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53

Yes, it's true. In general, Russians never smile without a reason. No, you will not insult anybody in Russia if you smile. But, in some cases it can be assessed as rude or strange. For example, if you smile at a stranger he or she might think "Why is this guy looking at me and smiling? Do I look stupid?" Smiling when you say "Hello" is OK. In addition: ...


51

In defense of @MikkaRin's answer, I offer a contrast of cultural norms regarding emotional expression in Russia versus USA. This may not clearly represent differences between Russian and global norms (to whatever extent these exist), but hopefully it'll help. In psychological literature concerning culture and affect, opposite norms have been described: to ...


27

What people usually do is putting on their boxers/underwear in the shower cubicle then come out and put on the rest. Some people do what Burhan described in the other answer as well.


26

Whilst Google has a few references on the topic (most of which date back a couple years ago), some of which do mention some sort of implicit association between white trousers and being gay, I think this belief is no more than a metropolitan legend. I lived in London for a long time, I have several gay friends, and I have never heard them mention this, as ...


25

You can probably use Wikipedia to determine the exact implications of the gesture. From the information: In Afghanistan, Iran and parts of Italy, the gesture is regarded as an obscene insult equivalent to what the middle finger signifies in most of Europe, especially when combined with a sweep of the arms. In these places, it roughly means "Sit on my ...


20

Wrap a towel around your waist (or use a dressing gown/shower gown and face the locker) and then change your trunks/shorts.


16

This is actually conditional. In your particular case it will not be strange or insulting though as MikkaRin pointed out they may think "What is this guy so happy about?". Reason that it won't be for you is that you are an obvious foreigner in that country and you will be looked on as such and there is certain leeway that is allowed. In Russia there is a ...


12

You could just as well turn the question around: What's the rationale for bothering with several sets of knifes and forks? Minutes traces of food surely aren't a big problem and it does involve quite a lot of work, not only for cleaning but also for the service staff. One way or the other, such things are necessarily customary and this only strikes you as ...


12

It's definitely not a French custom. Whilst cutlery has its own chapter in the dining etiquette, several restaurants do not replace used cutlery between dishes. Indeed, I have had this happen in various restaurants around the globe. The common denominator across all these establishment was their affordability. Keeping the same set of cutlery for more than a ...


11

It has three forms, the short one: Salam Which means "peace", this is usually used between friends or when entering a shop or with people you usually meet. Second form is the medium form: As-salamu alaykum The medium one means "peace be upon you". It has no religious meaning or whatsoever as it stands this way even though it was first used by ...


11

I think that is just for aesthetical reasons. There are stores in Dubai that do sell round doughnuts, such as Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme or other stores, the only reference to square doughnuts in Dubai that I could find was the ones at Starbucks. Also on the other hand there are square doughnuts for instance in the US, without any mention to it be for ...


11

Skirts specifically are not required, but modest dress certainly is, mostly in religious sites: churches like St. Peter's in the Vatican, major temples in Thailand and India, mosques pretty much anywhere if they're even open to visitors, etc. From the Vatican's official site: Access to Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens and Saint Peter's ...


11

There are no standard signifiers of 'being gay' in London. There are many subtle cues that people may or may not provide you with if they want you to realise they are gay. London is a very modern metropolis and even making the assumption that a man wearing eye shadow (for example) is gay might be completely wrong. The reason you looked around and found ...


10

Your first point is almost universally true. Whilst there are a few onsen that allow swimming suits and the like, the vast majority do not. The only one I've experienced was in Kagoshima, and this was because it was a small but famous onsen; too small to segregate men and women and so Japanese yukata were permitted. As for your second point, yes, you ...


10

The law's genesis seems to be to keep the military identifiably military and everyone else civilian. As reported by Theresa Gordon of the Antigua Daily Observer, on July 23, 2013: Anyone caught wearing or selling military-type camouflage clothing will be arrested. The get-tough stance was announced by Staff Judge Advocate of the Antigua & ...


9

I think that is very subjective as it is up to everyone to choose their style. Living on the Côte d'Azur, when I go to the beach, usually it is the older people that wear speedo-style swimwear, most of the young people wear shorts. The population is mixed so there are several people wearing speedo-style swimwear. But honestly, I don't think people care and ...


9

This a plausible stereotype with obvious origins, but one that has absolutely zero documented evidence as being employed as semiotic sign by homosexual community (now, absence of proof != proof of absence. So don't read this answer as a definitive "no"). This is a somewhat lost-in-translation urban slang thing. The term "White pants" has a well known ...


8

May be one of those random urban legends that goes around. For the easiest evidence, James Bond - the quintessential British heterosexual hero - wears white trousers on multiple occasions, including in Quantum of Solace. Telling someone to look around for something and then based on not seeing it, is an example of a logical fallacy. For example, Ben is a ...


7

I told a friend after I returned from Russia that Russian smiles are made of gold - they don't let go of one without a good reason. But when I was introduced to a new person, they would often smile as they said здравствуйте. When I bought half a dozen books on Russian for Foreigners, the cashier smiled as she asked "Are you learning Russian?" If a Russian ...


7

In addition to codinghands's great answer I would like to add a few pointers: Make sure the onsen provides a large and small towel for visitors or bring your own While you can't wear any clothing in the bath, you can cover up with a small towel When in Rome, do as the Romans Towels Depending on the onsen, towels (a smaller washcloth, and a larger towel ...


7

Yep, a good friend of mine lives in Ghana. He says that, when out and about on particularly hot days, he meets Ghanaians who have neglected to put on clothes before leaving the house.


7

It is surely acceptable to ask staff. However, I know from experience that it is not uncommon in Atlanta that a member of the airline staff will be waiting at the gate asking everyone if they have connecting flights. This is the right person to ask. If I recall correctly, I also got a ticket there for the immigration fast lane. Should there be a line at ...


6

There are similar answers, but mine is more about Asian sights. If you are visiting Buddhist places, temples do not really force male or female to wear specific clothing, but too revealing cloths are frowned upon by locals. If you plan to visit a Buddhist place, try not to wear shorts, bikini, etc. Anything that covers until your knees and covers shoulders ...


5

Wikipedia provides the answer for you: As-salamu alaykum (السلام عليكم) is an Arabic greeting often used by Muslims around the world and is widely used in the Muslim world even by non-Muslims. It nearly translates to "peace be upon you", but is often considered the equivalent to "hello", "hi" or "good day" in English. The standard response to the ...


5

I am from Russia, Yekaterinburg (it's almost Siberia you know). I tend to believe that people are not very friendly here mostly because of bad weather. Either it's really cold, or it's not, but still there is no sun because of lots of huge clouds. It's very difficult to be in a good mood when you see sun once a week. But when I travel to south regions of ...


5

As @hippietrail said in a comment, I know by experience that Orthodox monasteries require girls and women to wear long skirts to enter the building (I visited some of these monasteries on a school trip). Knowing that before leaving, I brought with me an old skirt and put it on over my jeans just before entering, but the monks had many skirts to be used ...


4

Dominican Republic's currency is the Dominican Peso, DOP. It might be possible that Canadian dollars are accepted, but I suggest to use US dollars (USD), as they are widely accepted. In touristic areas (and resorts), restaurant menus and stores have their prices in USD. You can use either USD or DOP, they will be both accepted most of the time in touristic ...


4

Schorem is a barbershop in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) which allows men and dogs, but is not accessible to women. This is stated on their business hours page. Probably other barbershops exist with the same rule, but their webpages do not state it explicitly. I'm not affiliated with Schorem, just thought it would be a valid answer.


4

Yes, it is true. Smiling or laughing without a reason will make you look like a fool. And no, you will not insult anyone if you smile to a person in the street. But it will make you look strange. And I would not be happy if you start talking to me without a reason. Most of us are not so talkative as in Europe or Asia. But not because we are gloomy.


4

A quite a good resource is imho the standard clock setting in Microsoft Windows installations: image from talkstandards.com As you can see, it's particularly North America, India, the Philippines, Colombia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Australia This is more or less confirmed by Wikipedia that states that in most English-speaking regions, particularly ...



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