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John Cleese

How not to embarrass yourself in a foreign country

Some of these local customs may strike outsiders as downright weird. But learning a bit of cultural etiquette, important phrases, and the absolute no-no's of any country you visit can save you not only embarrassment but also time and moneyThe wrong hand gesture can get you in trouble Here in the U.S., you'd never seriously consider flipping the bird to a total stranger, right? (Just roll with this and say "Who me? No, never!") But when traveling abroad it's entirely possible to throw an unintentionally rude gesture at a well-meaning waiter, hotel concierge, or friendly passer-by--if you're not familiar with local customs. Say your waiter in Rio just asked if you enjoyed your steak dinner. Flash him the OK sign (a circle with your thumb and index finger) and--congrats!--you've just insulted him really badly. In the U.K., making a peace sign (or V for victory) with your palm facing inward is the equivalent of the American bird. In Spain, extending your pinkie and index finger from your f...

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