Page:A short guide to Syria (1943).djvu/21

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Start eating only after your host has begun.

Eat with your right hand—never with your left, even if you are a southpaw.

Always break bread with your fingers—never cut it.

Bread to the Moslems is holy. Don't throw scraps of it about or let it fall on the ground.

Leave some food in the bowl—what you leave goes to the women and children.

Eat only part of the first course—there may be four or five more coming.

Don't give Moslems food containing pork, bacon or lard, or cooked in pork products.

Don't eat pork or pork products in front of Moslems. Be pleasant if Moslems refuse to eat meat which you offer. They may consider it religiously unclean.

Don't give Moslems alcoholic drinks.

Drink liquor somewhere else—never in the presence of Moslems.

Knock before entering a house. If a woman answers, wait until she has had time to retire.

Follow the rule of your host. If he takes off his shoes on entering the house, do the same.

If you are required to sit on the floor in a Syrian house or tent, cross your legs while doing so.

When visiting, don't overstay your welcome. The third glass of tea or coffee is the signal to leave unless you are quartered there.

Don't bring a dog into the house.

Be kind to beggars. They are mostly honest unfortunates. Give them some small change occasionally.

When you see grown men walking hand in hand, ignore it. They are not "queer."

Be kind and considerate to servants. The Syrians are a very democratic people.

Avoid any expression of race prejudice.

Talk Arabic if you can to the people. No matter how badly you do it, they like it.

Shake hands on meeting and leaving.

On meeting a Syrian, be sure to inquire after his health.

If you wish to give someone a present, make it sweets or cigarettes.

If you are stationed in the country, it is a good idea to take sweets and cigarettes with you when you visit a Syrian's house.

Show respect toward all older persons. If serving food, the oldest person should be served first.

Be polite. Good manners are essential among the