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Local Customs You've Found Strange/Interesting...

Travel Forums General Talk Local Customs You've Found Strange/Interesting...

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1. Posted by zaksame (Respected Member, 570 posts) 3 Sep '09 04:58

Every time we travel the values and customs which ordain our lives overlap with the cultures of others.

So. have you ever come across a custom or ritual on your travels which you found fundamentally strange (or merely interesting)?

You know how simple hand-gestures you use every day can become completely perverted in a village in Sardinia... how you can conjure the devil to appear from the centre of a flaming lamb stew just by positioning your thumb or forefinger a degree or two in the wrong direction. That sort of thing.

This should be interesting methinks...

2. Posted by HafJafMark (Respected Member, 291 posts) 4 Sep '09 03:43

There was an article in the NY times about an Afghan refugee in Maine who was arrested for kissing his baby boys genitals.

Apparently in Afghanistan this is a traditional expression of love and not what it looked like to the Americans.

Also Bulgarians nod to disagree and shake their heads to agree - Very confusing!

[ Edit: Edited on 04-Sep-2009, at 03:46 by HafJafMark ]

3. Posted by zaksame (Respected Member, 570 posts) 4 Sep '09 06:30

Personally I hate North American's arriving in the Irish city of Kilkenny, wearing that dumb-ass South Park T-Shirt
"Kill Kenny!"

It's a small one, but when they then stand beside the 'Welcome to Killkenny' sign for that 'Killer Photo', they actually think that they're the first person ever to participate in this infuriating ritual (for me at any rate).

4. Posted by HafJafMark (Respected Member, 291 posts) 4 Sep '09 07:03

Haha I actually think thats funny.

Never mind, you can get them back by pissing on the blarney stone

5. Posted by zaksame (Respected Member, 570 posts) 4 Sep '09 07:17

Errrrm.... you mean I've been seen doing it? And there was I thinking there was nobody around.

6. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru, 768 posts) 4 Sep '09 08:12

Doing the "V" sign with your fingers in some places in asia when you are having your photo taken (well, at least in korea where i live) is a must, yet in england it means "fuck off". Always make me laugh.

7. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru, 1934 posts) 4 Sep '09 11:55

When I travel in Vietnam, I stay in small inexpensive hotels and guest houses. In all of these the night man/woman makes his/her bed in the small lobby (some even pitch a tent). The hotel door is locked and a gate is usually pulled down over the door. The problem comes when a traveler wants to get up and out early and stumbles over all who sleep in the lobby (sometimes it's pitch dark). Don't they realize that we don't want to sleep away our vacation time? When this 230 lb guy falls on you, it can cause serious injury!

8. Posted by FrancisQ (Budding Member, 3 posts) 5 Sep '09 07:50

From what I understand, when you do a V sign with your palm facing away from your body, it a Victory sign as in what Tricky Dicky did (with both hands) waving then to the TV cameras when he stood on Air Force One after got booted out of the office due to Watergate incidents.

When you do a V sign with your palm facing towards your body, you're giving the world two fingers. Maybe Winston Churchill mistakenly did this when he meant to do a Victory sign. Maybe the US victory sign and UK victory sign is reversed...Maybe he meant to give Germany the two fingers and saying "I win" the same time. Maybe his photo was taken just a split second after his cigar fell out between his two cigar holding fingers...only he and the history buff would know the real truth. It is a mystery wraps in a riddle inside an enigma.

9. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru, 768 posts) 6 Sep '09 03:36

Quoting FrancisQ

From what I understand, when you do a V sign with your palm facing away from your body, it a Victory sign as in what Tricky Dicky did (with both hands) waving then to the TV cameras when he stood on Air Force One after got booted out of the office due to Watergate incidents.

When you do a V sign with your palm facing towards your body, you're giving the world two fingers. Maybe Winston Churchill mistakenly did this when he meant to do a Victory sign. Maybe the US victory sign and UK victory sign is reversed...Maybe he meant to give Germany the two fingers and saying "I win" the same time. Maybe his photo was taken just a split second after his cigar fell out between his two cigar holding fingers...only he and the history buff would know the real truth. It is a mystery wraps in a riddle inside an enigma.

In the UK...
palm facing away = victory
palm facing towards body = fuck off

It's a minefield for people not from the UK

10. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive, 698 posts) 6 Sep '09 09:33

In Albania it is an honour to have a lamb slaughtered at your dining room table and for you to get blood stains on your clothing as it happens.