Italians are affectionate and passionate people. No doubt about it, you can tell for example by the way they talk (look here). And they're not afraid of some physical contact, I've already mentioned it here. But how are folks from other, less exuberant countries affected? And even more interesting, how do these victims of Italian heartiness react?
With some malicious joy I introduce North Americans to Italians. That's one of the best examples for the vast cultural discrepancy and it's like a classic Charlie Chaplin sketch: so old and predictable, but every single time amusing! As you probably know, Italians kiss each other on the cheek when they meet for the first time and every single time they run into each other afterwards. It's more like a touch of the cheeks than a smack, but still, for our Canadian friends it's a shocker. The feelings you can read off the kiss-attacked person's face usually range between terror, bewilderment and sheer incredultiy. Those who dont get used to it, come up with the most ridiculous schemes to avoid the kissing. And some learn to love the custom (think of guys, all of a sudden introducing themselves to every pretty girl).
Berlusconi vs. Bush