Cultural Dissonance

This article from the New
York Times
covers a company whose role
seems to be to help business travelers avoid costly faux pas when traveling
abroad. Reminds the Dowbrigade of the time we politely accepted a gourd
filled with a viscous liquid during a midnight celebration with a Jibaro
tribe in an Amazonian clearing, and found ourselves talking to the trees about 45 minutes later. At which point the Chief told us he was
very happy and honored we had agreed to marry his daughter. Fortunately,
he was just joking (the Jibaro have a piquant sense of humor).

When I was in Shanghai on business, about the only thing to do on
a free night, after having made the required stroll down the Bund by
the river, was to visit
the Shanghai Circus in a vast Communist-style People’s Auditorium. Being
a Westerner, I was able to buy the most expensive $5 seat: right
the aisle,
down front. Suddenly, I was "chosen" by the circus master and
escorted onto the stage. A large board was wheeled out and an acrobat stood
in front
of it. His partner across the stage suddenly threw a knife at him, and
in a lightning moment it thrust into the board just below his elbow. The
burst into thunderous applause. I stopped smiling.

from the New
York Times

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