” Let me know ” is a rubric for our readers’ stories. Every week we launch a survey and look forward to your comments. This week, the Lifehacker editors received many interesting stories about traveling to other countries. You told us about customs and traditions that surprised you and caused culture shock. So, here they are!
In the summer I was in Norway. Local farmers left baskets of strawberries along the road and a money box with the price written on it. Anyone passing through could take berries and pay for them on their own, without any vendors.
My mother moved to Germany a year ago. She is constantly surprised that the streets of the city are deserted. The playgrounds are almost never empty. And on weekdays, and on weekends, and during holidays. Where are all the people?
And the second feature that shocked her was that in cool weather, the locals, including the kids, are very lightly dressed. It would probably be difficult for our parents from central Russia, who always wrap their children and grandchildren, to accept this.
In Bangkok, my wife and I went to one of the big malls. Hungry and decided to have a bite to eat in one of the many cafes. We got into some special place.
I’ve seen a couple of these in movies. A ribbon with various dishes crawls past you, and something like a barbecue is organized at the table. Among other things, there is a countdown clock in the hall, and the attendants from time to time shout out something in Thai.
Not really understanding, we just took sushi and started eating. After some time, we noticed the strange looks of the waiters. Most of the staff were whispering and looking at us. I went over to find out what was the matter. But none of the staff spoke English. Somehow I made it clear that I was ready to pay. However, the cashier, with wild embarrassment, said that the money was not needed.
We left the establishment, being a little shocked by what was happening. We must have been considered savages! To be honest, we never understood what went wrong.
A friend from Africa said that in Kenya there is such a tradition : after the wedding, the newly-made husband must walk in a woman’s dress for a whole month and, along with his wife, perform all household duties. Only in this way, according to custom, will he be able to understand how hard it is to be a woman.
Another, no less strange tradition is connected with the fact that on the wedding night, a grandmother should sit next to the newlyweds. She encourages them and shares her experience.
In the United States, it is rare for anyone to remove their shoes when entering a home. Why – no one could really explain to me. But I noticed that their streets are much cleaner than in Russia. As far as I know, the roads are treated with a special soap solution several times a month. And there are sidewalks almost everywhere. That is, there is no such thing that you walk halfway through the mud through garages and only then go out onto the asphalt. Everything is clean and tidy.
Of course, if there are allergy sufferers at home or small children who crawl on the floor, guests are asked to take off their shoes and put on slippers. The Americans have a lot of guest shoes for this occasion, which was also a shock to me.
If you survive the first three days in Turkey, you can do anything. The pedestrian here is nobody. The driver is a cool pepper.
Do not try to step on the “zebra” with your foot – you can be left without it. No one will think to miss you. It would be better to wait out the flow of cars. And only when a crowd accumulates on the side of the road, which is about to fall onto the road, drivers can start to slow down. Even the police here do not like to let pedestrians pass.
In addition, when we rented a car, we were embarrassed, and then annoyed, that other drivers constantly honked after us – even if the traffic light had turned green a second ago. I wanted to say: “I myself see what to yell about ?!”
Some Korean trains have cool karaoke booths. Most often they are located in a separate car. Anyone can enter them to pass the time.
In Singapore, as a tourist, I felt completely safe. There are cameras everywhere. Police officers are almost invisible, but they show up damn quickly in places of unrest. Posters with them are pasted all over the city, which can be mistaken for a movie advertisement from afar. Trailers are made about them, public service announcements are made – so that everyone understands where to turn if they pester you, extort money or behave rudely .
Thanks to this, Singapore is considered a country with one of the lowest crime rates in the world. The children go out alone at night. At food courts, people place their phones on the table to take a seat. And some mothers calmly leave strollers with babies at the door of the store when they go shopping.
Of course, the law enforcement system is not without its distortions. Before boarding, the warning will be repeated three times on the plane: “The importation of any narcotic substances into the state of Singapore is punishable by death.” There are heavy fines for chewing gum, and alcohol is one of the most expensive pleasures in the city.
In the heat , the Chinese can roll up their shirt or T-shirt to their chest and walk, stroking their bare belly with their hands – this is how they “cool themselves” … They also talk very loudly and constantly push. They don’t even notice that they stepped on someone’s foot, they just move on, and that’s it. A separate story – belching anywhere, loud and savory.
It was my dream to get to Switzerland, but – God, how expensive everything is there! I don’t consider myself a poor person, but my girlfriend and I ate exclusively at McDonald’s. One meal cost us 30–35 francs (1,900–2,300 rubles). There I felt like a student again, buying products exclusively with a red price tag.
In Russia, there is a sign – to knock on wood, so that bad things do not happen. In Italy there is something similar, but in a different form. My superstitious roommate constantly touched the iron (tocca ferro) so as not to anger fate.