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What’s Offensive In Your Country That Tourists Might Not Know


#1


In France hearing "praying for you" after hearing about someone having trouble is pretty much like hearing "I won't move a finger to help you in any way but it would be rude to say it like that". We mostly are not very religious people (clergy were seen as the accomplices of tyranny during the revolution and kept this image afterwards) and most people think that praying is a convenient way to not be helpful while pretending you do something.
#2


U.S.:

Dear Asian and a very small selection of European tourist,

Do not approach me and ask if you can touch my hair, and, No, you can not take a picture of you and your friends touching my hair.

What the hell is the matter with you?

Thanks,
A black guy
#3


Do not call Scots English unless you want to be stabbed.
#4


Canada here. It's not offensive... but very annoying when people raise a fuss about not being able to pay in US currency.... or if stores do accept it they accept it at par. Stores are not banks, and you are in another country. You have no idea how often I had to deal with this working at a gas station near a camp ground like 200 miles north of the border.


#5


U.K. Don't try to antoganize the Queens guards, they're not decoration they're serving soldiers. Have a good gawp but leave them be.
#6


Mexico here: We get this a lot with spring breakers, more people in Mexico speak english than most tourists realize. When you go on your Fox News/ CNN spiel on the state of affairs in our country, make comments or jokes about the narcos, getting kidnapped, mugged etc. or poke fun at Mexican stereotypes, more people than you think can understand you, and it makes you look like an a*s.
#7


Swedes have a HUGE sphere of personal space. If you're American, and you're talking to me, you are standing WAY too close to me. Shields up.
#8


In Canada, please take your shoes off before entering someones home.

#9


A Hongkonger here.
Many of us really hate people treating Hong Kong as China, some of us even loath being addressed as a Chinese.
Though Hong Kong is being ruled (in some eyes, colonized) by China, we have different lifestyle, local culture, language, political and law system than China.

And for the foreigners who speak or are learning Mandarin/Putonghua, though we appreciate the effort you try to speak in one of the spoken Chinese languages, Cantonese is the mother tongue of most of us. Though many of us understand Mandarin, I'd say you better off speak in English instead.

*Edit: firstly thanks for all the upvotes. Just want to clarify a bit, we, most of us to be precise, do not reject being a "Chinese" in cultural sense, and I personally am proud to be a "Chinese" BUT "Chinese" here has nothing to do with the nation "People's Republic of China".

#10


At a pub in the UK there is a precise queue. It might not look like it but the barman or lady knows exactly what order to serve people in, based upon when they arrived at the bar. You will not be served quicker by trying to catch their attention or fluttering money, that will actually move you to the back of the unknown queue.

However, they may serve a local before you. That is their prerogative and you should not kick up a fuss. Maybe old Derek has seen some s**t or maybe he once saved the bar from robbery. Either way, it's their choice.

N.B. this rule does not apply so much in bars and certainly not in clubs where the traditional 'girls with cleavage' amendment applies.
#11


In France:
Talking about your god or religion without being invited to... Because a lot of people are angry atheists and it can go loud very quickly.

They don't care if you just ask innocent questions by curiosity, but people don't want to hear others talking about their religious beliefs like they are the truth.
#12


USA here. Couple things:

Unless you are at a flea market, garage sale,car dealership, or coupon matching, we don't haggle with prices. What you see is what you get. Indians and certain middle eastern countries don't get this and will try and haggle over a purse in Target. It makes the sales associate uncomfortable and no, the manager cannot haggle either.

South Koreans: while we respect our grandparents, they cannot elbow their way to the front of the line, insult our youth, or demand our seat on the bus or in a restaurant. Please tell your grandparents that it is not acceptable to be a bully even in old age.

Edit: Yes, we americans respect and love our elderly. I'm talking about the high strung gangs of old Korean people who demand special treatment while treating others like s**t.

#13


Saying F**k. Serously I've had a Japanese student staying with us say "That's f*****g weird." in public loudly. In Japanese there is no equivalent to the word f**k, so many people just take it to mean an extremely intense version of "very". For example my brother when he was in Japan saw a banner outside a shopping center that read "F*****G HUGE SALE!" because they wanted to express that they were having a "VERY HUGE SALE!" The fact that it's trendy to speak English in Japan mixed with people not always understanding what they're saying can lead to... interesting results.
#14


The V for Victory (or 2) sign where the palm is facing towards you, so the back of the hand is facing everyone else. That's pretty offensive in Britain...
#15


Canadian here, don't feed the wild animals. No matter how cute that seal looks, don't feed it because you're changing its natural behaviour and that can mean an untimely death. Also, that moose calf is ugly/cute but it's mom will stomp your head in if you get too close. If you see a bear, stay far away from it. If you're hiking please stay on the trail, and for the love of god if you go into the woods please be prepared to spend the night because you stand a good chance of dying if you get lost.

#16


The Netherlands, lots of tourists think we can smoke weed everywhere we want. This is not the case, you can only smoke it in the coffee shops or at home. So don't smoke on the street.
#17


Hungary: please try to start the conversation other than the Hungary/hungry joke. Every English-speaking Hungarian has heard it a million times. It's not offensive, we're just really tired of it.
#18


Ireland; if you're in a pub/at a bar DO NOT order a 'Black and Tan' or an 'Irish Car Bomb'.

The former was the common name for the Royal Irish Constabulary Special Reserve during the Irish war of independence. They're infamous for their violent and extreme treatment towards the Irish people. Order a 'half and half' instead.

The latter is because we don't want to be associated with terrorists and people tend to make a mess drinking them.

There are a few places where it is okay to order these but they're more of an exception rather than the rule.
#19


GERMANY: There are some parts of the autobahn with no speedlimit. But mostly there is a speedlimit on the German highways.


#20


I'm going to go against the other Aussie in this thread and say *don't call people c***s*. It's still an offensive word here, maybe not so much as in other countries but it definitely is. I could count the number of times I've used it on one hand (ok, maybe two).
#21


Brazil here;

The "OK" thing americans do with their hands means ~~'f**k you'~~ 'Shove it up your a*s'. So don't do it.

Ronald Reagan committed the same mistake.
#22


Here in the United States, it's extremely offensive to play music on your f*****g cell phone without headphones.
#23


My family is middle eastern, but I see this as a on trait in Mediterranean people in general as well.

Eat the food we offer you. All of it. Eat the seconds the matriarch of the house is putting on your plate. Eat the fruit they give you, drink the tea, eat more. Eat it all.

If you refuse more food, the matriarch will assume you are lying and either hate the food, or lying because you're shy. And if you annoy the matriarch of the household, everyone In the family is obligated to take her side, even if they don't really give a s**t.

So if you are ever visiting an Arab (or Italian, or Greek) family, be as hungry as possible.
#24


Thailand, Don't touch people on their heads, it is the highest point of the body so therefore it's the most respectful part.
Also never point your feet at a Buddha statue, it's considered very rude.

Also, if you step on money, you'll be thrown in jail, it has the king's face on it and disrespecting him in anyway (like stepping on his image or saying you hate him) will get you a 1 way ticket to a not very nice prison.
#25


Canadian here. Calling the Inuit, Inuvialuit (or any of the other far north aboriginal nations) Eskimos is seen as really ignorant and offensive if not downright racist. It means "eater of raw meat" and was a name given to them by non-Inuit people.
EDIT: This applies mainly to the inhabitants of Nunavut/NWT. (TIL!) Okay, "extremely offensive" might be an overstatement, "Ignorant and politically incorrect" is probably closer to the mark. Also, inaccurate terminology (thanks u/anarchybabe101!)
#26


America is a very diverse country, with a diverse culture and people's political mindset. I would really warn people not from America from just launching into politics and our problems as a country as a open discussion, especially if you don't know the person. Sure some Americans might love to talk about it, but for many including me it's just not polite conversation to talk about Trump, Clinton, Guns, and what the Beeb said about the latest school shooing when you first meet someone. Many (not all!) of us know our country has flaws, and we really do know that we aren't perfect, but it's quite rude to point this out without provocation and with lots of pontification of your home country. Sure there are exceptions to this, and yes some love to talk politics, but I think a silent majority in America really doesn't care about it, and having an outsider bring it up can come off as rude and negative towards them. Trust me, I have been outside my own country for many years, and I don't think you can get a big picture of what America is by reading sensationalist news items about our culture or what you might think is a lack thereof. Sometimes it's laughably absurd, but sometimes it's just plain offensive.

A special note that maybe in your country you love talking politics, and think it's important to have this conversation, but for many (not all!) Americans you'll come off as boastful and rude. Also we don't have the sense of sarcasm and irony you might have in your own country.
#27


Romania: do not give someone an even number of flowers. That's reserved for funerals.
#28


When I lived in the Middle East showing the bottom of your feet (like when your legs are crossed) was offensive, saw expats do it all the time though
#29


Well, in Turkey my suggestion is that tourists should avoid hand gestures. Especially the one about stealing somebody's nose (like kids), the very same gesture means something like "f**k off" and people will not understand or try to listen your explanation. Also, asking if we are Arabs or riding camels etc. will offend a lot of people and not the best way to comunicate if you require some sort help or advice from them.
#30


Dutch here: Taking the last cookie/snack from the plate.

So imagine this. You are at a typical [dutch birthday party] and you are sitting on your spot where you will SPENT THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (or evening) and the host has brought a bowl or plate full of delicious snacks. Go ahead and eat away, because that's the only way we enjoy the party. But beware... if there's only one snack left, god forbid anyone takes it. Because that would be impolite for the potential other person that would like to have it. There's a word for it, but it escapes me **-edit-** Apparently it's actually pretty common in most places.... who knew
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