I always learn the basic greetings in the local language. I found that locals usually love it when they see me making an attempt to use their language, however poor my pronunciation might be. The first time I visited Paris many years ago I acted like a typical tourist expecting everyone to speak English, mainly because I was very self conscious of my French pronunciations, and not surprisingly I thought people were pretty rude. But when I visited it again last year, I tried to speak French wherever I can, and I found that Parisians are actually very hospitable!
Contributor: Steve Long from thetravelbrief.com