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Fun Stuff => CHATTER => Topic started by: Is it cold in here? on 03 Nov 2013, 10:53

Title: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 03 Nov 2013, 10:53
Quote from: travel book
Of course it's different from home. That's the entire point.

To start off, visitors to the USA (http://thoughtcatalog.com/timmy-parker/2013/10/30-non-americans-on-the-weirdest-things-that-are-norms-to-americans/).

Please keep it light-hearted.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 03 Nov 2013, 11:01
Everyone in the states drives all the time, everywhere. I understand why, because everything is incredibly spread out, but it's so weird to me. Especially on the west coast, everything is so wide and vast and open, the roads are so wide and... yeah. My west coast-based boyfriend told me he felt claustrophobic when he visited the UK because everything was so narrow and tiny, but to me this is the norm.

Also I'm 25 and I can't drive, which everyone I know from the states finds really weird.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LeeC on 03 Nov 2013, 11:02
A friend of mine who grew up outside the USA said there was 2 things really weird about the US.  Our "car culture" and how cars are precious to us, and how we treat American history, though short, as some sort of religion or something.  :laugh:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Jimmy the Squid on 03 Nov 2013, 11:11
I guess what seemed the most weird when I visited the US (I've been a few times and only to the east coast) is that everything is so cheap. I mean I know you guys don't get paid a lot but if I could continue making Australian wages I could afford a really nice flat in NYC.

Second weirdest thing was whenever we went to a cafe I would try to order a chocolate milkshake. Not a big deal in Australia, in fact very standard. In the US we could not find a cafe that did milkshakes and I have no idea why. Every waitress looked at me like I just asked to lick her eyes. Eventually we figured out that you have to go to like, diners and specific kinds of restaurants but it was weird.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 03 Nov 2013, 11:12
Quote from: travel book
Of course it's different from home. That's the entire point.

To start off, visitors to the USA (http://thoughtcatalog.com/timmy-parker/2013/10/30-non-americans-on-the-weirdest-things-that-are-norms-to-americans/).

Please keep it light-hearted.
I was amused by the one that mentioned the sales tax thing... when I went to Brazil, I was at a store with a couple other people, and saw something I wanted to buy for R$15, and was disappointed when I realized I only brought R$15 with me, so obviously I didn't have enough. They looked at me like I was a space alien.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 03 Nov 2013, 11:17
Oh yeah food culture is very different over there. Like, in Norway it's not common to go out for meals on a regular basis, in the UK it's a little more common, but in the US everyone seems to do it all the time and it's because it's actually affordable for many. Plus you get so many options, we went to a diner once and I ordered a standard breakfast with eggs, toast, hashbrowns and bacon. When I told the waitress she gave me options for everything, like how I'd like my eggs, if I wanted my toast to be rye, wheat, sourdough or something else, did I want fries instead of hashbrowns, sausage instead of bacon and on and on. In Europe you might get a couple options, but if the menu says 'eggs' they usually mean fried (and there's only one type of fried), and they'll specify if the eggs are scrambled, you don't get to choose.

Oh and free coffee refills. My favourite thing about America, seriously.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 03 Nov 2013, 11:37
Quote from: travel book
Of course it's different from home. That's the entire point.

To start off, visitors to the USA (http://thoughtcatalog.com/timmy-parker/2013/10/30-non-americans-on-the-weirdest-things-that-are-norms-to-americans/).

Please keep it light-hearted.
I was amused by the one that mentioned the sales tax thing... when I went to Brazil, I was at a store with a couple other people, and saw something I wanted to buy for R$15, and was disappointed when I realized I only brought R$15 with me, so obviously I didn't have enough. They looked at me like I was a space alien.
Well, I'd be doing the same! The whole point of a price tag is to indicate how much you'll be paying, so I don't understand why you would not include tax on it. Trick you into thinking you're paying less, I guess?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LeeC on 03 Nov 2013, 12:13
nah, each state has their own sales tax, its easier to price things as a distributor with the general price and have the local stores apply their local tax when checking out.  sales tax may be high in California but non existent in Delaware.  When they get priced there's really no telling where the actual product will end up from the distribution center.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 03 Nov 2013, 12:16
Oh man, yes, the sales tax and the options for everything in the USA. I remember ordering breakfast and being offered three different types of butter on my toast. I thought they were pulling my leg.

When I lived in Paris it seemed like everyone wore black, all the time, with sometimes a dark red scarf. My cousin is living there now and has observed the same thing (without me mentioning it). I don't know if that's true for the rest of France - I don't think it is, but I've not spent as much time elsewhere.

Looking at that list reminds me of another thing I found odd in France - or rather, something that I noticed about the UK when I came back. In Paris, people are formal and an interaction with a salesperson is conducted using the formal pronouns, without any chat (although this could possibly be because they assumed I couldn't speak enough French to chat - but I don't think so, because I didn't notice other people having long chats either). When I came back to the UK I bought a sandwich from a woman who called me pet and chatted about the weather.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Jimmy the Squid on 03 Nov 2013, 12:24
I was prepared for the sales tax thing because I'd been forewarned but that does seem weird to me. I mean I kind of get the different states different taxes thing but I know that here, prices are set by the store. So yes the same item might be similarly priced between different stores but the point is is that the store puts the price on the item. Like, the people at the store the item is sold at. So surely they know what the price will be? It seems like one of those things where everyone in the US is totally fine with it and it seems really reasonable to them but visitors are really taken aback.

Like when my housemate moved over from New Zealand. He's all "There's a spider the size of my head in the kitchen!" I'm like, yeah. He says "Oh my god, it's nearly 40 degrees C in October!" I'm like yeah. He goes "What the hell, the sun is blood red, the sky is pitch black and everything is on fire" I'm like You did know you were moving to Australia, right?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 03 Nov 2013, 12:30
Ha yeah I've talked to people who moved to Norway and they're all 'IT'S SO COLD'. ....yes. You're in Norway, it's cold.

And the sales tax thing is so weird, my boyfriend asked if we don't have in Europe, and when I said we do, it's just that it's included in the price that is shown so that it's easier to know how much money you're spending, he was like 'huh, oh yeah that makes much more sense, good idea.', as if no one had ever thought of doing that before.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 03 Nov 2013, 12:31
Great Southern Land   ;D
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 03 Nov 2013, 12:40
nah, each state has their own sales tax, its easier to price things as a distributor with the general price and have the local stores apply their local tax when checking out.  sales tax may be high in California but non existent in Delaware.  When they get priced there's really no telling where the actual product will end up from the distribution center.
Yeah, like Jimmy says, that still makes no sense. In our supermarkets, the price tags of branded goods are on the shelves, not on the products - with the exception of freshly packaged goods like vegetables and meats that are always of the store's brand. The supermarkets compete with their prices, especially on branded goods, so it would be pointless for a distributor to start putting prices on them.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 03 Nov 2013, 12:58
Second weirdest thing was whenever we went to a cafe I would try to order a chocolate milkshake. Not a big deal in Australia, in fact very standard. In the US we could not find a cafe that did milkshakes and I have no idea why. Every waitress looked at me like I just asked to lick her eyes. Eventually we figured out that you have to go to like, diners and specific kinds of restaurants but it was weird.

You were in the wrong state :D Cross over into Connecticutt and the other New England states and find an ice cream parlor. Every one that serves them does so with the intent that they make the best...just make sure to call them "frappes" not milkshakes- we get defensive about the name even if it's ridiculous to do so.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 03 Nov 2013, 13:01
Speaking of foreign countries, I am just coming back from Bavaria. :-D

People there have a cute accent which reminds me of Swiss. And really everything is closed on Sundays, unlike some fast food places in where I live.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 03 Nov 2013, 13:10
The lack of tipping culture outside the United States always kinda weirds me out, but by the goddess I wish we ('Murrica) would adopt it.

Japanese driving laws are insane. It's perfectly normal to basically stop in the middle of the road to unload a vehicle (not like there's parking on the side of the road most places). I mean it's great because there is 100% no reason to drive as a tourist unless you're heading out to the countryside so it's really not an issue but feth me it was weird.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Jimmy the Squid on 03 Nov 2013, 13:14
The lack of tipping culture outside the United States always kinda weirds me out, but by the goddess I wish we ('Murrica) would adopt it.

That'd mean you'd have to start paying people decent wages. Which I can assume you'd be fine with.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 03 Nov 2013, 13:19
Yeah decent wages over tipping any day. The whole purpose of tips should be to give something extra to someone who did a great job doing whatever they're doing, it's not supposed to be a necessity they have to rely on in order to get by.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 03 Nov 2013, 13:22
The lack of tipping culture outside the United States always kinda weirds me out, but by the goddess I wish we ('Murrica) would adopt it.

Japanese driving laws are insane. It's perfectly normal to basically stop in the middle of the road to unload a vehicle (not like there's parking on the side of the road most places). I mean it's great because there is 100% no reason to drive as a tourist unless you're heading out to the countryside so it's really not an issue but feth me it was weird.

Something I noticed about the roads in Brazil... there were few crosswalk lights, so generally to cross the street you had to wait for the right phase on the traffic lights. But it was common for drivers to ignore the traffic lights, and they apparently consider trying to kill pedestrians a favorite pastime. I almost got killed by an ancient Volkswagen Beetle crossing the street one time.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Lines on 03 Nov 2013, 13:38
Decent wages are a guarantee, decent tips are unreliable "charity". Fuck tips, they're stupid.

Also, Jimmy, basically you just need to go to a dairy bar/ice cream parlor. Yeah, we've got our frozen frappe thingies, but those are not real milkshakes and most restaurants do not actually sell them. Restaurants are too focused on cookies, pie, and cake as a dessert most of the time.

The only thing I noticed when visiting Canada was how nobody up there does the "left lane is the fast lane"/"left lane is for passing" thing. It drove me nuts. Going at or below the speed limit in the farthest lane from the merging lane seems so dumb. Also get out of my way slow people!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 03 Nov 2013, 13:43
The lack of tipping culture outside the United States always kinda weirds me out, but by the goddess I wish we ('Murrica) would adopt it.

That'd mean you'd have to start paying people decent wages. Which I can assume you'd be fine with.

Yep.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Jimmy the Squid on 03 Nov 2013, 14:00
Decent wages are a guarantee, decent tips are unreliable "charity". Fuck tips, they're stupid.

Also, Jimmy, basically you just need to go to a dairy bar/ice cream parlor. Yeah, we've got our frozen frappe thingies, but those are not real milkshakes and most restaurants do not actually sell them. Restaurants are too focused on cookies, pie, and cake as a dessert most of the time.


Yeah see that's the problem though. I can go to literally any cafe in Sydney and they'll do milkshakes. It's just a given that if a place does both coffee and tea then they do milkshakes as well.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Welu on 03 Nov 2013, 14:35
You were in the wrong state :D Cross over into Connecticutt and the other New England states and find an ice cream parlor. Every one that serves them does so with the intent that they make the best...just make sure to call them "frappes" not milkshakes- we get defensive about the name even if it's ridiculous to do so.

Aren't frappes specifically iced coffee though, as in short for frappuccino? I've only heard that name refer to that. Milkshakes are a different thing here (UK/Ireland) if that's the case.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 03 Nov 2013, 14:44
I would have thought it was obvious that 'frappuccino' is a portmanteau of 'frappe' and 'cappuccino'. I've heard of café frappé but I didn't actually know what it was until I looked it up on Wikipedia. Here's what it says: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frapp%C3%A9_coffee)

Quote from: Wikipedia
In the United States, "frappe" has two meanings, only one related to coffee, and neither connected to the Greek coffee drink.[10] In the northeastern region of New England, a frappe (pronounced "frap" and spelled without the accent) is a thick milkshake.[10] [11] A coffee shop there, in Boston, Massachusetts, combined a milk shake with coffee and called it "frappuccino".[10] When Starbucks bought the shop, the Coffee Connection, it bought the trademarked name.[10] The Starbucks in Greece offers both Frappuccino and Greek-style "Frappe" (written by Starbucks without the accent).[12] Since then frappe has entered the American lexicon as an iced coffee drink, either sold chilled or frozen. Many of Starbucks' competitors, in the United States, in the Philippines and elsewhere, have begun offering drinks similar to the popular and trademarked frappuccino and called them "frappe" with or without the accent, some which do not include any coffee.[13]
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Welu on 03 Nov 2013, 14:54
The closest Starbucks to me that I know of is about 80 miles/130km away from me and I've never been in one or any specialty coffee place. I've also only found out a frappe was a thing just now in this thread so I naturally assumed "frappe" was short for "frappuccino" and not a different thing. So no, it's not really obvious.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 03 Nov 2013, 15:45
You were in the wrong state :D Cross over into Connecticutt and the other New England states and find an ice cream parlor. Every one that serves them does so with the intent that they make the best...just make sure to call them "frappes" not milkshakes- we get defensive about the name even if it's ridiculous to do so.

Aren't frappes specifically iced coffee though, as in short for frappuccino? I've only heard that name refer to that. Milkshakes are a different thing here (UK/Ireland) if that's the case.

Frappaccino is a combination of frappe and cappuccino, it's basically a sleazy way of selling someone a frappe mixed with flavored coffee.
Real frappes to most people are almost exactly the same as milkshakes with the only adjustment in my opinion being that frappes tend to be all ice cream while the milkshake adds milk in place of one or two scoops of ice cream.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 03 Nov 2013, 15:49
The closest Starbucks to me that I know of is about 80 miles/130km away from me and I've never been in one or any specialty coffee place. I've also only found out a frappe was a thing just now in this thread so I naturally assumed "frappe" was short for "frappuccino" and not a different thing. So no, it's not really obvious.

It's a regional thing and an older generation thing, if I didn't live in a beach city that has them being sold by every restaurant in the summer and my mother didn't love getting them once a month I wouldn't eve know about them
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Lines on 03 Nov 2013, 16:11
I've only ever heard frappes as a term for frozen coffee and don't typically have ice cream in them, just coffee, ice, and milk/sugar/etc.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 03 Nov 2013, 17:30
Oh. Something that was really weird in Japan that I took to like a fish to water. No open container laws, and just about no stigma for walking around drinking a beer at all. It was glorious. Get a cold beer from a vending machine and walk through a park on a warm summer night. Perfect.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 03 Nov 2013, 17:34
That's similar in Brazil. The physics department I visited had a party/get-together thing just off campus the one night, and I walked back to the physics department with some of the grad students. We were all carrying cups of beer, and I started to get worried as we walked onto campus, because you have to show your ID to the security guard to get into the physics department. We get there, he sees all of us carrying cups of beer into the building, and just says "Boa noite" ("good evening").
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 03 Nov 2013, 18:03
Hmm. Isn't this thread similar to the "When in Rome" thread? At least intended it to be.

As for Loki: I still get strange looks for using the northern Germarn default greeting here. Fucking "Moin" doesn't fucking mean fucking "Good morning"! It is being used during the whole day. Goddammit. "Moi" is low Germar for good. "Moin" is just short for "Moi'n Dag".

It isn't so complicated. So stop looking at me weird when I use it in the evening. I definitely won't stop saying it. It's just too useful to have a universal greeting for every time of the day, formal enough for store personel, and informal enough for friends. It's short and simple.

Moin Moin!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Papersatan on 03 Nov 2013, 18:06
WRT US pricing I'd like to point out that:

some goods are priced before they reach a store (clothing and books come to mind)
sales tax in the US varies not only by state but also by county, and sometimes by city
the tax on some items in some places changes throughout the year (NYS used to have a week where clothing was tax-free for example)
for a large chain keeping a database from up to date with the current with tax price for each item at each store cost more money/resources than calculating the tax at the register.

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Nov 2013, 20:59
Going on the coffee thing, Israel. Iced coffee means ice plus coffee, you'd think that'd be simple. Nope! I went into several places in Israel and asked for one and they started to make some blended monstrosity before I realized what they were doing and said no, I wanted coffee that's iced. It wasn't until the end of the trip that I learned I had to ask for a "cold Americano" (which I would've been fine with, but I went without coffee nearly the whole time!)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Mlle Germain on 04 Nov 2013, 06:23
I have just moved from Germany to the UK, which I love for many different reasons.
But a few things I still find very funny: The standard example is probably having two separate taps for warm and cold water at the sink. I find it so much more convenient to be able to have medium temperature water directly without having to mix it in the bowl.
Then the fact that bikes seem nearly always to be sold without lights, bell, mudguards... So you have to buy everything extra and most people have clip-on lights with batteries. In Germany this isn't allowed unless the light shows how much of the initial energy is left in the battery. Most bikes are sold completely equipped with lights being powered by a dynamo. You don't really get a choice - although you can of course switch to your preferred equipment later.
When I came back to the UK I bought a sandwich from a woman who called me pet and chatted about the weather.

That is something I found very endearing. Many salespeople here seem to be much keener on making contact with their customers than in Germany.
And about milkshakes: I love milkshakes and to my experience, they are much more common in the UK than in Germany. And all that I've tried were very good!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 04 Nov 2013, 07:11
Oh my god, the tap thing annoys me to no end. Why two different taps? So you can scold one hand and freeze the other, or just spend ages switching both hands between them, it doesn't make any sense to me. I actually know someone from England who was so annoyed they renovated his building and put the single tap which mixes the water, because he preferred mixing it himself.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 04 Nov 2013, 08:35
s/scold/scald/

New taps are commonly mixers these days in the UK as well.  The only separate taps in my house are the old ones in the utility room sink.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 04 Nov 2013, 09:35
For the US, the biggest things for me were:
- race.  subtle, but there, at least in the midwest and the south
- guns.
- cheap food/gas.  Seriously.
- I found concrete roads in Houston to be very, very odd.

Everyone in the states drives all the time, everywhere. I understand why, because everything is incredibly spread out, but it's so weird to me.

At times in my life, a family day trip to a town or city anywhere between 50 and ~350 miles away has been considered reasonable.

It's one of the things that always strikes me when Top Gear UK, for example, criticizes american cars.  Spacious interiors and soft suspensions might not be what sells in the UK, but over here, how can you NOT want that for something you might easily spend 10 hours a day in for days on end (or in my family's case, 20 hours a day).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 04 Nov 2013, 09:40
As for driving in the US, the farther west you go, the longer a drive is considered reasonable. In the northeast, 50 miles is a day trip. Out west, 100 miles could be "down the road".
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 04 Nov 2013, 10:18
Haha yeah, I've noticed that. It makes sense because the east was populated before cars were around, so it's more like Europe, while in the west everything was build and expanded with cars in mind. It really looks different too, I'd only been to the east before this year, it's really interesting how different it is.

When my boyfriend's band toured the UK last year, they'd rented a car to drive around in. They arrived in Glasgow, their first show was in Aberdeen and then Glasgow the day after, so they drove up to Aberdeen (it's a 2-3 hour drive), played the show and drove down again the same day. Everyone here thought they were mental.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 04 Nov 2013, 11:03
I found it very funny how everyone I met in Indiana last summer was complaining about the rocketing price of fuel. I worked out that in Britain at that point people were paying about 2.5 times as much, and there was far less grumbling.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 04 Nov 2013, 11:19
Indiana doesn't have the UK's public transportation.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 04 Nov 2013, 11:35
For the US, the biggest things for me were:
- race.  subtle, but there, at least in the midwest and the south
Um, I assume you mean racism?

Quote
It's one of the things that always strikes me when Top Gear UK-
Which is known as Top Gear to everyone else. :-P
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: snalin on 04 Nov 2013, 11:38
In the UK:

You can go to a pub to eat. Like, not just a bowl of nachos or whatever - food that you eat with utensils. Different from here where there's no places where it's common to both sit and only drink, and to eat a dinner.

I got cursed at for getting on my bike on the sidewalk even if it was just to ride it from there out into the street - "There's a fucking road out there!". Here you can pretty much ride them wherever.

God dammit those taps are horrendous.

Anywhere not Norway:
You can get beer in the store after 8 pm.
Cops carry pistols, batons, bulletproof vests, etc.
Cities. So. Big.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 04 Nov 2013, 11:39
Another thing about Top Gear (which I've never watched and know little about), is how in the states, people seem to think Jeremy Clarkson is funny and entertaining, while in the UK, everyone hates him for being a conservative, inconsiderate bigot. It probably doesn't come across well on Top Gear since many Americans I know who completely disagree with his views still think he's funny, but over here, Top Gear is just one of the things he's known for and he's a very outspoken, public figure in other ways.

Edit: Biking on the sidewalk is actually illegal in the UK, which is funny because in Norway it's sort of the norm.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 04 Nov 2013, 11:53
It's the norm here, too. Ride your bike in the street and you'll get run over.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LeeC on 04 Nov 2013, 11:59
Here in the US you can really do either.  Most cities/towns have ordinances saying that if you are on a bike to maintain the speed limit and are treated as a vehicle, but they can also bike on the side walk.  They are treated pretty much like both pedestrian and motor vehicle.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 04 Nov 2013, 12:05
Biking on the sidewalk is actually illegal in the UK, which is funny because in Norway it's sort of the norm.

Yes; but in a lot of places there are also cycle tracks marked on the pavement (sidewalk, if you like!), either alongside the pedestrians, or even marked to be shared.  It can be pretty hard sometimes to find out just where you are expected to be riding!  One track in Oxford has a white line down the middle and cycle and pedestrian signs on the two sides; the trouble is they're the opposite way round at the two ends!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 04 Nov 2013, 12:25
Actually, the public transport in Indiana was far better than the public transport near either of my parents' houses. It may be an unfair comparison since my parents live in villages on the outskirts of small towns and Fort Wayne is a fairly large place, but don't make the mistake of thinking that all of the UK has the public transport that London has. From the end of my mum's road you can get one bus a week (on a Wednesday morning - the bus makes the return route on a Saturday afternoon).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 04 Nov 2013, 13:51
Yes, I here in NZ know Jeremy's a twat

But he's a funny twat, probably the kind of twat you'd invite to a party rather than the twat heading the BNP.

But he's still a twat.



It always surprises me that neither Hammond or May haven't decked him before now

Or The Stig run him over.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: jwhouk on 04 Nov 2013, 15:31
May can attest to the (lack of) public transportation here in my part of the US.

I have only been outside the US once. That was to Canada, eh?

Oddest thing about that was the lack of caffeine in Mountain Dew (at the time).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 04 Nov 2013, 15:59
Caffeine-free Mountain Dew? :psyduck:

But also, why haven't you gone anywhere?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 04 Nov 2013, 16:10
Another thing about Top Gear (which I've never watched and know little about), is how in the states, people seem to think Jeremy Clarkson is funny and entertaining, while in the UK, everyone hates him for being a conservative, inconsiderate bigot. It probably doesn't come across well on Top Gear since many Americans I know who completely disagree with his views still think he's funny, but over here, Top Gear is just one of the things he's known for and he's a very outspoken, public figure in other ways.

Edit: Biking on the sidewalk is actually illegal in the UK, which is funny because in Norway it's sort of the norm.

He comes off exactly the same as you guys see him over here, Richard comes off as enthusiastic screw up while James comes off as old fashioned, careful, and slow...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Welu on 04 Nov 2013, 16:26
Clarkson has a page in one of the tabloid newspapers here where he spouts most of his thoughts. I can't remember which or even what he usually says in it, because I only read newspapers if there's one in work's breakroom.

Oddest thing about that was the lack of caffeine in Mountain Dew (at the time).

The only form of Mountain Dew I see on a regular basis here is Mountain Dew Energy, which seems to be different from regular Mountain Dew. I've never tried it.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ChaoSera on 04 Nov 2013, 16:28
Reading the link from the first post has made me scared of American bread. Is it really that sweet? I love bread - real bread, that is. Eating sweet bread all the time.... god no. Also it would probably make put on 20 kilos in 2 weeks.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Emperor Norton on 04 Nov 2013, 16:45
Reading the link from the first post has made me scared of American bread. Is it really that sweet? I love bread - real bread, that is. Eating sweet bread all the time.... god no. Also it would probably make put on 20 kilos in 2 weeks.

If they really think that American bread tastes like cake, they must have some really really bland cake. I have had a lot of different types of bread, and while most of the more American breads are generally sweeter, its not so much as to be anywhere near cake.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Welu on 04 Nov 2013, 16:48
Some cakes are sweeter than others but that makes me think people mean plain sponge, not like cake with icing or decoration on it.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Emperor Norton on 04 Nov 2013, 17:00
Actually, while no one in the thread has done it, after reading the link in the initial post it kind of gets me a bit annoyed.

So much "ITS DIFFERENT, OH MY GOD IT SUCKS" attitude.

I would seriously be disappointed if I visited another country and it was no different than my own.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 04 Nov 2013, 17:26
Eh most different things in Japan I goddamn loved. The easy access to hardcore porn (in every convenience store, you know for your convenience) was the only thing that really squicked me out to my surprise, but I suppose that's just the remaining American puritanism I have left in me.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 04 Nov 2013, 18:33
Reading the link from the first post has made me scared of American bread. Is it really that sweet? I love bread - real bread, that is. Eating sweet bread all the time.... god no. Also it would probably make put on 20 kilos in 2 weeks.
I can imagine how American bread would taste because I know it from fast-food restaurant chains. The hamburger patty bread tastes stuffy and saturated. I last had a chicken burger at McDonalds when I was 16, and I threw it in the trash after the first bite because it was so awful.

If I try to buy this kind of bread (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Breadindia.jpg) in say, France, the closest thing they usually have is sandwich bread, which tastes sweet as well. It's very much unlike any bread that's freshly baked.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 05 Nov 2013, 09:45
Saw this on another site and thought it might be relevent  :lol:
Americans for Aussies by an American in Austrailia (http://imgur.com/gallery/kQhqEcx)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 05 Nov 2013, 09:55
Here's a version I saw that is "America labeled by an Australian"
(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 05 Nov 2013, 10:20
Cessium, that is pretty much how many fourth graders/grade 4s here think of the map for the first few weeks when they have to learn the states. Worse when you have to also learn 50 state capitals and if the teachers are cruel, 50 state flowers and state birds  :roll:

You might get some decent teachers who also teach you the Canadian provinces and Austrailian states, thankfully they are added into most textbooks alongside the US states and international countries.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LeeC on 05 Nov 2013, 10:21
As a person that grew up in Maryland: No one knows where it is.  Most think the entire state is Washington DC.  :facepalm:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 05 Nov 2013, 10:27
I like this one:

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 05 Nov 2013, 10:37
As a person that grew up in Maryland: No one knows where it is.  Most think the entire state is Washington DC.  :facepalm:
Whenever I tell someone I grew up in Maryland, they mention the time they had crab legs or whatever in Baltimore. No, I'm not from that part of Maryland...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Sorflakne on 05 Nov 2013, 10:55
Quote
When I was young and naive, I learned from online forums that Americans took shits that clogged their toilets. I assumed that Americans take massive shits that we Europeans just can’t match (after all, everything is bigger in America)
When I came to US, I learned that they just have different toilets with small hole that gets clogged. European toilets never do that. They have bigger hole. You can put tennis ball trough it.
Ain't that the truth, and I'll leave it at that.

Quote
-Eating salad before the main course…wtf
-Called the main course an ‘entree’
-Having a ridiculous amount of flags
-The number of shitty commercials on major cable channels, not to mention the number of shitty TV shows that somehow get constant airtime
-Tax not included in price in shops
-In some cities (not all) people give you strange looks if you walk around the city and don’t drive (saw this in Houston a lot)
-How poverty is so rife in nearly every major city
Other than the salad thing (salads aren't pre-meal food in other countries?), yep.

Quote
American chocolate sucks.
Only because it's not actually chocolate.

Quote
Wearing shoes in the house… What the fuck are you doing? You step in all nasty shit, for example, if you stepped on a fruit then walked all over your living room then thats how you get ants.
I grew up on a farm, so walking inside with your shoes/boots on (especially during winter) was an invitation to have a frying pan or something thrown at you (it makes sense...shoes are dirt magnets, and these magnets fail as soon as you step inside).  As an American, I just cannot walk around inside with shoes on, and can't understand why people do.  Now, wearing at the workplace is different, but even then, I'd take my shoes off if I could. 

Quote
I find it really weird how college football players are kind of celebrities. They’re scrutinized and have fans and do TV interviews, and it just boggles my mind so much. They’re just students that do an extra-curricular activity! I don’t understand.
THIS.

Quote
Pancakes for breakfast was weird too,
Wait, what?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 05 Nov 2013, 11:01
Oh yeah pancakes in America are totally different. What we call a pancake in Norway at least is a lot thinner, kind of like a crepe but not really. You have it for dinner, usually you put blueberry jam or just plain sugar on it, and roll it up. Before pancakes you have something else, pea soup is pretty common.

The thick breakfast pancake with syrup on it doesn't really exist there. My dad used to make it for breakfast on Sundays, since he was an exchange student in Michigan at one point so he picked it up there. All of my friends thought it was really weird (although delicious).

Plus, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will get you weird looks in Norway.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 05 Nov 2013, 11:03
Quote
When I was young and naive, I learned from online forums that Americans took shits that clogged their toilets. I assumed that Americans take massive shits that we Europeans just can’t match (after all, everything is bigger in America)
When I came to US, I learned that they just have different toilets with small hole that gets clogged. European toilets never do that. They have bigger hole. You can put tennis ball trough it.
Ain't that the truth, and I'll leave it at that.
When I went to Brazil, I found out that I was not supposed to flush toilet paper. Turns out that the sewer system in the city I was in can't handle toilet paper and if you try to flush it the toilet will back up. Luckily I was told in advance by one of the guys from the lab who had been there before. He found out the hard way.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LeeC on 05 Nov 2013, 11:16
Whenever I tell someone I grew up in Maryland, they mention the time they had crab legs or whatever in Baltimore. No, I'm not from that part of Maryland...
Wheres about did you grow up?  Honestly I grew up in Maryland but really didnt eat crabs until I dated this girl from Annapolis.


In maine they have this pancake like food whose name I can't remember.  You make it from buck-wheat.  Its is delicious and is usually the part of a meal that replaces a bread roll on your plate.  Another thing that I only really found in Maine that was delicious was red hotdogs.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 05 Nov 2013, 11:18
All these food-related facts make me think "Christ, no wonder the US has an obesity epidemic."
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 05 Nov 2013, 11:20
Red hot dogs is a danish thing! I wonder if the ones in Maine originated in Denmark too?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 05 Nov 2013, 11:20
Whenever I tell someone I grew up in Maryland, they mention the time they had crab legs or whatever in Baltimore. No, I'm not from that part of Maryland...
Wheres about did you grow up?  Honestly I grew up in Maryland but really didnt eat crabs until I dated this girl from Annapolis.

Allegany County. The redneck part of Maryland...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LeeC on 05 Nov 2013, 11:26
Charles County, the soon to be PG county part two...but I live in VA now.  :wink:

Red hot dogs is a danish thing! I wonder if the ones in Maine originated in Denmark too?
I would not be surprised.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: UniqueNewYork on 05 Nov 2013, 11:57
Quote
When I was young and naive, I learned from online forums that Americans took shits that clogged their toilets. I assumed that Americans take massive shits that we Europeans just can’t match (after all, everything is bigger in America)
When I came to US, I learned that they just have different toilets with small hole that gets clogged. European toilets never do that. They have bigger hole. You can put tennis ball trough it.
Ain't that the truth, and I'll leave it at that.
Mightn't differing diets have to do with it as well?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 05 Nov 2013, 12:01
I don't know much about plumbing, but when I had IBS I did quite a bit of research into fibre and was shocked at the levels of fibre deficiency and constipation in the USA. From what I was reading, it's basically normal to be constipated all the time. People were talking about only opening their bowels once every couple of days as though that were just the way it is. So it is distinctly possible that it's both plumbing and diet!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: UniqueNewYork on 05 Nov 2013, 12:03
I don't know much about plumbing, but when I had IBS I did quite a bit of research into fibre and was shocked at the levels of fibre deficiency and constipation in the USA. From what I was reading, it's basically normal to be constipated all the time. People were talking about only opening their bowels once every couple of days as though that were just the way it is. So it is distinctly possible that it's both plumbing and diet!
Yeah, definitely. My apartment has an ancient toilet (friggin landlord [insert keysmash here]) which I find to be far more easily disabled when I have recently eaten meat than when I have not.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 05 Nov 2013, 12:11
Quote
I find it really weird how college football players are kind of celebrities. They’re scrutinized and have fans and do TV interviews, and it just boggles my mind so much. They’re just students that do an extra-curricular activity! I don’t understand.
THIS.

Actually, we're missing the even bigger picture.  High school football players.....

Whenever I tell someone I grew up in Maryland, they mention the time they had crab legs or whatever in Baltimore. No, I'm not from that part of Maryland...
Wheres about did you grow up?  Honestly I grew up in Maryland but really didnt eat crabs until I dated this girl from Annapolis.

That sounds...TMI....
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: UniqueNewYork on 05 Nov 2013, 12:15
Quote
I find it really weird how college football players are kind of celebrities. They’re scrutinized and have fans and do TV interviews, and it just boggles my mind so much. They’re just students that do an extra-curricular activity! I don’t understand.
THIS.

Actually, we're missing the even bigger picture.  High school football players.....

This is very much a regional thing...mostly in the South/Southeast, at least to the level I assume you're talking about (FNL and what have you)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 05 Nov 2013, 12:15
I don't know much about plumbing, but when I had IBS I did quite a bit of research into fibre and was shocked at the levels of fibre deficiency and constipation in the USA. From what I was reading, it's basically normal to be constipated all the time. People were talking about only opening their bowels once every couple of days as though that were just the way it is. So it is distinctly possible that it's both plumbing and diet!
Yeah, definitely. My apartment has an ancient toilet (friggin landlord [insert keysmash here]) which I find to be far more easily disabled when I have recently eaten meat than when I have not.
So not to change the subject away from poopin', but I'm curious what the data in your avatar is.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LeeC on 05 Nov 2013, 12:17
People were talking about only opening their bowels once every couple of days as though that were just the way it is. So it is distinctly possible that it's both plumbing and diet!
*cautiously raises hand*
usually happens when I diet.  I always thought it was 'case I wasn't over eating anymore.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 05 Nov 2013, 12:20
Whenever I tell someone I grew up in Maryland, they mention the time they had crab legs or whatever in Baltimore. No, I'm not from that part of Maryland...
Wheres about did you grow up?  Honestly I grew up in Maryland but really didnt eat crabs until I dated this girl from Annapolis.

That sounds...TMI....
Oh my god that is the best double entendre ever  :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

People were talking about only opening their bowels once every couple of days as though that were just the way it is.
Um, yes. That is just the way it is. How is that bad? Granted, I don't exactly keep track, but if I had bowel movements multiple times a day I'd be convinced something was wrong.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Emperor Norton on 05 Nov 2013, 12:21
I think I spoke too soon. For a while it was going into the "huh, they do that differently" category, but yep, of course it ends up with "and that is why America is fucked up"
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 05 Nov 2013, 12:24
I think it varies from person to person, but it seemed like the whole of the USA is constipated!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: J on 05 Nov 2013, 12:44
everything you need to know about america




Plus, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will get you weird looks in Norway.
heh (http://satwcomic.com/a-trip-into-american-culture)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 05 Nov 2013, 12:52
Plus, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will get you weird looks in Norway.
heh (http://satwcomic.com/a-trip-into-american-culture)

I learnt way back that the reason for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is nothing to do with combining the tastes, but that the jelly stops the peanut butter getting stuck on your palate.  I eat them regularly.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 05 Nov 2013, 13:02
That's what honey is for.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 05 Nov 2013, 13:06
Red hot dogs is a danish thing! I wonder if the ones in Maine originated in Denmark too?

The companies that sold them are of German and Polish origins, it's just a normal hot dog with red dye added to the casings to make they bright red.

The Danish red hot dogs I see look almost like the natural casing hot dogs we have here, only longer.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LeeC on 05 Nov 2013, 13:07
the meat tastes different though, beef or something?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Mlle Germain on 05 Nov 2013, 13:09
After all this talk about it I really want to eat a peanut butter sandwich.
I think one should say here that classic American peanut butter is awesome. I have tried a variety with less fat and sugar, but that wasn't the real thing.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 05 Nov 2013, 13:15
everything you need to know about america




Plus, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will get you weird looks in Norway.
heh (http://satwcomic.com/a-trip-into-american-culture)
Is it just me or is there no voice audio track on that video?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LeeC on 05 Nov 2013, 13:20
yeah the music overtakes the audio for the left speaker, I typically only have one headphone on at work, had to put both on to hear it accurately


also cesium: your county is where Dr. McNinja lives! (I think)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 05 Nov 2013, 13:21
Having grown up rather close to the Danish border I still have a huge amount of trouble to consider hot dogs American. To me Hot Dogs are Danish, and they have to be served with Røde Pølser (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%B8d_p%C3%B8lse).

I've been in Sønderhav at least once a year to eat hot dogs at "Annies Kiosk", which is very famous, even in Germany, for its good Hot Dogs. There even is a relatively long German Wikipedia entry (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annies_Kiosk) on it.

As to what has to be on a hot dog, it's simple. Mustard, red sausage, Danish remoulade (the most important ingredient), ketchup, fried onions and pickled cucumber slices. That's everything. Sometimes you have the option of fresh onions though.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 05 Nov 2013, 13:22
the meat tastes different though, beef or something?

It's a trick of the mind. They simply add food coloring to the casings, no other changes to the meats and spices. Unless you are eating a natural and a red from different companies, then there obviously would be different tastes...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LeeC on 05 Nov 2013, 13:23
the casing is different than the ones we typically eat though, its thicker.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 05 Nov 2013, 13:26
yeah the music overtakes the audio for the left speaker, I typically only have one headphone on at work, had to put both on to hear it accurately


also cesium: your county is where Dr. McNinja lives! (I think)
I can't get the voice to play in either speaker. I only get the music track.

And yes, I was born in Cumberland. I'm not sure Dr. McNinja is an accurate portrayal of Cumberland, though.
Plus, honestly, nobody in their right mind willingly lives in Cumberland. That's a place you want to get out of at the first opportunity.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: indiespy on 05 Nov 2013, 13:35
When visited Cuba I was pleasantly surprised by their tobacco culture. Here in America smokers are kinda treated poorly by businesses. In Cuba though it's so laid back. I went out to eat in Havana and was almost too nervous to smoke in the place. That is until a really nice old man extended a lit match to my cigar.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 05 Nov 2013, 13:52
After all this talk about it I really want to eat a peanut butter sandwich.
I think one should say here that classic American peanut butter is awesome. I have tried a variety with less fat and sugar, but that wasn't the real thing.

Ugh no, peanut butter shouldn't contain ANYTHING except peanuts (and possibly salt, if you really want it - but I do not).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 05 Nov 2013, 14:47
In Japan:
Construction-workers wearing jika-tabi boots.
Insanely complicated electronic toilets with no instructions provided.
Tiny wooden houses sandwiched between skyscrapers in central Tokyo.
An American trying to order a glass of milk in a salaryman bar after work. Which leads me to...

In the USA:
School buses.
Guns and ammunition sold at Walmart. Next to the shoe department.
A public building called the Space Needle. Which sounds drug-related. And isn't shaped like a needle.
Houston guys in business-suits wearing stetsons and cowboy boots and those leather-thong-tie-fastened-with-a-brooch things.
Gambling-machines built into the tables and bar-tops in a Las Vegas micro-brew pub. Actually, pretty much everything in Las Vegas.
Toilets that well up threateningly when you flush them, and whirl your poop around (to give you a chance to inspect it?) before sucking it noisily away.
Many of the people I saw while cycling up The Strand from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica.
Art-Deco angels(?) at the Hoover Dam. Am I the only one who finds Art-Deco things creepy?

In Canada:
Government monopoly liquor-stores.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 05 Nov 2013, 14:51
Next to the shoes? Disastrous, everyone knows the guns should be kept in sporting goods!

I saw forgeiners (well, other forgeiners) in Japan ordering silly things at bars too. The Sararīman liked my brother and I because we drank Japanese beer about as aggresively as they did... I miss Asahi.

Las Vegas is weird no matter where you're from.

The Strand too.

Also the leather thong tie doohickey is called a bolo tie, I have no idea why they're worn.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Jimmy the Squid on 05 Nov 2013, 14:56
Because cowboys.

Actually yeah, American toilets freak me out. Why do you need that much water? The answer is you don't. Unless I guess it's really important for pets to be able to drink it if they need it.

So far the weirdest thing for me about Austria is, and it's been mentioned before about Europe in general, is that people in shops just seem to fucking hate you. I've worked in retail in Australia on and off for about 5 years. You get in trouble if you don't greet the customer when they come in, you don't have to make small talk but you can only leave them alone for a few minutes before having to get involved. Now admittedly I think that's too much, I hate shop people who won't leave me alone but most people find a good balance. Every shop I've been in here the staff just don't look at you even while taking your money. It's weird and unnerving and I have to make an effort to remember that I haven't done these people some great wrong so I don't feel bad.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: UniqueNewYork on 05 Nov 2013, 16:30
In the USA:
...
Houston guys in business-suits wearing stetsons and cowboy boots and those leather-thong-tie-fastened-with-a-brooch things.
Gambling-machines built into the tables and bar-tops in a Las Vegas micro-brew pub. Actually, pretty much everything in Las Vegas.

The things you're talking about the Houstonites wearing are called bolo ties.

No other state is even close to being as laissez-faire about gambling as Nevada, so this leads to so-called "one arm bandits" being in just about every public space.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: UniqueNewYork on 05 Nov 2013, 16:34
I saw forgeiners (well, other forgeiners) in Japan ordering silly things at bars too. The Sararīman liked my brother and I because we drank Japanese beer about as aggresively as they did... I miss Asahi.
Maybe it's a regional thing, but I have never been in a place that sold beer (apart from cheapo supermarkets) that didn't have at least one Japanese beer in it.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 05 Nov 2013, 18:04
After all this talk about it I really want to eat a peanut butter sandwich.
I think one should say here that classic American peanut butter is awesome. I have tried a variety with less fat and sugar, but that wasn't the real thing.

Ugh no, peanut butter shouldn't contain ANYTHING except peanuts (and possibly salt, if you really want it - but I do not).

You need to add a little oil  to allow the ground peanuts to blend together better, either a nuetral flavored oil or peanut oil.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Emperor Norton on 05 Nov 2013, 18:45
Not outside of the country, but still a culture shock during traveling, going North and not being able to get sweet iced tea makes me sad.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: indiespy on 05 Nov 2013, 18:47
Not outside of the country, but still a culture shock during traveling, going North and not being able to get sweet iced tea makes me sad.

I know your pain man.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 05 Nov 2013, 19:14
Not outside of the country, but still a culture shock during traveling, going North and not being able to get sweet iced tea makes me sad.

Some of the fastfood places make some that isn't too bad, a little sweeter than normal but stilil not that bad.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Haseo on 05 Nov 2013, 19:31
Not outside of the country, but still a culture shock during traveling, going North and not being able to get sweet iced tea makes me sad.

When I moved from the north to the south, (Mass to North Carolina), I couldn't go anywhere without being bombarded with tea. I don't even like tea.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Grognard on 05 Nov 2013, 19:45
well, it's a cultural thing: as Southerners we're honor bound to offer libation.
and most people balk at Moonshine before 5 PM.
:D
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 05 Nov 2013, 19:59
What is weird about school buses?

Iceland virtually never has warning signs or safety fences for anything. Their attitude seems to be that you should have enough common sense not to walk off cliffs or stick your hand in boiling mud. Which makes perfect sense but was disorienting to someone from the USA.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Emperor Norton on 05 Nov 2013, 20:14
well, it's a cultural thing: as Southerners we're honor bound to offer libation.
and most people balk at Moonshine before 5 PM.
:D

I remember a quote from some Northern gentlemen during the early 1900s about why Pub culture never really took in the South was because it didn't matter if you were a stranger or not, Southerners would invite you in for food and drink, and INSIST you take it, so there was no reason for actual pubs.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: mustang6172 on 05 Nov 2013, 20:42
When I went to Brazil, I found out that I was not supposed to flush toilet paper. Turns out that the sewer system in the city I was in can't handle toilet paper and if you try to flush it the toilet will back up. Luckily I was told in advance by one of the guys from the lab who had been there before. He found out the hard way.

I hesitate to ask, but how are you supposed to dispose of toilet paper if not by flushing?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 05 Nov 2013, 20:48
Shit they might not even invite you in but just deliver it to you. I was walking around Montgomery, Alabama with a couple of my Marine Corps buddies (we were stationed just over the state line in Pensacola, Florida. Some good ol'boys in a rusty old pick up truck pull up and look us over, we figure they're about to start shit because we're a mixed race company and they are white rednecks, but they look us over. "Y'all Army?" "Fuck no, we're Marines." "Fuckin' A. You boys gonna be walking along this road a bit longer?" "....Yeah?" "Good, we'll be back in a bit, punch it Bubba!" and off they drove. We were very confused and paranoid they were about to bring out the local klan or some shit (We were all West Coast and Far West types with little experience in The South) they come back about 15 minutes later with a couple thirty racks and a bottle of whiskey "I'da brought y'all some chicken and shine from up at the house, but I figure you wouldn't want to get busted with the shine, and I dunno if ma ol'lady made enough chicken for a dozen hearty fellers like y'all, so un's'll jess haf to settle for beer" We shook hands with him and Bubba, they revealed they had family in the Corps for 'Nam, and off they went into the sunset as we hoofed it back to the hotel room we were crashing in, 1/3 of our saturday night beer run comped via Southern Hospitality.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 05 Nov 2013, 20:50
When I went to Brazil, I found out that I was not supposed to flush toilet paper. Turns out that the sewer system in the city I was in can't handle toilet paper and if you try to flush it the toilet will back up. Luckily I was told in advance by one of the guys from the lab who had been there before. He found out the hard way.

I hesitate to ask, but how are you supposed to dispose of toilet paper if not by flushing?
There was a little wastebasket next to the toilet, and you were supposed to fold up the paper (so the, ahem, material is on the inside), and put it in the wastebasket. In the bathroom in the physics department they even had a sign with instructions that said (in Portuguese) not to flush the toilet paper but to put it in the wastebasket and "do not forget to fold it well". I'm guessing with the number of foreigners that visited, they probably had problems with that in the past.  :psyduck:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 05 Nov 2013, 21:18
What is weird about school buses?
In Australia (with the exception of a few private schools that are located away from public transport) we don't have school buses at all. Many kids take the bus (or train or ferry) to school, but they just ride the normal public transport along with other passengers, at subsidised fares under the School Student Transport Scheme. (http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/ssts) Why buy fleets of buses, and then only use them for school-kids, rather than public transport?

Not outside of the country, but still a culture shock during traveling, going North and not being able to get sweet iced tea makes me sad.
I enjoyed the iced tea in Texas (and it is way better than the Coca Cola etc. usually offered as an alternative), but sweetening any kind of tea ruins it. We will not speak of those barbarians who add milk...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 05 Nov 2013, 21:52
Agreed. I have the same attitude towards coffee.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 05 Nov 2013, 22:10
What is weird about school buses?
In Australia (with the exception of a few private schools that are located away from public transport) we don't have school buses at all. Many kids take the bus (or train or ferry) to school, but they just ride the normal public transport along with other passengers, at subsidised fares under the School Student Transport Scheme. (http://www.transport.nsw.gov.au/ssts) Why buy fleets of buses, and then only use them for school-kids, rather than public transport?

They bus because there is a lack of public transporation outside of the metropolitan areas. Suburban and rural areas have little to no public transportation and to provide adequate education for students they have to either be dropped off directly by their parents or buses from their neighborhoods. Considering that the parents have to work, this is the best way to ensure they get to school safely.


Outside of the school year and after school hours they are used by the cities/towns/counties for public needs like bringing people to public gatherings, concerts, meetings etc.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Emperor Norton on 05 Nov 2013, 22:22
Seriously, the area where I grew up (which is particularly rural), it took 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon for the buses to make all the different rounds and get people dropped off picked up for school.

And the buses are generally old and being worked on half the time. They just didn't have ENOUGH to do anything other than pick up school kids.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 05 Nov 2013, 22:24
A Marine Corps uniform means a lot in the South. I know someone who asked for directions in a swamp. The person he asked pointed at the uniform in the back of the car and said "Is that yours?". Said person then personally led the Marine through dozens of mysterious twists and turns to get him where he was going.

It's not completely bizarre to think of the South as being a country of its own. I've known some experienced travelers who said they got the same feeling crossing the Mason-Dixon line as they did when crossing a national border.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: J on 05 Nov 2013, 22:49
Not outside of the country, but still a culture shock during traveling, going North and not being able to get sweet iced tea makes me sad.
I enjoyed the iced tea in Texas (and it is way better than the Coca Cola etc. usually offered as an alternative), but sweetening any kind of tea ruins it. We will not speak of those barbarians who add milk...
hey now, a nice cup of spiced chai is one of the great joys in life. you want odd, try your tea with salt & yak butter.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 06 Nov 2013, 01:33
Ugh no, peanut butter shouldn't contain ANYTHING except peanuts (and possibly salt, if you really want it - but I do not).

You need to add a little oil  to allow the ground peanuts to blend together better, either a nuetral flavored oil or peanut oil.

But peanut oil is made of peanuts! So it still doesn't contain anything other than peanuts.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 06 Nov 2013, 02:09
hey now, a nice cup of spiced chai is one of the great joys in life.
Props for not employing the redundant "chai tea".
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 06 Nov 2013, 04:07
A Marine Corps uniform means a lot in the South. I know someone who asked for directions in a swamp. The person he asked pointed at the uniform in the back of the car and said "Is that yours?". Said person then personally led the Marine through dozens of mysterious twists and turns to get him where he was going.

It's not completely bizarre to think of the South as being a country of its own. I've known some experienced travelers who said they got the same feeling crossing the Mason-Dixon line as they did when crossing a national border.

To paraphrase someone who wrote into the Richmond Dispatch many, many, many moons ago. "North, west and east are directions. The South is a place."
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Carl-E on 06 Nov 2013, 04:50
Here in the US you can really do either.  Most cities/towns have ordinances saying that if you are on a bike to maintain the speed limit and are treated as a vehicle, but they can also bike on the side walk.  They are treated pretty much like both pedestrian and motor vehicle.

Most cities and towns I've lived in have ordinances against riding on the sidewalk, because of the pedestrians.  It's usually different in the suburbs. 

Of course, most places don't have bike lanes, either.  You're expected to share with the cars. 

They rarely share back.   :x
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 06 Nov 2013, 05:12
Vegas: ugh.  Yes it's bizarre.
Alcohol in Canada: Ontario only I'm guessing.   Certainly Quebec is normal.
School buses: I went to grade school with kids who lived more than 60km down the Trans- Can.  Public transportation is not the answer


Sent from my Deathbot in deep orbit using Tapatalk.

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Jimmy the Squid on 06 Nov 2013, 12:50
On my way to Vienna I passed through Amsterdam airport. I was deeply alarmed at police officers walking around with machine guns. I mean I'm still getting used to Australian cops carrying guns and I'm pretty sure they've had those for a while. I don't want this to turn into a gun debate but man, that was probably the oddest thing I've seen in my travels.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 06 Nov 2013, 13:13
I would be alarmed too. When were you there? I've never seen any Dutch law enforcement officer carrying anything larger than a handgun.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Jimmy the Squid on 06 Nov 2013, 13:15
Last week! I mean they might have been military police but they were the only form of security I saw around the airport not counting the people doing the actual scans and pat downs.

And I guess considering I've never seen anything larger than a pistol in real life and never out of a holster it was pretty weird for me.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: indiespy on 06 Nov 2013, 13:17
If it was at the airport then I would vote military police or something similar.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 06 Nov 2013, 13:44
I don't know, I once was walking through Manchester and there were police officers with machine guns standing near the train station. I believe there was a big football match on, and riots were anticipated. Because football is serious business and worth getting violent over  :roll:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 06 Nov 2013, 14:27
It is in England

Though by South American standards, they're tame.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 06 Nov 2013, 14:34
On my way to Vienna I passed through Amsterdam airport. I was deeply alarmed at police officers walking around with machine guns. I mean I'm still getting used to Australian cops carrying guns and I'm pretty sure they've had those for a while. I don't want this to turn into a gun debate but man, that was probably the oddest thing I've seen in my travels.

I've seen police carrying machine pistols in the middle of the street in Germany once. It was a money transport from the federal bank (Bundesbank) to the state bank (Landeszentralbank).

I was just walking on the sidewalk across of the state bank, when I heard police sirens. One police car came around the corner, and opened gates in the middle of the road, separating the two lanes. Then 2 armored police cars came around the corner and blocked the road. Policemen carrying machine pistols (H&K MP5) stepped out and told everybody to stop walking and wait. They kept the machine pistols close to the body, but always had one hand on the grip. A giant truck with police sirens on arrived and stopped infront of the opened gates. 2 more armored police cars arrived, and blocked the rest of the road. More armed policemen stepped out of the vehicles, and the door of the state bank started opening. The truck went through the door, the door closed, and after another minute of waiting the policemen went back into their cars and drove off. And left behind a large group of bedazzled pedestrians.

That was one of the scariest experiences in my life. I had never before seen any firearm bigger than the typical Walther P99 the police carry around here.

The cars were 4 of these:

(http://files.bos-fahrzeuge.info/vehicles/photos/4/4/0/f/57745-large.jpg)

guarding one of these:

(http://files.bos-fahrzeuge.info/vehicles/photos/c/c/0/5/38986-large.jpg)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 06 Nov 2013, 14:47
Ugh no, peanut butter shouldn't contain ANYTHING except peanuts (and possibly salt, if you really want it - but I do not).

You need to add a little oil  to allow the ground peanuts to blend together better, either a nuetral flavored oil or peanut oil.

But peanut oil is made of peanuts! So it still doesn't contain anything other than peanuts.

I was thining you meant only those two ingredients but true- you are only adding in something that is already there, but in a greater quantity  :-D
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 06 Nov 2013, 16:34
It is in England

Though by South American standards, they're tame.

Unless you Euro types have recently had a Ref beheaded and his head posted on a pole by an angry mob, or see regular use of firearms and grenades...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 06 Nov 2013, 17:13
Sounds like Canada when a local team gets into the Stanley Cup finals (and loses)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Sorflakne on 06 Nov 2013, 21:12
Quote
Oh yeah pancakes in America are totally different. What we call a pancake in Norway at least is a lot thinner, kind of like a crepe but not really. You have it for dinner, usually you put blueberry jam or just plain sugar on it, and roll it up. Before pancakes you have something else, pea soup is pretty common.
You mean lefse, or is this something completely different?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Grognard on 06 Nov 2013, 22:20
To paraphrase someone who wrote into the Richmond Dispatch many, many, many moons ago. "North, west and east are directions. The South is a place."

Amen.
'tis also a Lost Cause, a State of Mind and a Lifestyle.
and like many other places, it has its shameful side and a wonderful side.
but for me... thanks to the US DoD, I've lived in many places...
but the South.
The South is HOME.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 07 Nov 2013, 01:01
On my way to Vienna I passed through Amsterdam airport. I was deeply alarmed at police officers walking around with machine guns. I mean I'm still getting used to Australian cops carrying guns and I'm pretty sure they've had those for a while.
Australian police have been armed since before Federation, I think. I've seen police carrying submachine-guns and wearing body-armour in Sydney Airport; they keep a low profile, but they are there. The ordinary cops are all tooled-up with their Glocks and shotguns. And then there are the private security guards for big cash transfers etc., usually packing revolvers and sometimes shotties too. If you keep your eyes open, there are plenty of guns on display in Australia.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ChaoSera on 07 Nov 2013, 03:27
Some 2 years ago, there was a terror warning in Germany, around Christmas time. It was kinda scary to see even our small train station being guarded by police men armed with MP5s. Can't imagine what it had looked like in Berlin or another big city.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: snalin on 07 Nov 2013, 03:46
Quote
Oh yeah pancakes in America are totally different. What we call a pancake in Norway at least is a lot thinner, kind of like a crepe but not really. You have it for dinner, usually you put blueberry jam or just plain sugar on it, and roll it up. Before pancakes you have something else, pea soup is pretty common.
You mean lefse, or is this something completely different?

Completely different. Lefse is served cold, and isn't necessarily sweet.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: BeoPuppy on 07 Nov 2013, 03:58
Fun thing I noticed about Denmark; they like children. They are nice to them. No surprise there. But they're also honest with them. In the zoo in Copenhagen, next to a petting zoo, there is a wooden board with a pig and a horse and a cow on it. And you can lift flaps in their bodies and behind those flaps there are pictures showing what humans get from these animals: sausages, steak, shoes, belts ... Haven't seen that anywhere else.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 07 Nov 2013, 10:37
That reminds me of something which I found weird whilst in my own country (I KNOW I'M CHEATING OK). I was at an animal centre and we were looking at the lynxes. A couple of women arrived with their children who were between about 5 and 10 years old. The women kept saying "look at the kitties! Do you like the kitties?" and I just didn't understand why they thought the word lynx was harder than the word kitty. Why not tell them the name of the animal?!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 07 Nov 2013, 11:51
Kitty is not inaccurate, it's just not specific.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 07 Nov 2013, 11:54
It just seemed really weird not to at least say "Look at the kitty! It's called a lynx!".
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 07 Nov 2013, 11:59
I love kitties, even giant murder kitties!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 07 Nov 2013, 12:33
Quote
Oh yeah pancakes in America are totally different. What we call a pancake in Norway at least is a lot thinner, kind of like a crepe but not really. You have it for dinner, usually you put blueberry jam or just plain sugar on it, and roll it up. Before pancakes you have something else, pea soup is pretty common.
You mean lefse, or is this something completely different?

Completely different. Lefse is served cold, and isn't necessarily sweet.

Stack of American pancakes:
(http://dinmat.no/sites/default/files/styles/top_big/public/889182.jpg)

Stack of Norwegian pancakes:
(http://www.minkokebok.net/upload/images/1257965050phpBpHC9Z.pjpeg)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 07 Nov 2013, 12:47
The Police here, apart from special circumstances and the specialist AOS and ATS, are usually unarmed.  I think we have one of the few regularly unarmed Police Forces in the world.  There is debate on this, with even some officers on one side of the debate or the other.  I do know that there are certain Patrol Vehicles that carry handguns in secure boxes in them ready to be deployed should the situation require it, and nearly all our Patrol Cars carry lockboxed Tasers and carry Pepper Spray should the officers need them.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Grognard on 07 Nov 2013, 13:21
I would actually prefer that.
I always thought the Police are supposed to be Peace Keepers or Peace Officers.
I dislike the heavily armed thug in blue that the current mindset endorses.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 07 Nov 2013, 14:26
It just seemed really weird not to at least say "Look at the kitty! It's called a lynx!".
Ahhh, yeah, that'd have been better.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 07 Nov 2013, 14:32
Police are unarmed in Norway too.

Funny story about police in different countries: I'm a Norwegian who live in Glasgow, and I was dating this American who also lived in Glasgow at the time. We were walking home late one day and these women, all drunk off their asses came walking towards us, they could barely stand and walking seemed like the biggest challenge in the world. Two police officers walked past them and didn't even look twice at them, and both me and the guy were like 'why didn't they approach those women?'. Turned out I was weirded out about the police not helping them, and my ex was weirded out about them not reprimanding the women for improper behaviour or something like that.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 07 Nov 2013, 14:35
Quote from: Icelandic police officer Haraldur Sigurðsson in Alda Sigmundsóttir's ebook "Living Inside the Meltdown"
The traditional Icelandic term for police officer is lögre- gluþjónn, which literally means “law and order servant.” Many members of the Icelandic police still approach their work in that way. The police officer is there to serve the pub- lic. To serve and protect. The role of servant is a noble role. And it is good when the police is able to approach its work in that way. I prefer not to use the term lögreglumaður [“po- liceman”], although it is much more common today. There are attempts everywhere to water down the “servant’”term. I think this is unwise. I want to bring back the term lögre- gluþjónn.
On my desk I keep a pair of white gloves like the Icelan- dic police used to wear. I keep them there as a reminder. A police officer who approaches a scene wearing white gloves sends out a message that he is not about to engage in vio- lence. To me, those white gloves perfectly symbolise what a police officer should be.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 07 Nov 2013, 14:45
Quote from: Icelandic police officer Haraldur Sigurðsson in Alda Sigmundsóttir's ebook "Living Inside the Meltdown"
To serve and protect.

"FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC" ?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 07 Nov 2013, 15:50
Hehe. Pratchett.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: lepetitfromage on 08 Nov 2013, 09:31
Quote
I find it really weird how college football players are kind of celebrities. They’re scrutinized and have fans and do TV interviews, and it just boggles my mind so much. They’re just students that do an extra-curricular activity! I don’t understand.
THIS.

Actually, we're missing the even bigger picture.  High school football players.....

This is very much a regional thing...mostly in the South/Southeast, at least to the level I assume you're talking about (FNL and what have you)

Ugh. High school football is huge around here too- and I'm in NY. There's a big chunk in the newspaper dedicated to high school sports and they are constantly on the local news channels- usually football (especially when my alma mater won the state championship. my god it never ended.*) but Track and Field is pretty big too.

*To be honest, my friends and I were rooting against them because we knew they'd just get even more funding and our crappy little art program would suffer even more. :-(


Stack of Norwegian pancakes

OMG. Those look delicious. Do you have a recipe for them? I know I can just Google but tried and true is the way to go.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Valdís on 08 Nov 2013, 10:32
Yeah, we don't do them American-style here either. I have some sort of jam (Raspberry, strawberry, drottningssylt (half blueberries, half raspberries mix) etc. all work great. As does mashed-apples) and roll them up with it inside. Cutting up bite-sized chunks along it. Yummy. I think drottningssylt ("Queen jam") is my favourite.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 08 Nov 2013, 10:47
I found this (http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/swedish-pancakes) googling 'scandinavian pancakes recipe', but there are several others out there. They're easy to make! Although I have no idea why it's telling you to use lingonberry jam, I've never heard of anyone eating that with pancakes. It's probably just because they're Swedish too, and everything Swedish goes together, right? :roll:

I also find it funny that everything Scandinavian is always called 'Swedish' or 'Danish' something, even when it's not actually Swedish or Danish. Poor Norway, not getting credit for anything.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Valdís on 08 Nov 2013, 10:51
Although I have no idea why it's telling you to use lingonberry jam, I've never heard of anyone eating that with pancakes. It's probably just because they're Swedish too, and everything Swedish goes together, right? :roll:

WTF NO WAY :psyduck:

I also find it funny that everything Scandinavian is always called 'Swedish' or 'Danish' something, even when it's not actually Swedish or Danish. Poor Norway, not getting credit for anything.

Do you have reason to believe they specifically originated in Norway? Not saying they're Swedish, ofc, I just figured that was what non-Americans referred to as pancakes.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 08 Nov 2013, 10:57
Oh, I meant in general, with the pancakes I have no idea actually.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 08 Nov 2013, 10:59
Y'all quit callin them thare critters pancakes ya hear? Thems ain't nuthin like a proper flapjack.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 08 Nov 2013, 11:11
Flapjack:

(http://cassland.org/images/flapjack.jpg)

Oats, butter, and honey; baked.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: lepetitfromage on 08 Nov 2013, 11:48
Thanks, Metope! They do sound pretty easy :-)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 08 Nov 2013, 12:10
No problem! Sorry for not giving you a more authentic recipe, but I've actually never made them myself, and the recipe my mother uses is in her head. After googling I realised they're all pretty much the same and it seems accurate compared to the ingredients I've seen on the counter when mom makes them, so I think it's fine.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Grognard on 08 Nov 2013, 15:25
that ain't a flapjack!  that there is crumbcake or coffeecake.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 08 Nov 2013, 15:26
More like some sort of oatmeal brownie.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 08 Nov 2013, 16:50
Flapjack recipe (http://britishfood.about.com/od/eorecipes/r/flapjack.htm)

I use honey rather than syrup.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: mustang6172 on 08 Nov 2013, 19:03
More like some sort of oatmeal brownie.

Without chocolate, the correct term would be "oatmeal blondie."
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 08 Nov 2013, 19:56
That's always sounded odd to me.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 09 Nov 2013, 01:24
Without chocolate, the correct term would be "oatmeal blondie."

And now I have 'Heart of Glass' stuck in my head.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 09 Nov 2013, 01:54
the correct term would be "oatmeal blondie."

We have our differing "correct" terms on this international forum!  That name's quite appealing, though.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 09 Nov 2013, 02:07
They look a lot like thick, chewy granola bars and are made with just about the same ingredients. Must be how they are brought together and the amounts used that differ, it looks delicious!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 09 Nov 2013, 02:51
Flapjack is about my favourite thing ever, and I will make some today! I have all the ingredients :) Thanks for the reminder.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 09 Nov 2013, 06:47
Without chocolate, the correct term would be "oatmeal blondie."

And now I have 'Heart of Glass' stuck in my head.

I'll see your Heart of Glass and raise you a Castle of Glass

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 09 Nov 2013, 08:13
I'd raise you a "Dirty Glass", but I can't find a unblocked video on my mobile internet connection.

Edit:

Nevermind. Found it:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 09 Nov 2013, 08:35
That song always makes me giggle, my ex-fiancee's name is Darcy.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 17 Dec 2013, 03:04
I really need to get some international travel in, but I can at least comment on things I find weird about my own country, right?

One issue with the whole sales tax thing is how sales tax is handled. It's not just different counties having different rates, but also different uses of things having different rates.

Some states tax food differently on whether it's hot or cold (hot being prepared, cold being unprepared). Some states tax food differently on whether it's to be consumed on premises or off (Ohio is that way). Some states tax clothing differently on a few different factors. And, then you get into sales tax exemptions for various businesses (kinda like how VAT is passed onto the consumer, but because of how sales tax is collected, you instead get a sales tax exemption at point of sale).

Mind you, I'm opposed to sales tax as a method of collecting the funds for the operation of a government (sin taxes to discourage harmful behavior and compensate for the damage that that behavior causes are fine, though). It's rather regressive, really. But, this is Chatter, not Discuss, so I digress.

One thing I find weird, although it's very much regional... the casual Christianity. The more rural the area, the more you're expected to be Christian (and by that I mean a specific American-centric definition of it), and patterns of speech even center around that faith.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 17 Dec 2013, 18:03
So glad I live in the godless* northeast.

*Just an expression, of course. We've got plenty of gods up here!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: 94ssd on 17 Dec 2013, 20:14
Everyone in the states drives all the time, everywhere. I understand why, because everything is incredibly spread out, but it's so weird to me. Especially on the west coast, everything is so wide and vast and open, the roads are so wide and... yeah. My west coast-based boyfriend told me he felt claustrophobic when he visited the UK because everything was so narrow and tiny, but to me this is the norm.

Also I'm 25 and I can't drive, which everyone I know from the states finds really weird.

There's actually quite an interesting story (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_conspiracy) behind why Los Angeles in particular has really shitty public transportation but an infinite number of highways.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: lepetitfromage on 18 Dec 2013, 06:12
bhtooefr: Sales tax really is bizarre. The weirdest part about it to me is that it even varies by county. Here in Dutchess county, we pay .125% more than our neighbors in Ulster but they pay a whole percent more than a few other counties.....which I believe are in Western NY.

For the longest time, I remember my parents would take us shopping for school clothes when we went to visit relatives in NJ- no sales tax on clothes there!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bainidhe_dub on 18 Dec 2013, 06:48
Maryland has a week every August when they don't charge sales tax on any clothing item under $100 to encourage people to do school shopping. Otherwise it's 6% on most things except groceries.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Skewbrow on 18 Dec 2013, 10:58
WRT US pricing I'd like to point out that:

some goods are priced before they reach a store (clothing and books come to mind)


Are you really saying that a bookstore (or clothing store) in the US has no say in how much they charge for a book or an item of clothing? That's not how I thought the free market works, but whatever - surely you know this better than I do. I just would have thought the store buys in stuff at whatever bulk price they can negotiate, and then charge whatever they see fit.

My culture shock things about US (IIRC):
These I learned to live it. I mean, yeah, things don't work quite the same way all over the globe. So?

The thing I never learned to accomodate for in the US: the overwhelming desire of the people to keep indoor temperature between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit. Goddammit. It's 90 degrees out, and I am dressing accordingly. I don't want to catch a flu for needing to stand in the line in a bank or while shopping groceries. Cool it to make it manageable if you must, but make it like 75 or something that's still warm. The same thing every single year - the first week on the Western side of the pond I came down with a flu because of this.

Is their a moral to all this? Wherever you go, people usually have a reason to doing things the way they do them. The reason is often not visible to a casual visitor, and may be connected to other local solutions in unexpected ways. It may depend on the problem having appeared in slightly different historical setting. Assuming that the locals are just weird is natural and human, but won't give you much understanding.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: 94ssd on 18 Dec 2013, 13:25
Are you really saying that a bookstore (or clothing store) in the US has no say in how much they charge for a book or an item of clothing? That's not how I thought the free market works,

Welcome to corporate America. If it's a chain store, it receives the item in bulk and is told what price to sell it for. There is very little room for variation. Price setting is generally done by regional managers rather than by the managers of individual stores, who, by the way, are given lengthy instructions on how to deal with every situation and would be fired if they deviated from them.

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You couldn't buy stationery at a mall bookstore (they would advertise marital aids on yellow pages though)
Generally a bookstore means what it says, it sells books. Print shops are considered a separate entity.
 
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You could buy stationery, items of personal hygiene and candy at a pharmacy (aka a drug store)
I've always thought having food, drinks, etc. at pharmacies was weird, but I thought it was normal to have hygiene stuff there.

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These people actually use bank cheques for paying utility bills and for shopping? Is this like the 70s or something?
I do most transactions through debit/credit card, but that's not always a possibility, especially if paying rent or at a lot of local shops. I loathe carrying around large amounts of money, it makes me nervous.

Quote
Why would anyone want to use a credit card? Why run up a debt? Can't you like afford to pay for it right away?
Two reasons. First is that people are tricked by too-good-to-be-true "free" cards and low rates, but fail to consider hidden fees. Second is because credit is king. If you don't build up and maintain good credit, you may find yourself unable to buy a car or home, or take out any sort of loan. I use my credit card for things I know I can pay for so that I can establish good credit.

Maryland has a week every August when they don't charge sales tax on any clothing item under $100 to encourage people to do school shopping. Otherwise it's 6% on most things except groceries.

North Carolina had this, but "low-tax" McCrory has gotten rid of it and raised the sales tax as part of an overall scheme to collect most of the states sales revenue through sales, rather than income, tax. What this actually amounts to is a regressive tax on the poor for their basic goods and services.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 18 Dec 2013, 13:33
If you don't build up and maintain good credit, you may find yourself unable to buy a car or home, or take out any sort of loan.

Surely this is only true if you are intending to buy the car or house on credit?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 18 Dec 2013, 13:47
In some circumstances and places it could harm your credit rating for a check for renting, for instance; sad but true.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 18 Dec 2013, 14:22
Weird. Surely you can build up a good credit check by simply having a small overdraft though? I don't understand how USA bank accounts work to be honest - I kept being asked whether I wanted to use credit or debit when I was there. Here, you have either a credit card or a debit card, at least as far as I know.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 18 Dec 2013, 14:43
In Britain we have separate cards for each account; in many other countries, a bank will issue one card that can be used for multiple accounts of different kinds - hence the question.

Surely you can build up a good credit check by simply having a small overdraft though?

Depends on your viewpoint; an overdraft may be seen as irresponsible, whereas using (and paying up to date) a credit card shows responsibility - of a kind. (Not saying I agree with the logic; but I can see what's in their minds.)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Skewbrow on 18 Dec 2013, 14:44
Are you really saying that a bookstore (or clothing store) in the US has no say in how much they charge for a book or an item of clothing? That's not how I thought the free market works,

Welcome to corporate America. If it's a chain store, it receives the item in bulk and is told what price to sell it for. There is very little room for variation. Price setting is generally done by regional managers rather than by the managers of individual stores, who, by the way, are given lengthy instructions on how to deal with every situation and would be fired if they deviated from them.

Quote
You couldn't buy stationery at a mall bookstore (they would advertise marital aids on yellow pages though)
Generally a bookstore means what it says, it sells books. Print shops are considered a separate entity.
 
Quote
You could buy stationery, items of personal hygiene and candy at a pharmacy (aka a drug store)
I've always thought having food, drinks, etc. at pharmacies was weird, but I thought it was normal to have hygiene stuff there.

Quote
These people actually use bank cheques for paying utility bills and for shopping? Is this like the 70s or something?
I do most transactions through debit/credit card, but that's not always a possibility, especially if paying rent or at a lot of local shops. I loathe carrying around large amounts of money, it makes me nervous.

Quote
Why would anyone want to use a credit card? Why run up a debt? Can't you like afford to pay for it right away?
Two reasons. First is that people are tricked by too-good-to-be-true "free" cards and low rates, but fail to consider hidden fees. Second is because credit is king. If you don't build up and maintain good credit, you may find yourself unable to buy a car or home, or take out any sort of loan. I use my credit card for things I know I can pay for so that I can establish good credit.

Well. I later learned that all this is how things are done in the US. Fine. That was exactly the culture shock part.

I later got one "preapproved" credit card application turned down, basically because I had paid for my car by a bank cheque (not sure what it was called), i.e. in cash. I was mildly miffed because the campaign letter was specifically targeting graduate students soon getting their PhDs. And I was brought up believing (and still believe) that it is more fiscally responsible to pay for something like a car then and there as opposed to going into debt. If the credit company disagrees, I look elsewhere. I only had a credit card for my last 4 months in the US. At that time I held a postdoc position at MSRI (Berkeley, CA), and was paid enough to satisfy the credit company without any credit history.

So how are things run here:
And I'm not saying that the US would not have had the technology to do the same in the 80s. There must have been powerful reasons, why that was not done. Inertia - probably. My pet theory is that a big part was played by the fact that banking sector in the US is/was very splintered. Comes with the size of the country, really. Finland is small. We had four nationwide chains of banks. So it was easier for them to agree on a standard interface for all the needed transactions, and it gained momentum. But EU managed to do the same 20 years later, so size is no longer an explanation. Do you guys still pay for phone bills by mailing checks?

Oh. One thing. In last century you couldn't buy liquor or drinks with a credit card at all here. The eagle eye of we the people was trying (in vain) to guide us to responsible consumption of alcohol, and running up a debt while drinking was a no-no :-D. The EU changed that, too (for the better?)

Here, you have either a credit card or a debit card, at least as far as I know.
Strange. I have always held a combocard. But I only use the credit side, when buying things from the internet or travelling. Actually I think I might be able to use it as a debit card in Sweden also, because my bank is a Swe/Fin-merger.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 18 Dec 2013, 14:51
Some cards can be run different ways. It's not accessing multiple accounts, but a debit card or credit card processes differently. Some people have a preference as to how it's run.

For me I actually specifically bought my car on credit and make regular small credit card purchases and pay it off in a timely manner to keep my credit high.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 18 Dec 2013, 14:55
Presumably you wouldn't need to do that if it weren't for the fact that having a "good credit rating" is seen as a positive? If the culture were that it's better to pay for things with money you actually have, right now, then there would be no need to build up a good credit rating.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 18 Dec 2013, 15:05
So how are things run here:

For utilities and the like in Britain we can either set up a Standing Order (the bank pays the amount we have specified, on a cycle we specify) or a Direct Debit (the utility takes the money required, possibly up to a maximum - but I'm not sure about that).  It's possible to set up a Direct Debit (different name I can't remember) from a credit card - but this is very dangerous indeed, because there is no protection if they go on taking money when you ask them to stop (cc companies have even been known to reanimate closed accounts to pay a demand of this kind).

In my experience debit cards and charge cards are different: debit cards have direct access to your current account (checking account I believe some people call it), whereas a charge card takes the money at the end of the month, but does not allow extended credit (e.g., in Britain at least, classic Amex and Diners cards - though Amex now do separate credit cards).  My debit card links to the Visa system, and so works in most of the world (I've used it in cash machines around Europe and the US, as well as in Russia, China, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka...); it charges a fee for cash withdrawals abroad (not at home), but less than any of my credit cards (one Visa and one Mastercard, in case I have to have the right sort somewhere).

In Britain any debit or credit card will work in any machine - but I know that in some countries, cash machines will only handle matching cards.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 18 Dec 2013, 15:10
In the US, when you get the choice of processing a debit card (which is connected to funds you already have) as credit or debit, this is what it means:

Credit means that it's being processed through Visa or MasterCard's network, you use a signature to verify who you are (above a certain amount), and the retailer pays the transaction fees.

Debit means that it's being processed through a debit network (Pulse, NYCE, MAC, Tyme, SHAZAM, and STAR are the examples that Wikipedia gives), you use a PIN (no chip) to verify who you are (always, not just above a certain amount), you can also request cash back above the amount of the transaction, and your bank (which may choose to pass them onto you) pays the transaction fees.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: 94ssd on 18 Dec 2013, 15:44
Weird. Surely you can build up a good credit check by simply having a small overdraft though?

It's much cheaper for me to make credit card payments (since I limit what I pay for with it) than it is to pay overdraft fees at my bank, which are pretty steep.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 18 Dec 2013, 15:47
Also, you can build credit by paying off cards before the interest charges ever hit, too.

And, credit checks also affect employment opportunities, even.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 18 Dec 2013, 15:53
Credit means that it's being processed through Visa or MasterCard's network, you use a signature to verify who you are (above a certain amount), and the retailer pays the transaction fees.

We don't use signatures any more unless the machine is broken, but the rest is the same here, except a UK credit card withdraws money from a completely separate account whose balance (usually) only goes negative (a loan account, in effect), and you then repay in part or in whole from the positive balance in your current account. 

When you use a credit card for actual extended credit, where does money that come from? - or can't you carry credit over like we can (which would sound like my description of a charge card)?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 18 Dec 2013, 16:14
If you use a credit card, that is extended credit, and you either pay for it by the end of the month, or you get charged interest. (And then you have American Express, which was purely a "charge card", where the balance simply had to be paid by the end of the month, but I believe they do have credit options now. And Discover is the fourth major credit/charge card network.)

If you process a debit card as a credit card, that is not extended credit, it just processes through the credit network.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 18 Dec 2013, 16:38
If you process a debit card as a credit card, that is not extended credit, it just processes through the credit network.

Ah, right.  That's different then from some European cards (I believe) which can actually operate multiple accounts.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: 94ssd on 18 Dec 2013, 19:41
Also, you can build credit by paying off cards before the interest charges ever hit, too.

And, credit checks also affect employment opportunities, even.

I just got a letter saying that my car insurance premiums were lowered slightly because of a positive credit check that was done on me. Granted, they're also going up significantly because of an accident I had. But the credit thing will definitely help.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Skewbrow on 18 Dec 2013, 23:35
Ok- enough of my culture shock, thanks for the bits. For a change of beat here are a number of things that positively surprised me about the US. Again, this is all thru the eyes of an impecunious grad student, i.e. one who stayed longer than an accidental tourist, did a fair share of travelling, but never had to lead the life of a "normal" adult. Some of these have been covered earlier, but are worth repeating.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 19 Dec 2013, 03:19

You could buy stationery, items of personal hygiene and candy at a pharmacy (aka a drug store)

That is also partially true for Germany. A well-sorted pharmacy (Apotheke) will usually carry drugs, the most basic items of hygiene (like soap), first aid stuff,  pregnancy tests, sometimes herbal teas and cough drops and similar candy that is generally thought to be "more healthy", but probably isn't. Also sometimes measuring devices for blood pressure and the like.

Most pharmacies will also have bathroom scales which you can use for free (most people don't use them, but it's traditional to have them).

They also have condoms.

I have seen them carry sex toys "novelty personal massaging devices" in the Netherlands.

A drug store (Drogerie) on the other hand will carry everything of the above, minus the drugs, plus umbrellas, toothbrushes, a broad choice of shampoos, makeup, perfume, hair color etcpp. A sample can be seen here (http://demo.blaetterkatalog.de/rossmann/). You are unlikely to get any of these in a Apotheke.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 19 Dec 2013, 05:04
Weird. Surely you can build up a good credit check by simply having a small overdraft though?

It's much cheaper for me to make credit card payments (since I limit what I pay for with it) than it is to pay overdraft fees at my bank, which are pretty steep.

Ah yes, I forgot to clarify I was talking about interest-free overdrafts. Mine is £500 but I could extend it to £2500 if I wanted. I do not want.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bainidhe_dub on 19 Dec 2013, 07:02
How does that work? Is it like the credit card Paul was describing? In the US I'm only familiar with 'overdraft' as a negative thing - you tried to charge for more than you have in your checking account, and the bank let the transaction go through but then you owe for the balance of the charge plus a penalty around $35. You can end up with multiple overdraft charges and a big negative balance in your checking account if you don't realize and do a couple transactions when you have insufficient funds. $40 Slurpees are the tastiest.

You can get 'overdraft protection' where it will pull the balance from your savings account instead, but banking regulations limit you to 6 withdrawals from a savings account each month. My credit union handles that by only letting you do 6. BofA converts your savings account into another checking account if you're considered to be treating it like one.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 19 Dec 2013, 07:08
Basically, I have a current account (and a debit card - a pot of money which doesn't earn any interest that I use to pay my rent, regular payments to charities, buy things etc, all the day to day expenses, and it's where my income gets paid into as well) but if my balance hits £0 then I can spend a further £500 for free, and the next time I get some money paid in, it will repay that borrowed money first. It's kind of like credit, except that there's no time limit on when I have to pay it back and no interest is charged.

It's a typical arrangement for students, because student finance is paid rather weirdly and it's hard to juggle monthly outgoings against an income which arrives in three, non-evenly spaced dollops. Also because normally, being a student is the first time you have to pay your own bills and people are learning how to do that. I'm not looking forward to the point at which my interest-free overdraft dries up (two years away from now) because I'll have to keep a closer eye on my finances. I think it is possible to get an interest-free or very low interest overdraft on non-student accounts too but most people just use credit cards instead. I'm hoping I'll not need either but that's probably a little optimistic.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 19 Dec 2013, 07:17
You can get a line of credit attached to your bank account, and have overdrafts come out of there instead of having a $35 fee, but it's usually very high interest.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: lepetitfromage on 19 Dec 2013, 07:23
Wow, May- that would have been amazingly helpful when I was a student. Instead, I paid a crapton of money in overdraft fees. Now, I simply see the word "overdraft" and get nervous.  :-\




Maybe this is a reflection of how sad things are over here, but I actually laughed a little at this:

Surely this is only true if you are intending to buy the car or house on credit?


I have never personally known anyone that bought a house with cash and the only people I know that bought cars with cash bought ones that were very inexpensive (and typically their first cars when they were teenagers).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bainidhe_dub on 19 Dec 2013, 07:37
And keep in mind that any car you can find for under like $2000US is probably going to be a piece of crap. Those challenges on Top Gear where they all go out and buy old-but-decent-enough-for-being-only-$1000 cars? Ain't happening here. I don't know if that's happening in real life in the UK but it definitely ain't happening here. On Craigslist the cars under $1000 right now are mostly late 90's 'mechanics special' or 'needs work but runs and drives' POS's.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 19 Dec 2013, 07:40
And keep in mind that any car you can find for under like $2000US is probably going to be a piece of crap. Those challenges on Top Gear where they all go out and buy old-but-decent-enough-for-being-only-$1000 cars? Ain't happening here. I don't know if that's happening in real life in the UK but it definitely ain't happening here. On Craigslist the cars under $1000 right now are mostly late 90's 'mechanics special' or 'needs work but runs and drives' POS's.

Because of our economy and transportation requirements, used cars are in much higher demand than in Europe, hence the higher used prices.

That said, you can reliably get to work for $1k, it's just it won't get good fuel economy. Add another $500-1k and then it'll get 30 miles per US gallon (not that that's good, but for the US it is), too, especially if you know how to drive a manual (which is a very uncommon skill here).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 19 Dec 2013, 08:06
I think most people buy a house with a mortgage here, certainly. Not sure about cars but I have only heard about car payments from people in the USA. I've never bought either so I can't really say either way!

However, my point wasn't "as things currently stand, there is no need to have a good credit rating" but "if we changed the culture from Buy things on credit to Buy things with cash, credit ratings would be much less necessary".
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 19 Dec 2013, 08:19
May's overdraft is interest-free only because she's a student; otherwise one would be paying interest as for any credit or loan - usually at a reasonable rate.  An additional fee will be charged if the overdraft is unauthorised - i.e. if it's not been arranged in advance; but if you know you have a shortfall for a little while you can ask your bank to set up an "overdraft facility" to cover the maximum you expect to need to borrow and for the required period.  If your relationship with your bank is not so good, of course, there may be some hard bargaining to get the facility, or indeed a refusal - as with any loan.  The advantage of an overdraft is that you pay interest at a daily rate, so less interest is due than if you got a personal loan from another source, paying interest on the whole amount while some of it is sitting in your current account waiting to be used but earning nothing in return.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 19 Dec 2013, 14:58
Lloyds Bank is also quite good in that if you hit your overdraft you can get away without paying any fees if you clear it by the end of the day, possibly 3pm. (IDK what bank May uses.)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: calenlass on 20 Dec 2013, 21:22
shotties

I realize this was like 2 pages back, but it reminded me of this:



Also, May, as far as I am aware, in the US a mortgage is basically the biggest credit line you will ever take out. It's a loan, obviously, and that's what bank credit essentially is. Therefore you have to have good credit to be approved for a larger mortgage and/or better interest rates and whatnot, and a typical suburban or near-urban house that most people find "acceptable" here is probably upwards of the 1500 sq ft range and on the cheap end run around $100k; my parents' house was $325k for 1000 sq ft plus a basement, and is in a near-urban neighborhood by the Atlanta airport. I don't know anyone anymore who actually has $100,000 in their savings account that they could actually liquidate (with a check or cash withdrawal) to pay for a house, except maybe people like the Rockefellers and Waltons.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 21 Dec 2013, 14:32
I don't know what it's like in the UK, but in Norway, a loan/mortgage doesn't equal a credit card or credit. I don't even know what having good credit means, I have a MasterCard that I never really use and that's about it, most people here use Debit cards as their default. If you need any type of loan, your bank will assess your income, current other loans you may have and anything that might affect your personal economy in general, and figure out if it's feasible for you to deal with the loan.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 21 Dec 2013, 15:03
WRT US pricing I'd like to point out that:

some goods are priced before they reach a store (clothing and books come to mind)


Are you really saying that a bookstore (or clothing store) in the US has no say in how much they charge for a book or an item of clothing? That's not how I thought the free market works, but whatever - surely you know this better than I do. I just would have thought the store buys in stuff at whatever bulk price they can negotiate, and then charge whatever they see fit.

My culture shock things about US (IIRC):
  • You couldn't buy stationery at a mall bookstore (they would advertise marital aids on yellow pages though)

It depends on the store you go to. The boutique stores and the higher end used book stores don't sell anything but books but the lower priced, "cheap" and big chain book stores do sell stationary alongside other non-book items.

Quote
  • You could buy stationery, items of personal hygiene and candy at a pharmacy (aka a drug store)

Over the last 135 years pharmacies had to expand their sales to include food and personal hygiene products along with first aid supplies and prescriptions to stay in business. They have cut back on some of their non-medicinal sales stuff, many no longer are also ice cream parlors.

Quote
  • These people actually use bank cheques for paying utility bills and for shopping? Is this like the 70s or something?

There are many, many, many people who don't have a computer or who aren't computer savy or don't have an online bank account who have to rely on paying their bills by check. [/list]
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 21 Dec 2013, 15:16
There are many, many, many people who don't have a computer or who aren't computer savvy or don't have an online bank account who have to rely on paying their bills by check. [/list]

Depends where you are.  Cheques are hardly used in Germany, for instance, and the UK started the process of phasing them out - as a first step, cheque guarantee cards are no longer valid.  (Mind you, they have also stopped (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/frequently-asked-questions-on-the-closure-of-the-cheque-system) the process of phasing them out, but cheque guarantee cards will not return.)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Skewbrow on 21 Dec 2013, 15:33

There are many, many, many people who don't have a computer or who aren't computer savy or don't have an online bank account who have to rely on paying their bills by check.

We stopped using checks way before internet and on-line banking existed. There are other ways of transferring funds. A standard protocol for me authorizing the bank to pay various bills in advance (i.e. the authorization lasts for an indefinite period) is all that is needed. So power company sent two copies of the bill. One to me (in case I want to contest it), and another to the bank. If I don't react, on the due date the bank will transfer money from my account to that of the power company. The emergence of on-line banking has improved this system by removing the need to mail anything. It's a win-win. I don't need a checking account. I don't need to worry about forgetting to mail my check. The company gets its money timely.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 21 Dec 2013, 15:35
I have a checking account, but the only time I ever wrote checks was for rent. I used a debit card for everything else, including getting cash.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 21 Dec 2013, 17:43

There are many, many, many people who don't have a computer or who aren't computer savy or don't have an online bank account who have to rely on paying their bills by check.

We stopped using checks way before internet and on-line banking existed. There are other ways of transferring funds. A standard protocol for me authorizing the bank to pay various bills in advance (i.e. the authorization lasts for an indefinite period) is all that is needed. So power company sent two copies of the bill. One to me (in case I want to contest it), and another to the bank. If I don't react, on the due date the bank will transfer money from my account to that of the power company. The emergence of on-line banking has improved this system by removing the need to mail anything. It's a win-win. I don't need a checking account. I don't need to worry about forgetting to mail my check. The company gets its money timely.

There are other ways, but there isn't necessarily the best way for many people. And there are people who prefer the paper trail that checks provide to cover their backs in case of problems as photo copies of the cancelled check are sent with monthly statements(online and paper) to both accounts.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 21 Dec 2013, 23:13
If I overdraw my account for any reason (e.g. because I didn't have enough funds to push throug the direct debit authorization), I get a notification too. And of course all transfers show up in the paper trail.
Pretty much everything in Germany has a paper trail :roll:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 22 Dec 2013, 02:36
copies of the cancelled check are sent with monthly statements

My bank stopped doing that in the early 1970s...  but they were just a minor organisation (called Barclays).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Skewbrow on 22 Dec 2013, 04:32
And of course all transfers show up in the paper trail.
Pretty much everything in Germany has a paper trail :roll:
The bank used to mail me a bimonthly summary of all the transfer related to my savings account (never had a checking acoount here) until may be a year ago. The same information is available to me on-line, so it would be kinda pointless to continue sending those. My choice actually - my bank also has customers who are not used to using the internet, so they probably opt to do it in a more old-fashioned way.

A useful by-product of on-line banking is that the identification provided by banks is used elsewhere as well. For example, once something went wrong when I was renewing my password to my university computer account. I was able to restore my credentials on-line, when my identity was certified by the bank (so while following the renewal instructions, one of the steps was done at the bank's web server, and somehow the university's server could use that confirmation message - I'm unfamiliar with the technology). Nifty, eh?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 22 Dec 2013, 05:10
copies of the cancelled check are sent with monthly statements

My bank stopped doing that in the early 1970s...  but they were just a minor organisation (called Barclays).

Most if not all banks here in the US or at least in the northeast US stopped sending the actual cancelled checks back to the sender about seven or eight years ago. We have accounts out of a RBS subsidiary and have had ones out of a TD subsidiary and Bank of America so the banks aren't exactly small but not exactly Barclays size...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: calenlass on 28 Dec 2013, 02:44
I remember being pleasantly surprised by the discovery of tiny electric water heaters in the UK. We have them here in the US, I have since found out, but we also tend to only use them in fancy expensive houses or remodels, which is stupid.

Also, maybe this was more of a Glasgow-flat specific thing, or maybe this was a "student-housing" thing, but in Scotland I remember being much less pleasantly surprised by the fact that the showers were basically just walled off with a half-wall functioning as a splash shield, without curtains or a glass door or anything. How do you keep the heat in, you crazy fucks? My butt was so fucking cold every time I showered! I realize baths are way more popular than they are here, but still. Hands down the worst part of every visit, including the one where I had bronchitis/walking pneumonia.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 28 Dec 2013, 07:34
Wait, that's what glass doors and shower curtains are for? I thought they were just to keep water from splashing. Interesting.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 28 Dec 2013, 13:41
Both actually.

I find the "shower curtain inwards bulging phenomenon" fascinating and annoying at the same time.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 28 Dec 2013, 15:22
Ughhh, my Glasgow flat has a terrible shower, it does actually have a glass panel, but the water pressure is awful. My last flat in Glasgow didn't have a shower at all, just a bathtub and a shower head (not attached to the wall) that could produce either scalding hot or ice cold water. When my flatmate's mom visited, she turned both the hot and the cold tap on at once and the boiler exploded.

The flats are also terribly insulated (single glass windows!), because the buildings are old and you're apparently not allowed to change anything due to the historic value. I guess tradition is more important than being warm,comfortable and energy efficient?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 28 Dec 2013, 15:54
Even in listed buildings secondary glazing can be used, so long as it is removable without damage.  I know, 'cos I've lived in one.

The main reason for poor showers in the UK is that our domestic water systems are still often limited to the pressure provided by a header tank in the roof space.  This is a legacy from the time that we had mains water before it was commonplace in other countries, and having a storage tank covered unreliability in the supply or even the fact that it would be turned off at night.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 28 Dec 2013, 16:09
I'm not sure how exactly the boiler and heating in my current flat works, I've never seen anything like it anywhere else, but we have to flick a switch in the kitchen in order to have hot water in the boiler, and also for the heaters to work. The heaters will start working right away, but if you want a shower you'll need to wait an hour. We usually don't keep the switch on since it makes our bills go through the roof and is probably crazy wasteful (I assume it keeps heating and heating instead of stopping when it's hot enough? I don't know how these things work). The whole system seems really archaic and annoyed me a lot when I first moved in, but I don't really mind now.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bainidhe_dub on 28 Dec 2013, 16:14
We did that while living with family before we moved to our current house - they had a natural gas water heater that they only turned on when it was needed. It was kind of a pain. In our house we have natural gas as well for the heat, but there's no switch for it here. Actually, I wouldn't know how to shut off the gas if I had to - something to look into...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 28 Dec 2013, 16:30
Water heaters here tend to be 40-100 gallon tanks that run on a thermostat.

And around here, in rural areas, the electric companies give significant discounts on water heaters if you get an electric one and let them install a box that remotely cuts off the water heater power during periods of high electrical demand.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: 94ssd on 28 Dec 2013, 19:39
We had oil heating originally and had it replaced with natural gas. Much money has been saved.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: calenlass on 29 Dec 2013, 02:33
having puny water pressure from a rain barrel doesn't mean the rest of the shower has to be unbearable and unpleasant and "bracing", though, paul
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: The Seldom Killer on 30 Dec 2013, 04:50
I'm not sure how exactly the boiler and heating in my current flat works, I've never seen anything like it anywhere else, but we have to flick a switch in the kitchen in order to have hot water in the boiler, and also for the heaters to work. The heaters will start working right away, but if you want a shower you'll need to wait an hour. We usually don't keep the switch on since it makes our bills go through the roof and is probably crazy wasteful (I assume it keeps heating and heating instead of stopping when it's hot enough? I don't know how these things work). The whole system seems really archaic and annoyed me a lot when I first moved in, but I don't really mind now.

What you're describing there is an immersion boiler. It should cut out once a preset temperature has been reached in the hot water tank. There should also be separate controls for the heating and the hot water supply.

The switch in the kitchen is just the master on/off switch for the system. There should be more controls on/near the boiler itself.

If you can locate the boiler tank and take photos of it I can probably offer more advice on setting up the system properly. Usually fairly easy and might be nice to have more functional heating for the next two months of winter, especially in Glasgow.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: lepetitfromage on 30 Dec 2013, 08:56
I find the "shower curtain inwards bulging phenomenon" fascinating and annoying at the same time.

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I can go into the shower a perfectly happy individual and exit it a raging lunatic if the shower curtain adheres itself to my leg too many times.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 30 Dec 2013, 16:56
This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I can go into the shower a perfectly happy individual and exit it a raging lunatic if the shower curtain adheres itself to my leg too many times.
According to my father, this problem is caused by incorrect mounting of the curtain-rod. His idea is that the rod should always be far enough "outside" the open perimeter of the bath/shower-tray that the water-proof curtain "breaks" on the inside edge of the shower, and the optional outer curtain hangs straight. I'm not so sure myself, but I prefer a shower cubicle with a door anyway.

Another (http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,29437.msg1199755.html#msg1199755) thing that struck me as weird in the USA was "sticks" of butter. In Australia, butter usually comes in 250g blocks.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 30 Dec 2013, 17:35
Is that an actual difference, or just semantics? What's the difference between a stick and a block? If memory serves, the stick is about half that size, but it wouldn't be wrong to call it a block.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 30 Dec 2013, 18:36
We have cylindrical sticks of butter in the supermarkets here, roughly the size of two fists; is that normally how a 'stick' of butter is shaped? I don't know anyone who buys them, we just have blocks of butter. Margarine (and other butter-esque products that aren't butter) is sold in plastic tubs, but since it turned out margarine is disastrous for your health, my family doesn't buy it any more. (Also, margarine is disgusting.) Blocks of butter are preferable to tubs anyway, because the paper-wrapped butter (which you unwrap and put in a butter dish) is way more resource-efficient than the plastic tubs.

Question: Do you refrigerate your butter?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 30 Dec 2013, 18:43
On my side of the pond, sticks/blocks of butter are rectangular prisms.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 30 Dec 2013, 19:04
Another (http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,29437.msg1199755.html#msg1199755) thing that struck me as weird in the USA was "sticks" of butter. In Australia, butter usually comes in 250g blocks.

It's all about portioning and recipes. Eachbox is one pound which is also two cups and also is 16 ounces. Each of the sticks is a quarter of a cup as well as four ounces as well as eight tablespoons. Plus it is a lot easier to store single sticks than it is a whole block.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 30 Dec 2013, 19:06
Apparently a "block" of butter is an entire box, so each stick is a quarter block.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: lepetitfromage on 30 Dec 2013, 20:00
Question: Do you refrigerate your butter?

Always. Unless you are preparing it for baking, in which case you let it rest at room temperature for a while to soften. Reclining chair and fuzzy slippers optional.  :-P
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 30 Dec 2013, 20:01
Yeah, I always do too.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Skewbrow on 31 Dec 2013, 00:44
Shower area perimeter: Ours is surrounded by walls from two sides, and a glass pane from the third. The open side does not need anything to stop splashes, because the bathroom floor is tiled, and slightly sloping towards a drain 2-3 feet in the "open" direction. If you don't sweep the residual splashes after a shower, the next person using the sink area may get wet socks. The bathroom is relatively large: room for a washing machine at the opposite corner, and (of course) a separate sauna section. Nothing fancy though - we're middle class. Hotels/motels? It varies a lot, the available space being the biggest constraint.

Butter: half kilo chunks is the norm over here. I found the US style of individually wrapped sticks quite convenient to use when baking. They soften a bit faster (surface area to volume ratio), and my style of baking meant that I would use an entire stick at a time.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 31 Dec 2013, 01:22
I remember staying in a company lodgings in Norway where my shower (high in the house, with a sloping ceiling) was in a waterproof room - shower, toilet, sink, all together with no dividers, and a drain in the middle of the floor.  It was curiously liberating.

At home now we have a walk-in (http://www.matki.co.uk/matki-shower-products/new-boutique-walk-corner-elixir-blade-and-thermostatic-shower-and-accessories-0) shower with no door or curtain, just a dogleg arrangement of panels to keep the spray in.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 31 Dec 2013, 04:31
and (of course) a separate sauna section.
That's awesome, but hardly an "(of course)"!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Skewbrow on 31 Dec 2013, 05:50
Having a sauna IS a high priority to me (and other Finns). Comparative stats about Finland: 3.2 million saunas (http://www.kaleva.fi/uutiset/kotimaa/saunojen-maara-suomessa-kasvoi-rajahdysmaisesti/623201/), 2.5 million cars, 5.4 million people. Cars overtook saunas in the 80s/90s and the country was fucked up for a while. But now that modern flats have their own saunas (as opposed to one or two saunas per a housing complex), the saunas have recovered. I was elated to learn this bit of trivia just now. Warm thanks to you for making me google it up.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: lepetitfromage on 31 Dec 2013, 05:54
One sauna over here, please!  :-D




Paul, I had a similar style shower when I was in a suite-style dorm. There was a shower curtain and a small (about 5" high) splashguard at the bottom of the shower, but the shower and floor were tiled the same way and there was a drain in the middle of the floor as well (and another in the shower area). A whole open room sounds awesome.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: henri bemis on 31 Dec 2013, 11:09
Ha, that's interesting!  I had a friend in college whose family was from Finland (They live in the US now), and they had a sauna.  I visited him for a few days, and it was glorious.  I had no idea it was a cultural thing - I just thought they were fancy, because I'd never known anyone with their own sauna before.  You really only see them in spas here.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 31 Dec 2013, 12:38
I wish I had one.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 02 Jan 2014, 17:12
About Finns and saunas, I couldn't help but think of this (http://satwcomic.com/sauna-time).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Skewbrow on 02 Jan 2014, 22:16
I have never done the roll in the snow. It is actually meant to be a winter time substitute for a dip to the lake/sea. Once classmates sawed off a hole in the ice, and we took dips. I'm not sure I want to do that on a regular basis.

Vihta (https://www.google.fi/search?q=vihta&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=BlXGUvWtHrDo4QSAhoHICg&ved=0CDYQsAQ&biw=1177&bih=737) OTOH definitely adds to the enjoyment. Early mid-summer birch branches are commonly used. Connoisseurs recommend also oak and eucalyptus, but those a hard to find. Anyway flogging yourself with it adds a lot to the relaxing experience. Legs, arms, face,... A saunamate should do your back (and you should return the favor). It doesn't hurt one bit, because we let the branches soak well in advance to soften them. Cleaning up loose leaves the day after is a bit of a nuisance.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 05 Jan 2014, 13:16
My dad's bathroom is basically just one large room with a sloping floor to a drain, but there is a glass half-wall to separate off the shower, presumably so that the toilet paper doesn't get wet? It doesn't serve any other purpose.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 06 Jan 2014, 07:25
In Cuba, everyone said Merry Christmas on Christmas eve.  I've been told that's fairly common in hispanic places, though.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 06 Jan 2014, 08:33
In olden times, the day was generally reckoned from sundown.  Therefore Christmas Day started at sundown on what we would call Christmas Eve.  When the reckoning of the day changed to midnight, the churches retained the effect of the earlier reckoning by starting the celebration of any day on the previous evening - hence the "Eve" terminology, and the celebration, for instance, of the first mass of Christmas on the eve.  In many communities (especially Roman Catholic ones, I suspect), this has spilt into secular life, and into treating the whole of the day before as part of the celebration - but strictly it should only be from sundown.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 06 Jan 2014, 08:42
That's interesting, because in Norway those are still the rules. No one follows them, but you're supposed to say 'Merry Christmas' on Christmas Eve, only after 5PM. It doesn't really happen though since mass is usually before that, but Christmas Eve is Christmas in Norway.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 06 Jan 2014, 09:40
Over here people start saying it around Thanksgiving.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 06 Jan 2014, 10:01
... No comment ...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 06 Jan 2014, 11:13
Considering that sundown in Norway in December is about 2pm, I think maybe people ARE following those rules, Metope!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: snalin on 06 Jan 2014, 16:30
We also say "merry christmas" when we say goodbye to someone we won't see again until christmas is over, and when we meet someone in the week after christmas that we haven't seen for a while. It's used as a "have a nice christmas!" and a "I hope you had a nice christmas!", not just a "Hello, it's christmas right now".
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 06 Jan 2014, 16:59
Here in Germany "Christmas" begins on Christmas Eve. Children get their presents on christmas eve. Christmas Eve is basically the "main event" over here. But only the evening. Christmas Eve is considered a "half public holiday", so stores close around 2pm, and you don't have to work into the evening. Same goes for New Years Eve (called Silvester over here).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 06 Jan 2014, 17:00
I never even considered that "Eve" meant "evening of" and not "the evening before". Makes me think of Judaism (the day goes from sundown to sundown)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 06 Jan 2014, 23:19
Exactly - it's the same thing.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 07 Jan 2014, 13:11
Sounds like Norway is exactly like Germany in that regard. It's funny, because the two following days (called First Christmas Day and Second Christmas Day) are complete public holidays while Christmas Eve is only a public holiday after noon. In my family, Christmas Eve is the main event and it's also for the immediate family, while the following two days are for extended family dinners. This arrangement is normal for the families of most of my friends too, but I don't know if it's representational for the whole country.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: snalin on 08 Jan 2014, 18:28
It's like that everywhere I've been, and for my entire extended family, so I'm pretty sure it's representional.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ZoeB on 31 Jan 2014, 07:19
Common Oddness
- the moon is upside-down pretty much everywhere,
- no beetroot on hamburgers.

Netherlands - Karnemelk (buttermilk) in coffee. Boterhams - open sandwich,  buttered slice of bread sprinkled with schokolade hagelpuur (chocolate sprinkles) and eaten with knife and fork.

Ohio - 28 religious channels on TV.

New Orleans - booze cheaper than milk (and milk's cheap).

Germany - Homeopathy treated seriously
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 31 Jan 2014, 07:44
Ohio - 28 religious channels on TV.

Although that is almost certainly cable.

But one of the four channels I could reliably pick up over the air growing up was religious.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 31 Jan 2014, 08:04
Netherlands - Karnemelk (buttermilk) in coffee.
Karnemelk? In coffee?? Who? Where?

Quote
Boterhams - open sandwich,  buttered slice of bread sprinkled with schokolade hagelpuur (chocolate sprinkles)...
Yes, of course.

Quote
...and eaten with knife and fork.
Wait, what? Who eats their sandwiches with knife and fork? And how? Don't all the sprinkles fall off? I wanna know where you've been since it's clearly not where I'm from.

By the way, the words you used mean chocolate sprinkles, dark. (Chocoladehagel, puur.) Which is what the box would say for dark chocolate sprinkles.. Also, there's no s in chocolade.

A weird thing in Sweden is that most supermarkets have a confectionery section. As in, bins filled with all sorts of candy, chocolates, nuts, and combinations thereof, that you scoop into bags and pay by the gram. In the Netherlands you only ever see those in candy shops and drug stores. As in, the shop that sells over-the-counter drugs as well as beauty products, make-up, bathroom products and... candy. Actually, now that I think about it, we're the weird ones for putting candy in drug stores!

Also, they don't have chocolate sprinkles in Sweden. :(
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 31 Jan 2014, 08:06
That sounds like Woolworths (RIP) - the Pic&Mix stand was the best part!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 31 Jan 2014, 08:06
Quote
Germany - Homeopathy treated seriously
At least one person I know goes to doctors who also practice "alternative medicine" as they call it not because they take it seriously, but because physicians' attitude sometimes is "oh, you have pain? take those pain pills and go away", while the "alternative" ones will try to find out what is up.
Also, insurance doesn't cover these things.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 31 Jan 2014, 10:20
Isn't that a bit like trusting my kids to maintain your nuclear reactors, because after all, they're pretty interested in what goes on inside?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 31 Jan 2014, 10:55
Perhaps, but then 'take these pain pills and leave' could also be likened to 'turn off the warning siren - no more problem'. Okay if the problem is a broken siren, but no good if the core is getting too hot.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 31 Jan 2014, 12:31
To clarify, I meant it the way Pilchard explained.
The way I understood it, my friend in question preferably visits doctors who specialize in both, and has them give out the traditional medicine, except the friend receives more care.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 01 Feb 2014, 13:00
I just found out why the peanut butter they sell here in Sweden tastes just slightly off: They put sugar in it, the barbarians!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 01 Feb 2014, 13:04
They do the same thing in Brazil. Peanut butter shouldn't have sugar in it.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 01 Feb 2014, 13:07
You think that'd be relatively simple.

"So peanut butter, what do we put in it?"
"....peanuts sounds like it might be a vital ingredient"
"....hmm good eye there Johnson, what else?"
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Feb 2014, 14:23
They do in the states, too, but you can get "natural" PB with just peanuts and maybe salt.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 01 Feb 2014, 14:38
*looks at ingredient label on peanut butter jar*

So it does. Less than what the peanut butter I had in Brazil had (that stuff was noticeably sweet), but it does.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 01 Feb 2014, 14:50
They do in the states, too, but you can get "natural" PB with just peanuts and maybe salt.

I ended up getting just that; it was an expensive brand of organic peanut butter made of 99.3% peanuts, 0.7% salt. Now I just hope it tastes good.

The best peanut butter I know of is made with 85% peanuts, and 15% mixed vegetable oil/fat. The proportion isn't revealed but the majority is oil. Plus a pinch of salt. The addition of solid fat keeps it from shifting; the jar of natural PB I bought here already has a thin layer of oil floating on top of it.

Americans can get the superior PB here (http://www.thedutchstore.com/WEBSTORE/productinfo.aspx?itemno=12305).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ZoeB on 02 Feb 2014, 04:19
Netherlands - Karnemelk (buttermilk) in coffee.
Karnemelk? In coffee?? Who? Where?
Hengelo, Overijssel, in 1986 when I was working at HSA (Hollandse Signaal Apparaten)

Quote from: LTK
Quote from: ZoeB
Boterhams - open sandwich,  buttered slice of bread sprinkled with schokolade hagelpuur (chocolate sprinkles)...
Yes, of course.
And no Vegemite available anywhere.

Quote from: LTK
Quote from: ZoeB
...and eaten with knife and fork.
Wait, what? Who eats their sandwiches with knife and fork? And how? Don't all the sprinkles fall off? I wanna know where you've been since it's clearly not where I'm from.
Twente.

Quote from: LTK
By the way, the words you used mean chocolate sprinkles, dark. (Chocoladehagel, puur.) Which is what the box would say for dark chocolate sprinkles.. Also, there's no s in chocolade.
My Nederlands is rusty - I learnt German (Hochdeutsch) in school, then Twents in Hengelo, then to Bremen and back to an unholy mixture of Hannoverana, Plattdeutsch and Ostfriesisch... there are some serious dielect differences over just a hundred kilometers.

When I speak Deutsch, it's very formal, almost stilted schoolgirl Hochdeutsch, Hannoverana. Probably because I was born in Berkshire, UK, the heimat of the Mountbatten-Windsors. The local dielect was influenced by, and in turn influenced, Court German.
When I attempt to speak Nederlands, it's often mistaken for Vlaams due to the English background (hence some latinisation). When I try Platt, I mix Nederlands constructions in, as the Twents dielect of Nederlands is heavily influenced by Platt. Then again, my Francais sounds like Wallonaise from the English and Dutch in it.

So I might say "Een, Twee, Drei.. er, Dree" DOH. Having a superfluous 's' in is about standard. Schokolade, Chocolate, Chocolat, Chocolade... Dank U well, Danke Schoen, Thank you... Gesundheit, Gezondheid, Sundhed... oh wait, that's Dansk I think. Soundness (Health)

Another Dutch oddity : Kijkhuis. Nothing to do with Cakehouse.

Speaking of things comestible...

Rijstafel - ah, just like home! What the Germans do to Szechuan is a culinary atrocity, and their Nasi Goreng is unspeakable. I will pass over what they label "Curry" as something Man Was Not Meant To Know. As bad as Albert Heijn Huiswijn.

It took me ages to realise that "peanut butter and jelly" means "peanut butter and jam". Not jelly - what in the US would be Jello.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 02 Feb 2014, 06:02
Hengelo, Overijssel, in 1986 when I was working at HSA (Hollandse Signaal Apparaten)
Ah, de Achterhoek. Yes, I imagine they do a few things differently over there.

Quote
My Nederlands is rusty - I learnt German (Hochdeutsch) in school, then Twents in Hengelo, then to Bremen and back to an unholy mixture of Hannoverana, Plattdeutsch and Ostfriesisch... there are some serious dielect differences over just a hundred kilometers.

When I speak Deutsch, it's very formal, almost stilted schoolgirl Hochdeutsch, Hannoverana. Probably because I was born in Berkshire, UK, the heimat of the Mountbatten-Windsors. The local dielect was influenced by, and in turn influenced, Court German.
When I attempt to speak Nederlands, it's often mistaken for Vlaams due to the English background (hence some latinisation). When I try Platt, I mix Nederlands constructions in, as the Twents dielect of Nederlands is heavily influenced by Platt. Then again, my Francais sounds like Wallonaise from the English and Dutch in it.

So I might say "Een, Twee, Drei.. er, Dree" DOH. Having a superfluous 's' in is about standard. Schokolade, Chocolate, Chocolat, Chocolade... Dank U well, Danke Schoen, Thank you... Gesundheit, Gezondheid, Sundhed... oh wait, that's Dansk I think. Soundness (Health)
Wow, yeah, I can't imagine what kind of weird mishmash of accents that would produce. I can tell a German accent in Dutch from a Flemish one but I'm not sure about Twents. Also, the Dutch 'chocolade' is an oddity of pronunciation since 'ch' is pronounced roughly the same as in German and English, whereas other words containing 'ch' are pronounced like a hard 'g' as in 'gezond'. Like schoon (of which scone is derived), chloor and acht.

Quote
Another Dutch oddity : Kijkhuis. Nothing to do with Cakehouse.
I don't know what that refers to, but I wouldn't think those are as easily confused since the English pronounced analog would be kikehouse instead of cakehouse.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 02 Feb 2014, 08:46
It took me ages to realise that "peanut butter and jelly" means "peanut butter and jam". Not jelly - what in the US would be Jello.
There's a difference between jelly and jam here, but I still don't know what it is.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ChaoSera on 02 Feb 2014, 09:09
It took me ages to realise that "peanut butter and jelly" means "peanut butter and jam". Not jelly - what in the US would be Jello.
There's a difference between jelly and jam here, but I still don't know what it is.
That's easy. Warning: Very crude and disgusting joke inside the spoiler, click at your own peril.
(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 02 Feb 2014, 09:15
I didn't have to click. I did click, but I didn't have to. I'll look it up later I guess.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 02 Feb 2014, 09:45
It took me ages to realise that "peanut butter and jelly" means "peanut butter and jam". Not jelly - what in the US would be Jello.
There's a difference between jelly and jam here, but I still don't know what it is.

Jelly is only made with the fruit's juice, jam with the pulp or crushed fruit, and preserves with fruit chunks. Same sugar and pectin added in all three, just the size of the fruit changes.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 02 Feb 2014, 09:59
Interesting. Thanks.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 02 Feb 2014, 13:17
We talked about this fairly recently (http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php/topic,29018.msg1187828.html#msg1187828) (and you told us your printer didn't jelly).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 02 Feb 2014, 14:26
Honestly, September feels like a lifetime ago.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 02 Feb 2014, 14:27
It took me ages to realise that "peanut butter and jelly" means "peanut butter and jam". Not jelly - what in the US would be Jello.
There's a difference between jelly and jam here, but I still don't know what it is.

Jelly is only made with the fruit's juice, jam with the pulp or crushed fruit, and preserves with fruit chunks. Same sugar and pectin added in all three, just the size of the fruit changes.
What I learned today in Jelly School.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: snalin on 03 Feb 2014, 01:06
Quote from: LTK
Quote from: ZoeB
Boterhams - open sandwich,  buttered slice of bread sprinkled with schokolade hagelpuur (chocolate sprinkles)...
Yes, of course.
And no Vegemite available anywhere.


:D
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 03 Feb 2014, 05:58
Hengelo, Overijssel, in 1986 when I was working at HSA (Hollandse Signaal Apparaten)

I spent 12 years working on a joint project with Signaal (not Thales) at Hengelo.  Never got to go visit, though, for which I was very sad.

Or maybe not since the last person who went got a week on the North Sea....
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: BeoPuppy on 03 Feb 2014, 09:50
De achterhoek should not be taken as representing the totality of this country.

It's a 'flowers in the attic' kind of situation.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Masterpiece on 03 Feb 2014, 16:46
I never visited the US or anything, but OH MY GOD HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO OBSESS THAT MUCH ABOUT SUPER BOWL?!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Feb 2014, 16:47
Think of it as a localized and condensed version of the World Cup.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 03 Feb 2014, 16:54
As someone who doesn't give a damn about spectator sports, it seems more like "...of the Olympics".

Depending on where you are it might also be "...of the Hunger Games".
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Feb 2014, 17:00
Well the World Cup is one sport (and they're both types of football).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 03 Feb 2014, 17:07
I never visited the US or anything, but OH MY GOD HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO OBSESS THAT MUCH ABOUT SUPER BOWL?!

There are nations who have fought wars, murdered people,  trampled, crushed, and killed hundreds in riots in stadiums- all over football matches. The US reactions are tame compared with the South American and European football fanatics  :roll:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Feb 2014, 17:08
Yeah, but it's a different type of football.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Masterpiece on 03 Feb 2014, 17:36
World Cup.
And that is?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Feb 2014, 17:48
An association football tournament run by FIFA, played every four years with teams from all around the world.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: jwhouk on 03 Feb 2014, 18:29
The Super Bowl is exactly that - the World Cup Final equivalent of American Football.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LookingIn on 03 Feb 2014, 22:13
Yeah, but it's a different type of football.

My mistake for trying to insert some reality into that bashing. Please, continue on. US bad, Americans bad. Boo USA  :roll:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Feb 2014, 22:15
Haha I am so confused but maybe I just need sleep.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Masterpiece on 03 Feb 2014, 23:42
How is it a World Cup if only American teams are in it?

Oh yeah, FIFA. Now I know what you mean. But there's never any real fuzz being made around the World Cup. Not in the scale of super bowl, that is.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 04 Feb 2014, 03:57
Ummmm yes, there is. I am so glad it's only every 4 years, because it's EVERYWHERE and I hate it.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ZoeB on 04 Feb 2014, 04:53
But there's never any real fuzz being made around the World Cup. Not in the scale of super bowl, that is.
YMMV


I guess you had to be there.

Looking back on it... a different world.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ZoeB on 04 Feb 2014, 04:55
Thinking about it - the oddest, strangest and most weird country I've ever been to is.... the past.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 04 Feb 2014, 05:00
How is it a World Series if only American teams are in it?
That's the better question (with the occasional exception of Toronto.
Thinking about it - the oddest, strangest and most weird country I've ever been to is.... the past.
The future'll be a strange place as well.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: mustang6172 on 05 Feb 2014, 21:55
The Super Bowl is exactly that - the World Cup Final equivalent of American Football.

The better analogy would be the FIFA Club World Cup.

There is an actual World Cup of American Football, but no one cares about it.

How is it a World Series if only American teams are in it?
That's the better question (with the occasional exception of Toronto.

Last year's World Series had players from Aruba, Canada, Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and the United States (including Puerto Rico).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 05 Feb 2014, 22:04
Yeah, I was specifically talking about the FIFA World Cup.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 06 Feb 2014, 02:45
The England football team frequently has players from as many different countries as that but it doesn't make it the World football team!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ChaoSera on 06 Feb 2014, 04:40
Oh yeah, FIFA. Now I know what you mean. But there's never any real fuzz being made around the World Cup. Not in the scale of super bowl, that is.
Are you kidding me? Have you ever been out when Germany has a world cup game? It's deserted. And everything is full of football stuff. There are suddenly flags and jerseys everywhere, commercials are centered around football, every news station recaps every single game. It is EVERYWHERE.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 06 Feb 2014, 05:06
Yeah, the World Cup is a big deal. I have vague memories of the 2002 World Cup and not having any actual lessons at school the day England were playing (must have been the quarter finals, according to Wikipedia) because so many teachers were off.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 06 Feb 2014, 08:49
i think i did a quick mental guess and decided that for every person who plays or has played american football there are ~30 people who have played "world" football.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 06 Feb 2014, 13:26
Association football is the term you're looking for.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 19 Feb 2014, 04:07
http://mentalfloss.com/article/55140/10-japanese-travel-tips-visiting-america

I agree with number 9 so hard after my time in Tokyo.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Thrillho on 19 Feb 2014, 06:08
That list seems... less than accurate.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 20 Feb 2014, 09:22
http://mentalfloss.com/article/54461/4-russian-travel-tips-visiting-america

short version: Russians are baffled that bribery is illegal here and also by how happy we are as a culture
 
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 20 Feb 2014, 14:54
Sadly I must say this is not inaccurate. [EDIT for clarification: That such advice must be given, that is].
Correction: [they have to be told] not that bribery is illegal, but socially unacceptable.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 20 Feb 2014, 15:08
Yeah, but sometimes you'll get the one honest guy and that just ruins your whole day.
Global Moderator Comment This forum does not endorse bribery.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 21 Feb 2014, 13:52
Bribery is endemic in the USA. They call it "tipping". You bribe the waiter not to spit in your soup.  :-D
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 21 Feb 2014, 14:10
I wanted to try tipping some cows, but the farmer wasn't happy about the attempted bribery.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 21 Feb 2014, 15:48
Bribery is endemic in the USA. They call it "tipping". You bribe the waiter not to spit in your soup.  :-D

My brother tried to tip a waitress in Tokyo, I think she thought he was trying to pick her up.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 22 Feb 2014, 15:05
I wanted to try tipping some cows, but the farmer wasn't happy about the attempted bribery.

Try Tractors
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ChaoSera on 23 Feb 2014, 09:17
You want him to tip a tractor?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 23 Feb 2014, 09:26
Kugai, he can't! He doesn't even have a horn.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 23 Feb 2014, 10:57
Bribery is endemic in the USA. They call it "tipping". You bribe the waiter not to spit in your soup.  :-D
Except you don't tip/not tip until after you are done eating :roll:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 23 Feb 2014, 11:13
So you bribe the waiter not to spit in your soup next time?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 23 Feb 2014, 11:38
Pretty much, assuming they remember you and assuming you're a regular there. But honestly I see it as less bribing and more of an extra surcharge. If the server is bad enough that you wouldn't tip them (or would tip them significantly less), then you probably aren't going back to that restaurant anyway.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 23 Feb 2014, 12:22
It was a joke.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 23 Feb 2014, 12:25
What's your point? :roll:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 05 Mar 2014, 12:31
So here's what I recently learned about card payments in Sweden. When I first got here I was told that basically everybody in Sweden uses credit cards, not debit cards, for everyday purchases. "How American," I thought. Only now I found out that credit cards simply work exactly like debit cards here. Every transaction is directly deducted from your account, just like a debit card, but the cards themselves are otherwise identical to what I consider credit cards; card number, name and expiry date stenciled into the card, security code on the back and issued by Visa or Mastercard. Works for international and online purchases too.

That's actually really convenient. Why don't more countries do it like this?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 05 Mar 2014, 12:36
That... sounds exactly like what debit cards are here? Except we also have a chip and PIN system for additional security.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 05 Mar 2014, 12:50
LTK, that is exactly what my debit card is, and I'm from the States.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 05 Mar 2014, 12:52
But do your cards have this logo on it (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/f/fd/Maestro_logo.svg/500px-Maestro_logo.svg.png) or this one (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/b7/MasterCard_Logo.svg/500px-MasterCard_Logo.svg.png)? (Or V Pay if you have Visa?)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 05 Mar 2014, 13:03
Mine has the Visa logo on it.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 05 Mar 2014, 13:13
My German debit card has a Maestro logo on it, as do 99% of the debit cards I've seen here.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 05 Mar 2014, 13:46
Yeah my debit card is a Visa card.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 05 Mar 2014, 14:20
Maestro is the Mastercard debit brand.  Visa used to have a debit brand called Delta, but they changed it to the standard Visa logo with DEBIT under it in small type.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: nekowafer on 05 Mar 2014, 14:21
Yup, my debit card looks exactly like my credit cards, aside from also having my picture on it.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 05 Mar 2014, 14:29
My German debit card has a Maestro logo on it, as do 99% of the debit cards I've seen here.
Most German debit cards have been replaced by V-Pay/Girocard cards over the course of the last few years actually. Which is bad, as these are not as internationally accepted as Maestro cards.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 05 Mar 2014, 15:05
Except we also have a chip and PIN system for additional security.

I've never understood that. Is a four-digit number not easier to remember and reproduce than a signature?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 05 Mar 2014, 15:59
A few things: You show your signature to basically anyone, but you keep the PIN a secret. And if found out, a PIN can be changed. Your signature can't.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 05 Mar 2014, 16:15
I forged my mom's signature on a test I failed when I was 10 and I didn't get found out. Signatures are super easy to fake!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 05 Mar 2014, 16:25
My signature when signing for card purchases is far from consistent. Sometimes it's the real thing, sometimes it's just a line.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bainidhe_dub on 05 Mar 2014, 17:06
I have a debit card that can be processed either as credit or debit, but either way it comes directly out of my checking account. It's just a matter of whose system processes the transaction, Visa or ...the debit people(??). For credit I have to sign; for debit I use my PIN and can get cash back.
I usually do debit out of habit, since I don't get charged by my credit union to use it.

Does anyone have experience with the Wells Fargo Home Rebate credit card? I'm thinking of getting one since WF owns our mortgage.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 05 Mar 2014, 17:43
My German debit card has a Maestro logo on it, as do 99% of the debit cards I've seen here.
Huh, must be just the Dutch and Germans then. I guess it's more secure to have separate credit and debit cards - you couldn't do shit with my debit card without the PIN, even if you have it in your hand - but given my frequency of international purchases I'd much rather have just one card that works for everything.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 06 Mar 2014, 00:37
That's actually really convenient. Why don't more countries do it like this?
That's how my card works in effect. The same card, which is branded as a credit card, actually acts as both a credit card and a debit card. At bank ATMs, or retail EFTPOS terminals, I choose which account I want to draw from, type in the appropriate PIN for that account, and I'm done. At the moment you can still sign for credit-card transactions, but that is being phased out, and from 1st August 2014 only PINs will be accepted in Australia.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Thrillho on 06 Mar 2014, 00:56
Yup, my debit card looks exactly like my credit cards, aside from also having my picture on it.

Please tell me it's a picture of your sugary sweet ass.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 06 Mar 2014, 02:58
Chip and PIN has some serious security flaws (there are ways to produce a magstripe card from skimming the chip and PIN data), but it does fix some security problems by changing the card processing flow to require that the cardholder be at the card terminal to enter their PIN.

The signature system used in the US is a massive joke, really. (And, in many sit-down restaurants, your card often ends up being taken out of sight to be run through the credit card terminal, then they come back with the receipt to sign.)

Debit cards in the US are magstripe-and-PIN, for what it's worth.

Also, the workflow for self-scan POS usage of debit cards here in the US... if you scan it, and it's detected as a debit card, generally the terminal will present options related to processing it as a debit card, but you can cancel out of that, and then select to process it as a credit card. IIRC, as a debit card, your bank (and sometimes that gets passed onto you) pays the transaction fee, and it's a magstripe-and-PIN transaction (the PIN is sent to the bank to verify, rather than to the card), and you can choose to withdraw additional funds above the purchase amount. As a credit card, the merchant pays the transaction fee, it's magstripe-and-signature, and you can't withdraw additional funds.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Masterpiece on 06 Mar 2014, 03:07
My credit card features myself playing the guitar.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: nekowafer on 06 Mar 2014, 06:22
Yup, my debit card looks exactly like my credit cards, aside from also having my picture on it.

Please tell me it's a picture of your sugary sweet ass.

That would cause a lot of screaming when I paid for things.

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/03/06/u6anu9en.jpg)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 06 Mar 2014, 17:18
And, in many sit-down restaurants, your card often ends up being taken out of sight to be run through the credit card terminal, then they come back with the receipt to sign.
One of two reasons I generally pay in cash at restaurants. The other is that very often diners in a group divvy up the bill, and that is much easier with cash. Unless you're that guy who only has $50 notes in their wallet, and expects everyone else to make change for them. Don't be that guy.

The biggest problem with the chipped cards seems to be the not-very-reliable electrical contact required between the card and the reader. Between worn or dirty cards, and worn or dirty terminals, the system rarely seems to work first time.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 06 Mar 2014, 18:28
Over here a lot of restaurants are willing to give everyone separate checks. Then again, over here we tip 20% (especially if they split the checks on a larger party) so I guess it evens out.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Wervelf on 07 Mar 2014, 01:24
Over here a lot of restaurants are willing to give everyone separate checks. Then again, over here we tip 20% (especially if they split the checks on a larger party) so I guess it evens out.

What do you mean by separate checks?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 07 Mar 2014, 01:55
Separate checks (bills) as in each person is given a piece of paper with the amount they owe on it, and pay separately.

I've never had a problem with the chip and PIN system, maybe we have more reliable software now?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 07 Mar 2014, 02:46
What's odd is, I work with a fleet of smartcard readers (used for logon authentication, but the chip and PIN system is using smartcards too), and we're not talking expensive ones in some cases - we're talking ones that my employer sells for $15, as part of a keyboard.

I replace keyboards occasionally, and usually not for smartcard reader failures. And these are in an environment where the reader is being used multiple times a day - not as aggressive of a duty cycle as a credit card reader, true, but still... there's plenty of keyboards that are 5+ years old, and still going strong (at least the smartcard reader part is).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 07 Mar 2014, 03:26
In 99% of the restaurants in Germany, you can only pay cash (except in the really posh ones, I suspect).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 07 Mar 2014, 03:40
That doesn't match my experience.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ChaoSera on 07 Mar 2014, 03:53
Mine neither. Most of the times you can pay by card, you just have to ask for it. Almost every restaurant has a mobile card reader by now. Not every single on, mind you, but most.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 07 Mar 2014, 04:00
Hm. To be fair, I usually don't ask and I have never seen it explicitly advertised anywhere.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 07 Mar 2014, 04:40
I've never had a problem with the chip and PIN system, maybe we have more reliable software now?
I think the trouble is in the hardware. Usually polishing the contacts on the card with one of those microfibre cloths fixes the problem.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 07 Mar 2014, 05:08
In 99% of the restaurants in Germany, you can only pay cash (except in the really posh ones, I suspect).
That sounds really annoying, especially with all the coins.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 07 Mar 2014, 05:16
You know, I could have sworn I'd written hardware. I certainly intended to write hardware. But nonetheless my point stands - I've never known that to be an issue here.

I almost never carry cash, unless I've recently been paid for something (when I babysit I am paid cash in hand, and obviously if I buy something for a friend they normally pay me back in cash). It's rare that this is an issue really, it's so unusual for places not to accept cards.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Sorflakne on 07 Mar 2014, 06:12
Yeah, I've pretty much stopped carrying cash as well (especially since vending machines that have card readers are becoming common)...and here 10 years ago I refused to use a debit card because, "With one of these, I never know how much I have to spend, whereas I know exactly what I can do with a couple $20s."

Apparently in Japan, you pretty much always need to have cash on you if you're outside of Tokyo, and that ATMs keep bank hours rather than being available 24/7.  Can anyone confirm/deny this?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 07 Mar 2014, 06:18
In my first year of university, while I was learning how to budget, I had two bank accounts. One was my main account into which my student loans were paid, and from which I paid my rent and major bills. The other was my day-to-day expenses account; a weekly direct debit from the student account paid £15 into the expenses account and that was my allocation of money for the week. I could still make large purchases from the student account but it helped me to think harder about how much I was spending, especially since I didn't carry the debit card for the main account with me.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 07 Mar 2014, 06:30

Apparently in Japan, you pretty much always need to have cash on you if you're outside of Tokyo, and that ATMs keep bank hours rather than being available 24/7.  Can anyone confirm/deny this?

I can confirm or deny this. Cards are becoming more and more common in major cities in Japan, but most transactions will be in cash. Visa is the best type of card to have if you're taking a card, if you're with a major bank or a federal credit union in the U.S. you should have Plus and Co-Op network markings on the back, which will make your life easier ATM wise. I have no idea about Europe on those.

ATMs can be accessed at 7-11s and similar conveniance stores (which are EVERYWHERE) during their normal business hours. (Many are 24 hours, especially in night life areas) I wouldn't count on it though. Better to plan ahead financially speaking.

Places that do large transactions regularly like hotels, even Ryokan like the one I stayed at outside of Kyoto which was run by a little old guy and his wife should have a credit card machine, so don't worry about paying your lodging in cash. In nicer hotels like the Shiba Park hotel in Minato Ku you can usually charge your card at the desk in exchange for cash. I didn't try it at smaller hotels like the Smile! chain that I'm in love with, but I'd be willing to guess they'd provide that service. (Hell they gave me a free pint of whiskey. I think they can handle cash back)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 07 Mar 2014, 06:34
Most places around here accept cards, but I still use cash for day-to-day expenses, because it allows me to control how much I spend more easily. If I run out of cash before the end of the week, I don't allow myself to eat out. There are also still a few places around here that only accept cash. If you want good gyros in this town, bring cash.

Incidentally, I've been here going on seven years and I just realized that the name of the Greek restaurant just off the university campus, The Greek House, is a pun based on the fraternities calling their frat houses "greek houses."  :psyduck:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 24 Mar 2014, 07:15
As mentioned elsewhere, Wallander (UK) was making me fall in love with Sweden.  Now I feel like I have to see it for myself someday.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Sorflakne on 24 Mar 2014, 14:07
Quote
I didn't try it at smaller hotels like the Smile! chain that I'm in love with, but I'd be willing to guess they'd provide that service. (Hell they gave me a free pint of whiskey.
Why has this chain not come to America?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 24 Mar 2014, 14:30
Because we hate actual customer service and efficency. Also most Americans couldn't find in the Smile's hotel rooms.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 31 May 2014, 03:58
As a Brit in the US..... lots of things. There's an old chestnut that the Americans respect the law but don't obey it, the British obey the law but don't respect it, the Germans do both and the Italians do neither, and that seems about right.

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: KingOfIreland on 31 May 2014, 08:55
In 99% of the restaurants in Germany, you can only pay cash (except in the really posh ones, I suspect).
That sounds really annoying, especially with all the coins.

Belgium doesn't really do credit cards either in most places. Let alone maestro.
In my first year of university, while I was learning how to budget, I had two bank accounts. One was my main account into which my student loans were paid, and from which I paid my rent and major bills. The other was my day-to-day expenses account; a weekly direct debit from the student account paid £15 into the expenses account and that was my allocation of money for the week. I could still make large purchases from the student account but it helped me to think harder about how much I was spending, especially since I didn't carry the debit card for the main account with me.

Yeah, I used to do this when I got grants still. Now I'm living pretty much hand to mouth, so it's more difficult. I don't think I've even paid rent this month.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 31 May 2014, 09:48
Americans respect the law but don't obey it
It's kind of tricky. I respect the laws I do obey, at least.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ChaoSera on 31 May 2014, 10:24
How does obeying the law but not respecting it work? Do you obey it but say "Fuck man, I hate this damn law"?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 31 May 2014, 10:25
Pretty much. "I WISH I WAS ALLOWED TO DRIVE FASTER BUT THE BLOODY LAW FORBIDS IT" (while driving at exactly the speed limit)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 31 May 2014, 10:34
It's called "living in the real world", I believe. Something to do with keeping your driving licence and not ending up in court more often than absolutely necessary.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 31 May 2014, 10:35
What's funny is the speed limit is the law here, but pretty much everyone goes under the assumption that the speed limit really means "don't go more than 5-10 mph above this.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ChaoSera on 31 May 2014, 10:37
What's funny is the speed limit is the law here, but pretty much everyone goes under the assumption that the speed limit really means "don't go more than 5-10 mph above this.
I always go 5-10 km/h (metric system, mind you, so it's not quite as much over the limit as mph) faster. It's about going just far enough so you won't get a speeding ticket. Which doesn't always work. I hate speeding tickets.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 31 May 2014, 10:38
The last speeding ticket I got I deserved, but the ticket I got before that for running a stop sign (five years ago) was absolute bullshit. I stopped, looked, and went, and got pulled over after parking a block later with the cop claiming I just rolled right through. Ugh.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 31 May 2014, 10:39
What's funny is the speed limit is the law here, but pretty much everyone goes under the assumption that the speed limit really means "don't go more than 5-10 mph above this.

And that depends on the state and the area.

For instance, in Michigan, "Speed Limit 70" means "Minimum Speed 75, ideal speed 80". Then you get to Detroit, and ideal speed becomes 90.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 31 May 2014, 10:40
Well, yeah, if you're on I80 in New Jersey, the speed limit is 65, but if you're going below 80 your ass better be in the slow lane :roll:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 31 May 2014, 11:07
I remember going 85 on the New Jersey Turnpike and being passed like I was sitting still...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 31 May 2014, 14:02
By 18-wheelers?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Grognard on 31 May 2014, 19:50
BHtooefer: I can recall being on the Southfield freeway (55) during morning rush hour. 
I was doing 70 in the middle lane, whilst TRAINS of cars went by in the fast lane doing 90+. 
It was like being IN a NASCAR race.

Here in Virginia and NC, well, this is NASCAR country. 
My high school driver's ed teacher was a retired Winston Cup driver. 
"SPEED LIMIT 70 MPH" is purely a suggestion. 
My truck has a speed governor that limits it to 105 MPH.
I know that from practical experience.
:D

but my gas mileage tanks at speeds over 80 MPH.  :psyduck:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 31 May 2014, 21:24
Speaking of NASCAR, doing the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Daytona with a dozen other Brits who have no clue who Richard Petty might be, and were all taught to drive manual transmissions from the off, would definitely qualify

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 06:19
My Prius has a governor that limits it at 108. Yes, a Prius. If anyone says those cars are too slow they've never been in one.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 01 Jun 2014, 07:16
The fastest I've ever taken my old Taurus is 75, though it was while driving up a steep hill, so it could probably manage a bit faster than that on flat land.

(The time I mentioned on the New Jersey Turnpike, I was driving my dad's car, and he gave me permission to drive that fast, because we'd be run over otherwise.  :psyduck: )
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 01 Jun 2014, 07:40
I've had my Mk2 Golf 1.6 diesel to 90 indicated. Published maximum speed was 92. (52 horsepower, for what it's worth.)

Had my Miata up to 120 indicated, although with a car in front of me that was deflecting some of the air. (119 published maximum there, and I was down on power from stock, too.)

I know I've had my current modified Golf TDI above 100, but I can't recall how far. 140-150 hp there.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 01 Jun 2014, 07:50
I've done 140 indicated in a car. That was fucking awesome. Not quite as adrenalin pumping as doing 110 in my old toyota corolla though
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Redball on 01 Jun 2014, 11:30
I once got my 1931 Model A phaeton up to 60 on the Jersey Turnpike. Then the head gasket blew out between the back two cylinders and it wouldn't go faster than 55.

Or so I recall. It was 59 or 60 years ago.

About the same year, I drove a different Ford product. On a 2-mile stretch of two-lane out by Westchester Airport, a '55 T-bird at about 100 mph indicated.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 11:34
Because you forgot all about the library like you told your old man, now.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Grognard on 01 Jun 2014, 12:28
Because you forgot all about the library like you told your old man, now.

 :-D snert. HAHA. I see what U did there.  :-D

Maximum speed: 126-127 MPH driving a squad car in pursuit of a felon.
On I-75 South, headed toward the Ohio state line.
and then the tranny let go.
stupid Crown Vic with 200k+ on the odometer.
 :-D
I miss those days.  Lights, Sirens and a license to speed.  :police:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 12:56
You used to be a cop? I didn't know that.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: idontunderstand on 01 Jun 2014, 13:04
Went to China, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and some other places last year in october… well, where to start? Sometimes it was like everything was the exact opposite of how things are back home (Sweden).

People will fart loudly and smoke during dinner. Not after. During.

Water is served with food, but it's steaming hot.

"Hole-in-the-floor"-toilets. Nothing can prepare you.

Amazingly hard beds. We tried four different hotels before we found one we could actually sleep in.

"Cupping" being done as a part of a regular massage. Google it. My girlfriend was in shock afterwards.

The smog, oh my god the smog. On some days it was like Mordor. Whenever the sky was blue and the sun came out I felt like crying.

Haggling over prices at stores (can't find a good word for the types of stores where this is acceptable. Not supermarkets, but markets and smaller stores, I guess) and actually getting a bit upset and yelling at each other is completely natural. I never did this but my Chinese friends did it for me. Which felt incredibly awkward because everything was so cheap anyway. I would sneak the store owner some extra cash if I got the chance.

And to end on a more positive note the food was AMAZING and people in general are amazingly nice, helpful and surprisingly chatty. Surprising for me because I had the impression that the Chinese are more reserved. I'd go there again. I will go there again. I really hope they are able to work out the smog problem though.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 01 Jun 2014, 14:19
We have a Chinese guy who works in our lab who always orders hot water when we eat out. It's a little bit amusing how confused the waiter/waitress sometimes gets when he orders that.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 01 Jun 2014, 15:31
(http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f50/Kugai2/TheKugaivan.jpg) (http://s44.photobucket.com/user/Kugai2/media/TheKugaivan.jpg.html)


My old van (which died on me four years back).

Cranked her up to 120Kph once or twice on the Motorway.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 15:32
Miles or kilometers?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 01 Jun 2014, 15:33
Kph.  Sorry, meant to put that in.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 15:35
I mean, looking at that, it's still impressive, but that's a pretty important distinction :roll:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 01 Jun 2014, 15:39
I know, just a case of me forgetting to add the important bit.

The thing is, whomever owned it before me had probably never gotten it up above 100Kph as when I first went to 'Open it up', I got my foot to the floor and it wouldn't go any quicker than 105Kph.  Obviously, by the time I'd gotten it wrung out properly, I COULD get it up to 140Kph, but that was pushing it as she started to shimmy on the road.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 15:51
What's the fastest speed limit down there?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 01 Jun 2014, 15:54
Open Road/Motorway Speed Limit is 100Kph
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Thrillho on 01 Jun 2014, 15:58
I think the law across the UK is that plus or minus 10% is acceptable variation on the speed limit isn't it?

Fuck it, I don't drive, why do I care even?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 16:01
The law in the US is the speed limit. Strictly speaking you can get a ticket for going one mph over...but realistically speaking you probably have to be 10 or more over (maybe 5 or more over if you're in a residential or school zone, but on a highway 10-15 at minimum over is necessary to get pulled over)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 01 Jun 2014, 16:01
It's about the same here in NZ too Gareth, but the Police here do tighten that up to 5% or less on certain occasions.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 01 Jun 2014, 16:04
If the tv shows that have a camera crew follow traffic cops around are to be believed, the plus ten percent just a lenience provided to compensate for the  impreciseness of the measuring equipment. It doesn't mean you're allowed to go over the speed limit, just that when your speed is being measured, they deduct 10% to account for the potential error.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 01 Jun 2014, 16:09
Strictly speaking you can get a ticket for going one mph over...
Actually, even that depends on the state.

IIRC, in Florida, cops can legally only give a warning for 1-5 mph over.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 01 Jun 2014, 16:12
There are a few towns around where I grew up where the main road through town is marked 20 mph, and you can bet your ass you'll get pulled over if you do 21.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Masterpiece on 01 Jun 2014, 16:38
I cringe when I read kph. It's km/h.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 16:40
That's the standard, but kph isn't necessarily wrong. :roll:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 01 Jun 2014, 17:54


Amazingly hard beds. We tried four different hotels before we found one we could actually sleep in.



You had issues with LITERALLY the best part of hotels in Asia? Japan's similar and I sleep in a Japanese style bed now purely for the firmness and support on my poor lil'spine.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 17:55
I never really understood the preference for hard beds.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Masterpiece on 01 Jun 2014, 18:04
That's the standard, but kph isn't necessarily wrong. :roll:
Uhm, yes, it is. "Kilo" is not any unit of measure, it is an order of magnitude.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 18:21
Yeah, but kilometer is one word that starts with k.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Grognard on 01 Jun 2014, 19:32
technically, Masterpiece is right.
blurg.
But according to American common sense,
K(ilometers)p(er)H(our)
is much, much easier to understand.

and yes.  I was a cop.  long time ago.  far, far away.  when I was  skinny.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 01 Jun 2014, 19:34
Right, I acknowledged that km/h is the standard, but kph isn't wrong because it still stands for kilometers per hour.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: nekowafer on 01 Jun 2014, 19:56
I regularly go 100 mph in my Hyundai Veloster. It is awesome. I haven't gotten a speeding ticket yet, but I'm sure it will come one day.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 01 Jun 2014, 21:10
I tip in the US because basically, that's the table staff's income. Same goes for Sky Caps, taxi drivers and people like that. The IRS assesses them on a notional tipping income, if I understand it correctly, so not tipping is pretty poor form.

I tip cab drivers in FSU countries because it's usual. Room staff, no. Anyway I'm usually on an account booking in places like that.

I usually tip the absolute minimum in French bars and cafés because its a good way to cause nuisance and embarrassment if you don't. I don't like it, but when in Rome etc.

I rarely tip in the UK because I simply don't think the service is worth it, and there is a general practice of paying actual wages. They are pretty lousy, but when you are paying Starbucks or Costa prices, or motorway services prices I DON'T expect to pay the staff on top of that. Go in any given outlet for any length of time and you will see a continual turnover of non-British counter staff, and this is why.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 02 Jun 2014, 03:03
What's the fastest speed limit down there?
In Australia, the highest speed-limit on a non-freeway road is now 100km/h, I think. Freeway (in the UK you would say motorway) speed-limits vary by state. In NSW it is 110km/h. Trucks are fitted with speed-regulators which theoretically limit them to 100km/h on all roads.

Most highways in Australia are *not* freeways, but fairly narrow single-carriageway roads, with soft shoulders often 100mm or more lower than the "bitumen", as the tarmac metalled surface is known here, so 100km/h is plenty. It is questionably safe to overtake on many sections of such roads, because the closing speed of a vehicle coming the other way is 200km/h or 56m/s. If you pull out to overtake a 30m-long "B-double" truck on the Newell Highway (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/96/NewellHighwayNrWestWyalong.jpg/640px-NewellHighwayNrWestWyalong.jpg), for example, and spend ten seconds on the wrong side of the road, an oncoming vehicle will have to have been something like 600m away when you started to overtake. Can you look at a white blob through the heat-haze, and be sure it is not, say, only 400m away? And that assumes there are no bends, bumps or dips to hide oncoming traffic.

Uhm, yes, it is. "Kilo" is not any unit of measure, it is an order of magnitude.
Kilo is a very common abbreviation for kilogramme. In Australia, we have an all-purpose word: "kay".

"How far is it to Tiree, mate?"
"Oh.. About 300 kays. (kilometres)"

"How fast were ya goin' when the cop pulled you over?"
"The mongrel booked me at 130 kays! (km/h)"

"How much d'ya weigh?"
"'Round 80 kays (kilograms).

"My boss is a useless bludging bastard; he just sits in his office all day 'n pulls down 120 kay! (Thousand dollars a year).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: idontunderstand on 02 Jun 2014, 03:32
Amazingly hard beds. We tried four different hotels before we found one we could actually sleep in.

You had issues with LITERALLY the best part of hotels in Asia? Japan's similar and I sleep in a Japanese style bed now purely for the firmness and support on my poor lil'spine.

Not sure what you mean? It wasn't the quality, everything was really nice. They were just like sleeping on a damn plank. I prefer soft beds, and hanging hammocks if possible.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 02 Jun 2014, 03:56
I like really firm beds so I was teasing you.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 02 Jun 2014, 05:48
Stove top stuffing  :-P
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 02 Jun 2014, 05:52
Stuffing is the best food ever.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 02 Jun 2014, 07:23
Stuffing is the best food ever.

See Devils Panties .... ha ha
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 02 Jun 2014, 07:53
What's the fastest speed limit down there?
In Australia, the highest speed-limit on a non-freeway road is now 100km/h, I think. Freeway (in the UK you would say motorway) speed-limits vary by state. In NSW it is 110km/h. Trucks are fitted with speed-regulators which theoretically limit them to 100km/h on all roads.

Most highways in Australia are *not* freeways, but fairly narrow single-carriageway roads, with soft shoulders often 100mm or more lower than the "bitumen", as the tarmac metalled surface is known here, so 100km/h is plenty. It is questionably safe to overtake on many sections of such roads, because the closing speed of a vehicle coming the other way is 200km/h or 56m/s. If you pull out to overtake a 30m-long "B-double" truck on the Newell Highway (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/96/NewellHighwayNrWestWyalong.jpg/640px-NewellHighwayNrWestWyalong.jpg), for example, and spend ten seconds on the wrong side of the road, an oncoming vehicle will have to have been something like 600m away when you started to overtake. Can you look at a white blob through the heat-haze, and be sure it is not, say, only 400m away? And that assumes there are no bends, bumps or dips to hide oncoming traffic.

I grew up at the intersection of 2 trans-Canada highways.  Both are 2-lane for the most part, and both in places cross through the Laurentian Shield, meaning constant hills.

Passing lanes in the middle on up-hills are a must, especially on the Northern Route which is favoured by truckers.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 03 Jun 2014, 04:54
About tipping, I really haven't noticed much difference between the UK and the US when it comes to niceness and attentiveness. You get both great, mediocre and crappy waiters everywhere. If there's any difference, it would be the US waiters hanging over you all the time, while the UK ones will let you eat in peace. I get that it's a preference/cultural thing though, and I wouldn't let that affect the way I tip... But it is really awkward to be asked if the food tastes okay right after shoving the first bite into my mouth, let me chew and swallow first, please? I do tip more in the US than in the UK because of the wages, but I think it's nice to tip anywhere that has table service as a general rule.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 03 Jun 2014, 05:02
Fuck I hate it when a waiter or waitress talks to me when I'm eating. Feels like they don't want to actually engage in conversation because I have food in my craw, also comes off as a bit rude to me personally. For one, I'm eating it, so chances are it's good, I'll flag you down if I have a problem.

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 05:19
The best way to do that is to politely say "I'm fine, I'll let you know if I need anything". Then hope you can actually get their attention if you do need something.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Metope on 03 Jun 2014, 05:35
That seems like a difficult sentence to say with a mouth full of food.  :-P
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 05:36
I figure waiters are like dentists, they're so used to hearing people talk with their mouths full that they can understand it perfectly.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 03 Jun 2014, 06:18
Heh. Speaking of tipping. My brother tipped once while we were running around Japan. We went to a killer restaurant in Osaka. (Okonomiyaki. So fucking good) we paid in cash and pulled chalks, one of the waitresses actually chased after us to give us our change. It was REALLY embarrassing for everyone involved.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Masterpiece on 03 Jun 2014, 07:57
So you don't tip in Japan?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Grognard on 03 Jun 2014, 09:23
a quick Google turned up the first ten results saying "Don't Tip in Japan! It is considered rude."

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 03 Jun 2014, 09:25
There are some situations you tip... sorta. Like if you stay at a traditional Japanese inn it's considered polite to give your maid a little present like a box of tea or some chocolates at the end of your stay, but for the most part, no.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 03 Jun 2014, 11:53
When you eat in Japan, tonight
Don't tip in Japan, be tight
Don't tip in Japan, where you only pay for food
Don't tip in Japan, alright
Pay, then go outside and hail a ride
Things are awkward when you tip in Japan
When you tip in Japan
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: BeoPuppy on 03 Jun 2014, 11:57
... okay, that was impressive.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 14:13
How is it rude? Is the implication that you're bribing them to do their job?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 03 Jun 2014, 14:24
I just googled and basically the view is that the price is the price. It's just not done, it's odd and uncomfortable. Probably similar to if you gave your waitress a gift out of the blue.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 14:25
Interesting. Good to know.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 03 Jun 2014, 14:48
There's also an edge of the whole "bribing them to get better service" bit. Hospitality's a big deal in Japan.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 14:51
How is it bribing them to get better service? They don't get the money until after the service has already been provided (and they don't even know how much they'll get until then).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 03 Jun 2014, 14:53
You're looking at this from an American perspective where tipping is the norm. Just try and be objective and accept that it isn't done in Japan.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 14:54
No, I do accept that it isn't done (and trust me, I'm not complaining about not having to tip if I go there), I just don't get the explanation that it's "bribery for better service".
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: BeoPuppy on 03 Jun 2014, 14:54
They don't want it, great. Tipping is awfull anyway. It'd be much nicer if the income of members of the service industry was a living wage, anyway. Better to fix that than this stop-gap tipping thing.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 03 Jun 2014, 14:56
It sort of is bribery for better service though - doing your best to provide good service in anticipation of getting a tip. Do you honestly believe that if someone gained a reputation for not tipping, they wouldn't be treated differently by staff who are used to being tipped?

I had my hair cut today and didn't leave a tip. I felt a bit guilty, but the cut cost £22. I had been led to believe I would get a 30% discount by booking in advance for an appointment on a Tuesday, and didn't, so I'm choosing to see it as a 30% tip.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 14:57
Why didn't you object when they charged you full price?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 03 Jun 2014, 15:02
Because it's embarassing to quibble over money.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 15:19
Really? Pointing out that you're being charged more than you should be is embarrassing? Even if you didn't want to raise a stink, you should've at least mentioned it, since you went in reasonably expecting to pay a certain amount, only to be charged more.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 03 Jun 2014, 15:24
I dunno, I just felt really awkward. I always feel out of place in hairdressers, clothes shops, anything like that. I hate, hate, hate shopping and getting my hair cut is almost as bad because the salons are always fancy and the hairdressers are perfectly made up and beautifully dressed. I just wanted to leave and not call attention to myself.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: celticgeek on 03 Jun 2014, 15:25
History of tipping (http://www.billshrink.com/blog/7156/the-history-of-tipping/)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 15:31
That's fair. It's only six quid, not worth being uncomfortable about.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 03 Jun 2014, 15:33
You're right though, because I have a budget of a maximum £40 a week to live on (ideally £20 most weeks), so £6 is a fair chunk of that. I just wasn't confident that I was actually right about the discount and already felt awkward about not tipping.


Also, from that article - it says that touching the customer will increase your tip. Hell no. If a waiter touched me, I would not tip anything at all. Don't put your hands on me, random stranger.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 15:36
True, but if you'd got the money back, I'm sure you would've handed her some of that.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 03 Jun 2014, 15:45
If someone expected me to tip them for a haircut it better be a really damn good haircut. Like, it should look perfect and remain that way for at least a week without me having to touch it. And looking at that billshrink page: wedding musicians, really? I get why you tip for food service - you pay for the food, and tip for the service - but the rest doesn't really make sense to me.

Also, SatW taught me another weird thing about Sweden. (http://satwcomic.com/sand-in-weird-places)

Also, from that article - it says that touching the customer will increase your tip. Hell no. If a waiter touched me, I would not tip anything at all. Don't put your hands on me, random stranger.
I'm not sure but I think they found that effect specifically for waitresses who serve male customers.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 03 Jun 2014, 19:12
Also, from that article - it says that touching the customer will increase your tip. Hell no. If a waiter touched me, I would not tip anything at all. Don't put your hands on me, random stranger.
Eeew! Yes. No touch me! I can't wait for robot waiters quite frankly. I think I'd prefer that to a jetpack. I especially don't like those waiters who insist on introducing themselves to me: "Hi, I'm <insert first name here>, and I'll be serving you tonight." Ugh! So phoney. I do not disdain them, or their service, but random waiters are not my friends. No, I don't especially like using my personal name at work either, but it is so much the custom in Australia that one cannot object without coming off as a weirdo.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Jun 2014, 19:21
Wait, why do you object to someone telling you their name? I'm pretty sure it wasn't your intention, but your post really comes off as "why is the help telling me its name?" in the worst possible way :|

And...how would you work with someone and not tell them your name?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 03 Jun 2014, 20:31
Wait, why do you object to someone telling you their name? I'm pretty sure it wasn't your intention, but your post really comes off as "why is the help telling me its name?" in the worst possible way :|
Yes, I suppose it does :-(. I carry reactions based on my ancestral culture, which is much more formal and hierarchical than you are probably used to. Within the family, we refer to each other by our titles, not our names. I call my father "Father" (as is common in the West too, of course, although it might be "Dad"), but he calls me "Elder Daughter". Ones personal name is for close friends, so when a random stranger in a professional setting seems to want to assume the status of a friend, it feels intrusive, fake and manipulative. It's not a "the help" status thing, I think, because it grates in the same way when superiors in the workplace insist on using my personal name, and expect me to do the same to them. The boss is not my friend either.

Quote
And...how would you work with someone and not tell them your name?
I said my personal name. That is, as opposed to my surname. What you would probably call your first name or Christian name. Yes, of course I have adopted the Western name order for public purposes, living in Australia, but it still feels wrong, and deep inside my "first name" is still my surname. Because, you know, the family is more important than the individual. ;)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 04 Jun 2014, 00:03
I had my hair cut today and didn't leave a tip. I felt a bit guilty, but the cut cost £22. I had been led to believe I would get a 30% discount by booking in advance for an appointment on a Tuesday, and didn't, so I'm choosing to see it as a 30% tip.

You were even more generous than you were expecting to be: it actually works out as a ~43% tip.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 04 Jun 2014, 00:20
Within the family, we refer to each other by our titles, not our names. I call my father "Father" (as is common in the West too, of course, although it might be "Dad"), but he calls me "Elder Daughter".

That's not unknown in former generations in England, too.  My father was a bit like that, though not so formally.  I don't recall him ever addressing me by name!  This was probably actually a combination of embarrassment and fear of us children on his part.  My parents' pet names for each other were "Horse" and "Mare" (I won't explain here), and these were also used by family friends - and so for most of my childhood I was called "Foal minor" (my siblings being "Foal major" and "Filly").
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 04 Jun 2014, 02:48
Having spent much of my life in countries where haggling is usual, it doesn't bother me at all. My daughter, even less so.

I don't tip in UK because (a) I don't find it makes any difference at all to service (b) I'm strongly opposed to the persistent attempts to introduce it as a scam by the owner (c) I'm just a skinflint

I tip in US because that what you do there

I usually follow the expat line that pestering Kemo Sabe fir baksheesh will get you nowhere, full stop.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 04 Jun 2014, 05:20
Wait, why do you object to someone telling you their name? I'm pretty sure it wasn't your intention, but your post really comes off as "why is the help telling me its name?" in the worst possible way :|
Yes, I suppose it does :-(. I carry reactions based on my ancestral culture, which is much more formal and hierarchical than you are probably used to. Within the family, we refer to each other by our titles, not our names. I call my father "Father" (as is common in the West too, of course, although it might be "Dad"), but he calls me "Elder Daughter". Ones personal name is for close friends, so when a random stranger in a professional setting seems to want to assume the status of a friend, it feels intrusive, fake and manipulative. It's not a "the help" status thing, I think, because it grates in the same way when superiors in the workplace insist on using my personal name, and expect me to do the same to them. The boss is not my friend either.

I have similar issues with this though my family doesn't really use titles. (Dad's still "sir" though. Mom's just Mom.). It bothers me when my boss or boss's boss want me to call them by their first names. I usually settle by calling them "boss" or something similar with a more informal feel then sir or ma'am. Like chief. It's a work around, but one that frustrates me. My part time staff are sure as shit not calling me by my first name. I'm your employer, not your buddy. If you're full time that might change.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 04 Jun 2014, 05:25
See, I kind of find it funny, because people who know me to pretty much any degree call me Eric. But my closest friends? Those are the ones that call me by my last name! Also, I find it depressing when someone says that "x is not my friend" in a context where you don't have a reason to dislike x. Why isn't x your friend? Why can't they be your friend for a little while? Not having everyone be your friend to some degree by default sounds like an awful way to live.

So Akima, do you expect people to call you just by your surname, or do you wish them to add "Ms." in front of it? Because calling someone by just their surname seems extremely familiar, but that's probably how you feel about just using a given name.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 04 Jun 2014, 05:34
It can vary within countries as well. I was so surprised to hear a girl I knew address her mother with the formal personal pronoun, which is usually used for unknown elders or teachers and the like. At university everything's back to being informal, though.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Neko_Ali on 04 Jun 2014, 05:51
The boss/friend dynamic can be difficult for people to separate, at least in the US. I mean, I never had a problem with it.. Work and leisure time are separate things. Some of it is cultural stereotyping. It's all over media, the adversarial relationship between employee and employer. The latter of which doesn't want to be there and does the least possible to get by, while 'the man' is trying to force extra onto you. It's a horrible work ethic that has to much basis in reality. When you have bosses who are friends, then the theory goes they are supposed to let you slide and get away with more, which just makes things bad all around. So the typical thing is, 'I am  your boss, not your friend.' to avoid any accusations of nepotism.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: lepetitfromage on 04 Jun 2014, 06:04
Maybe I'm more informal than others, but I prefer for most people to use my first name. When I was student teaching, it was so weird to get used to the way that students referred to me. I told them they could call me "Ms. D"- a little less formal but still maintains the right dynamic for student teaching. If/when I ever get a REAL teaching job, I've even considered allowing my students to call me by my first name. There's a certain comfort in it.


And looking at that billshrink page: wedding musicians, really?

You stick the word "wedding" in front of anything and they will find a reason to charge you more. You're supposed to tip all of your wedding vendors, even though they're taking an arm and a leg in the first place.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 04 Jun 2014, 06:51
In case of weddings, isn't it way easier to, y'know, not tip them? What are those wedding musicians/florists/caterers/whatever going to do, tell all their friends to avoid you the next time you're getting married?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 04 Jun 2014, 07:01
It's very interesting when you're spending a lot of time in hackerspaces, as some people are more comfortable with nicknames than with given names, so you get used to being referred to by your nickname. There are a few people where I don't even know their real names.

Tutors (students who teach lower grade students) almost always want to be referred to by their first name, same goes for everyone in the Fachschaft. And then there is this one professor who hates his last name and asks everybody to call him by his first name.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bainidhe_dub on 04 Jun 2014, 07:30
A lot of times the guy actually working at your wedding is just some grunt from the company you have a contract with. It's kind of like tipping waiters in that you're thanking the individual for their service to you, while still paying the establishment for your meal. I wouldn't say it's expected but my husband definitely gets tips sometimes when he runs lights for weddings and bar mitzvahs, usually like $50 when it happens.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 04 Jun 2014, 07:46
Tutors (students who teach lower grade students) almost always want to be referred to by their first name
Well duh, they are students :roll: Same goes for professor assistants, by the way, which I believe is equivalent to a TA in the US.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Grognard on 04 Jun 2014, 09:15
here's a tidbit...

at my work, everyone calls me "Mr. Grognard".
but then, I call them by their ranks.

referring to me as "Mister" makes me feel old.
but then: I am the oldest person in the office.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Mlle Germain on 04 Jun 2014, 09:59
See, I kind of find it funny, because people who know me to pretty much any degree call me Eric. But my closest friends? Those are the ones that call me by my last name! Also, I find it depressing when someone says that "x is not my friend" in a context where you don't have a reason to dislike x. Why isn't x your friend? Why can't they be your friend for a little while? Not having everyone be your friend to some degree by default sounds like an awful way to live.
I totally disagree. (I realise this might well be a language/culture thing and I think it is an interesting thing to explore in this thread! Probably friend means something different to you than it does to me.)
Somebody not being my friend does absolutely not mean I dislike them. I like a lot of people very well that I just do not know well enough to call them "friend". My friends are people who I regularly spend time with outside of work/university and probably also other regularly scheduled activities like team sports, whose private life I am interested and invested in, who I keep in contact with because I genuinely enjoy their company and they are important to me, whom I will help if they ever run into trouble, who I will rely on to help me if I am in trouble. Of course I met most of my friends at university or via hobbies, but just knowing someone from there doesn't make them a friend, it makes them an acquaintance. There is not enough time in my life to have more than, say, roughly ten to fifteen actual friends.
Of course I won't say to anybody: "My friend quota is full, go away." That's not how it works. If it so happens, I will spend more time with them and get to know them better and we will become friends.

And at work, trying to be friends with your collegues can be very annoying and bad for the work environment: Let's face it - you don't spend time with each other because you enjoy each other's company, but because you're being paid to. You have work to do and your job (or especially the bosses job) is to make sure everything is running smoothly and effectively. Friendship has nothing to do with it. And one shouldn't confuse a work relationship with friendship; that is really not fair on the other person.
Of course you can be friends with your collegues outside work, but at work that shouldn't play any role. Also, I am not a fan of employees being urged to spend time together outside work to bond or whatever - it is a job. You have every right to keep it separate from your private life and it absolutely doesn't make you a bad employee.

About how you address other people: The UK is turning out to be way less formal that way than Germany, at least on the surface. At uni in Germany, everybody says "Sie", the German formal personal pronoun, and students address professors (actual professors, not tutors or postdocs, usually) by their last names by default, and the same the other way round. If you work together on research, that's different. Then people will usually use first names and "du", the informal personal pronoun. The default thing for people you meet in a business setting (not via friends or sports or hobbies, there it's usually "du") or on the streets is to address them with "Sie" and "Herr"(Mr) or "Frau"(Ms) + last name. That is not considered overly formal at all.
Teachers start calling their students "Sie" from 11th grade (17) onwards, though usually in combination with the first name (students always call teachers "Sie" and Mr/Ms last name at least at school).
I actually get annoyed when people in Germany that I don't know (in shops, at the doctor's etc.) address me with "du", because that means they treat me like a child. At almost 23, that's kind of annoying.
The only situation where it's really awkward is with your friends' parents - I never know how to address them. I usually either go with "Sie" to be safe until I am told to use "du" or I formulate all my sentences in a way that avoids addressing them at all. My parents say "Sie" to my friends (which I and also my friends usually still find weird at our age. My friends then tell them to use "du"). Usually going from "Sie" to "du" is a mutual thing that is mostly offered by the more senior person, though.

In the UK, this seems to be vastly different and people seem to call each other by their first names almost immediately, regardless whether the setting is business or private. For me, it still feels weird to address my professors at university with their first name, but I am getting used to it. When I contact someone for the first time, I still always address them as Mr/Ms, Dr, Professor etc., and then when they reply, I will address them similarly to how they addressed me or how they signed their message the next time. I guess people from Germany who are used to using first names only in a pretty familiar setting have to be a bit careful not to confuse calling someone by their firstname with actually being on familiar terms with them.

Oh god, this is a wall of text :-o Sorry...

Edit: I now after rereading Garand's post, I still have something to add: To me it feels very weird to address your parents in a formal way or even by their first names (again a cultural thing, I am sure). A few friends of mine call their parents by their first names and it just feels so... I don't know, unfamiliar. I call my parents "Mama" and "Papa", the German versions of Mum and Dad. And they usually call me little kid nicknames that can be kind of embarrassing in front of other people, but I don't actually mind, because they're my parents and so they're allowed to call me things I would let noone else call me.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: nekowafer on 04 Jun 2014, 10:25
I'm basically always called by a nickname by people who know me - mostly because my first name is difficult to pronounce. I am used to working in non-formal settings (retail, specifically Hot Topic, where most of my customers were teenagers), where calling me by my last name would have been far too formal. Now I work with physicians. I call them Dr. [last name], and they call me Elesia or Miss Bowers. And it's weird being called the latter, as it makes me feel kind of old.

Basically I have never been in an actual formal setting and wouldn't know what to do with myself were I to be put in one.

My parents are still mommy and daddy. My brother goes by his nickname, my sister by her first name.

Oh and for most of my childhood I went by my middle name, Lynne (or Lynnie), which is far easier to pronounce.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Pilchard123 on 04 Jun 2014, 11:21
UKian here. Both jobs I've had have been first-name jobs with everyone in the office, with the exception of those with the same first name. Then it's usually 'FirstName SurnameInitial' (Bob A and Bob B) or NonoffensiveDistinctiveFeature FirstName (Small Bob and Tall Bob).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 04 Jun 2014, 12:21
I have called almost everyone by their first name since I was sixteen (not because that was the age cut off for doing so, but because at 16 I moved to a sixth form college where teachers went by first names). Almost all my lecturers and supervisors at both universities use their first names - we would sometimes refer to lecturers who we didn't know personally by their surnames between students, but never had cause to address them so I don't know what we'd have said to their face. Probably Dr/Professor Surname, because we hadn't been introduced.

I actually can't think of a single instance where I call someone by their title and surname. Possibly my doctor - I don't know his first name. Then again I can't usually remember his surname either. I call my mentors by their first names. Some of the doctors in the hospital go by first names, some by last, some by nicknames. I never know who any of them are anyway.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: lepetitfromage on 04 Jun 2014, 13:19
My parents are still mommy and daddy.

Mine too. They will always be mommy and daddy.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 04 Jun 2014, 13:21
Mine have always been mom and dad...although I occasionally call my dad "Johnny" (his name is John). Not really sure how it started, and it's usually as a greeting (not during a conversation). He's never objected, my sister sometimes calls him that too. (shrugs)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Welu on 04 Jun 2014, 13:21
Oh and for most of my childhood I went by my middle name, Lynne (or Lynnie), which is far easier to pronounce.

Neat coincidence in our names. Whoop!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: nekowafer on 04 Jun 2014, 13:31
I know right! I've actually never known anyone else that goes by Lynnie.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Welu on 04 Jun 2014, 13:35
I much prefer "Lynnie" to "Lynn", which is how my parents spell my name. Although it took me a long time to get comfortable introducing myself by it because almost everyone mishears it as "Lilly". :psyduck: Now I'm more confident to repeat it till they get it right.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 04 Jun 2014, 13:43
Teachers were almost always family name, instructors at the technical college I went to were sometimes given name, sometimes family name. (I'm going to try to use given/family name due to how different languages handle the ordering of them, and also trying to avoid hardcoding middle-endianness into my language (although personal names in Western languages are only middle-endian at a byte level, at least, unlike, say, American dates).)

Except for a strange phase I went through when I was like 6, I used "mom" and "dad".

And, I'm used to given name taking precedence, so someone may be introduced as John Doe, but I'd refer to him as John (and he'd refer to me as Eric), not Mr. Doe, typically, even in the professional contexts that I'm usually in.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Masterpiece on 04 Jun 2014, 14:08
My parents are still "Baba" and "Mama".

Oh man that reminds me of a thing my dad and I used to do. My dad works every weekday (Saturday included), and always came home at seven/eight. We live in an apartment building, so he'd ring the doorbell and I'd check on the speaker, saying "who is it?" and he'd say "Baba" but in a weird way, not emphasizing the last 'a' but the first one, making it sound like he said "Bob".

So when he comes up to the apartment door, I'd open and say "n'aber Bob" (what's up, Bob), to which he would reply "iyiyim, Joe" (I'm well, Joe). I think me asking might have sounded to him like a Turkish dub of a western or something, and it was a thing that was special to us two and I always looked forward to saying "n'aber Joe" every day...

god I miss my father.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 04 Jun 2014, 14:12
Funny story: My earliest babysitters were a husband and wife whom I was supposed to call aunt Agnes and uncle uh.. I forgot. They would reprimand me if I called them by their first name only, but I only did that once when I was feeling trollish.

I like how we have a word for "needlessly rebellious, provoking attitude" now that perfectly describes how I was feeling like eighteen years ago.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 04 Jun 2014, 14:20
Baba is Russian for Grandma.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 04 Jun 2014, 14:30
I find it weird to call non-relatives by relative-titles, but I know it's normal in some families so I guess it's just what you're used to. I have so many relatives that I really don't need to acquire extra honorary ones! Plus there are cultures (Akima, is this the case in China?) where using aunt or uncle is a sign of respect.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: dr. nervioso on 04 Jun 2014, 14:42
When I lived in Miami,  all of the students would generally refer to the teacher as "miss" no surname, which I had always used

And another cultural difference I found  in the Midwest when  I made my glorious return was  the ubiquitous use of the phrase "You're fine" whenever domeine made a blunder of some sort. It really creeped me out at first.

Sent from my SM-T110 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 04 Jun 2014, 14:50
Plus there are cultures (Akima, is this the case in China?) where using aunt or uncle is a sign of respect.
In Russia, at least when I was young, (Aunt/Uncle + given name) was the polite (ie usual) way for children to address an older friend of the family (e.g. a friend of your mother or a neighbor who'd let you play on their lap).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Masterpiece on 04 Jun 2014, 15:06
Baba is Russian for Grandma.
Baba is Turkish for father. Same as Papa in German.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Masterpiece on 04 Jun 2014, 15:14
My brain made a weird jump when I wrote that post - it's now stuck on "Musique Non Stop" by Kraftwerk, just because of the "Papaaaa papapaaa tick" in the intro:

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Mlle Germain on 04 Jun 2014, 15:35
When I lived in Miami,  all of the students would generally refer to the teacher as "miss" no surname, which I had always used
Also if the teacher is a man?

I have never called anyone apart from my parents (Mama&Papa) and my grandparents (Oma&Opa, which are the German versions of Grandma/Grandpa) by their "family title" - I mean their relation to me. I call my aunts and uncles just by their first names. But my second cousins (not sure if that's the right word; I mean my cousin's children) call my mum and dad, i.e. their great-aunt and great-uncle "Aunt *MyMumsFirstName*" and "Uncle *MyDadsFirstName*" and name their other aunts and uncles and grandparents in a similar fashion. However, they do not call me "Cousin ..." but just my name. I think in Germany most children use Aunt and Uncle just for their actual relatives, if at all.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: dr. nervioso on 04 Jun 2014, 15:39
I believe the students used male teacher surnames more than they did for female teachers, but there were not many male teachers to begin with

Sent from my SM-T110 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 04 Jun 2014, 18:20
Plus there are cultures (Akima, is this the case in China?) where using aunt or uncle is a sign of respect.
In Russia, at least when I was young, (Aunt/Uncle + given name) was the polite (ie usual) way for children to address an older friend of the family (e.g. a friend of your mother or a neighbor who'd let you play on their lap).

Common in parts of the U.S. too. My "Uncle" Tom and "Aunt" Jeanie for example.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 04 Jun 2014, 19:45
(and he'd refer to me as Eric)
Wait, you're Eric, too? That means there are at least three of us.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 04 Jun 2014, 20:14
ONE OF US. ONE OF US. ONE OF US.

And I neglected to mention that a significant portion of my friends call me "toof", even IRL. (One community I'm in (where normally nicknames are eschewed, and most people use real names even in IRC), there's another Eric that's been there much longer... except he uses his nickname too. There's an unspoken "nobody calls anyone Eric" rule in that channel.)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 04 Jun 2014, 20:31
Perfect! I should join! "Hi, I'm Eric, but you can call me Method."
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 04 Jun 2014, 20:35
The Eric hive mind grows ever larger
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 04 Jun 2014, 20:35
(Checks toof's profile to see if I'm still the oldest Eric) When's your bday, toof? We're both 26!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: TRVA123 on 04 Jun 2014, 22:11
And another cultural difference I found  in the Midwest when  I made my glorious return was  the ubiquitous use of the phrase "You're fine" whenever domeine made a blunder of some sort. It really creeped me out at first.

wait, "you're fine" as a way of accepting an apology isn't standard practice elsewhere?

*midwesterner here* I probably say "you're fine" or "no worries" ten or more times a day at work.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 04 Jun 2014, 22:15
Calling older friends of the family "aunt" or "uncle" used to be common in the UK and you still hear it occasionally, although it's no longer usual and considers rather "old fashioned". Note that it would not be usual to refer to their children as "cousin" and it would be generally understood who was an actual relative, as opposed to a form of address.

I travel in Asian countries and it's common there for Westerners to be addressed as "Mr (given name)" rather than "Mr (surname)" which is basically an adaptation of a local form of address; it might also be used when referring to someone known to both speakers but not present.

I just shrug it off when people address my by my actual first name on brief acquaintance or as a firm of enforced familiarity (recruiting agent desk staff, for example). Since anyone who actually DOES know me would know that I am almost NEVER called that to my face by people who know not to, it just marks them out as people who have promoted themselves to a specific level of association.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bhtooefr on 05 Jun 2014, 03:19
(Checks toof's profile to see if I'm still the oldest Eric) When's your bday, toof? We're both 26!
1988-04-08.

*midwesterner here* I probably say "you're fine" or "no worries" ten or more times a day at work.
This.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Skewbrow on 05 Jun 2014, 04:04
I said my personal name. That is, as opposed to my surname. What you would probably call your first name or Christian name. Yes, of course I have adopted the Western name order for public purposes, living in Australia, but it still feels wrong, and deep inside my "first name" is still my surname. Because, you know, the family is more important than the individual. ;)

This may be difficult for us "occidentals" to understand. I hope that your coworkers understand and respect your reasons.

But I wanted to ask you if this is related to what I observed/was told about while I lived in the US. What seemed to happen was that children born to Chinese parents in America were given a "local" name to be used as a first name the way it is locally used. The parents got to pick that name. But another first name (the personal name?) was picked by the extended family/elders/whatnot in China? Based on what you said it sounds like I never learned the true names of the kids born to fellow grad students from China? We called the kid Aaron, because the parents did so :-)

Another thing that puzzles me about this. Is this practice of not disclosing the first names still common in China? My wife has a penpal from Hong Kong. I may be wrong but I think that she is referring to her kids with their personal names in her letters. Would people from Hong Kong have developed different customs in this respect?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Sorflakne on 05 Jun 2014, 05:54
I thought it was rather odd that instructors at my current college (and even our department head) said it was cool if we referred to them by first name during class time.  The oddity of it passed after a few days though.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 05 Jun 2014, 06:05
TRVA -I use "no worries" all the time, but "you're fine" seems odd to me.

Toof- I'm 1987, so I "win" bwahahahahaha
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 05 Jun 2014, 07:12
Also, I find it depressing when someone says that "x is not my friend" in a context where you don't have a reason to dislike x.
For me, friendship is an important relationship, and I like to think that I offer a bit more to my friends than not disliking them. There are many people in the world I don't dislike, and I'm perfectly prepared to be polite to them or smile at them, but they are not friends; they are clients, coworkers, acquaintances, my dentist, random people I meet on railway platforms and so on. Friends are people I care a lot about, and applying the word "friend" to anyone I don't dislike feels to me like devaluing friendship.

Quote
So Akima, do you expect people to call you just by your surname, or do you wish them to add "Ms." in front of it.
What I expect is that people will use my "first name", and I accept that as customary in Australia. I would prefer Ms. <surname> in the workplace, but that is a lost cause here. I don't have any problem with being addressed simply by my unadorned surname either, but that is not common in Australia, especially for women, at least in civilian life.

This may be difficult for us "occidentals" to understand. I hope that your coworkers understand and respect your reasons.
They don't have to. At work, and in the "outer world" generally, I go by my "Australian name" given in Western name-order (first name, surname), and co-workers address me by my "Australian" first name. I keep any discomfort to myself; it's part of fitting in my adopted country. As you have observed, it is very common for Chinese-descended people to use a Western first name if they live in Western countries. If they were born in a Western country, their family might well have given them a Western name at birth. Many will be Christian, and will probably have been baptised with a "Christian name". Hong Kong is sort of "between worlds", but there too, the influence of missionaries, British imperialism, and  Western influence generally, means that many people use a Western first name, at least to interact with Westerners. This is all much less so in "Mainland" China.

In China, your surname always comes first. Mao Zedong's surname was Mao; his personal name was Zedong. Chinese people do not "not disclose" their personal names, as you put it. The point is that using the personal name by itself is restricted to close friends. Anyone else would either use your full name (surname and personal name together), or your surname and title (with the title coming after the name remember) or possibly just your surname. What bothers me is when people I barely know from a crack in the pavement seem to arrogate to themselves the status of a friend. As I said above, it feels fake, intrusive and manipulative.

Being born in China, I was not given a Western name at birth. I was named in the traditional way, inheriting my family surname from my father, and having my personal name selected by my grandparents. When we moved to Australia, my family obviously had to adopt Western name order, romanized spelling for our names, and English-language "first names". In my case, the two syllables of my Chinese personal name each sound like a common English girl's name, so the school where I was first enrolled wrote them down separately as my first and middle names using English spelling, and that is how I got my Australian name. I'm OK with it, and I made it "official" when I became an Australian citizen.

Plus there are cultures (Akima, is this the case in China?) where using aunt or uncle is a sign of respect.
Yes this is true in China. You would not do it to your boss at work normally, but an older person (generally a generation older) you meet regularly on polite terms might be addressed in this manner once you knew them fairly well. Grandfather and Grandmother are both also terms of respect for addressing unrelated elderly people whose names you do not know.

"No worries!" is the usual form here, for accepting an apology or assuring someone that no apology is necessary.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 05 Jun 2014, 07:39
Toof- I'm 1987, so I "win" bwahahahahaha
Well, that just means you started earlier. We won't know who's the winner until one of you finishes the human race.

Also, I find it depressing when someone says that "x is not my friend" in a context where you don't have a reason to dislike x. Why isn't x your friend? Why can't they be your friend for a little while? Not having everyone be your friend to some degree by default sounds like an awful way to live.
What Akima says about this makes total sense but there's still a feeling of meanness to saying "x is not my friend", even if you are friendly towards that person. If someone said that about you, even though it'd be completely true, wouldn't it still just hurt a little bit? It's one of those truths that's better left unspoken.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Neko_Ali on 05 Jun 2014, 07:47
To many Erics....
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 05 Jun 2014, 07:50
Well, that just means you started earlier. We won't know who's the winner until one of you finishes the human race.

This could get uncomfortable.  How do you define "the end"?  Is the "winner" the one who gets to the end first, or the one who keeps going...?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Mlle Germain on 05 Jun 2014, 07:56
Being born in China, I was not given a Western name at birth. I was named in the traditional way, inheriting my family surname from my father, and having my personal name selected by my grandparents. When we moved to Australia, my family obviously had to adopt Western name order, romanized spelling for our names, and English-language "first names". In my case, the two syllables of my Chinese personal name each sound like a common English girl's name, so the school where I was first enrolled wrote them down separately as my first and middle names using English spelling, and that is how I got my Australian name. I'm OK with it, and I made it "official" when I became an Australian citizen.
I actually find it slightly strange that most people from East Asia seem to take on a standard western/English name for western/English people to use instead of their actual one. It makes sense to find a way to spell your actual name in Latin characters, but why not try to adapt it as closely to the actual pronounciation as possible and then use that? To me at least, being called by a completely different name would always feel like it's not really me. Of course, Chinese names are sometimes hard for Westerners to pronounce, but people can at least try. Changing your name completely to a standard western name feels to me like giving up part of your cultural identity, just to accomodate lazy Westeners who can't be bothered to learn Chinese names - I realise that this is not necessarily how people who are in that situation actually feel about it, though! I might be getting it completely wrong.
I'd be happy to have you comment on that, Akima, if you like!

As far as I am aware, taking on a western name is not that common in Germany. Three of my boyfriend's friends have parents who migrated from China to Germany; two of them were born in Germany and they all have Chinese personal names that they use in their daily life (adapted to the western order of putting the personal name first). A friend of another friend who is Chinese and came to Germany to go to university is using her Chinese name, too. Another family of Chinese origin that I know with three children gave the older one a Chinese name and German names to the younger two (of course I don't know whether they also have a Chinese middle name or not).
However, here in the UK, everyone from South-East Asia that I've met is using an English first name. I talked about this to a girl from Taiwan who came to the UK for her PhD in my volleyball team; she said that she was given the name by her first English teacher like all other students in her class and she uses that for everyone in the UK beause it's easier and she doesn't mind, because normally, only her family and close friends would use her personal name to address her anyways.

(I have to say that I'm very lucky that in the UK everyone uses first names, because my first name also exists in English with a slightly adapted pronounciation, but my last name is very hard to say and to understand for English-speakers. Whenever I need to give it somewhere, I have to spell it letter by letter - it has 15 letters - or show them my ID.)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 05 Jun 2014, 21:57
Regarding usage of personal names, I found out many years ago that the Liberal-left, politically-correct, Guardian-reading, twinkly-eyed multi-cultural nirvana is an entirely Western delusion. One of the perennial drivers behind my travels is the widespread practice of employing and promoting local nationals, and the resulting balance between the local workforce and the expats employed to maintain necessary functions.

I've done a good deal of work in a Muslim countries, but I have no-one I'd regard as a personal friend as a result. The reason is simple and obvious; as a beer-drinking, bacon-eating Englishman who regards secular law as paramount over religious law and sees no reason why my wife and daughter can't go where they like and marry whom they please, my frame of reference is completely incompatible with theirs. That's just how it is and they see no reason why not, either.

This doesn't worry me and it doesn't appear to worry them, either.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 06 Jun 2014, 02:53
Of course, Chinese names are sometimes hard for Westerners to pronounce, but people can at least try. Changing your name completely to a standard western name feels to me like giving up part of your cultural identity, just to accomodate lazy Westeners who can't be bothered to learn Chinese names - I realise that this is not necessarily how people who are in that situation actually feel about it, though!
Well... Of course taking on a Western name does feel like giving up part of your cultural identity, but when you emigrate to another country with an (initially) very alien culture, that is a standard part of the package. In order just to function effectively in society, or to aspire (however futilely, see the posting before this) to being seen as a fully equal citizen in it, you have to put on your "host-country suit" before you walk out of the front door. Obviously, the longer you've been wearing the suit, and the younger you were when you first put it on, the better the suit fits, but it never entirely stops chafing I think, not least because nobody will ever let you forget you are wearing it. Do I mind that? Yes I do, but it has to be set against the great advantages my family has gained by emigrating. As we say: Eat bitter; taste sweet!

I don't accuse Westerners who can't or won't pronounce Chinese names correctly of laziness necessarily, and expecting correct pronunciation is very unrealistic. Considering that even newscasters on national television habitually mispronounce the name of China's capital city (it is Bay-jing, not Beige-ing), where is the average person going to learn? The "official" Pinyin romanization system does not help matters. Would you immediately recognise that ZH is pronounced like the hard J at the beginning of jungle, or that Q is pronounced like the CH at the beginning of chintz while CH represents the sound at the beginning of chop, or that C is pronounced TS like the sound in the middle of besT-Seller? All of this requires study, which the average person will probably not have done. The out-of-fashion Yale romanization system works much better for English-speakers (it was designed for the U.S.Army), but would mislead Germans, for example, because the habitual way they pronounce the letter J is different. The interface between Chinese and European languages is simply a very difficult problem even for Standard Mandarin, never mind the regional dialects.

As for the "Liberal-left, politically-correct, Guardian-reading, twinkly-eyed multi-cultural nirvana"; the notion that it could exist might be a liberal delusion, but the belief that the only alternative is blank rejection is a fairly extreme conservative one. I do not myself find that my religious, cultural, or dietary practices preclude friendship with people who do not share them.

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Mlle Germain on 06 Jun 2014, 03:45
Thanks for you long answer, Akima! Your suit metaphor is very instructive.

Re: Ben. :roll: Somehow I don't think me willing to try pronouncing names that do not come from a European language as correctly as possible in order to acknowledge people's identity instead of expecting them to take on a name from my culture that has nothing to do with them is part of any "illusional twinkly-eyed multi-cultural nirvana". But this is not the Discuss Forum, so I'll leave my respsonse at that.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: jwhouk on 06 Jun 2014, 06:44
When I was growing up, we called it "Peking."

 :angel:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Mlle Germain on 06 Jun 2014, 06:58
In German, "Peking" is still used very often.
But I wouldn't really call that a mispronounciation so much as a different name for a city in a different language/ adapting the city name to a different language. That happens with practically all major cities in almost every language! Köln is "Cologne" in English, München is "Munich", Berlin and Hamburg are written the same, but the pronounciation is anglicised. Paris is also written the same, but pronounced English. In German, London is still called London, but pronounced in a German way. Strasbourg (which is of course extremely close to the German border and in an area historically heavily influenced by Germany) is also called Straßburg, a German version of the name. Every English speaker knows the Polish capital Warszawa as Warsaw, and German speakers as Warschau. I could go on; there are plenty more examples.
To be honest, I don't really see a problem adapting geographical names to other languages if they are also commonly used in that language. I'm not offended if English speakers don't pronounce German cities German.

I am also not offended by people pronouncing my first name as it would be pronounced in English; it is still my name.
Both of these are still very different from expecting (There are historic examples of people actually being forced to change their names in similar situations) a group of people to take on completely different personal names that have no connection to their previous name, I would say.

Edit: I just thought of of a scenario I hadn't thought of before: Colonial powers often changed geographical names of places in their colonies or named the places in their language and those colonial names inevitably have connotations of the often brutal and oppressive colonial period and do not take into account the culture of the native inhabitants. In such cases I find it more respectful and adequate to stop using that name and change to using the name that the actual inhabitants/ owners of the land use (examples that come to my mind first are aboriginal sacred sites like Uluru and Kata Tjuta in Australia that have today been returned to the administration of the native inhabitants of the land). There are more such cases around the world, especially in Africa.
Is Beijing maybe one of them, too? Of course, China was never a British colony, but still there is a problematic period in Anglo-Chinese history. Does "Peking" come from that period?
In any case, it puzzles me why English speakers would want to pronounce Beijing any differently than Bay-Jing. I mean, this is precisely how the "J"-sound is usually pronounced in English words!
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 06 Jun 2014, 17:40
Of course, China was never a British colony, but still there is a problematic period in Anglo-Chinese history. Does "Peking" come from that period?
You mean that not all of China was a British colony; you are forgetting Hong Kong, Weihai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weihaiwei_under_British_rule), and the quasi-colony of the Shanghai International Settlement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_International_Settlement). The British imperial boot was not removed from China's face until 1997. So yes, a problematic period only recently ended (though it pales utterly in brutality, if not duration, compared with the period of Japanese imperialism in  China). The name Peking was used during that period, but is not regarded as particularly of it. Peking was in use long before the First Opium War kicked off the Century of Humiliation. It derives from the pronunciation of the characters 北京 in the dialects spoken in the southern ports through which Portuguese traders and missionaries first entered China in the 16th century. Bay-jing is simply the northern pronunciation of the same characters, because Standard Mandarin (pǔtōnghuà) is based on northern dialects. Peking preserves the syllable-structure of the Chinese in a way that Beige-ing does not and is really far more legitimate. I have written before (http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php?topic=25004.msg960278;topicseen#msg960278) about the many ways in which Westerners and Chinese people have managed to misunderstand one another.

Quote
In any case, it puzzles me why English speakers would want to pronounce Beijing any differently than Bay-Jing. I mean, this is precisely how the "J"-sound is usually pronounced in English words!
Exactly. The soft French-style pronunciation of the J in Beijing is alien to both Chinese and English. Noam Chomsky argues that we exoticise the "other" in language, and that for many English-speakers, the default exotic is French. :P 
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 06 Jun 2014, 18:31
I think I pronounce Beijing "Bey-Jing" but that's probably a regional English thing on the first vowel.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Mlle Germain on 07 Jun 2014, 04:32
I have written before (http://forums.questionablecontent.net/index.php?topic=25004.msg960278;topicseen#msg960278) about the many ways in which Westerners and Chinese people have managed to misunderstand one another.
That was an interesting read!

I think I pronounce Beijing "Bey-Jing" but that's probably a regional English thing on the first vowel.
Uh, is there a pronounciation difference between Bey and Bay? I would pronounce them the same...
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 07 Jun 2014, 05:33
I don't think so.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 07 Jun 2014, 06:50
Time for another sound cloud pronunciation thread?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: mustang6172 on 07 Jun 2014, 20:10
If someone ever calls you out for mispronouncing a word, reply with "I'll thank you for not drawing attention to my speech impediment."
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 07 Jun 2014, 20:12
One of my professors, who is Chinese, once said to a student who would always mispronounce his name: "I try very hard to pronounce your name. Please try to pronounce mine."
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ev4n on 09 Jun 2014, 06:55
The soft French-style pronunciation of the J in Beijing is alien to both Chinese and English. Noam Chomsky argues that we exoticise the "other" in language, and that for many English-speakers, the default exotic is French. :P

I find this point of view interesting given that I live in a strongly English/French part of the world. I would have assumed that what I was seeing was just local to me.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 09 Jun 2014, 08:44
Flicking through my passport, I find that the Russian visa office have used no less than four different Roman alphabet spellings of my name, and three different Cyrillic transliterations. It doesn't seem to worry them so I don't worry about it either providing it produces some recognisable variant and we all agree that it represents a specific individual, for the purpose of the exercise.

I have been called "Mr Ben" in many Eastern Mediterranean and Central Asian countries over the years; this is a misunderstanding based on misinterpreting the firms if names, which anyone familiar with these countries will know well. I sometimes have problems in Russian speaking countries because virtually all Russians have a patronymic, a form of name unknown in the West.

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 09 Jun 2014, 10:06
Well assuming you have a father, it would follow you just don't use your patronymic yes? So if your father's name is John, Ben Ivanovich or in my personal case GM Petrovich
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 09 Jun 2014, 10:10
My dad had the same first name as me, so if I used a patronymic it would be somewhat repetitive, though I guess it isn't any different among actual Russians. "Vladimir Vladimirovich" is apparently a fairly common combination in Russia.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 09 Jun 2014, 14:50
GM Petrovich sounds hilarious.

Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov is sometimes used as a placeholder for a name (e.g. if you specify how a certain form has to be filled out.); I think it is similar to "John Smith" in that regard.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: J on 09 Jun 2014, 18:07
the new 2014 GM Petrovitch (tm) only gets 12 miles to the gallon, but has a towing capacity of 4.3 tons. it comes standard with a roof mounted lighting system, and optional twin M60 SAW mounting system.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 09 Jun 2014, 18:22
I'd imagine GM's response to be "what the hell do you mean optional?" :roll:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: GarandMarine on 09 Jun 2014, 18:24
the twin machineguns are only optional if you're the type of person who shouldn't be driving a GM Petrovich. Smart cars are located in the Toy aisle of your local Wal-Mart. The self deploying and loading 120mm mortar is optional, but recommended for most drivers. There is no OnStar service available, but the dealer will provide you a complimentary flare gun and a pint of whiskey.

I'd imagine GM's response to be "what the hell do you mean optional?" :roll:

....well... he's not wrong kids.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 10 Jun 2014, 03:07
Apparently Scandinavia and the Baltic countries have a thing called 'name day', which is like a birthday only it's celebrated on the day of the calendar that bears your name. All the calendar days were named after saints in the past, and if your name is the same or similar, it's cause to celebrate. In the more hospital countries, you can expect visitors as everyone who knows your name knows that you'll want to celebrate that day.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 10 Jun 2014, 03:11
Germany and Russia have that too, but it's not widely celebrated.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Thrillho on 10 Jun 2014, 03:13
Doesn't that rely on everyone choosing from the same pool of 365 names?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: ankhtahr on 10 Jun 2014, 03:16
Well, my first name is not directly in the calender, but it's a short form with swedish origin of one, so it's not only 365 names, but also variations thereof. On the other hand, I had heard of name days only when I was ten or so, so it's not really common in Germany.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: jwhouk on 10 Jun 2014, 03:22
Yeah, every once in a while I got a card for St. Joseph's Day. (March 19th).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 10 Jun 2014, 04:08
There are also sometimes multiple name days on the same day.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bainidhe_dub on 10 Jun 2014, 05:02
the more hospital countries

 :?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 10 Jun 2014, 05:22
France has that too - I think it's more of a Catholic thing.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: pwhodges on 10 Jun 2014, 05:41
Some saints have multiple days - Mary, in particular!  Even St Paul has two (Feast of St Peter & St Paul, which celebrates the martyrdom of both, and The Conversion of St Paul).
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Akima on 10 Jun 2014, 05:42
the more hospital countries
:?
Hospitable?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Detachable Felix on 10 Jun 2014, 05:47
the more hospital countries
:?
Hospitable?
Maybe they really do mean hospital countries - you know, countries with hospital-like qualities: Old, devoid of light, terrible food, an unending sense of dread?

[cough]England[/cough]  :mrgreen:


...I'll stop being a dick now.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 10 Jun 2014, 06:39
Here in England right now, there is glorious sunshine and I live a few minutes' walk from the world-famous Balti triangle. I certainly don't have an unending sense of dread (mostly because I take tablets for that...). Old, I will give you ;)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Detachable Felix on 10 Jun 2014, 06:51
Ironically it is rainy and miserable here in supposedly sunny Adelaide, also the perpetual dread because of our federal government trying relentlessly to take us back to the 50's..  :-(

But oh well, at least our food is amazing.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Schmee on 10 Jun 2014, 06:58
Shame about your water. :wink:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 10 Jun 2014, 07:03
the more hospital countries
:?
Hospitable?
Yes that's what I meant, I forgot a be. My mind was stuck thinking of this (http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121122021328/borderlands/ru/images/d/d2/Load_screen_(9).png).

Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Detachable Felix on 10 Jun 2014, 08:09
Shame about your water. :wink:
Shame about your Liberal* Premier  :-P






*For the non-antipodeans: The Liberals are the Right-Wing Conservatives here.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 10 Jun 2014, 21:18
The Liberals are the Right-Wing Conservatives here.
Buh? :psyduck:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: cesium133 on 10 Jun 2014, 21:36
The Liberals are the Right-Wing Conservatives here.
Buh? :psyduck:
Australia is upside-down, remember?
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 10 Jun 2014, 23:09
Tony Abbott is in a whole new league of fucktard.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Detachable Felix on 11 Jun 2014, 01:25
Satire, but relevant to our *illustrious* Oz Prime Minister. God I hate that man. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2014/06/08/abbott-commits-to-cutting-australias-reputation-by-30-by-2015/ (http://www.theshovel.com.au/2014/06/08/abbott-commits-to-cutting-australias-reputation-by-30-by-2015/)
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: LTK on 16 Jun 2014, 05:40
Okay, so I know it's pretty normal in a lot of places to have an elaborate lunch with friends, which is what I'd do when I just got out of a lecture here in Sweden, but now I'm working on something alone and I don't want to lose too much time so I go into town just to get a sandwich. The last time I went into an Italian café and ordered the thing most resembling a sandwich to me: a grilled foccacia. It was without a doubt the fattiest thing I have ever eaten. I could swear I could feel my arteries clogging after the first bite. They must have smothered it in oil. The inside was thick with mozzarella cheese and pesto. I just wanted something tasty I could eat with my hands!

So I tried again today, at the café next to the previous one. I order a ciabatta sandwich with shrimp to go. I get back to the office lounge and open it up, and there's a pile of fried potatoes that's bigger than the sandwich itself! At least I got my money's worth in calories, but the sandwich alone would have been plenty. Apparently Swedes don't do small lunches. I wish the university cafeterias were still open, at least they had things that are the appropriate size for my hands and my stomach.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 16 Jun 2014, 14:39
Found on another forum and I conclude from context this is US-American.

Quote
 I wouldn't ask her out, per se, but asking her on a date would probably be solid. Or don't even do that. Just ask to do something date-like alone. Ask her to coffee or something, see how alone time goes.

aaargh
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 16 Jun 2014, 14:41
"I wouldn't ask her out, but ask her out. Or maybe ask her out." is pretty much what I got from that quote :psyduck:
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Barmymoo on 16 Jun 2014, 14:54
There are subtle differences though. "Will you go out with me?" is a slightly crass way to ask someone to start a relationship with you - it was how people got together in my secondary school mostly. "Would you like to go on a date?" is different, as all you're asking for is a single date's worth of commitment. "Want to go and get coffee?" is different again, because that can be a friend thing.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Loki on 16 Jun 2014, 14:56
Okay, obviously I was mistaken in stereotyping this as "Americans have this weird notion of dates and non-dates". My apologies.

Edit: *blink* "go out" implies permanence (in Britain, I assume)? I never knew that.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Method of Madness on 16 Jun 2014, 15:21
Really? I dunno, when I was single I'd ask a girl if she "wanted to go out sometime?*". I'd consider that asking someone out. And yeah, the whole "will you go out with me?" doesn't seem to be a thing past the teenage years. I'd suggest going on a few dates with someone or at least spending time with them before even thinking of starting a relationship with them.

*This can be dinner or coffee or whatever, but if you use the phrase "go out" it's probably clear that it's some sort of date. Actually those things are never really clear, never mind. Dating is confusing and I really don't miss it.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Kugai on 16 Jun 2014, 16:43
Satire, but relevant to our *illustrious* Oz Prime Minister. God I hate that man. http://www.theshovel.com.au/2014/06/08/abbott-commits-to-cutting-australias-reputation-by-30-by-2015/ (http://www.theshovel.com.au/2014/06/08/abbott-commits-to-cutting-australias-reputation-by-30-by-2015/)

The horrible thing is is I can imagine that being real.  I feel sorry for you Aussies. 

Mind you, we have Darth Key, so things aren't that great here either.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: bainidhe_dub on 16 Jun 2014, 17:49
Okay, obviously I was mistaken in stereotyping this as "Americans have this weird notion of dates and non-dates". My apologies.

Edit: *blink* "go out" implies permanence (in Britain, I assume)? I never knew that.

There's a difference between "going out" for a single activity (date, coffee, whatever) and "going out" as a continuous state (in the middle-school sense, in the US). The latter means you're in a relationship even if you're not actually going out for activities all the time. I don't usually say that friends my age now (post-college) are "going out" with people, I think I say they're "seeing" someone.
Title: Re: What seemed weird when I visited your country
Post by: Ben on 18 Jun 2014, 13:21
Re patronymics, I don't use a patronymic in the Russian style because it isn't my name and doesn't appear on my passport or visa. Russians are actually well aware that Europeans don't have patronymics, the problem is usually that the box is a "required field" on forms. There are various ways of dealing with this but it can be a nuisance, given the Russian bureacracy.