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Weird things that seem normal in some countries but baffle foreigners

When we go travelling we see and experience many different cultures and most of the time other peoples ‘way of life’ has a surprising effect on us. However, there are a number of things that fallinto the category of normal and might seem like ‘the only way’ to you, but it are completely odd to others.

Bulgaria – Head Gestures

                                                             Image courtesy of Brian Moore

If you have ever visited Bulgaria, you might have experienced a rather extensive form of confusion while communicating with the locals.  Bulgarians invert their head gestures for yes and no, so when they shake their head it actually means yes, and nodding means no. All of this is due to the sounds they make for ‘yes’ and ‘no’.  Confused yet?

Japan – Blood Types

Image courtesy of Chris Gladis

When going to Japan, you should be prepared to get asked - or having curious people trying to guess what your blood type is.  Like many people rely on horoscopes to define personalities, the Japanese rely on blood types. In Japan you can find a great number of books on how to live your life according to your blood type. The wide selection goes from how to eat to finding the perfect partner! This explains why some Japanese games will list a blood type for the character you can play as. You’re welcome!

Germany - Crossing Roads

Image courtesy of R/DV/RS

In busy cities such as London and New York, people will always cross the road whenever there’s a free chance, even if the light is red. In Germany however, people strictly wait for the signal to turn green, even if the road has no traffic in sight. If you are feeling cheeky, and cross against the light you should expect some judging looks from the other pedestrians. So when visiting Germany, it would be wise to wait at the crossing with the patient Germans.

Canada & USA – Tax & Price Tags

Image courtesy of Ben Ostrowsky

When abroad, you tend to spend your money wisely as it has to last for so long. So when looking at a price tag, you expect to pay no more than it says. However, in America and Canada you will need to have a few extra bucks ready at the counter as they don’t add tax into the price. That basically ruins the surprise of thinking you got a bargain, so prepare yourself!

France – Picking up after your dog

                                                             Image courtesy of Jo & Joey

You would think it would be a normal and morally right thing to bring bags with you when walking your dog, so the pathway is safe and prevented from others having that awkward moment of stepping in dog poo. In France, there is no such thing as a poo bag. It actually seems to be socially acceptable to not pick up after your dog. So watch your step on the French roads, they might be full of little brown bombs!

Denmark – Changing rooms

                                                Image courtesy of Thomas Angermann

We all like our privacy, especially when being nude – it can lead to very awkward situations. So when going to the gym, swimming etc., you might be used to getting changed in your own private little cube of a changing room. However, the open-minded Danes don’t have a problem with getting changed in front of each other. Divided into male and female rooms of course, it is quite normal for a changing room in Denmark to be just one large room, with shared showers as well. So get comfortable!

By Nanna Paskesen

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