This is a guest post from Kate Victoria Williams - she is the director and creator of Kate Victoria Photography where she writes about wanderlust, travel, lifestyle photos and much much more.
Affection In Public
I think its well known that any sort of affection in the United Arab Emirates is enormously frowned upon and even kissing in public.. let alone anything else could land you in prison or deported. Furthermore as far as travelling with a member of the opposite sex is concerned, unless you are married or related it is a crime to share a room.
I lived in Canada for a year and this is one of the things that I don't miss. Mainly because the price on the menu wasn't actually the price you would end up paying and service isn't always great. North America is famous for tipping. Most of the servers wage is made up from tips, with many working below a low minimum wage. This also applies for most other ‘service’ industry workers such as taxi drivers, tour guides and bell boys etc. It is frowned upon not to give a tip.. even if the service is bad. In contrast many Asian countries find tipping a bit of an insult.
Disrespecting the King
The people of Thailand have the upmost respect for their King and Royal family. It is customary before a movie in the cinema for a montage of the King to appear on the screen and those in the audience are expected to stand up and honour him. As well as general respect it is also illegal to speak of any member of the royal family in a negative way. You could even go to prison for between three and fifteen years.
Throughout most of the Middle East, women need to remember that a certain amount of clothing is required in public spaces such as walking through towns or visiting shopping malls. Depending on the strictness of the country swimwear may only be allowed at swimming pools within hotel resorts. I hadn’t even thought about this one till I did a bit of research to find something a little more interesting- In Barbados it is illegal for anyone to be dressed in camouflage clothing. Even children. This also goes for carrying anything with a camouflage pattern on it such as a suitcase or handbag. Although you may not be arrested for the offence, it may well be taken off you and this may lead to embarrassment.
Flower Gift Giving
Again with this one.. I would have had no idea! In Switzerland, giving flowers may be a little more complex than what your used to! if wanting to thank a host for your stay, make sure that you avoid giving lilies as generally they are only given at funerals. On the other hand, red roses are seen as a romantic gesture. In both Switzerland and Russia when giving flowers in a bouquet, the flowers must add to an odd number as even numbers are for funerals.
I speak from personal experience as far as London is concerned. We have signs EVERYWHERE. ‘Stand on the right’ Although not a criminal offence if you are found dawdling on the left of an escalator don't be surprised if you get pushed out of the way especially during rush hour. Japan is a little more complicated. Once again it is frowned upon to be on the wrong side.. but the wrong side also depends on which city you are in. In Tokyo you will be expected to stand on the left. In contrast in Osaka, it is customary to stand on the right.
Alcohol & Drinking Ages
Within the United Arab Emirates drinking in public or being under the influence is a criminal offence. You are only able to drink in licensed bars once above the age of eighteen in Abu Dubi and twenty-one in Dubai. When in the USA to enjoy the world of ‘free pour’ you have to have reached the prime age of twenty-one and in some states will need your passport as other IDs will not be accepted. In Canada the majority of the provinces the sale of alcohol to anyone older than nineteen however if you ever find yourself in Alberta, Quebec or Manitoba you'll be old enough at eighteen. In Singapore the drinking age is eighteen however the times of day that you are allowed to drink are a little more strict. Between 10.30pm and 7am it is illegal to drink in public.