Watch what you do with your hands when visiting another country. What seems like a harmless gesture to you may be taken as a major insult. Here, mostly from Travel Holiday, are some examples:
In Nigeria and Australia, the “thumbs up” sign is akin to giving someone The Finger. In Spain, that upraised thumb can indicate an allegiance to Basque separatists.
The OK sign (making a cirle with the thumb and forefinger) is considered terribly obscene in Uruguay, Spain and Brazil. In Japan, that gesture tells a cashier you want your change in coins.
The “scratchy come-hither sign carries crude undertones in much of South America and Southeast Asia,” writes Travel Holiday. The magazine suggests beckoning a waiter this way: “Stretch out your arm, palm down, and flutter your fingers.”
And a backward display of two fingers (a peace sign or victory sign with the back of the hand facing the recipient) is considered a vulgar gesture in England.
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