We asked our regular contributors through e-mail What is the thing that surprised you the most when you traveled to a country you had never been to before? We got many interesting responses. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way.
2. New York is exactly as advertised… everything I see on tv shows and movies are exactly the same…
I’ve been to a lot of places but New York is the only one that is exactly my expectation…
3. In Prague, when you open a camera in the street, it’s like a force field! People automatically moves aside to not stand in the way.
4. Heated sidewalks in Finland! Absolutely lifesavers for me who had no idea how to walk on ice.
No trash anywhere, either.
5. In Thailand, we were watching a movie and they played the national anthem and everyone stood up for their king.
6. The smells of a different country. I’m from Australia and traveled to Malaysia a few years back. The city, the jungle, everything smelt different from any place in Australia.
7. The amount of eye contact and observation. When I went to Morocco, in the evening the streets would be packed full of families sitting and talking. These people would watch each other, in fact, even the way I’m describing it with ‘watch’ shows how unwelcome and uncomfortable it would be in England. People would also make eye contact and keep it frequently on the street, just with ease. It felt so strange for me at first.
7. Japan has no garbage cans anywhere on the streets, but their streets were pretty damn clean somehow.
8. The incredible security in Seoul. I’m from Latin America, so I’m used to be very alert at everything, everywhere. I forgot my backpack in a small cafeteria and after 25 minutes it was completely untouched in the same spot.
You could walk at 3 am with your cellphone in your hands and there’ll be no fear about anything.
9. The Gondola Ride in Venice. Not what I expected with the smelly waters, the crashing gondolas with the “drivers” cursing each other in Italian. Nothing romantic about it.
10. Singapore is unbelievably clean! As soon as I stepped out of the plane, I swear I did not see a single speck of dust at their airport, even the toilets were squeaky clean and completely dry. Every day I go out to explore the city on foot and come back to the hotel with almost no dirt on the soles of my shoes.