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sad state of spinsterhood and other cultural observations

I've been hit by cultural shocks that have felt like a hammer in the head. And tickled by the very same till I've giggled myself out of breath. So I thought I'd note down some of those for you... On being single In most East African countries you'll be loudly pitied if you haven't succeeded in trapping a husband by the age of 23-25. You'll also be widely referred to as "a spinster". Your single status will be directly blamed on your pathetic little sickly body, should you weigh anything under 100 kg. People will kindly try to force feed you so that you'd start attracting some man. Any. Man. Your colleagues will get great kicks out of your sad state of spinsterhood. On saying Yes If a taxi driver in Finland says "Yes, I know the address", it means that he most likely knows where you'd like to go. If a taxi driver in India says "Yes" to the same question, it can mean anything. I've encountered the following: It's the only English world he knows so he'll repeat it with conviction. He says "Yes" when you show him an address from your Lonely Planet. But only to hide the fact that he can't read. And he'll say it when you point out where you want to go from a map, but I can almost guarantee you that he's never seen a map before in his life. Or, my personal favorite, he'll say it out of politeness. As it is simply rude to say no. On horseback riding In Finland, you take riding lessons once a week for 5 years or so. Then you might be considered ready to take a little ride in the forest or a field. Maybe. If you're good. In Mexico, first timers can be sent to a sprawling and speed limitless highway on horseback. It doesn't matter if the bridle or other equipment fall off during the excursion - they're used up and useless anycase. Anyone complaining  is considered somewhat uptight and overreacting. Anyways, nobody is expected to  finnish the trip on horseback - which is welcomed by your tourguide as he gets to go home as soon as every last one of you has quit. You see, you've paid in advance. On driving a car When a Finn says that some unnamed blogger drives like a Frenchman, it's not a compliment. Some bloggers get that a lot. When a Frenchman says that somebody drives like a damn Finn, it's a reference to one's unnerving sluggish snalelike qualities. That I never get. On knowing everything. Every Frenchman and woman knows everything. Whatever you ask, they never, ever admit that they have no clue. They rather give you bad directions or advice, with great gusto and conviction. I haven't quite nailed down WHY oh why they do this, but I suspect misplaced and oversized self confidence. In time, you'll learn to read the nuances... I'm getting there, with the French at least. But not before you've gotten lost in more delicious ways than you ever thought possible. ~*♥*~

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