Travel

Do you observe etiquette abroad?

The travel Web site www.vayama.com surveyed U.S. travelers, about half of whom said they have committed social sins in other countries, and about the same number said they simply force their American customs on others, not bothering to find out if you're supposed to let the oldest guy in the room start eating first (Kenya).

Some tips from the site's etiquette section?

Don't be offended by Argentine humor, which can sometimes be insulting, such as poking fun at your appearance, weight or attire.

Don't kiss the hand of an Austrian woman unless you are Austrian.

In Brazil, don't make the “OK” sign with your hand. It's considered a very rude gesture.

Don't give a Chinese person a clock as a gift. Clocks are associated with death and funerals, and a clock as a gift can be seen as a sinister action.

In Egypt, don't use your left hand to eat.

In India, do leave a small amount of food on your plate to show you are satisfied. Eating everything off your plate means you're still hungry. But in Kenya, finish everything on your plate. It's a polite thing to do.

In Thailand, don't talk with your hands or put your hands in your pockets while talking to someone.

In Ghana, don't blow your nose at the dinner table. (Could we adopt that here, please?)

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