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11 Weird Facts About Uruguay You Need To Know

Weird Facts About Uruguay
Montevideo, Pioneer Monument, Prado Park. photo: www.panoramio.com

Uruguay is a South American country.  It is known for its verdant interior and beach-lined coast.  Montevideo, the capital, is said to revolve around the independence plaza or plaza independencia.  The capital was once home to a Spanish citadel.

However, there are number of other facts about Uruguay which you would find weird.  And yet, these are not generally known. So you would do well to read them before you go a-visiting!  For example, why must you not back away from someone who moves close to chat you up?  What can you expect a woman to do but which a man is forbidden to attempt?  How do they "point" at someone and why?  How do they view picking teeth in public and belching?

The answers to all these and much more are in the following 11 weird facts about Uruguay. Enjoy!

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Capital:                         Montevideo

President:                     Tabare Vasquez

Government:                 Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic

Population:                   3,427,000 (2016 Estimate)

Currency:                      Uruguayan Peso (UYU)

Language:                     Spanish

Weird Facts About Uruguay

1. General Greeting

Generally, greetings among men who are family member or friends would include a hug and firm slaps on the back.  Between men and women who are family members or friends would also include cheek-kissing and light touching.  At first meetings, it is usually just a firm handshake.

2. Place of Personal Space

Uruguayans love standing close when talking or conversing.  The space is as close as two feet or less.  And they would take offense if you try to back away.  The weird part is that it'd be seen as if you are indicating that they have BO or bad breath.

3. Meaning of Eye-contact

Direct eye contact means a lot to the Uruguayans.  To them direct and sustained eye contact signifies the following:

  • That you are sincere and respectful
  • That you are listening to and are interested in the person talking.

4. Public Services Vs Individuals in Punctuality

In the country, trains, buses, and planes schedules are usually on time.  However when it comes to personal and individual punctuality, Uruguayans tend to be very relaxed.  They would be late for meeting, social functions, etc, by at least 30 minutes to one hour!  Weird!!!

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5. Never Hit a Woman

In Uruguay, it is absolutely unacceptable to hit a woman.  However, this is not a case of what is good for the goose is good for the gander.  The absolutely weird aspect is that a woman can slap a man on the face if she has cause to!  This is especially so if he cheats on her.

6. Never Point at Someone

It is generally viewed as totally impolite, even rude to point directly at someone.  And people would actually take offence unless they know you are a foreigner and do not know the tradition.  What is done is to move your head slightly in the person's direction.

7. Learn the Chin Flick

Flicking your fingers under your chick when someone is talking to you is what they generally refer to as the chin flick.  If you do it you could mean any of the following:

  • You don't know what the person is saying
  • You don't understand what the person is saying
  • You don't care about what the person is saying

8. "Okay" is "Obscene" in Uruguay

In the United States of America they have a popular sign that means okay.  When in Uruguay, do your utmost to avoid doing the opposite of that sign.  This is because the opposite of that sign is viewed as an obscene gesture.  Weird, or what?!

9. Never Pick Teeth in Public

After eating, if you have anything stuck in your teeth, the best thing to do is go a rest room or any such private place and use a floss or toothpick.  Try your utmost to avoid tooth-picking in public.  It is considered as a rude act.  Wow!  Talk about weird!

10. Never Spit in Public

In case you perceive a bad odour in public, too bad.  You must do your utmost not to allow spit collect in your mouth.  This weird fact is, if you must spit, you have to get to a private/hidden place.  They find it disgusting.  It is even more disgusting when a woman does it.

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11. Never Belch in Public

If you know any meal or drink that makes you belch too much, it is best to avoid it while in Uruguay.  The reason is simple.  You are not only forbidden to burp at a meal, you are also not to burp at all in public.  Same, of course, goes for farting.  Some weird fact!

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