Deep in the Amazon: A Culture Smart! author’s Peruvian travelogue

A Peruvian Travelogue with Culture Smart! author John Forrest

The indigenous inhabitant’s of Peru’s Amazonian region number over one million today. Made up of 65 different ethnic groups and over a dozen linguistic families, there is great variety to be found in this part of the world.

While development continues throughout Peru, there still remains three areas along the border with Brazil where indigenous groups continue to live in isolation from broader society and the Western world.

One of such area is in Madre de Dios, one of the most ethnically diverse regions in the whole of Amazonia in the southern Peruvian Amazon. Here, small groups of Mashco-Piro are occasionally sighted along the Manu and Las Piedras rivers. Photographic evidence suggests that they still live as they have done traditionally for millennia.

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5 Ways You Can Be a Respectable Guest in Japan

5 Ways You Can Be a Respectable Guest in Japan

  • Punctuality:

In Japan, being punctual is an expression of good manners. Excuses relating to traffic etc. will not save you as everybody has to deal with that – even if you are a first time visitor. Profuse apologies and a humble demeanour are more appropriate.

  • Taboo topics to avoid in conversation:

If you want to win friends, do not start a conversation on the subject of the Yakuza – they are not supposed to ‘exist’ (sorry Giri/Haji fans!). Yakuza are a part of Japan’s historical social structure – highlight trained gangsters famed for their ornate all body tattoos, flashy limos and the missing top of the little fingers. Japanese police simply accept their existence and won’t interfere unless something severe happens. The Yakuza rarely bothers foreign businessmen or tourists.

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Christmas Advent Traditions Around the World

As we move through the month of December, many are celebrating the Advent countdown with the reward of a chocolate every morning. While this relatively recent tradition of daily treats is certainly a wonderful one, the history and culture of the Advent goes far beyond this.

The word Advent means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’ in Latin and refers to the arrival of Jesus at Christmas. Since its origin, various Christian countries have developed their own traditions and celebrations for this time of year:

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Wednesday Wanderlust – 10 Cultural Tips from South Asia

Planning a trip to South Asia or just want to learn more about the region? The following tips and facts will give you an insight into its rich and varied culture for all your travel needs:


1. There is a saying that Bangladeshis maintain ‘Bangladesh’ time, and so you might notice that they display a rather casual attitude toward timekeeping. If you are visiting someone socially, allow plenty of time for this relaxed attitude: they will want to chat before a meal and then relax and chat some more, afterwards.

2. The many festivals and celebrations of Bangladesh have given rise to the expression “baro mashe tero parbon” (thirteen festivals in twelve months). These include Nabanno Utsab (Harvest Festival), Basanta Utsab (Spring Festival) and Pokela Boishakh (Bengali New Year’s Day). This New Year celebration is actually held on April 14th as it follows the Bengali calendar, rather than the Western Gregorian calendar.

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5 cultural tips and facts from South Africa

5 cultural tips and facts from South Africa – winners of 2019 rugby world cup


1 – South Africans go out of their way to make newcomers feel welcome, and this may include being invited to stay in their homes. If you’re invited to stay, there are a few observances that should make your visit comfortable for everyone. Make sure that you keep your room tidy; even if there is a housekeeper, don’t take advantage of it. Offer to help with chores or cooking, even if there is domestic help. Although the original invitation might have been to ‘stay as long as you like,’ be perceptive and gauge how your presence is affecting others. Don’t overstay your welcome.

2 – If you are invited to a South African home for a braai (barbecue) or a formal dinner, arrive on time. Some occasions are ‘BYOB’ (bring your own bottle/booze) or ‘bring and braai’, in which case you’re expected to contribute your share of drinks, meat, salads, or other dishes. South African gatherings are notorious for serving a meal well into the afternoon or evening after normal eating hours.

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5 things you NEED to know about Indian culture.


India is seen world-wide as a large, colourful country steeped in tradition and history. There is more to the people of India than what meets the eye – as such here are 5 things you need to know about Indian culture before your visit!

  • FOOD: Indian food tastes better when eaten by hand. Food should only touch your fingertips, and although people will be polite if you dirty your fingers past the knuckle, they will be disgusted.

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Tipping Etiquette of the Americas – Part 1 – A quick guide to tipping etiquette in North America

Tipping culture is a worldwide matter – anywhere you go the etiquette for tipping will vary from place to place. It is often required by both locals and tourists/visitors alike to tip an appropriate amount to those working in the service industries. If you are travelling to North America, here is a quick guide on how to tip accordingly:

USA & Canada

Visitors should be aware that many workers in service industries receive the minimum wage and rely on tips to make a decent income. The expected amount varies, but is more in touristy area, larger cities, and better-class hotels, restaurants, or hair salons. In both USA and Canada, allow a $1 a bag for bellhops and airport porters (more if you’re toting a trunk full of college books or an unwieldly ski bag).


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