A Story About Cultural Taboos – Part Three

Hi Everyone. I have to apologize that I didn’t succeed in writing articles the last two weeks. For a better understanding I wanted to let you know that I was finally accepted for my Master Studies in International Management in Bochum (North Rhine-Westphalia) and I already succeeded in finding a nice apartment there for the next two years. But let’s get back to business with another Story of Cultural Taboos. And again George is the main character. After his travels to Oceania and Africa he collected some experiences in South & Central America this time.

South and Central America

South American Ape in Taronga ZooThis time George was traveling with his wife Laura. The journey started in Argentina and during one evening in a restaurant George slapped the inside of his thighs which was considered obscene by the other guests of the restaurant. Moreover he yawned without covering his mouth because he got tired. And finally he made the mistake to extend the pinky and the index finger while bending his middle and ring finger because he wanted to make the sign for “Rock’n Roll” to a musician and he didn’t know that this gesture means that the musician’s wife is cheating on him.

Laura knew that avoiding an invitation in Bolivia can be offensive and so they went to dinner with a Bolivian family. But there George rested his elbows on the table during the eating instead of the wrists which would have been fine. And unfortunately he was very obscene during a discussion when he put his thumb between the middle and the index finger while raising his fist.

In Costa Rica he made the same mistake and moreover he was excessively drunk in public and not trustworthy for the Costa Rican inhabitants. In Colombia George made the American O.K. sign and placed it over his nose but he wasn’t aware that this means that the person you show it to is a homosexual and this topic is still very controversial in Colombia. Moreover he used his fingers to describe the length of an object which is considered rude. It would have been better if George had extended his right arm and used the left hand to mark the distance.

Bird in South American JungleGeorge dropped a similar brick in Ecuador and Mexico because he showed the height of the people with holding his palm of the hand face down. But this method is only used for animals so it would have been better for him to hold the palm sideways with the thumb up. In Mexico he also made the victory sign and put it on the outside of his nares which is a very obscene gesture there.

In Chile and in Brazil George learned that making a fist and slapping it against the palm of the other hand means “Screw You” so he avoided this gesture. In Nicaragua George visited a business partner and he made several mistakes. After putting his shoes of he even put them on the desk and after avoiding a lot of drinks and meals the business partner threw him out of the room.

In Guyana George was confused and angry because everyone was honking when driving through an intersection or close to pedestrians. Later he learned that it would be rude if you don’t do this. Some days later in Venezuela George wanted to show Laura some people on the other side of the road but he pointed with his index finger towards them which is very rude. Instead, he should have used his whole hand.

South America CondorDuring his time in Paraguay George visited a sport competition and wished some participants good luck by crossing the middle and the index finger. Unfortunately he didn’t know about the fact that this is an obscene sign in this country. His final destination in this journey was Uruguay. He and Laura wanted to have a nice last evening in a good restaurant. But George had several problems afterwards. He was rude by burping and farting in public which was a consequence of the unfamiliar spices in the meal. Moreover he behaved rude by using a toothpick in public and even worse by spitting something on the street.

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