When we travel to a new country, we rarely try to learn more about the local traditions and their way of life. And this is our mistake. Some things that we take for granted in our culture, may be considered unusual in other countries and vice versa. But having this knowledge will make your trip easier and help prevent different kinds of embarrassing and funny situations.
1. In Japan, many streets don’t have names.
In Japan, block and section numbers are used instead of names for streets. That’s why it’s pretty common there to hear things like, “I work at block 6,” or “I live in section 3.” There are some exceptions to this rule like main streets and highways.
This system might look pretty confusing at first, but if you have a map, it’s pretty easy to find the block you need in a couple of seconds. This may even be quicker than looking for the names of streets on a map, especially in big Western cities, this often causes some difficulties for tourists.
2. Curtains are taboo in Scandinavia.
In some European countries, like the Netherlands, you will rarely see curtains on the windows. It’s not common to windows with curtains there. And people who are passing by can easily see everything that happens in an apartment if they want to.
But you might wonder why the locals don’t worry about having some privacy. The thing is that in these countries, people have a different concept of privacy. Locals respect each other’s personal space and no one would even think of peering into a stranger’s window.
3. In Singapore, locals dry their laundry on bamboo poles.
Singapore is famous for its numerous unusual tourist attractions, but there is one thing that probably won’t leave any tourist indifferent: the way that locals dry their laundry there. In Singapore, people use bamboo poles for this instead of the usual ropes.
Today, bamboo poles often get replaced with plastic sticks, but initially, bamboo poles were used for this purpose. We must agree that this approach looks pretty colorful.
4. In Turkey, there’s a dessert that is made from chicken breasts.
It turns out that chicken breasts are not only perfect for making meatballs and Caesar salads, but you can actually make a real dessert from them. And the Turkish pudding called tavuk göğsü proves that. This dish is made of chopped chicken breasts, milk, rice, sugar, and cinnamon. This is a signature Turkish dish and a favorite meal of many gourmets.
5. The Netherlands has the steepest stairs in the world.
The extremely steep stairs is a signature trait of Dutch homes. They’re an essential part of canal houses that were built very tall and skinny because of possible flooding. And the stairs had to match the house, so they were built to be narrow and steep too.
6. In Brazil, women prefer hair lightening to hair removal.
While women around the world try to get rid of all the hair on their bodies, Brazilians, on the contrary, consider blonde peach fuzz a sign of beauty. Instead of removing their hair, they lighten it with a special mixture that can be found in any local store. By the way, Brazilian women often perform this procedure right on the beach, applying the lightening agent to their skin like sunscreen.
7. Japanese ofuro baths
Another wonder from Japan is the ofuro bath, which is traditionally made of wood. However, today, you’re likely to come across bathtubs made of plastic and stainless steel. You can find ofuro baths in every Japanese apartment, and taking a bath is a whole ritual there. A person plunges into the water, so it covers their body up to the shoulders, and then the bath gets closed with a wooden lid, which helps to keep the water warm.
According to traditions, all family members take ofuro bath in turns without changing the water, so they always shower before they get to enjoy the bath.
8. In Colombia, hot chocolate is served with slices of salted cheese in it.
People have a special attitude toward chocolate in Colombia. It’s common to drink hot chocolate with cheese. According to the tourists’ reviews, it’s not only pretty unusual, but also insanely delicious.
9. In France, milk is stored at room temperature.
You can find different kinds of milk at the supermarkets from sterilized to ultra-pasteurized. But most French stores only sell ultra-pasteurized milk. For this reason, it’s unusual to keep milk in the fridge in France, and many people complain that it doesn’t turn sour and tastes different from ordinary pasteurized milk.