204

I live in a very corrupt country - Ukraine. (Not that corrupt any more. See update below.) Let me give you some advice. Try to avoid looking like a stranger. Try to look like the locals. That is often difficult, I know. This is the only advice I can give on how to avoid corrupt police. They often search for strangers just to get some money from them, ...


152

According to Fodor's Guide to Vietnam, 4th Edition, published 2016, under Introduction to Ho Chi Minh City on page 38: Still called Saigon by most residents, According to National Geographic Vietnam, 3rd Edition, published 2014, under To Say or Not to Say on page 197: ... The river still remains Saigon. Buses still flash "Saigon" as their destination. ...


124

As a white, Christian, American person I can definitely say that nobody would (perhaps should) be offended by your dietary restrictions. I have a number of friends who are vegetarians for no reason other than they decided they wanted to be. In my opinion, that is far less sacrosanct than religious reasons, and I have always made sure to accommodate them when ...


122

Do you have some kind of roti or some kind of flat bread that can go with the rice? People may be less edgy if they think of it as eating taco or burritos by hand. It might come down to whom you're eating with. Westerners do eat BBQ ribs, fries, hamburgers with hands as well. Even those that do not might not be appalled if you use your fingers in a ...


103

It'd be like going to a comedy show and telling the comedian off for making jokes at the audience. If it's expected and part of the 'show' or experience, it's what he does for a living, enjoys doing and to be told not to do it - well it'd be considered wrong. I'd hope you wouldn't tell the waitress not to ask about your day (she's being friendly as part ...


103

A cabin crew member here, and I am from a country where people do not clap after landings and I was very surprised when I experienced this for the first time, so I started asking passengers when this happens on different flights. Basically there are three main reasons: A sign of appreciation: the smoother the flight/landing, the stronger the clapping. You ...


102

Simple You don't buy it Let's just analyse this for a bit shall we? You're not paying for the ice cream, you're paying for the experience. If you like ice cream but don't like entertainment or 'street entertainment' to be specific, buy your ice cream from somewhere that doesn't do that... Do not try and get the ice cream vendor to not 'do his show' for you....


98

Yes, according to US CBP officers, you should declare it as food. I bring chocolate every time I fly from Europe. Generally what happens next is they ask what exactly you are bringing, you say "chocolate" and they let you go. As a general rule, if you are not sure whether something needs to be declared or not, declare it. There are no penalties for ...


94

Bidet Who Are You? The bidet is a sanitary installation which looks like a shallow toilet bowl with water taps. The purpose of the bidet is to clean up after you've done what you came to do in the toilet. The rationale here is that sometimes toilet paper isn't enough and you can't always shower after you went to the toilet. Enters: the bidet. I feel like I ...


87

I'm Portuguese and every bathroom has a bidet. Only the really small ones don't. It is something I find in European countries with Latin roots (specially Portugal, Spain, France and Italy). From personal experience and of others, it is not commonly used, although useful on those few times. The main uses are to clean: Your feet: Sometimes you come home ...


87

Yes, it would be, if not "rude", then at least kind of awkward. Malaga, Barcelona and Madrid are all heavily touristed areas and most restaurant staff are very used to dealing with tourists who do not speak Spanish. You also don't really need any spoken language to convey "table for one" (hold up a finger), "I'll have what he's having" (point at ...


80

Most locals just call it the City, when it's clear from context that you are talking about the local area. You could say: "I'm staying at a nice hotel in the City". This will be understood to mean "within the San Francisco city limits." (Incidentally, this is a smaller region than most outsiders might guess). In writing, capitalization is optional. ...


76

Take name cards with two hands when given to you, give them with two hands. Look at the received card, put it in front of you on the table while you are talking to the person(s). You CAN punch with one chopstick into food and hold it with the other if it's something hard to eat (dumplings, potatoes etc). Don't stick both in however. Do not soak your sushi ...


71

A bed runner is a small, long piece of decorated cloth used to enhance the appearance of an otherwise plain bed. While some prefer the look solely for aesthetic reasons and would choose it even if it were more expensive than traditional decorative bedding, the primary reason to use one in the hospitality industry is to reduce costs while keeping the room ...


71

A bit of open mindness will not kill you, the same open mindness you'd like to receive from other people who you think find your habits disgusting. Follow me: First and foremost, you can eat the way you want: when it comes to western culture, the only thing we generally do not like are noises, eating with the mouth wide open (included speaking with full ...


68

First, in problematic places I would try to avoid interacting with the police as much as possible. Another strategy is patience. Usually, corrupt police are just trying to make quick money off an easy victim. Tourists are an obvious target because they tend to have more money and are more likely to be unfamiliar with the local language and customs. If you ...


67

Not rude here in the UK, or anywhere in the western world so far as I'm aware. It is polite, though, to tell your host at an early enough opportunity that they haven't already bought the ingredients and cooked the meal! Really you don't have to just ask them what's in the meal so much as tell them your dietary requirements - it would be inconsiderate of ...


65

My wife is Vietnamese, and her entire family. I also visited Vietnam with them previously. They all spent most of their life in Vietnam prior to moving to another country. When I inquired (while visiting) they explained the name change, nothing was mentioned about it being offensive. Also while visiting I saw a large number of shops/etc that referenced ...


64

I just found this gr8 (well, not very great) workaround. . Didn't try it yet, but looks like it may work.


63

I live in Prague where the water is equally safe to drink and tastes well, however plenty of people still buy bottled water. The reasons are: Different flavors. Bottled water comes in a variety of tastes and levels of carbonation, which is obviously unavailable from the tap. As suggested by long-time resident @Relaxed, this is part of the German affinity ...


62

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: ...


61

The only logical explaination is that he was simply suggesting you to hurry up, because the pizza was getting cold and you wouldn't taste it in its best moment (when the mozzarella is still hot). Service in Italy is generally great, so what I would think is that he was doing me a favour. Actually there's also the possibility that he was stressing you to ...


58

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 ...


55

Yes, TRUE. A good Canadian friend of mine had a Chicago cubs (u.s. baseball team) tattoo on his right arm. Kind of silly, but apparently any tattoo has yakuza (Japanese mafia) undertones, which makes many Japanese, especially older people, uncomfortable. Attitudes seem to be changing and I even knew a few younger Japanese with tattoos, but the perception ...


55

I was born and grew up in Saigon. Saigon has always been and will forever be Saigon. Don't call it by any other name! A historical allusion to these naming is Leningrad, which, similar to most authoritarian states tendencies, was imposed upon the people through violence, bloodshed, oppression. After almost 70 years, Leningrad (Stalingrad as well) has ...


54

I can't find a definitive link but there are a few reasons, a lot of which were already covered in the comments. One, the style in your picture makes the whole place easier to clean. You can hose down the floors in one go and there are not so many joins between the walls and the floors for gunk to build up. (EDIT: in your picture you can see that the ...


54

Should I put toilet roll in airplane toilets? YES. Airplane toilets are designed to take the toilet paper provided by the airline. The sign is to inform you that nothing other than the provided toilet paper should be put in the toilet, including the paper towels used to dry your hands. Source: Millions of flight miles and articles like 16 Tips on How to ...


51

Tipping in the US is much more common than elsewhere. In much of the US service staff are deliberately paid very low wages and expected to make it up in tips. Remember this when comparing prices in North America and Europe - the price of a restaurant may look low, but you are going to have to pay up to 20-25% extra on it. I can't do better than recommend ...


51

No, in itself it is not rude. You can do it in a rude way, by just ignoring the signals if the other person is not happy about it. Offer the person you talk with the choice. I would start with a Norwegian hello or good morning/day, and next try out which language sits best. One time in Norway I was asked to speak Dutch rather than English (I speak no ...


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