1. Mayonnaise on Pizza (see: Budapest teenagers on their way to the subway trains snacking on slices of mayo-covered pizza slices while trying to simultaneously walk down steep staircases to the platform).
2. Remote Controls for Toilets (see: Tokyo hotel toilets that I never did figure out. At one point, I pushed a button and it started to play music, and another button apparently engages that uber-flush, but I never did figure out the other, oh, thousandish buttons that apparently all controlled that one single device that in China wasn’t even available, as they basically still used the good old-fashioned hole in the ground with a couple of small footholds on either side.)
3. Kinnie (See: Malta – Wow. Who thought that the idea of a “soft drink” with the advertised flavor of “bitter oranges and aromatic herbs” was a good idea was obviously smoking something and whatever that something was, I certainly never want it).
4. Umbrellas in Ireland – Honestly, the winds are so strong (gale-force, really) that umbrellas are no match for them. You could always tell those people that used them from those that didn’t; not because you saw some people actually using them, but rather because when you got into the classroom at the university, there were those people that were soaked head to toe (those without) and those that were soaked only from the waist down, since they tried to put the umbrella facing the wind, so that it wouldn’t get pushed inside out. Really. At some point, whether all of you is wet or only part of you, just acknowledge that you are still wet, still cold, and that the umbrella was a waste of money. You would be better served just downing copious amounts of tea to compensate for the chill that inevitably consumed you for a good ten months of every year.
5. Cars / Taxis in London – I once spent about a week in London with a relative on vacation (I had been living there for some time already and really knew the ins and outs of London by that point) who always thought that everything was so far away from everything else and for the first few days wanted to take the atrociously expensive black cabs everywhere. I tried to remind her that there is literally *no* place in London that is more than a couple of blocks from a tube station. Literally. You just needed to turn a corner, any corner – just pick a corner – and you would find one right there. Why do people bother sitting in endless traffic, and potentially spending enormous amounts of money just to travel a few blocks, when the tube can get you there for pennies and in minutes? I will never understand that.
6. Cars in Malta – You can *walk* from one side of the country to the other. Seriously. Just give yourself a couple of hours and you have done it. You could probably even do it in heels. Try it, it’s fun!
And that’s just a start….