The funny thing about cross-cultural communication is that the familiar suddenly takes on new meaning. Even nonverbal communication may cause cultural misunderstanding as one gesture can have several meanings across a variety of cultures.
Take the American sign for peace, for example. All one need do is hold out one's pointer and middle fingers together in a "V" and the universal sign for solidarity is understood.
But do the same in England and it's another story. Because throwing the deuces in England is a big F.U. to whomever is on the receiving end.
This is why I found my visit to San Pietro at the Vatican City in Italy a bit more entertaining than planned. I'm sorry if I offend any Catholics with the following - it's meant in good humor.
You can't tell by this picture, but dude below is throwing down as we speak. Unfortunately, I run average height and the snapshot is lacking for adequate perspective.
This guy and his lady helpmates are actually quite welcoming. He's sitting forward in his seat as if to show his excitement at your arrival. However, if you're English, his message is entirely different.
Beware if you're a Brit, because this bronze pope is the first to welcome you into San Pietro. "Welcome" is a relative term in this discussion.