Did You Know....
1. Clocks, handkerchiefs, straw sandals and flowers are all associated with death and funerals in China? You’ll risk damaging a relationship if you present these gifts—for any occasion—to someone in China.
2. When sitting down to a meal in Egypt. By-pass the saltshaker. It’s considered an insult to your host to sprinkle salt on your food. If you have to season your food, it means you find the taste of your meal repulsive.
3. In Venezuela, if you are invited to someone’s home for a meal, it is recommended to arrive 10 to 15 minutes late. Early or on time guests are viewed as being too eager, even greedy.
4. Vicks inhalers are forbidden in Japan. Any medication with the ingredient pseudoephedrine such as Vicks inhalers and Sudafed are banned under Japan’s strict anti-stimulant drug laws.
5. It is illegal to feed the pigeons on the streets of San Francisco. If you are caught you could face a hefty fine.
6. Public displays of affection—kissing, hugging, holding hands—should be avoided when travelling in the United Arab Emirates. Tourists have been arrested and thrown in jail for kissing in public.
7. It’s an offence in Florence, Italy to eat or drink while sitting on church steps or within a church courtyard. The same law applies to eating near public buildings.
8. Smoking laws are more severe in Singapore than they are in North America. Lighting up in public—restaurants, on the street, in a park—will earn a stiff fine. It’s also illegal to chew gum on Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system. Both offences are punishable with a fine.
9. Marijuana is outlawed in Jamaica. Since 1913, the law has stated that the cultivation, use or possession of the substance is illegal. If you are caught with even a small amount of the plant, you can face a lengthy prison sentence.
10. In Maldives, public observance of any religion other than Islam is prohibited, and it’s an offence to import bibles into the country. Play it safe and don’t pack your bible on your trip.
11. In Kazakhstan, taking pictures in and around airports is illegal, and taking pictures of military and official buildings is frowned upon.
12. Children in Greece don’t expect the Tooth Fairy to leave them money in exchange for a lost tooth. Instead, kids toss their discarded baby teeth on the roof of their home. This custom is meant to bring good luck and a healthy new tooth.
13. In South Korea scrawling a person’s name in red ink traditionally signifies that the person is deceased—an important point to remember when giving a birthday card.
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