Thailand Observations

1. Superstitious and many rules to follow. For example — If you are in the royal court or anywhere deemed so, never question the authenticity of anything (at least not loud enough for anyone to hear). They will open a hearing right then and there… if you have no proof to back up your statements you will be punished with 15 years in prison.

2. Temples everywhere, Buddhists everywhere

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3. The reverence I saw for the King whom had just passed away… whew. Billboards, marquees, shrines, were every few feet on the highway. In every hotel, mall, shop, etc… a place of mourning had been set up. He had ruled for 70 years but they had elected him to godlike status. (I even saw him on their atms)

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4. Although there are technically more mopeds in Bangkok than HCM, the traffic system actually works. Red lights mean stop…

5. Bangkok traffic… bad is an understatement

6. If you go to their markets (where they sell cheap clothing and knockoff items) be aware that your are not allowed to try anything on beforehand, even if it would be an easy item, like a jacket to slip on. I’m not sure if this is because of the humidity that makes the skin sticky or because the items on the hanger do not match the photos attached to the front. Thus they will not be the same quality or fit properly.. is my guess.

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Denmark Observations

1. Rye bread, rye bread, rye bread.

2. Smorgasborg is the style of eating, for lunch and dinner.

3. Everyone speaks English

4.No gum options. There is mint and licorice… No Juicy Fruit, Hubba Bubba, Trident…

5. Licorice everything. To my dismay.
Drinks. Chocolate. Gummy candy. Ice cream. Gum.

6. Markets seem unorganized, boxes on shelves because it is not unpacked any further.

7. There’s also not many spices. Teeny tiny bottles, but salt and pepper are only used.

8. Eveything is expensive.

9. No mountains

9. The Danish accent speaking English is a mix of someone telling a sarcastic joke and an evil villain.

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Finland Observations

1. Ladders on all of the homes, coming out of every window but only going halfway to the ground. These are fire escapes. The ladders going to the roof are for winter when maintenance people need to get up there to clear the snow off!

2. Amazing berries. Cherries are extra good here, but they also have a lot of blueberry flavored items, juice/yogurt/ice cream that are exciting because I don’t see enough done with that fruit in the States.

3. Books are really expensive. Not sure why.

4. Much bigger markets than Norway and Denmark. Lots of different milk options and spices. Yay!

5. ALL families have a trampoline in the yard for kids. No understatement here.

6. Reindeer and bear ? meat is sold for consumption.

7. Most people here speak about 4 languages. They learn Finnish, Swedish, and English, and can choose and elective language usually German, French or Russian.

8. Finland apparently has the more lakes than any other country (188,000) and I have yet to see one.

9. Not much cereal to choose from, but the ones they do have are really good! I’ve already found many favorites–

10. Lots of dog walking. More than I’ve ever noticed anywhere else in the world. Not many have a yard, but everyone has dogs. Mix breeding isn’t allowed in Finland, but one can go to any of the neighboring countries and bring one back!

11. The wild animals here in Helsinki include gigantic hares and hedgehogs. Up North there are reindeer and bears.

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Japan Observations

1. Clean clean streets, even huge city sidewalks are practically pristine. We saw uniformed men walking around in the early A.M. with long chopsticks picking up small pieces of trash.

2. People walking dogs carry plastic baggies to pick up the waste, but they ALSO bring along a spray bottle to wash the pee off the sidewalk when that occurs! How thoughtful!

3. Food is good. Anywhere and everywhere. The quality of things in general is quite high, so much so that restaurants do not allow customers to have “left overs”. They do not want anyone to get food poisoning.

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4. Going to the bathroom is almost a luxury experience — heated seats and sounds of waterfalls cascading while you do your business! Lots of buttons and different water fountains can be activated from the arm rest.

5. In most food places the drinks and condiments are doled out by employees, no self serve option there! And no taking extra sauce packets!

6. People here mind there own business– on the trains and in the streets! Not even a drunk businessman will hassle you for any reason.

7. There is sales tax (unless you are in tourist type duty free shops)!

8. Everything can be cute-ified. Food art is taken to a whole new level here, whether in a themed cafe or convenience store you can find some clever designs. Even the police department has its own mascot (a cartoon elephant)!

9. The women in Japan dress modestly, which comes off as more feminine and classy.

10. There are suicides happening.. it was evident by the many late night train delays aka “Passenger injury” aka people jumping onto the tracks… so this is an issue. Signs along the way offer encouragement and a help line if one is feeling too “stressed out”.

11. It is possible to find just about anything. High end – low end. Things are made to be collected. Things are made in excess. Packaging is just as important as the contents within–

12. Napkins and toilet paper seem to be of a different quality. I’m not sure if it has to do with being better for the environment but neither seem very absorbent and it ends up taking 3x more napkins to clean a mess.

13. Personal hygiene and appearance is important here. You never see someone walking around in pajamas… even if it is 2am in a 7/11!

14. Engrish. Everywhere!

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15. Fruit is perfect. No blemishes. Large. Expensive.

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