About Me

Hi, my name is Randy Hill and I am just one of thousands of people around the world, tired and frustrated with the lack of consideration that is displayed by a growing "demographic" that I call, "the great unwashed and ill-mannered." People who can't seem to get outside their little world long enough to see the stress that they create on the rest of the population.

I've created this blog and online store as an outlet for this pent-up frustration...and also to have a little devious fun while I'm at it!

Have fun and keep it down while you're in here. Thanks.

[When Randy isn't whining about noisy and rude people, he dreams up designs in his studio at Hill Design Studios. A native Texan, Randy resides in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with his wife Dawn and four cats]

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Research Cultural Differences Before You Leave For Your Trip

By Randy | November 29, 2007


teddy bear

British teacher Gillian Gibbons, faces serious charges for allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear Mohammed. What seems like a minor thing to you might end up giving you a world of trouble in another country. It pays to educate yourself before going visiting a foreign country. Here are a few examples, courtesy of Lisa Adams of the Daily Record, of culture differences you might experience the next time you hop a flight to a distant land…


Alcohol is illegal. Instead, as in the rest of the Arab world, you will be constantly offered tea and coffee. You should always accept even if you only take a couple of sips.

It’s also still illegal for women to drive. And public displays of affection between women and men are punishable by flogging.


If you step on someone’s foot here, you’re expected to shake their hand and offer to let them step on your foot in return.


In Scotland it may be polite to smile when you first meet someone. But when it comes to business, many cultures regard meeting someone new as a serious matter.

If your new acquaintance smiles, smile back. If not, keep it straight. You should never pour your own drink. Wait for your cup to be filled. And never make a toast of “Chin-chin.” In Tokyo, it means willie.


People often stand so close that you can feel their breath on your face. If you edge away, they’ll probably try to close the gap. The polite thing is to adjust and accept their alarming proximity. If you move away, they’ll follow in an embarrassing chase around the room.


Many African countries have no words for please and thank you, but this doesn’t reflect an ingrained rudeness. It’s more that such statements are seen as unnecessary between individuals who already have a powerful obligation to provide for each other.


Swearing is unacceptable, certainly in mixed company. Even in tough-talking Russia, a woman would never use an expletive. She is more likely when upset to say ‘Blin’, the equivalent of ‘Sugar’.


Leaving a tip in a restaurant is expected. You may well get shouted at or even chased down the street if you don’t. But in Japan they may do the opposite of the US and chase you down the street if you do leave money on the table.


If you’re invited to dinner at 7pm, that means 7pm.Anything after 7.15pm and you’ll be thought impolite. In Latin America, unless you want to catch your hosts in their curlers, it’s not just fashionable but essential to be unpunctual.


The holy day is Saturday, many people don’t work on Friday and the working week runs from Sunday to Thursday. In Arab countries, the holy day is Friday, most people don’t work on Thursday and the week runs from Saturday to Wednesday. So when an Arab says: “Thank God, it’s Friday”, he means it literally.


Taarof is the display of extreme politeness common in everyday life. A group of men approaching a door will compete to insist the most senior goes through first.


It’s best not to blow your nose in front of others right across the East from China to Malaysia – especially at mealtimes. Spitting is much more acceptable. In China, people happily spit out bones on the tablecloth during meals.


In Arab countries, you will always be offered more food when you’ve emptied your plate. You will be asked to take more two or three times in a ritual known as the uzooma. You should refuse the first time, then the host will insist and you should refuse again. The host will insist again and you should give in. If you really don’t want more, leave something on your plate.


The indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforests believe if you take a photograph of them you are stealing their souls. In other parts of the world, it’s considered rude to photograph strangers. Always ask before taking someone’s picture.

Going Dutch In Beijing, by Mark McCrum, is published by Profile Books. It costs £9.99 and is out now.


CUTTING bread with a knife is regarded as bad manners. It should be torn with the hands. Covering a whole slice of bread with jam and then biting from it is seen as rather gross.


TALK about sex is taboo and dirty jokes a total no-no. If mention is made of the prophet Mohammed, it should be followed by the words “Peace be upon him”. Short skirts and low-cut tops for women are also out of order. It may even attract a whack on the shins from the stick of a passing mullah, backed up by Mutaween (religious police).

Sleeveless tops are borderline and even trousers should be worn under a long blouse that covers the hips.

“If you step on someone’s foot here, you should offer to let them step on your foot”

Topics: Travel Etiquette | No Comments »


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