Getting out of your comfort zone is always a part of traveling. That’s why, despite the joys new countries and exotic places bring us, many people prefer to stay in the comfort of their home and don’t step foot into the unknown.
In order to see what kind of exact differences are waiting for travelers, Bored Panda looked at the various Reddit threads where people shared their biggest culture shocks.
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Like a cold shower, it taught them a lesson that the societal norms they took for granted change depending on the culture and location you disembarked from the plane. Scroll down through the most interesting stories below!
We had this akward conversation with a family in Venezuela who we had invited over for dinner. They just wouldn’t leave! My dad was doing the polite Canadian thing and mentioning that “we were tired”, that “usually we would be in bed by now”, that “it’s been a long night and they probably want to get home”, walking them toward the front door. And then we were stuck just standing there staring at each other. My dad finally just blurts out “Why won’t you leave?! We’re tired and want to go to bed!” And in frusteration they reply “Why won’t you just let us go?!”
Turns out that in Venezuelan culture it’s rude to leave on your own as an invited guest. The polite thing to do is to wait for your host to open the door and guide you out, but in Canadian culture it’s rude to ask your invited company to leave and you wait for them to open the door and go on their own.
Image credits: igrowpeople
Croatia: it’s a standard expectation that you clean the street outside your house as part of cleaning your house (at least in the small towns i was in -not sure about the cities). The cleanest streets I’ve ever seen and a real sense of communal civic pride.
Image credits: Ech1n0idea
I moved to Australia when I was 20 and I thought people were going to be speaking English. I was wrong.
Me, “I’m going to McDonald’s, you want me to get you a breakfast burrito?”
Shane, “Oi Maccas Fair Dinkum mate! Had to ruck up early for the physio and me ute was out of petrol so stopped at the servo and asked the Sheila if they had brekky but noooouaahho just lollies so ive been getting aggro”
None of the sounds that just fell out of your head were words. Do you want a burrito or not?
I was shocked by how friendly most people in the US are. When we’re buying groceries, the cashier would make small talk with us about what we’re buying. I bought KFC and was having trouble with american coins (they’re all the same color ok!) and the nice cashier helped me (there was no one else at the store so he had time). My uncle was raised in the US and knew all his neighbors, he loves riding bikes so he knows everyone around the neighborhood who also rides. I’d walk his dog while I was there and people would just randomly stop and talk to me about the dog.
The friendliness makes my trips to the US very wholesome and nice.
Image credits: anon
In Spain, no chit chat from the waiter. None of that “I’ll be serving you” stuff that we hear in the US. Just “tell me.” My introvert self loved it. I tell you, food arrives, I eat.
Image credits: whatawonderfulword
Barefoot people EVERYWHERE in New Zealand. In Starbucks, in the mall, on public transit, walking down the street. No shoes, no socks, no f**ks to give.
Image credits: skyfelldown
Chile. “Tomorrow” means next week. “Next week” means never. “I’m already there” means “i’m thinking about starting to prepare to go out”.
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For a ten-minutes-early person that was jarring.
Image credits: theartlav
This is hard to admit, but as someone who grew up in the USA I was taught in a thousand ways that this country sets every standard and deserves deference from everyplace else on earth.
It was so ingrained that I didn’t even know it was an assumption … until I was outside the states and it was obvious that the USA is not the center of the universe. People are doing just fine all over the place without, you know, being us. What’s more, the myth we tell ourselves is that everyone in the world would live here if they only could.
No, they wouldn’t. A whole lot of people see us as a collection of fools, greedheads, and bumblers who happen to have been born in a place with a lot of natural resources. Since Trump, of course, the idea that our system of government is magically self-correcting is also under serious question.
Balinese funerals and how they celebrate death. I was sitting on the beach on my first day there and heard a crowd coming, carying food and playing festive music. I thought it was some kind of party or wedding until I realized they were carying a corpse.
Image credits: wel4real
Not necessarily shocked, but dudes holding hands in India. Thought they were gay, turns out it’s a normal custom.
Image credits: UpHereInMy-r-Trees
As someone who has lived in the Philippines for most of his life, I am considered quite chubby or overweight here. When I travelled to the USA a few years ago to study, I was shocked when people over there looked at me and said I was quite fit. Huge culture shock in terms of body image, and an even bigger culture shock at the portions of food in the USA.
Image credits: Valkrie29
The sheer awesomeness of Japanese convenience stores. My local 7-11 has sticky floors and doubtful looking packaged sandwiches. The 7-11s in Japan are clean, well-lit, have a great selection of lunch/dinner prepackaged meals, and not only do they have a cold drink section, they have a special heated unit for hot drinks. When I saw all the technological innovations in Japan, I felt like I came from a third world country.
Indonesia. People just sit next to you in the train/bus. Ask personal questions immediately. Want to know why you don’t have kids, or a husband. And why you’re fat or that you should get a haircut because your hair is ugly.
It felt like Christmas at home, but then for months, from multiple people instead of my mum.
Went to the Philippines.
On the trip from the airport a group of homeless children took control of a bridge and demanded payment for people crossing it. People actually paid too.
Image credits: rmansd619
When I went to Bangladesh with my girlfriend last year we went to the city her father grew up in before he came to the States. I remember at one point we walked past a station and seeing people climbing on the roof of a train due to the crowding, some in business suits, was quite an eye opener. After seeing that I have never complained about riding the subway again
Image credits: anon
Nap-time is everything in Spain. Visited Barcelona a few months ago, and it was my first time in Spain. Couldn’t believe when my friend told me that all the shops and businesses are closed because it’s “siesta time”.
Love my naps and all, but that just drove me crazy.
Edit: every siesta is a fiesta tbh
Image credits: hyperactivepotato
In parts of Ireland in my grandparents time it was considered rude to accept food or beverages from a host the first time it was offered.
The exchange was supposed to go something like:
“will you have a cup of tea?”
“no thank you, I won’t, I won’t trouble you”
“ahh you will sure, go on”
“ahh I will so, if you’re making one for yourself”
When my parents first went to America, they were shocked to find that people didn’t do this, so instead it went:
“would you like a cup of coffee?”
“no thank you, I won’t trouble you”
“wait! I did actually want coffee!”
“then why did you say no??”
One of my grandmothers was like this until she died, would get really snippy with you if you accepted a drink or a biscuit the first time she offered it.
Image credits: bouquineuse644
Go to some countries, like Germany or Britain, and tell the locals that you’re going for a short 2-4 hour drive. Many will look at you like you grew a second head.
Here in Canada, people will do 2 hour drive for groceries. It takes 10 damn hours just get to the next province.
Not being able to flush toilet paper in most of Latin America. Trash bins full of sh**ty toilet paper in +35 weather.
In Thailand a little kid had never seen a white person as pale as i was and he put his little hand on my knee to see if it was real. Culture shock for both of us i guess.
Not me but my dad went to India for business and said there were children missing body parts, eyes missing, across their face begging for money. Driver told him their parents did that to them to make them look more pathetic so people will give them money
Image credits: PsycoBoyFilms
The air pollution in major Chinese cities is so bad that your eyes water the second you step out of the airport. You also undergo a sort of acclimation sickness within the first couple weeks. The other thing about China, is that it’s such an old country, that you have ancient temples and monuments, some 1000s of years old, right next to hyper modern 8 story shopping centers.
Image credits: TripleScoops
I was in Germany a couple years ago with a friend of a friend who was born in the Soviet Union (and who still lives in a former Soviet satellite).
Someone tried to get us to sign a petition. After the guy left, I had to explain the concept of a petition and he said, “Oh. In my country if you want to change the government you just disappear.”
In Jordan, and I’m sure most Arab countries, if you compliment something, it’s considered impolite for the person not to offer it to you. I thought the warnings were an exaggeration until my friend complimented a waiter’s watch and the waiter had it literally unlatched, trying to push it into my friend’s hands. Four is the appropriate amount of times to say no, and if you actually do want it, it’s rude to say yes after fewer than three.
Image credits: anon
Visiting China and seeing how aggressive/pushy people are. Makes sense, there are 1+ billion people, if you are polite and wait your turn you’ll be left behind. So everybody is pushy, cuts in line, shoving you out of the way, etc. Of course I just had come from Japan where it’s the total opposite….
Image credits: cassiebt
My parents are Chinese but I grew up in Europe, therefore I’m considered a banana.
Some years ago, i was visiting my family in China. We were in a very rural area with lots of small cottages. We saw a family eating dinner and my grandma asked them if we could join so we paid a few bucks and ate a meal with a random family. Not really a shock but It felt really weird.
Image credits: Penguinswithpants
I went to The Netherlands as an LDS (Mormon) missionary. The first person I tried to talk to stopped me and said, “uh, I don’t speak Dutch, and I’m gay, so Jesus won’t work for me”. And he walked away. My companion just laughed and said, “welcome to the Netherlands”.
Malaysia as a woman from the USA. I got harassed for wearing shorts. I got rocks thrown at me. A gun pulled. Men wouldn’t address me. The hotel we were at assumed I was a second wife to my married couple friends. In fact, I always had to convince them that I wanted my own room. I was never Ms. Mongooseoflove. I was always Mrs. AnyMaleFriendIWasWith.
Image credits: anon
Went to Japan. First night at 1 AM in the metro and it was loaded with people in suits and other formal clothing looking completely exhausted almost falling asleep on each others laps, just an ordinary day for Tokyo people.
Image credits: arainbowpony
I`m an American living in the poorest province in China and I have been thanked repeatedly for dropping the atomic bombs on “those Japanese monkeys.” I have also spoken to someone who believes that all black people have Aids and they are responsible for spreading it to the rest of the world.
I was in India earlier this year and their taxi drivers take you wherever they feel like before taking you to your requested destination. And would be deeply offended if you were like ‘WTF, where are we going?’
So, that’s how I ended up on a boat in the middle of the Arabian Sea when all I wanted to do was exchange money, and at a random zoo when I just wanted to go shopping. I eventually exchanged money and went shopping but had to go on field trips first to see the sites. Good times.
Image credits: elzimmy
Went to Egypt last summer. We had hired a personal tour guide because there was no way we would be walking around by ourselves in Egypt. The service came with an Egyptian government security guard to protect us, and at one point my mother asked our tour guide (not the guard) what life what he thought of the government right then, and he said it was great. Later when the guard was getting us into a site, the tour guide told my mom not to ask questions like that in front of the guard because he (the tour guide) could be punished for talking negatively about the government. Really scared me.
The Chinese toilets that are just holes in the ground. It is even worse in the countryside, where there are no walls and you just don’t look at each other when squatting, and everything falls in this smelly ditch underneath where you can actually see all the poop
Image credits: anon
I landed in Juba, South Sudan. There were anti-aircraft guns on the roof of the airport, child soldiers in the tiny arrivals hall. The airport gift shop was selling loose raw eggs and salt. There were no roads, no electricity, no bank system, no running water and no garbage collection – so the entire city smelled of burning garbage.
I went to France and Belgium from the US and was shocked at the lack of the highway advertising. No billboards or anything
Paying to use the bathroom -most of Europe.
Image credits: anon
In Beijing old fat men do this thing called the Beijing bikini where they tuck the bottom of their t-shirt into the neck to expose their gut. It wasn’t exactly a shock but it was hilarious.
They also let their kids s**t on the floor.
Image credits: RosieJo
I was visiting the Hakone Outdoor Museum (a huge sculpture garden). At the end of the tour is a onsen foot bath where visitors can dip their feet in the nice hot water.
Tourists of every stripe gathered around the foot bath and the attendant instructed us on the rules. The rules were to be followed to the letter:
Remove shoes. Remove socks.
Place socks inside shoes.
Place shoes in designated area behind you, in basket provided.
Pants cuffs are to be rolled up in this fashion: roll back hem to the outside, then fold each additional roll in approximately 1 inch folds.
Continue folding up trouser cuffs until the roll extends past your calf muscle.
Last fold should be a tight fold to keep your trouser cuff up.
Place feet in onsen foot bath and enjoy.
When finished with enjoyment, take shoes and socks from basket and retire to bench to let feet dry.
When feet are dry, unroll trouser cuffs and re-install socks and shoes.
You may now leave.
This attendant went up and down the line, repeating the instructions, correcting people whose cuff rolling was sub-optimal. He wasn’t mean about it. He was just…exacting.
The Japanese guests complied with bows and “HAI!”. The foreigners bumbled along, trying their best, and getting a bit irritated. It was a hoot.
Germany: How f*****g clean are bathrooms. I’ve frequent to Germany for business reasons along with rest of Europe but Germany takes the cake in terms if cleanliness of the bathrooms. Every stay I had I found my bathroom to be absolutely spotless. I found their bathrooms to be cleaner than the rooms.
When I first came to the country and found out “grounding” is a form if punishment when kids get in trouble or acts up here in America. Back in China I use to get beat with a stick.
In Norway people actually stop for you at crosswalks, even without lights.
Back when me and my family flew to America (my first time), we landed in Houston to switch planes and went to a fast-food diner in the airport.
I ordered a milkshake and not only was it served in a cup that was like twice my size, they also gave me the shaker in which it was made so no ice-cream is left behind.
At that moment I was assured I was gonna love America.
Not from my travels, but I had a client that went to Bhutan. Real conservative lady, I ask how it went. She goes “It was great…….they really like…..male….genitals……over there” I asked her to elaborate. She said there were d**ks everywhere. Physical representations of d**ks on hats, on the sidewalk, everywhere. There was a parade where some important guy had a penis staff and “knighted” dignitaries with it. that made me happy.
I’m from one of the most unequal countries in the world, but going to India still blew my mind. Delhi is a heaving, throbbing city, people sleeping in literal dirt next to mansions. Perhaps the pilgrimage to the Taj Mahal was the most eye-opening. By far the most beautiful, perhaps most opulent, man-made structure I’ve seen on earth, but its mired in the most saddening poverty imaginable.
I live in northern Canada in a less than 800 people town in the middle of nowhere. So the first time I went to California was a massive culture shock. Big cities, 8 lanes of freeway traffic, having to lock your doors, skyscrapers (anything above 3 floors), subways, well… everything really. I think what got to me most was the lack of trees.
So I went to Vietnam a couple years back with my friend Marcus. Marcus is black, I am not. We’re eating at this small place tucked deep in the mountains when our server comes up to us, his friend in tow. The server, without saying a word, saddles next to Marcus, strikes a buddy Jesus pose, and walks off to get our food. I looked at Marcus and said “You’re on some dudes twitter right now with the caption ‘Not Obama, but met my first black guy’ or something similar.”
Despite my parents being Argentinean, we eat dinner at around 7 or 8 Pm. You should have seen my face when I went to visit family and found out it’s the norm to eat dinner there around 10 or 11 Pm.
Greece. Seeing a whole family (mum and dad and two toddlers) on a motorbike.
Image credits: jimbolata
Singapore still canes for crimes! And apparently people pass out from the pain.
Image credits: anon
When i went to London, all the faucets in all the public bathrooms had handles so you could turn the water on and off like a f**king adult, and all the stall doors went all the way to the floor.
On my first day in Tokyo:
Spending an entire train journey with two small girls (probably 4 or 5 years old) staring at me inches from my face like they had never seen a white guy before. The mother looked terribly embarrassed but didn’t try to stop them.
Queuing up in a shop and being asked to stand in a different line where there was a white guy that spoke English at the counter for that line.
Discovering that Japanese pavements get dangerously slippery when it’s been raining because of how clean the pavements are – There’s no friction at all.
Going into a trendy cafe in Shibuya that was blasting out incredibly vulgar gangster rap music during the middle of the day. The lyrics were in English, so I guess that the owners of the cafe didn’t know how inappropriate it was.
Tall white guy from Chicago. Went to Mexico City to practice my spanish and visit the pyramids of Teoticuan.
EVERYWHERE I go children and teenagers would run up and ask if they could take a picture with me.
By the third day it was explained to me what was going on – the kids who are in English language classes get extra credit for engaging in a conversation with “a native english speaker”, and they have to have photos or video on their cell to prove it.
In Mexico they encourage their young children to approach strangers in public, apparently. They don’t seem to have an equivalent Nancy Grace.
I was visiting my aunt in China when I was a kid, and apparently there was a boy across the street who constantly got bad grades. The beatings would start, the dad shouting and the boy crying. When it started, all the neighbors’ windows would start shutting because no one wanted to hear that, but in China child abuse was acceptable as long as you didn’t kill your kid. My aunt shut her windows too, complaining that the man beat the son every day. Just that whole lack of concern for the boy.
Image credits: anon
Truck playing music while driving down streets of Taipei. I commented that it might be an ice cream truck. My host looked at me funny and replied “that’s the garbage truck. If we want ice cream, we go to the 7 Eleven store”.
The fascination with westerners in rural China and India.
Within an hour of landing in a second tier Chinese city, I was invited to a random couple’s wedding who were honored to have us show up. They even shuffled family members around in order place my friend and I at a front and center dinner table and a shout out from the DJ.
In China and India many people treat westerners like a celebrities and want to take photos with you. While sitting on a bench in front of the Gate of India in Mumbai we agreed to take a photo with a few Indian guys and when other Indian passersby saw this, they would hurriedly change places with them and we would take another. This went on (and amused us) for close to 10 minutes with no end in sight before we had to walk away.
Gives you a bit of an ego at first but got really annoying for my blonde friend and most backpacker females we met.
Image credits: chicabuenachicamala
Intolerance to public drunkeness in America. I am British so you get used to public merryment and drunkeness but I was surprised that it was not tolerated in the US. After a while, I thought it was a great idea.
I once went to the Ole Cracker barrel and during the order I asked what kind of beers they had:
“This” the waitress stated quite forcefully “is a family restaurant.”
When I went to Vietnam 10 years ago, I thought there must have been a traffic jam on the way out of the airport. Motorbike and car horns kept beeping. Then I realized it was normal, everywhere in Vietnam. I was there for work and we had a driver who had worn a spot in his steering wheel from beeping the horn so much.
Went to NYC in the summer. The whole place smelled like hot garbage. Probably because of the sun beating down on all the garbage laying in the streets all day.
Image credits: anon
USA to South Korea for school. Eating lunch in the cafeteria for the first time on my second day, trying to eat ramen with chopsticks and realizing too late that I should’ve spent more time working with chopsticks before coming to a country with very few forks. Thankfully another girl nearby took pity on me and taught me through miming how to make it work.
USA to Korea, this time to teach English. You don’t quite realize the tiger mom stereotype is real until you’re surrounded by a pack of moms at a kindergarten parent-teacher conference, demanding to know why their five-year-old likes gym better than learning English.
Smarties are chocolate.
I’m from the US and the first time I was in the UK, on the very first day, I bought a pack of Smarties thinking it was pure sugar to perk me up from the jetlag.
I “drank” the box to get a quick mouthful and was suddenly hit by the taste of chocolate and was shocked. (Also a couple minutes later I found out that I was allergic to the dye they use in the coating–which I would’ve known if I bothered to read the box.)
Anyway, Smarties are chocolate. Beware.
Little girl in Bangkok selling animal figures made out of palm leaves or grass for about 12 hours.
Went to San Francisco. Was shocked to see the amount of homeless people there. Not to mention the amount of human s**t on the ground. It’s literally disgusting, like third world disgusting.
You amercians need to fix that.
Being in Ethiopia and hearing about a shooting, perpetrated by Ethiopian military troops, attacking at a mosque in Addis. And then hearing that no one outside of Ethiopia would ever know of it because when the government controls the telecommunications they can just turn the internet off for a few days and there is no way to get news out.
Moved to Toronto from Dublin 3 years ago, it still amazes me how open and trusting people are with their stuff in public, iPhone 7’s hanging out of their back pockets, parked car windows being left open etc… at home in dublin especially around the city centre, you just couldn’t do that s**t! We have situations at home where scumbags will actually ride past you on a bike and snatch your phone out of your hand while your talking on it…..
On a slightly negative side, it’s nuts how people drive here, very rush rush and angry, and the fact that cars can still turn when there’s a pedestrian light is crazy to me.
No free water or refills in Germany
The mistreatment of dogs in Central America. It’s heartbreaking to see these emaciated dogs wandering the streets and wondering if they’re going to get blasted by some s***ty driver.
There are virtually no driving laws in Lebanon – and if there are, nobody follows them and they aren’t enforced. Everybody drives like a f*****g maniac. Traffic is awful, everybody speeds. When going up into the villages in the mountains, people zoom around the narrow roads like they’re on the damn interstate. Like these are two-way streets; they literally have zero regard for any potential drivers going the opposite direction. It’s like they drive as if they have a death wish.
We were vacationing there once, and I got hit by a car when I was crossing the street from Burger King to get back to my hotel in Beirut. I was about 11 years old. The guy who hit me got out of the car and started bitching *me* out in Arabic. I’m like “M**********R YOU JUST STRUCK ME WITH YOUR VEHICLE.”
Thinking about it now is hilarious.
Image credits: Preskewl_Prostitewt
So in Italy, being a server at a restaurant is a respectable carreer, and they are paid pretty well. It took me way longer than I would’ve liked to, to figure out why all the wait staff I came across was very grateful for my 15% tips…
Pizzas served with ketchup or other sauces in various Eastern European countries. I was not prepared for this.
Rio de Janeiro. The small children selling gum on busy streets all day and night, the beggars everywhere, every building had bars on the windows, armed guards at the doors of the hotel. The enormous shanty towns on the mountainsides. Traveling on business and it’s the only place my boss insisted I have a driver, for safety reasons.
While I was there, the beaches were robbed. A line of robbers from the water’s edge to the street behind (and it was a wide beach) basically went from one end to the other (a mile?) and robbed everyone there (hundreds of people). Also the inflation rate was so high my dollars were worth noticeably more (15%?) by the end of the week, and the dollar was definitely the preferred currency, even for large commercial events like my conference.
On the plus side, the people as a whole were beautiful and wore almost no clothes–small bikinis, no matter your age or sex. Bikinis were not unusual all over the city, sometimes wrapped in pareos. I don’t know where people kept their money, no one carried purses, I was told that was because they’d be stolen.
I was shocked at being able to purchase a giant waffle the size of my head in the Netherlands. The internet tells you there are no large food portions outside the US but it’s not true.
How well dressed Europeans are. I went to Europe looking ragged as f**k and saw perfect 10’s constantly walking around, because their standard of dress is higher. No pajama pants, no sweats, just very polished and refined wardrobe. Needless to say I cleaned up my act very soon after lol.
And in Mexico, the crazy driving. And all the trash that litters the streets, mhhmmm.
I once saw a mob crush a man’s head with a motorcycle battery because he had been caught trying to steal said battery. The cops just watched him getting beaten, run-over, and finally bludgeoned.
East Africa is a scary place sometimes…
This is not as good a story as a lot of these here, just saying upfront. I live in the Netherlands. Water is all around me. From the sea, to the canals, to waterways dividing the fields between different farms. The first time I visited Iowa and drove around there it took me a couple of days to realise there wasn’t any water between the fields and acres. Sure, there’s a river and what not, but essentially it’s just endless actual ground. It made me feel uneasy for a couple of minutes.
Example of culture shock in reverse – I’m an American who has spent the past 2 years living in China. After my first trip back to the US (after a full year abroad) I was just really shocked by how much grass there was everywhere. Space is such a luxury in Beijing that it was startling to see how much is devoted to your average front/back yard. I was also shocked by enormously wide the roads in my suburban section of the city felt!
Moved to and started driving in Poland. Everyone drove as if the speed limit signs were in imperial rather than metric.
Then I went on a trip to India (Calcutta) and I saw real driving. When I returned to Poland I realised that Polish traffic is way more insane than it ought to be but not really insane.
I moved from the US to Moscow. The first two weeks were an absolute nightmare since Moscow is about 18x larger than my home city. My favorite culture shock experience is on my 2nd day getting lost in the train system for hours. The train system as amazing and efficient as it is, you can get lost for days if you don’t know it.
Probably the urban-rural divide in Mexico, particularly the southern states.
One thing that sticks out is more-than-expected poverty of the rural areas, and the sometimes-seen methods of seeking to make a buck in somewhat aggressive manners. Like the dude standing with a shovel in the middle of the road who (apparently) spent all day filling a single hole in the road with dirt from the side of the road, and wanting a donation.
I’m also reminded of a few times when driving and suddenly a rope with flags hanging off it sprang from the road, forcing the vehicle to stop. Up jumps a bunch of children attempting to sell tortillas or some other food item. The fact you’re driving and then suddenly the road is obstructed is rather alarming, especially given at the time there had been news reports of people being suddenly stopped and robbed on the roads.
Born and raised in the US, went to live in Mexico for two years. The biggest shock for me was definitely the food and what it did to my system. We were told to take 4 peptos a day for the first three weeks to keep off the worst of the stomach pains but in the end I still got so sick I could not walk. After that though, I loved any Mexican food I could get my hands on. Except mole. That stuffs not right
In Armenia, cigarettes are communal because they’re so cheap. If there’s a pack on a table, anyone is welcome to take one.
How much people drink beer in the Czech Republic. You cannot get a non alcoholic drink in a bar cheaper than a beer. And then I looked it up and low and behold, the Czech’s have the highest beer consumption in the whole world.
The women in the Caribbean were much more flirtatious and forward than back home. It made me super nervous. I had a girl approach me in a Wendy’s of all places and ask if my friend and I would like to join her and some friends at the beach. My buddy and I keep arguing about whether they were hookers and we were going to get drugged and mugged. Nope, just some teachers who thought we were attractive. That happened multiple times over the years, and practically never happens in the US. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been approached by a woman while on American soil. Any time I go abroad, especially to the Caribbean it happens multiple times. I still don’t understand.
As an American Southerner, trying to make friends traveling Europe alone was an interesting experiment. Germans and Belgians thought I was a wack job for speaking to strangers randomly, but I had some great conversations in France and the Netherlands.
That said, in Germany at least, I found that once you infiltrate a friend group, they can be very inclusive and protective. Obviously anecdotal, but they agreed when I mentioned it. Most people I interacted with don’t do small-talk and would go straight to topics that Americans would consider rude when talking with a stranger.
Was in mainland China for awhile. Guangzhou. I absolutely loved all of it but firstly, as a woman, I was amazed to feel very safe walking around alone at night. I took motor taxis in the dead of night in remote areas and felt very safe with the male drivers. I never felt threatened or afraid of anyone. Everyone was nice and wanted to help the white foreigner.
Also the anarchic traffic system that nobody seems to have accidents in despite all the chaos, as well as it being a general rule that others will cut you in lines and think nothing of it.
My first morning in China, I ran out of bottled drinking water. I just didn’t realize how much I’d go through fresh of the boat. I was in an apartment, not a hotel, so I couldn’t just snag an extra bottle from a room service care. It was pretty early and very few shops were open. And, I was completely unfamiliar with the neighborhood. So all in all, it took me about 20 minutes wandering around just to get myself some drinking water.
It was a very sobering experience, and drove home that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.