20+ Things About Life in Different Countries That Logic Can’t Explain

When visiting a new country, we are often really surprised by the local traditions, languages, or other everyday things. The surprises can be pleasant and not so pleasant, but they are always a part of visiting new places.

We at Bright Side came across the stories of users that had unforgettable impressions from traveling to other countries.

Appearance

  • In Paris, I was taken aback by how thin everyone was. It was all I could think about for the first hour. © Sean Kernan / Quora

  • By the way, in some places in India, if a person is overweight, they are respected more. If a person is big, it means they are rich. © Larissa Panaro Artemenko / Facebook

  • I studied in Kuwait. When I attended my friend’s wedding I was so shocked! She has a medium skin tone. Yet, she looked ghost-white with incredibly heavy makeup. I asked her later and she told me they sprayed her body with a light-colored spray, kind of like spray tans, but the opposite. © Salma Medina / Quora

Food

  • I had a situation in Thailand. The supermarket sold prepared foods packed in lunchboxes. It was hard to see what was inside. I asked the employee if it was chicken. The lady said yes. When I unpacked the lunchbox in my hotel room, I saw that it was chicken legs with claws. Where I come from, people don’t eat that, but in Thailand, they do. © Morozova Irina / Facebook

  • I was in Lebanon and I stopped by a cafe. While we were waiting for our order, the waiter brought us some appetizers. Where I come from, they don’t offer things like this for free. You will have to wait for what you ordered. © Olga Krasnukova / Facebook

  • In Vietnam, we ordered duck soup. They brought us soup. With a duck. Like, the entire duck. With a beak. © Larisa Gorenko / Facebook

  • I lived in China for 4 years. In the supermarket, they sold small live crocodiles, turtles, and frogs. They sold them for food. © Ekaterina Zykova / Facebook

  • I always thought that I loved Chinese food. 8 years ago, I went to China with my wife for business. A customer wanted to take us out to dinner and he asked us if we were ok with Chinese food. Well let me tell you, I never left a restaurant that hungry in my life. The dishes included frogs and even turtle. I believe the latter was in a soup. © Peter T Mayer / Quora

  • We moved as a family last year in September to Charlottesville, Virginia (USA). My family and friends went to McDonald’s to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We started singing with our kids when one of the employee graciously joined us, she not only joined, but also danced happily. We were elated, but this was just the beginning, next, we got free ice cream for the kids (that we ate), it was on the house, our surprise knew no bounds. When we went to the counter to place our order and pay for it, we discovered that the customer before us had already paid for it! We were dumbstruck, this was by far the most graceful act we had ever seen. © Nivedita Awasthi / Quora

Attitude toward visitors

  • I went to Sweden for work. I think my Swedish colleague and I talked like 2 times in 7 days. I thought she didn’t like me at all. And then, one day before my departure, she asked me to stay at her place because she lived very close to the airport. I was shocked. But the biggest surprise was when she woke up at 4 AM to make breakfast for me. She said, “You’re my friend!” The biggest surprise of my life. © Olga Bane / Facebook

  • My husband, who is half-Estonian, and I were riding through Estonia on our bikes. It was late. We got to the campgrounds, but they said, “Camping is closed.” They still let us get into the territory where there were quite a lot of people. We found an empty tent with 2 camp beds. We went to look for a shower, the employee said that the shower didn’t work. But it worked, so we took a shower. The next day, I went to look for a stove to cook and someone helped me turn it on. When we were leaving, my husband went to pay for our stay but they didn’t take any money. It was all totally free! © Nataliya Nemirovskaya / Facebook

  • When I was in Romania, an elderly woman insisted that I have breakfast with her when I was taking photos on her street. © Gerard van den Akker / Quora

  • I have been to Sweden several times. Once, my son lost his bag with all of his documents, money, and other stuff. Fortunately, his passport was in a different bag. So, when he went to the police, the first thing he was asked was if he was hungry. Well, it’s quite logical if you think about it. A person lost all of their money so the police officer asked him how he was feeling. © Rimma Afanaseva / Facebook

  • I’m a big bald man. In Vietnam, the locals, especially the women, often touch my belly. They think it will make them rich. © Leonid Bogomolniy / Facebook

  • In Vietnam, touching a kid with light skin and hair is a blessing. © Anna Pahomova / Facebook

Manners

  • When I had a meeting for a job interview at an employment agency in Finland, I was asked to take my shoes off at the entrance. That was a shocking life experience and I wasn’t prepared for it. I felt half-naked without my shoes. So I took off my shoes and went barefoot on a public carpet for a job interview. The undressing and showing off of my feet during this official event felt too intimate for me. In Israel, where I am from, people will never take off their shoes at the office of a recruitment agency and will never expect visitors to do so. In Israel is also normal to enter a home with your shoes on, which is absolutely unacceptable in Finland. © Anni Hag / Quora

  • In Israel, people say “hello” to shop assistants, janitors, bus drivers. It was surprising for me at first, but then I got used to it and now I do it too. © Elena Akodus / Facebook

  • In Sweden, there’s a rule that says you should not disturb your neighbors from 10 PM till 7 AM. If you’re going to have a loud party late at night, you should put a notice in the elevator or the entrance door to warn your neighbors. © Noni Negmatova / Facebook

  • In Turkey, they use very polite and sweet words. They will even say something like “sweetheart” or “honey” to people they don’t know. © Olga Sumelong-Rataeva / Facebook

  • The Chinese speak very loudly — like they basically scream so loudly you can’t hear anything. A Chinese girl that I know told me that, in the past, people weren’t supposed to speak louder than someone who was superior to them (whether it be a boss or an elder). Now, this antiquated social rule is not that important — it’s more like the louder you speak, the cooler you are. And it’s totally normal. © Dmitriy Silchenkov / Facebook

Transportation

  • I went to Romania with the kids and we took a taxi while we were there. I was in the front seat and the kids were in the back. I tried to fasten my seatbelt and the driver stopped me and tried to explain that the passengers in the backseat can use the seatbelt to attack, so they don’t use the seatbelts in the front. I still don’t know if he was serious. © Tatyana Ratnovski / Facebook
  • In Sicily, when you’re driving on one of the smaller side streets in small towns, the driver right next to you may just stop for 5 minutes to talk to someone. You can’t drive around and you can’t honk — it’s not polite. So, people just wait for others to finish their conversations. © Tatiana Kud / Facebook
  • In India, it sometimes took an hour to travel just a few miles. So a distance of 20 miles could easily take a couple of hours or more. Indian roads and highways were a jumbled mess of every possible vehicle from cars and large trucks piled high with cargo, to pedestrians, bicycles, cows, goats, and chickens. © Zack Jaffri / Quora
  • This a very little thing, but it still amazes me every time I go to the UK. People stand in line to get on a bus. And they wait for people to get off the bus before going in. I know, it sounds like human decency, right? Waiting for people to get off the bus and then getting on one by one? © Emma Pichon de Bury / Quora

Day-to-day life

  • In Sweden, when you are having guests, you don’t have a table set. You just give plates to the guests and they go to the kitchen to get whatever they want. © Tatyana Tkachenko / Facebook

  • In Switzerland, there is even a rule for when you can use the washing machine in your apartment. © Collin Spears / Quora

  • I was shocked that Germany is flooded with flowers. There are flowers everywhere. And nobody touches, steals, breaks, or destroys them... It’s beautiful. There are also old-fashioned houses with modern utilities. © Marina Fedotova / Facebook

  • In Japanese washing machines, there’s no water heater — they use cold water. Washing machines with heaters cost like 2 jets. © Nina Smolyak / Facebook

  • In Southern China and Hong Kong, people walk with their birds in cages. Sometimes, they take them out of the cages and hold them in their hands. The locals believe that without walking, the birds don’t live long and don’t sing as well. © Dimitry Okropiridze / Facebook

Safety

  • It was 6 AM in Munich. I took a taxi from the airport to the hotel. The driver was a tall, slim young man in a big hat, with long hair in a ponytail. My daughter and I noticed all of these things right away. We got to the hotel, my daughter paid for the ride, and we went inside to check-in. And then we realized that my purse, with all my documents, credit cards, and cash was gone... The clerk was waiting patiently. We had completely lost all hope. And then we told the clerk that we got there by taxi. He told us to go and have breakfast and the driver returned and brought the purse we had forgotten in the car. © Susana Burnasan / Facebook

  • Forgot my expensive Ray-Ban sunglasses (€100) at a cafe and left to climb a mountain. Went back to the same cafe after 6 hours in search of the glasses to find them at the same table without even being moved an inch. I offered the waiter €5 as a token of thanks out of excitement, to which he politely refused. I still love you Switzerland. © Hassan / Quora

  • People in Europe will follow the rules. Be it driving lanes or waiting for the pedestrian lights to turn green. Even in the middle of the night at 2/3 AM when there is absolutely no one on the streets, people will stop at a red light. © Koushik / Quora

  • In Turkey, I remembered a very unusual driving tradition: drivers always honk at everyone they see just to attract attention. © Jeanna / Facebook

What shocking discoveries did you make when you were in other countries?

Share This Article