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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: ...


50

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 ...


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 ...


17

Great question! As it has been already mentioned in the comments. There is no such thing as a "European" protocol. Look at kissing. In the Netherlands people tend to kiss three times. In Belgium it is one kiss on greeting. In Sweden hugging is the way to go, when meeting people. Kissing is considered more intimate. In France people kiss either 2 or 4 ...


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 ...


13

Yes, it is correct and fine to wipe your hand, face, neck with it, be it with hot or cold towels. You can see that pretty much everywhere in Asia. In Japan, you will be given one at hairdressers to specifically to wipe your face with it. Specially when it's hot and humid outside, a cold towel on your neck is something very nice!


12

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

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 ...


10

The simple answer is no! If you are thinking of the Caspian sea, there may not be any "police" watching you per se, but the people of the North are quite religious, and they police themselves. Bikinis are out of question. If her scarf flies away, they will give you friendly warnings. Don't be scared, they won't harm you, they just will tell you to keep your ...


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 ...


8

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 ...


7

Yes, it is. You can read so on some pages, for example this one: Mongolians greeting one another rarely kiss each other on the cheek. An older person will often grasp the head of a one younger during the greeting and smell their hair or face. This book has a whole section of the meaning of body odors in the Mongolian culture.


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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

Greetings have in fact been studied extensively by anthropologists and even by ethologists. For example, Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt describes many of them in some of his books. Not much practical advice but truly surprising stuff. For example, spitting on the palm of your hand and rubbing it on the other person's face, or turning around and bending forward to ...


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 ...


3

When doing business in Europe (Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Germany, French, Sweden, Denmark) I have always used handshakes. It allows you physical contact without invading their personal space. By making physical contact you give people a signal that you trust them. I have always felt kisses were to much up close, and could be awkward. Meeting with friends is ...


3

I myself from a country that uses a bidet or a bidet spray, and I know what you are talking about. For me, in short term travels where I travel light (which I do every week) I just use a water bottle and make a hole at the top, squeeze it and i got my spray-like cleaning. In long term travels, you can always carry this with you: It is basically a portable ...


3

A few years ago I wrote up a comprehensive guide on going to and getting in onsens for my local website (I love onsens, and have lived in Japan for 8 years). The above answer is correct, however if you'd like more details as well as a start-to-finish getting-in-the-onsen guide, feel free to check out the "Onsen Experience" section at the following link. ...


3

Not offensive, but in Malaysia you use the thumb to point at things (using the index is rude). So, you would be pointing at the ceiling/sky. EDIT: If needed, in Malaysia or Indonesia, use the "ring sign" from divers. I can not guaranty this would be understood in the mountain. EDIT: Of course, if you travel back to ancient Rome, this is an imperial ...



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