The best thing about traveling is that it opens your eyes to other cultures around the world. Learning how other people live widens your perspective; it also makes you smarter and more compassionate! What’s not to love about that? Inevitably, some of the customs you encounter while traveling will strike you as strange at first, but those same things are totally normal to the people who live there. We asked people from around the world to share things from their countries that foreigners think are weird.
65. Gotta stay safe.
South Africa: Being middle-class with a property having a 6′ wall, electric fencing linked to an alarm, automated gate and garage doors (with security clamps over the gate motor to prevent theft of the motor), security gates over every door, burglar bars, and a house alarm system with infra-red sensors linked to armed response with a reaction time of under 3-4 minutes.
64. Measure twice.
Everyone rags on the US for using imperial, but can we talk for a second about how weird we are here in the UK for using both inconsistently?
You buy a pint of milk or beer, but a litre of coke and 25ml of whiskey. People know how many miles to the gallon their cars get, but you buy fuel at pence per litre. You watch the weather forecast and the temperature is in Celsius but the wind speed is in miles per hour.
Most people can tell you their weight in kilograms, and their height in feet, and if they can’t give you kilograms they can probably give you stone instead, which is even older than pounds, which nobody uses as a unit of measurement, probably because of the confusion between lbs and £…
It’s a glorious mess.
63. This might sting bit.
In my friend’s country, Slovakia, Easter is when gangs of boys roam the countryside, pouring water over girls and beating them (gently) with sticks. The girls then have to thank them for it.
I thought that was pretty weird.
62. They’re fine.
Leaving your baby alone outside for their nap, even if it rains or snows.
My daughter was born in Copenhagen Denmark (Frederiksberg actually). We lived there for a few years after she was born. We learned from our Danish friends to let her sleep outside in the back garden of our flat in her pram during snowfalls. We kept an eye on her from the window. It was very soothing to her, and she would sleep very soundly. Sometimes when we would go out to check on her we would find her awake but quiet, just watching the snow falling around her. Some of my fondest memories of her time as a baby.
61. Single male in search of…
India: We have matrimonial ads in newspapers and sites to find grooms and brides which I think don’t happen in western countries and they find it strange. The ads are mostly published by parents. It’s like tinder supervised by parents.
60. Good lecture.
Germany: In university we thump the tables to “applaud” our professors. Instead of actually applauding. Or doing nothing. During my exchange semester everyone not from Germany was looking at me confused why I did this.
59. Hadn’t heard of this.
Whole restaurants cheering when a plate or glass is smashed (UK). Once was in a Canadian bar/restaurant on holiday and a waiter dropped a tray of glasses, the locals looked horrified when I was out of my seat screaming “wheyyyyyy!”
58. Flying hazards.
Australia: Putting cable ties, branches, fake eyes etc on helmets, buckets and hats in spring time to scare away the birds. Magpies are vicious bastards.
57. Home security.
Latin America: Putting broken glass bottles on the walls around your house so burglars cant jump it and rob you. I moved to Canada and they don’t even have walls around the houses!
56. The road less traveled.
Netherlands: In my country you bike everywhere. Cars aren’t used much. For longer distances you mostly use train and public transport. Also being 6 foot is normal.
55. National mascot.
Bears on motorcycles driving on roads, drinking vodka and playing balalaikas.
Hahaha! Gotcha. What I said was untrue. Russia doesn’t have roads.
54. Southern cooking.
US: Eating biscuits and gravy. I traveled to the UK and told them that biscuits and gravy is a very common breakfast food and as you would expect they were highly confused (biscuit=cookie across the pond) why we would take something sweet and cover it in gravy. And also was confused that the gravy we use has sausage in it and is white.
53. Actual democracy.
Direct democracy in Switzerland. It often baffles me when I read what the government can pull off in other countries without ever involving the population. Like…yeah, you get to elect representatives but it often seems to me that those people then elect someone who elects someone who elects someone… is it really still democracy if you’re about five steps removed from the actual decisions?
52. So true.
US: Where I’m from the answer is guns. Lots of guns. You shoot guns at 9 years old with your buddy at an old washing machine. They are a way of life, and I suppose death for a lot of people. I understand why people support owning guns, they grew up with them and see them as normal. You tell people from other countries about shooting guns at 9 and they look at you funny.
51. In need of tax reform.
US: Taxes. We have this weird system where the government really kind of knows what we should pay, but they offer us an opportunity to guess and maybe pay the right thing, but if we don’t pay the right thing, we get penalized. I remember listening to a podcast where people all over the world were super confused about how the US does taxes. Most other places the government sends you a bill, and you pay it, and you’re done.
50. Guess how much.
American coinage doesn’t have numbers on it. If you see a 1 Euro coin…it has a 1 on it. Seems reasonable enough. In America, just words. Seems like a mean troll on foreigners that can’t read our coins. I know the dead presidents on the coins so it doesn’t bother me; but if I went to another country and they insisted upon making me read to use their money I would probably be put off.
49. Privacy would be nice.
US: People are always shocked that in my country our “public” restroom stalls are constructed in such a way that you can pretty much see what a person is doing in there thanks to a constant crack between the door and its frame.
I say “public” in quotes because most of our so-called public restrooms are in private businesses who don’t let our surprisingly very large number of homeless use and since there is no actual fully public restroom to use, said homeless often do their all their business in our streets.
Oh, and we have a higher percentage of our population in jail than literally every single nation on earth.
48. Live-in relatives.
In the Philippines, it would be people living with their parents. Everybody I know whose parents’ homes are in the city choose to live there. With the relatively low wage to cost-of-living ratio, it is not unusual for married couples to share houses with their in-laws.
I work remote and I still live with my parents and pay zero rent. Of course, I pay all the bills, feed them and do all the home repairs and chores.
47. It’s ok to show affection.
My Spanish roommate moved here to England and she kissed me on the cheek when we first met. I knew that mainland Europeans kiss eachother when meeting but I was not expecting it at all and awkwardly just kind of stood there and let it happen because I didn’t know why she was coming so close to me. I have no idea if not kissing her back was offensive or not.
46. Side of pickles.
South Korean oddities: Straight dudes wearing makeup. 16 year old girls getting eyelid surgery as a gift from their parents. Everyone driving new cars around for as long as possible with blue protective sponges on their doors that automakers everywhere else in the world take off immediately after shipping. All electric fans have timers on them, because everyone believes that if you fall asleep with one blowing on you, you’ll die. Expecting to receive a free portion of pickle slices on the side when you order pizza.
45. The terrible spread.
I’m Australian. I was working in Amman, Jordan. I wanted to introduce my work colleagues to vegemite. Now my colleagues came from all around the world. Jordan, obviously, Mexico, Australia, Portugal, the USA, Syria, etc. I did a truly horrible thing when introducing them to vegemite. I said ‘vegemite was like just Nutella, just eat a tablespoon and see’.
After this incident, my Mexican colleague accused me of a hate crime. I think he was right in his anguish.
44. Be respectful.
Philippines: In my country, we address people by calling uncle, auntie, brother, sister or if it is a senior citizen we would called them mother father or grandmother or grandfather. Its very strange to us address specially people who are elder to you by name.
43. Everyone gets a turn.
Japan: On Valentine’s day, men don’t give any gifts. Only women give gifts, they only give it to men, it’s always chocolate, and they get it for all the men in their lives, including coworkers.
Then there is a day on the 14th of March where the men reciprocate. The gifts are only from men to women this time, and are chocolate or jewelry or nice clothes, and the amount spent is directly related to the amount of chocolate received.
42. Full of symbolism.
The Swedish holiday of midsummer, where people dress up in plain white clothes and flower crowns to sing together and dance in a circle around what’s called the midsummer pole. Every foreigner I’ve ever talked to about the holiday said it seems like a giant cult.
For some extra weirdness, the pole is supposed to look like the the male genitalia, and the holiday started as a celebration of fertility.
41. And it’s not decaf, either.
Having a coffee after basically every meal.. I’m from Portugal, and here, everybody has a cup of coffee after lunch/dinner (here coffee is very cheap btw, ranging from 0.50€ up to 1.00€). I thought it was a very common thing worldwide, until some years ago, when I traveled to Spain and discovered it’s more of a Portuguese thing after all…
40. Great way to spend an afternoon.
Switzerland: On any Sunday you go hiking through the mountains (with a casual 1000m ascent) you’ll see hundreds of others (including many people 80+ years old) and say ‘Hello’ (actually ‘Gruezi’ or ‘Bonjour’) to all of them as you pass by. Then end up in a small restaurant in an old farmhouse miles from anywhere and eat a whole plate of air-dried beef and cheese, or a bucket of melted cheese and stale bread washed down with plenty of wine and cherry schnapps.
39. Protect and serve.
Israel: Mandatory 2 years and 8 months of military service for men (2 years for women) Absolutely normal for us, pretty much all fit teenagers serve.
38. Handling it.
I used to live in Bogota – Colombia, there when you go to eat fried chicken at a restaurant, they give you plastic gloves and cutlery so you don’t get your hands dirty. When I moved to the United States and went to a KFC for the first time, I asked the lady at the register if she could hand me some gloves. She looked at me like I was insane.
37. Feeling the chill.
Northern Canada: We have no sun here. Around this time of year everyone start asking each other “You been taking vitamin D?” It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about feeling sad, dealing with the flu, or missing limbs… you been taking vitamin D bro?
36. Hitching a ride.
Honestly riding your kangaroo to school, every country thinks we are kidding but send them to the far Northern Territory and Western Australia and they are always shocked. They don’t realise that riding kangaroos are literally bred to be 6 ft talk and pure muscle. A school kid is no problem for them.
35. Thanks for the advice.
There is a culture in my town (possibly an Albanian thing might be strictly just this town) when a guy marries a girl, they do the wedding like normal, when the wedding is over the party moves to the guys house. The women is put into the bedroom and the guy is hanging with his friends/family chilling. Someone then gives a signal or something that the bride is ready at which time every one of the guys friends is allowed to punch and kick and hit him as he runs to his bedroom door to sleep with his wife. A lot of people block doorways and stuff to get cheap hits. Then when he is inside all of the women sing songs about how he should do it, giving tips like lick your finger and do this do that through singing.
34. The same, but different.
Kyrgyzstan: Eating horse meat, drinking horse milk; Circumcising boys at the age of 4-5 and throwing a big party to celebrate it; having from 200 to 500 guests on weddings and other celebratory events (and there are A LOT of them).
33. Playing footsies.
In the US it is fairly normal to just keep your shoes on in the house. From what I understand everybody thinks we’re crazy for even entertaining the thought. And I have to admit, when I think too hard about what I’m tracking in, it’s pretty gross.
32. Good to know.
Ok, so in Romania we have a tradition on the first week of December (its called Ignat) when we slaughter a pig in front of the whole family members. First we bleed it to death, then we use a homemade flamethrower to burn all the hair from his skin, after we clean it and eviscerate it. Since we got in EU we started to put it to sleep, the pigs, before the bleeding.
Same happens in Easter with the lambs (without the flamethrower part, we just skin them).
31. Honor the dead.
When one of our relatives dies, we keep the body in the house for 3 days. Somebody always have to stay near it. And only after that we bury the body. I’m from Moldova.
30. A perfect pairing.
Here’s something weird not many people not know about Spain: if you ask for something at any bar or restaurant, even just a beer, they are mandated by law to give you “tapas”, free plates with some kind of food (bread with tomato, ham, etc..)
29. Say the word.
In my high school (US) we had a group of australian students come to live a day in the life of an american high school. They all thought it was so bizarre and cult-ish that every morning we had to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag with our hands over our hearts. I couldn’t agree more that it is, indeed, bizarre and cult-ish.
28. When you put it that way…
US: Advertising prescription drugs on television. Going bankrupt because of medical bills. Dying of diseases that were figured out 50 years ago because you can’t afford treatment. Graduating high school without a basic understanding of civics. Toddlers being required to participate in active shooter drills.
27. Sweet meat.
It’s very difficult to come up with some stuff that neighboring countries don’t also do that the majority of the world would find weird: Our leader of the conservative party is openly gay, most lgtb rights is not political, just a given. 16+ drinking age, 18+ driving age limits. Universal healthcare. Paid by state to study.
So when comparing to Sweden and Norway I think we’ll have to go with “Red Sausages” which are slightly sweetened (often liked by kids) I think, and not found other places I think.
26. Politically corrected.
Black Peet (zwarte piet). Black Peet works for a white elderly man (Sinterklaas, looks like Santa). Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet travel by boat and come from Spain. Each year they give presents to kids who have behaved properly the past year. This happens on the 5th of December, the birthday of Sinterklaas. Because of more and more complaints Black Peet is now called Roetveeg Piet, who is now a white person with smudge from climbing down chimneys instead of a black person.
25. Food prep on another level.
Croatia: Sacrifice a pig in your own household during the winter season and prepare various dishes even though you live in a big city and you are part of the middle-high class so you can easily afford to buy all the food you want.
Never seen this in the western Europe or the USA.
24. Relaxed parents.
Not my country, I am from Sweden but I was in Italy/Sardinia a few months ago and full on families with very small kids in the ages of 1-10 would be up with their families way past midnight, 1-2 am, while parents were drinking and having fun and kids playing on the walkway etc. It was very, very weird for me since in Sweden if you are out with a kid past 8 pm and DRINKING you will get child services called on you the same second, not even kidding. I really liked Italy and how relaxed it was, I want to have kids there, they seemed so much happier overall in Italy.
23. Kissing cousins.
India, more specifically Telangana/Andhra Pradesh: Marrying your first cousin. Specifically, if you’re a girl, you get to marry your mum’s older brother’s son, or your dad’s older sister’s son. It’s not as prevalent now in bigger cities/progressive families, but it’s still fairly common in more rural areas.
22. It’s hard to make a living.
Tipping in America. Most countries don’t do it or understand it, and many Americans don’t believe in it either. It’s also why I believe every person should work as a waiter at least once in their life, and make usually less than minimum wage and live off tips, while also dealing with awful customers. A portion of which goes to the busser or cooks sometimes. It simply is how the system works here, and it became American culture at the same time.
21. Being single is dangerous.
In Denmark it is tradition that when you turn 25, if you are unmarried, friends and family tie you to something, like a lamp post, and throw cinnamon on you. To make it as brutal as possible you spray the person with water to make it stick better. If you turn 30 and still unmarried, it’s pepper instead of cinnamon.
20. Would you like a side of rice with that?
Vietnam has some odd customs, like wiping your butt with your hand and water, so many street vendors on the side of busy roads, eating a meal on a banana leaf, sweet soy sauce.
Also you can buy any kind of drinks in a plastic bag. Weddings in front of your house so you have to block the road just for the wedding. There are restaurants who sell meals that have been cooked in the morning and no, they do not usually heat them again. We eat any part of an animal.
Rice fields even on steep hills. Almost everyone owns private vehicle so the road is usually crowded and the air pollution is high. Durian. KFC and McDonald’s sell rice.
19. Hospitality is key.
Turkish people actually love guests. From what I’ve seen, people normally see guests (especially relatives) as bothersome and tiring but in Turkey even if you call just an hour before you go, a common Turkish mom will “quickly” prepare food and insist you stay for dinner. Before dinner you’ll get tea and after dinner again tea or coffee. Even the poorest of families will try their hardest because guests are believed to be “sent by God” and it’s our duty to treat them as best we can.
On the flip side, it’s extremely disrespectful to complain about the food at someone’s house because they probably tried their best to make you feel at home.
Also, the amount of black tea we drink is ridiculous. In my 20 years of living in Istanbul, I have yet to meet a Turkish person who’ll say no to a cup of tea or Turkish coffee.
18. Keeping everyone honest.
Norway: Everyone’s tax / income is available online for the rest of the country to search. What you learn is how much tax they have paid and what they have earned and their fortune after deductions. After about 2009 you had to ID yourself to the search site and everyone could look up who had searched for them. A small improvement, but still a sad invasion of privacy. I think this seems weird to the rest of the world. (The newspapers look up the rich and famous and print their summaries.)
17. One big happy family.
I’m from Iceland and it’s normal for us when we meet new people we want to know if we know anyone that is related to you so we will ask you where you’re from, who your parents are or who your grandparents even who your great grandparents no matter who you are, where you’re from or how uncomfortable it makes you we will find out if we are related or we know anyone that is related to you.
16. Class differences.
I’ll lump Asia as a whole. Waking up any time of day and going outside to smell food being cooked and sold for less than a dollar. You can’t do that in Australia or the UK as far as I’m aware of, you have to wait until the shops are open.
Everything is disorganized, garbage being dumped anywhere, the rich avoiding going certain places “too poor”, status playing a huge role in court so rich get away with just about anything . I detached myself from this fortunately.
15. Respect your elders.
The concept of being a “Filial son or daughter .” As an Asian, I grow up and realized western countries didn’t have this kind of concept. To become a Filial kid means you have to listen to your parents on all your life decisions, and after you can financially support yourself, you gotta give some kind of an allowance to your parents. In you don’t do these thing, you will become an “Unfilial kid,” which means social shame on your whole family.
14. Stay back three feet.
Personal space is not a concept in India. In North America people feel uncomfortable staring or sitting close to one another. Meanwhile in India and Japan for that matter, all the streets are crowded and people get squeezed into public transport like it’s nothing.
13. Plug your nose.
We eat durian – these spiky and super stinky custardy fruits that are banned on our trains because of the stench… but so delicious when you actually taste them. I remember seeing the fruit on TV as a Fear Factor challenge. But in Singapore we queue up and pay to eat that stuff.
12. Cute AND tasty.
Some regions in Peru, people eat Guinea pigs. I’ve been living in Canada since 1993 and whenever I tell that in my home country people eat Guinea Pigs instead of having them as pets people look at me like I’m some kind of murderer.
11. Keeping cool.
My countrymen believe that if you sleep in a room with the fan turned on (ceiling flan, plug-in, etc.), you will choke and die. I remember when I was a kid visiting my grandparents in Korea during summer break, I beefed with them because it was so hot, I insisted that the fan be on. They weren’t sure if I was gonna make it to adulthood given my high tolerance for risk.
10. Not as strange as it sounds.
Adding cheese to hot chocolate for breakfast: Literally, putting a piece or several pieces of cheese inside the mug with the hot chocolate and wait until the cheese melts. I’m Colombian. Apparently we are the only country that drinks chocolate this way. Not everyone likes it, though.
Black face is not offensive: Let me explain. People in Colombia can wear black face and white face for the Blacks and Whites’ Carnival, a traditional celebration that started with indigenous rituals and then got extended to African slaves as far back as the 1600s. So nowadays people celebrate their roots, their race and their customs every year wearing black and white faces and dancing. I’ve seen people doing this since I was very little so to me it’s very strange to think of black face as a bad thing. Even when I understand the historical and cultural situation in USA.
9. We’ll take your word for it.
We eat Mett in Germany, which is raw minced pork with some seasoning (kind of depends on which butcher you get it from).
A normal Mettbrötchen would be a bunch of Mett on dry (as in nothing else on there) breadroll, sprinkle some onion on there, add salt and pepper.
It’s great and not really a risk if you eat it here because there’s strict regulations on it to guarantee that it is actually safely edible, you’re advised against buying it to take it home when it’s hot in summer and you’re also generally advised to cook any leftovers on the same day.
Apparently regulations and such aren’t the same anywhere else, so please don’t just try to eat raw mince from whatever butcher is at your supermarket.
8. Eastern European culture shock.
Well, I come from Bulgaria and I can say that we have a pretty weird country, here are some of the weirdest things:
Many people eat pizza with mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. Eating bread with literally anything. Homemade meal? Better with bread on the side!Fast food like noodles/ramen/spaghetti(tbh anything but burgers)? Better with bread! Bread? Why not add more bread to it!
We shoot guns at weddings and throw money at the bride like she is a stripper. We don’t dance romantic music at weddings, we dance something called kuchek/chalga which is literally Turkish music for people who can’t dance.
Also people kill and eat pigeons.
7. Pedestrians rule.
Driving and walking on the roads of India.
Here, we cross the street when we like, where we like, and how fast we like. Red lights are present, but not the supreme authority – it’s our social cues. Pedestrians and drivers both have a sub-conscious acknowledgement that pedestrians will cross the road irrespective of the red light, and both parties adjust for each other.
Sometimes it’s a hand to show I’m crossing, sometimes just an impudent walk across the road while the driver comes towards you. If the driver is willing he’ll slow down and let the pedestrian cross, else he’ll speed up and the pedestrian knows to step back or risk a broken body.
If you haven’t grown up with this system, you will be shocked. But it’s “working”.
6. A triple threat.
No longer living in there but in Venezuela it is common courtesy to arrive late to social commitments like parties and the such.
If you arrive early you will very likely find yourself helping the host prepare all the stuff for the party and you will be made fun of (“so you really wanted to pull out the chairs uh?”)
In Spain we have lunch at like 2 or 3 PM, but then again this country functions two hours late for almost everything.
Finally I’m Uruguayan and they are so weird though it’s hard to pick one quirk. They eat pizza with a corn bread over it called “Faina”, and it’s a “Pizza a caballo.” They also go to the beach and drink Mate, which is a hot infusion. They also very rarely respond to greetings in a positive way (“How are you?” Fine and you? “Well… pulling through…”)
5. South American charm.
Hanging out with your friends and eating half a cow’s worth of meat (not literally, but yes a lot of meat). Eating the cow’s guts/intestines, organs such as the kidneys, liver, brain, eating the tongue and udders udders, and blood sausage. Morcilla Is delicious guys. Try it.
An economic crisis with extremely high inflation every 8 to 12 years.
Speaking Spanish like Italians.
Football (the one where you kick a ball with your foot, not the one where you toss an egg with your hands) being pretty much a religion, although this one is common in the entire continent, not country specific.
Having every single biome you can think of within the country.
Going cross country to us means traveling what a European might consider an international travesty due to the sheer size of my country. Going to my grandma’s house, for example, covered a bigger distance than the entire Netherlands.
4. Looking for a little help.
Namibia: People are often taken aback at our ridiculously helpful ways. Had a few American women the other day who couldn’t get over how we were willing to drive 10 mins out of town to make sure they got to the right turn off. It’s easy to get lost in the desert, especially with all the dirt roads that lead off from the main road. We always carry 5 L of water in our car, we gave that to them just in case and I gave them my number if they ran into trouble anywhere in the country, since I know at least someone in every town in the area where they were heading. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me. But when they did have car trouble they gave me a call and I arranged for a friend who is a mechanic to tow their car and fix it for free.
They were so grateful and stunned at how many people stopped to help them, they had to assure about a dozen cars that help was coming, one man and his wife even stayed with them until the tow truck arrived. That couple arranged for free lodging in another part of the country for them….they kept in touch throughout their trip and couldn’t stop going on about our friendliness. I never thought it was so unique to my country until then. That and people bathe in the river in full view of everyone and it’s not weird at all. My health education came from asking why the man had a dangly thing, it wasn’t this weird or uncomfortable conversation. Just another fact of life. Like birds fly, sun brings day. Normal.
3. Moving to Kazakhstan immediately.
Hello from Kazakhstan. I can talk about weird stuff from here all day long, but here are the top three things:
We have a tradition when a baby turns one and starts learning how to walk. Whole family comes together in one of the houses. We eat, then get a carpet, then tie the baby’s legs. Then we give a pair of scissors to the oldest Grandma. Then we stand the baby up, Grandma cuts the leg ties and poof! Magic! The baby walk! And then we throw candies everywhere.
When a girl and boy want to marry, parents and closest aunts and uncles from both families comes together in a house or restaurant and be like: “Hello, We are going to Give presents and celebrate that our kids is marrying.” And then we throw candies everywhere.
Adults can meet someone in the store, talk, and then be lifelong friends, invite each other over and have their kids play together, get married, and then we throw candies everywhere.
2. Who wants to be the saunameister?
German sauna culture:
In public saunas usually everyone is naked. If you feel uncomfortable, you can wrap a towel around your waist and/or chest. Between sittings you’d usually wear a robe.
Most public saunas have half a day or more during the week reserved to female only. Check their website for details on that, if you are interested.
Be prepared that it will get crowded in the sauna when “Aufguss” are scheduled. Aufguss is the process of throwing scented water on the heater to increase humidity.
I don’t know a public sauna where swimsuits are allowed. If there are pools, you’d swim naked but you can wear swimsuits there if you want to.
As long as you are in the sauna, you don’t want to get too romantic with your spouse or whoever you are with. There is a difference between nudity and promiscuity. There are special clubs reserved for that. (I was asked to tell that these are so called sauna clubs. Hence I called them clubs. Basically those are brothels.)
In hotels you will often find a small sauna. Unwritten law is, the first to enter the sauna decides if it’s fine to be naked. But in hotel saunas it’s way more common to wear a towel than in public saunas.
Private saunas of course are up to the owners and/or users. Do what you are comfortable with – naked or towel.
In Germany, throwing scented water on the heater is very popular and generally done by sauna personnel (the saunameister). German spas usually have a variety of saunas in their facilities. Different types of “Aufguss” in different kinds of saunas usually follow a strict schedule. Most sauna regulars will follow the saunameister around and take part in the Aufguss.
1. Home is the weirdest place of all.
Stuff we do in the US that confuse other countries:
Tip our servers because they make less than minimum wage. Charge sales tax on top of the listed price. Own and carry firearms for no other reason than “it’s our right.” Drive ourselves the the hospital because of that ambulance bill. Only see the doctor when you’re dying because regular visits are too expensive. Coffee to-go instead of sitting down to enjoy a cup. Supersize everything, because more is always better.
Restaurant etiquette like requesting steak sauce to ruin a perfectly good ribeye (giving the other half the side-eye for this one), ice in our drinks, free drink refills, or taking home leftovers. Thumbs up as a good gesture. Limiting consumption – i.e. dry states/counties and over 21 laws. Acting like prudes about exposure/indecency and nudity in general. Smiling at strangers, showing teeth. Resistance to the metric system. Spend years getting a degree for a decent paying job just so we can pay off all that college tuition.
Rarely taking time off work because paid leave isn’t usually a thing – average employee in the US gets 13 days off a year. I’m lucky to get a week. Jelly. No, not wobbly jell-o, but that fruit preserve that goes so well on a buttermilk biscuit. Bacon on everything – yes, I like it in pancakes, on ice cream, on salad… Bottled water – I just grew up on well-water and hate the taste of chlorine and flouride. Everything is open 24 hours. Wearing flip-flops everywhere. Lack of restroom privacy – and calling it a restroom instead of a toilet. Deep-fried everything. Refrigerated eggs. Driving everywhere – but let’s be fair. If I want to see my relatives – still in the same country – it’s a 20-hour drive each way.