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

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21. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

Quoting tway

Quoting BedouinLeo

In the north of England when eating a roast dinner, many people traditionally all their vegetables before they start on the meat.

I knew someone who would eat each bit of their dinner one part at a time--say, potatoes first, then meat, then veggies. Always thought that was really weird...

I ate my meals that way until I was in my 30s. I would eat what I liked least first to get it over with and save the best for last (the meat dish). Oddly, I also loved milk so would drink that first, then be too full for the meal. My parents finally stopped giving me the milk until I had eaten the food. I still rarely drink my beverage while eating my meal. Old habits die hard.

Honestly, I think the least favorable item first may play into the northern UK thing - just a speculation. I know it did with my family during the Great Depression. At certain times, vegies (root crops) were the most prevalent item so eaten at every meal with meat being a rarely gotten commodity (depending on your place in the hierarchy of civilized life). Always save the best part for last - including that nice piece of stringy mutton. Simple "side pork" was a commodity for my mother's family (uncured bacon) during the 20s and 30s so they made it last as long as they could - she and her siblings saving it for the last part of the meal to remember the taste.

22. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 7y

I usually don't drink anything when I start my meal. I think it's weird to eat-drink-eat-drink...normally the two things don't compliment each other too well, so I'd rather just enjoy both separately. Soda, beer or wine ruins a steak you know, I don't eat steak often so when I do I just want the steak flavor.

23. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 7y

Quoting Cool Paul

I usually don't drink anything when I start my meal. I think it's weird to eat-drink-eat-drink...normally the two things don't compliment each other too well, so I'd rather just enjoy both separately. Soda, beer or wine ruins a steak you know, I don't eat steak often so when I do I just want the steak flavor.

They dont drink when they eat, the Chinese. This how they know I am foreign, coz I cant have a litter of liquid beside me and my rice bowl.

24. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 7y

In Chinese restaurants where people order so many dishes, the rice is way tooooooo late. I cant start eating without rice... You 12 dishes and no rice, until things are practically left overs.

25. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 7y

Quoting zaksame

Is there anyone out there who has made a 'Cultural Mistake' - things like patting people's heads in Thailand, or not reading a Japanese person's business card properly?.

My dad patted a kid's head in Thailand but because it was a kid there wasn't a big fuss made of it. In Thailand there is also a cultural no-no of putting a fork into your mouth whilst eating (like licking a knife in the UK!) and licking anything (only animals lick)...try eating an ice cream without licking. It's very difficult! My dad (again!) made the mistake of putting a fork in his mouth in a local restaurant in Thailand and there were audible gasps from the Thais around us! We had to watch him carefully to stop him doing it again.

A similar eating one in Muslim countries and India is not to eat anything with your left hand...this is difficult to get used to but I get around it by sitting on my left hand so I don't cause offense.

26. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 7y

Quoting Peter

Quoting BedouinLeo

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.

In Albania, they also shake their head to indicate "yes" and nod to indicate "no". Most confusing thing ever!!

Yeah, and to add to the confusion (it did for me at least) "po" = yes, "jo" = no - whereas in German for example ja means yes! (both jo and ja with the j sounding like an English y for those who don't know).

27. Posted by zaksame (Respected Member 571 posts) 7y

How about this one I just remembered.

I was attending Sunday mass in a Catholic church on a Croatian Island (Corcula). The church was old and very beautiful but was still the primary place of worship for the towns devout catholics.

Half way through the service a Japanese tourist walked into the church and up the centre aisle and started taking pictures of the priest, the church, the congregation... needless to say he didn't last very long and was man-handled out the door.

The people of the town expect tourists to do this on mid-week afternoons when the church is not involved in a religious ceremony but SUNDAY MORNING!!! I tried to imagine what would happen if I walked in to a mosque or synagogue and did something similar.

Anyone ever make a mistake like this, or is this a once off?

28. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

Quoting zaksame

How about this one I just remembered.

I was attending Sunday mass in a Catholic church on a Croatian Island (Corcula). The church was old and very beautiful but was still the primary place of worship for the towns devout catholics.

Half way through the service a Japanese tourist walked into the church and up the centre aisle and started taking pictures of the priest, the church, the congregation... needless to say he didn't last very long and was man-handled out the door.

The people of the town expect tourists to do this on mid-week afternoons when the church is not involved in a religious ceremony but SUNDAY MORNING!!! I tried to imagine what would happen if I walked in to a mosque or synagogue and did something similar.

Anyone ever make a mistake like this, or is this a once off?

I can honestly say I haven't made that mistake. But, I can tell a similar story that took place (twice) in Montego Bay.

There is a very old Catholic church in Mo Bay that draws a lot of tourists. (Basically, every kid on a street corner will ask to take you there for a small fee even though it's easy enough to find on your own.) The front "yard" is a cemetery with Jamaicans buried on one side of the main walk and a large Jewish group buried on the other. Jamaica saw a certain influx of jewish immigrants during/after WWII. The church itself was the closest thing to a synagogue so many of the Jewish immigrants attended mass to stay connect to their religion.

Anyway, I attended mass one Sunday morning because my travel companion (then a practicing Catholic) had talked me into it (while inebriated) the night before. A group of 20+ European tourists cruise in, talking loudly and start taking pictures. It took about 15 minutes to usher them all outside and explain mass was in mid-session. (The church was full of parishioners.) Their clueless tour guide had explained to them that Jamaicans were not Catholic so the church was open to tourism 7 days a week as it was now just an attraction. Guess the full pews of praying people didn't sink in.

Same trip, same church, same travel companion. (How she kept talking me into attending mass with her - I can only speculate. I seem to recall it came down to bribery for involving her in sinful deeds nightly.)

Anyway, it's now Tuesday afternoon and the church is off limits to tourists from 2-3pm for daily mass. There is even a big glaring hand-painted sign next to the parish doors explaining this fact. In walk a group of Americans. Yup, you guessed it - all chattering away and acting as though they are the only ones there. Granted, the number of people attending mass was small, but... The priest stops in mid-cantor, he begins to explain they can sit and join in mass or return after 3pm. The leader of the pack pipes up with, "We're from the Untied States. We hold church services on Sundays when it's suppose to be. You know, God's day. What kind of uncivilized heathen country do you run here?" Pissed off that they couldn't stay to take pictures - they left.

29. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 7y

Quoting zaksame

How about this one I just remembered.

I was attending Sunday mass in a Catholic church on a Croatian Island (Corcula). The church was old and very beautiful but was still the primary place of worship for the towns devout catholics.

Half way through the service a Japanese tourist walked into the church and up the centre aisle and started taking pictures of the priest, the church, the congregation... needless to say he didn't last very long and was man-handled out the door.

The people of the town expect tourists to do this on mid-week afternoons when the church is not involved in a religious ceremony but SUNDAY MORNING!!! I tried to imagine what would happen if I walked in to a mosque or synagogue and did something similar.

Anyone ever make a mistake like this, or is this a once off?

I applauded them for kicking that MORONic Tourist out... some places or people may just stare at this tourist for being foreign, even they are irritated. Its their stupidity that annoys me. Camera is like a gun, it kills culture and customs. Morons should never be allowed to use them. That Japanese is very lucky, I was not on that Church praying for discount in my hostel.

As for the MOSQUE, I went to a mosque at the time people were worshipping, I look strikingly Catholic, as what Malaysians in Borneo would tell me, but in Western China, it was amazing how BEARDED men allowed me to enter the compound and suggested that I should take PHOTOS, because I didnt want to use my camera. And I did, they didn't mind... The Tibetans in the arena, didn't mind either.

30. Posted by zaksame (Respected Member 571 posts) 7y

Quoting Isadora:

...The leader of the pack pipes up with, "We're from the Untied States. We hold church services on Sundays when it's suppose to be. You know, God's day. What kind of uncivilized heathen country do you run here?" Pissed off that they couldn't stay to take pictures - they left.

You didn't happen to get the A**holes name and address by any chance? I'd like to pay him a visit, maybe on a Tuesday afternoon...