When I was the barn manager for the 2010 World Equestrian Games I was given a quick class on do's an don't's for countries and their customs. Most were very normal and really just good manners....but....some were just plain ridiculous.
I was warned and told several times that I was not to address the owners or grooms from the Arab nations. I was only to answer questions and not ask any, look down and do not give eye contact. Also, I was advised not to walk with them but slightly behind them, (the men).
This did not fly for me at all. I had a very tough job and very time sensitive to manage over 700 horses from around the world and make everyone feel welcome and leave with praise for KY and USA. I was polite to everyone and accommodating as I could be to every country.
I kindly explained to the Arab woman sent to me to be apprised of their traditions, that if I was in their country I would do as customs require but this was America and I we will honor our traditions. If I had questions I would ask or if they needed anything they better speak up, and as for the walking part, that wasn't going to happen. As the horses came off the trailers from the airports they were escorted by my staff and we asked every person with the horse to follow to their stalls.
I was approached by a Arab countryman who appeared to be in charge of the horses from Saudi Arabia and he smiled at me with eye contact and said "I like you you already, you have character. We will abide with your countries traditions and thank you for all your hard work".
Sometimes I think all the etiquette written about is all made up or over blown. Just be nice and it works wonders.