June 23, 2007

What we need to know about international travel

Today's snail post brought a  colorful message from our good friends at DHL. Personally, I use Fed Ex and I suspect that DHL just may be trying to lure my business to them. The message informed me that I can get a free, 400 page book called 1,000 Smart Travel Tips. All I have to do is to fill out and return a short survey.

Since 5 of the 1,000 travel tips were included in this mailing (as teasers, I suppose), I'll share them with you, just in case you happen to be traveling in the UK, China, Mexico, Canada, or Germany in the near future.

Tip #22  In Canada, it's considered bad form to talk with your hands in your pockets.

Tip # 121  In Mexico, it's common practice  to use the "psst-psst" sound to catch someone's attention.

Tip # 211  In the UK, to signal that something is confidential, tap your nose.

Tip # 278  In China, point with an open hand, not an index finger.

Tip # 341  In Germany, flowers are given in odd numbers (even numbers are considered bad luck).

I don't know about the other 995 travel tips in this book, but based on these teasers, it doesn't look like speaking the language plays much of a role. But at least I know not to order a dozen roses in Berlin, or talk with my hands in my pockets in Vancouver, or try to get a Guadalajaran waiter's attention without saying "psst-psst," or fail to tap my nose when I pass along gossip in Manchester. And I'll never, never point at the Great Wall of China with my index finger.

All that  remains unclear is whether the 400-page book says anything about speaking the local languages. All we can do is hope.

[Update] Andrew Clegg writes about Tip #278: "Someone should tell Optimus Prime." see here

Posted by Roger Shuy at June 23, 2007 08:10 PM