Culture Shock II

With new countries come new weird things! Which means it’s time for another list of things that caused me culture shock. I’ve tried to roughly break it down by country, but the truth is that not everything fell into such nice categories. It’s also worth mentioning that some of these things likely would not have been as shocking if I had come straight from the US.

*Pictures are from the countries they’re listed under



  • What’s traffic like again? Oh right, lots of cars. All trying to kill each other and also you, dear pedestrian. That’s a thing I didn’t really see in Iceland.
  • There were a lot of people. Of all colors. Hadn’t seen that in months.
  • Squads ofsoldiers on patrol with full armor and guns. Casual.
  • Everyone was dressed so nice. Like, everyone in Paris looked ready to go to a black tie event.


  • Public transit.The public transit is constantly running and it’s amazing.
  • French. I got very used to hearing Icelandic. French sounds much different.
  • Lots of people walk their dogs without leashes…
  • Euros come in coins. I thought I had gotten used to coins in Iceland. Nope. But in Europe they’re a little more interesting in terms of design.
  • Had to get used to money in smaller, more meaningful increaments again.



  • The bikes. Dear god the bikes are everywhere, in motion, all stacked up, strapped to random things. I love them.
  • So flat. Zero texture. Just thousands of years of silt saved from the tides by clever engineering.
  • No landmarks because of that (Ithink/guess). Like, nothing is really more than 3 stories tall in Amsterdam.


  • Such friendly people. Everyone is the nicest in Holland.
  • It sounds funny.
  • Head shops. Sex shops. Any vice you want, you can get it in Amsterdam.

Not really a culture shock per se, but a note: Lots of walking. Transport was available but we walked everywhere. Only now do I wish that I had jumped on the health/pedometer app bandwagon; that information would be fascinating.


Wadi Rum


  • People always yelling at you, mostly to sell things.
  • And people stare a lot more. Apparently it’s more culturally acceptable.
  • T R A F F I C. Itt’s fine. Just everytime you drive you could definitely maybe die (I realize this is true in any car in any country, but you are suddenly very aware of it in Jordan)
  • Always tea. Everywhere you go you are offered tea. You are friends with someone who serves you tea.
  • “American coffee”


  • Men and women in head coverings*
  • People get cold when it’s like 15/60 Degrees? I now understand how other people feel about Californians. …I’m still not sorry.
  • Most people didn’t really care that I was from the US? Many people were in fact into it. Similarly, very few people knew where Iceland is.
  • You want to touch the history? Want to climb on it? Lick it? Carve your girlfriend’s initials into it? That’s all fine. With the exception of Petra (Blog coming soon!) you basically have free range of historical sites.
  • Goats! And Sheeps! Everywhere. They are part of the morning traffic.
  • There are always camels or cats in sight.

A pretty normal sight

  • No public transit. I don’t think I saw a single bus or train in Jordan.
  • Lots of kids all over the place. With no supervision. This happens in Iceland also, but the vibe is much different in Jordan.
  • So warm. After northern Europe, Jordan was balmy.
  • Jordan can be an overwhelming country. One of the most obvious examples is advertising. Many shops have a lot going on in their windows, bright, flashing lights, and loud music. You do get used to it, though.
  • Mosques. I’ve seen mosques before. But I’ve never been around fro prayers, let alone all five of the daily prayers. It’s really cool, actually, once you’ve gotten over your start.

S P O I L E R S !!!!!!!


*We talk a lot about women being covered in Muslim culture and countries, but I noticed that, generally, the men were dressed about as modestly as the women. (e.g. long, loose tunic like garments and heads/hair covered)


2 responses to “Culture Shock II

  1. This is a terrific post..I love the pics a lot and the short snaps of comments capture both the picture as well as the country! Wonderful. Thanks.


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