Locals Are Revealing What About Their Country Always Surprises Tourists And I Simply Can't Believe These Responses
Do people really think polar bears walk the streets of Sweden?
Let's be real: We all miss travel but it can definitely be a ~culture shock~ sometimes. So we got curious and asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the things about their country that seem to always surprise tourists. And let me tell ya, their answers did not disappoint, from "hm, I didn't know that either" to "I'm sorry, they believed what now???"
Here are some of our favorite responses:
1. "Scottish men don’t pop to the shops in a kilt. They’re only worn for weddings and other traditional events."
2. "Philippines: There are security guards who will inspect your bag at the entrance of most buildings, from malls to hospitals."
3. "In Mexico, we need to throw a lighted match into the boiler in order to produce hot water. This is very dangerous and a lot of family have lost eyebrows because of this."
4. "US citizen here. We ask how you are out of an insincere politeness; the correct answer should be 'good, and you?' That's it, then move on."
5. "That we don't have polar bears in Sweden. OK, it's not really a widespread belief but it has a funny story behind it: After many Swedes migrated to the US, it became popular here to send cards with manipulated pictures of Stockholm that made it look like there were polar bears walking the streets. Apparently enough people fell for it that there are still people today who think we have polar bears!"
6. "Weed is NOT legal in The Netherlands. We have what we call a 'gedoogbeleid,' or toleration policy. You probably won't get arrested and you can smoke and buy weed inside a coffee shop, but growing weed is super illegal. So is selling it to coffeeshops and carrying around a large amount (more than five grams). When I was still living in Amsterdam, this would blow tourists' minds daily."
7. "Since some people think New Orleans is a different country...people ask when the French Quarter closes, ask locals how much they get paid to "live there" (like they are actors), and throw their trash on the ground like there are people with little brooms and dustbins to come around and clean up after them (it's not Disney World)."
8. "Do not expect to be given napkins or knives in many restaurants in Singapore! I've seen many tourists have breakdowns because they weren't given knives or napkins at hawker centers (local food stalls in one big food court)."
9. "Both Romanians and Hungarians try to avoid [drafts] and sitting on the ground when it's cold outside at all costs. So please don't try to open the window on a bus; you might get killed by an old lady."
10. "In Bogotá, Colombia, we can spot a tourist if we see them wearing shorts. Tourists (Americans, TBH) think all of Colombia is tropical and hot, humid weather but Bogotá is actually really cold so it makes no sense for anyone to be wearing shorts."
11. "Sweden. We are not all blonde. Sorry!"
12. "Everyone thinks that people stick their pinkie (little finger) up when having afternoon tea. No one does that in the UK! It just makes holding a tea cup super awkward."
13. "I live in Brazil and a lot of foreigners think that we speak Spanish. The fun fact is that here it's more common to study English. Our schools teach it as a foreign language."
14. "India's diversity. I have seen many videos of tourists visiting India and they are shocked at how diverse each state is from each other. It's like entering a totally different country. The cuisine is different, the language, the dresses, the houses — there are even different classical dance forms for different states."
15. "I live in the USA and a previous job put me in daily contact with foreign tourists. A lot of them were shocked by the fact that, outside of big cities, there's very little nightlife. They just couldn't understand restaurants closing by 10 p.m., bars closing at 2 a.m., the mall closing at 8–9 p.m., and the complete lack of nightclubs in the beach town where I live. Sorry, guys, but it's mostly families with kids here in suburbia and American schools start bright and early."
16. "People assume that Russians are always rude and will yell at you, and that's just not true. Yes, we don't talk to strangers like a lot of Americans do but we are very warm when we get to know you."
17. "Please don’t come to Italy and order a 'latte.' You will be served milk. I have seen so many tourists totally freak out (one Russian lady was even in tears) because they ordered a latte and got a glass of milk. If you want one, order a cafe latte!"
18. "People expect Pakistan to be a desert or extremely unsafe. It's not. We have mountains, beaches, theaters, museums, lakes, and some of the most gorgeous monuments and landscapes you'll ever see. Don't believe every stereotypical depiction of a place because it robs us of appreciating the diverse experiences of its people and prevents you from exploring the beauty of lesser-known places."
19. "From Russia, live in Canada. At both places tourists seem surprised that it’s not all an Arctic desert. Especially my hometown in Russia in summer. When the World Cup happened in the middle of June, we had a bunch of tourists in winter coats and hats. It was 40ºC (104ºF) outside."
20. "I’m from Ecuador, and people are always surprised we use US dollars! We no longer have a currency of our own. They are also surprised we are on the same time zone as New York, because the South American west coast is right below the North American east coast!"
21. "I honestly think people outside of Britain don’t realize there are other English accents besides a London accent and go 'eh?’ when they hear a Geordie person speak."
22. "I live in Australia and people try to learn Aussie slang before they travel here. I don’t think they realize that if you say 'barbecue' instead of 'barbie,' we will understand what you’re saying!"
23. And finally: "I live in Canada and a lot of American tourists are surprised that they can’t use their own currency here. It’s a different country, my dudes. Also, going by the number of border seizures, a lot of them are apparently surprised that they can’t bring their guns into Canada."
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.