing it on the counter is uncouth or rude. In Arab countries you NEVER comment on a person’s eyes. They are the gateway to the soul. It’s also a good idea to avoid having sex with married women in almost every country. Also, it’s ok to use the word “fag” in England. Thats the slang for cigarette.

    • Bill

      March 15, 2013 at 6:46 PM

      The guy at the desk of the hotel, when asking your wife if she would like a wake up call, may say “would you like me to knock you up?”

  20. Rick_in_VA

    March 15, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Also, it’s ok to use the word “fag” in England. Thats the slang for cigarette. QUOTE.

    It was also used widely in this country in the early 20th century. Up to about mid-century.

  21. Rick

    March 18, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    I had a discussion with a young Jewish friend who was an immigrant from Kiev. He made the point that diversity made America great. I disagreed. I said that assimilation made America great. The Amish in Pennsylvania who speak German are quaint. The French speakers of southern Louisiana are quaint. The Sea Isle people of the Georgia coast are quaint. They make America vibrant and interesting. But they do not make America great.

    My young friend from Kiev then told me this note about himself. When he first arrived in the US he joined an Orthodox congregation and started to dress accordingly. However after sometime in the U.S. he decided that he did not want to be identified by the distinct dress and practices. He adopted U.S. dress and changed synagogues.

    I recognize that for the Jewish community “assimilation” has religiously and racially threatening overtones.

    America is great because vast numbers of people from around the world have come to the United States and joined the “great American main stream”, a.k.a. “the great American Melting Pot.”

    My father was born in New York City in 1902 and lived in a neighborhood called “Hell’s Kitchen.” Both of his parents were born in Germany and spoke German at home. My father went to school with European Jewish neighbors from the same New York ghetto. He learned English in school and on the street but not at home. Speaking English well was very important to him. He insisted that all my siblings and I spoke English correctly. My mother was an Anglo school teacher from Saint Mary’s County in southern Maryland but I never knew her to speak with a ‘southern’ accent. (Saint Mary’s County is so far south that it was under reconstruction after the Civil War.) Her only full sibling had a very debilitating speech defect. Her half brothers and sister spoke with what I call a ‘Maryland watermen’s’ accent. It was almost Elizabethan English. That accent is almost gone now from Southern Maryland and the Maryland “Eastern Shore.”

    I know another young man who was born in Viet Nam. He and his family became boat people because as Catholics and RVN supporters they needed to flee the regime change in 1975. In a camp in Southeast Asia they waited several years to gain access to the US. After coming to the US this young man deliberately chose to not speak to his parents in Vietnamese because as a child he wanted to be an American. He never learned to speak Vietnamese. He understands Vietnamese only with difficulty. It is very important to him that his children speak English correctly. His wife is a very articulate school teacher from central Maryland. Their children speak English very well.

    Two examples of diversity in the USA. Amish Germans living in southern Pennsylvania and throughout America still speak German. They are not however part of the Main Stream of American life. And they tend not to be educated scientifically. “Cajuns” are inhabitants of southern Louisiana and that area. They have a distinct musical and linguistic flavor. Their divergence is slowly diminishing as they exit Bayou Country and enter Main Stream America. Also Bayou Country is slowly disappearing as a natural habitat.

    Do you see a little theme running through here? Diversity is OK and nothing to be ashamed of. But I still insist that assimilation has made and will continue to make America great. It is an engine that allows education, science and commerce to flourish here.

    Oh, did you know that German only missed becoming the official language of the United States by three votes?

    Assimilated in Maryland,

    I may have posted this article elsewhere. This is an edited version.

  22. don

    March 18, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Of course foreigners can come here, crap on our flag and culture and our government will kiss their butts for them.

  23. TpC

    March 20, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    when visiting bangkok I like to do my benny hill impressions – people seem to get very offended for some reason. in Rio I pretend I’m Fonzie – again , similar reactions.
    Then there’s the chopsticks misunderstandings – for some reason people are offended when I use them to point with and poke unattentive waiters.
    But what really bugs me is when the handyman comes clompin gall through my house with his dirty work boots on. So I guess we are all hung up on other’s pet peeves.

  24. Linda

    March 25, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    It is also considered rude to not take your shoes off in Canada. And in Japan, it is rude to walk while eating. While living in Japan I went for icecream with a Japanese friend. I would have happily taken a stroll while eating my icecream cone, but she explained that we must sit down at a nearby park bench because it is rude to walk while eating.

  25. Lauren

    March 25, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    I find the idea of being expected not to use my left hand offensive. I’m left handed what am I supposed to do; struggle to eat and get food all over myself trying to use my right hand? I understand respecting other countries customs, but saying I shouldn’t eat with my left hand is like saying people shouldn’t wear head scarfs etc if they aren’t in their own country. It’s only like that though because being left handed is not a choice. So really it’s like saying don’t be gay in a country that has issues with homosexuality. Really you shouldn’t be furthering the bias by telling people who are left handed that it is one of the ultimate travel no-nos. Approximately 10% of the world is left handed so we’re the largest minority there is and we deserve respect just as much as gays, people with a skin color other than yours, or someone whose religion is different than yours.

    • Ruth

      December 19, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      The taboo against using your left hand for food or social purposes arose to prevent outbreaks of seriously nasty diseases in countries where water for frequent and thorough handwashing is not always available. It only works when everyone does it.

      It is not because you are being discriminated against; the rule may actually save your life if you are there, by preventing transmission to you of a life-threatening disease.

      Putting your left (disease-infested) hand in the food in those countries is not insulting, it’s potentially life-threatening.

  26. Carl

    May 28, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    I am a left-handed male and use the left hand for eating. But for some reason I use the right hand at the potty. So I may have to stay away from those countries where that is considered taboo. My mom said left-handed people are in their right minds, but she was lefthanded also. I eat with a fork or spoon most of the time and cannot use chopsticks. I’m just an old and traditional male, I guess.

  27. Pingback: Survival Gear & Food Storage » SHTF and You’re in Another Country: What Do You Do?

  28. WO1stclss

    December 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    When I was a VERY young whipper snapper…..early 60s my dad was stationed on Okinawa. We made a holiday outing to Hong Kong. I was full aware of the chop stick thing…lol. While in Hong Kong I purchased some barbecued meat from a street vendor. My father caught up to me just as I finished it. He asked me where I got it and I showed him. He got real excited and when we got home we went straight to the base hospital. After numerous tests it was determined that the barbecued rat meat was okay…lol. Boy it tasted good!

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