by Cliff Locke
We all feel that traveling to another place, whether it is a city, state or country is fun and exciting. Who doesn’t enjoy eating different foods, seeing the sights and learning about different cultures? We all want adventure and think we can do anything we want while on our holiday. But I think that most of us do not do our homework when it comes to learning what to do and what not to do when we are on vacation!
Did you know that if you are visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem, men and women have to go to different sections of the Wall? Also, women, your shoulders and your legs up to your knees must be covered. It’s the same for men’s heads! I didn’t know that, did you?
Or in Indonesia, public displays of affection are frowned upon. Because it is a largely Islamic society, social etiquette states that even kissing or hugging between couples is considered unacceptable by most. And attending a wedding in Indonesia can be fun with most people dressing in traditional kebayas and sarongs, again do not show any skin. Don’t expect an alcohol at the wedding either, because most Indonesians are Muslim and traditional ceremonies are quite solemn…they do not serve alcohol!
Even while you are in the good ol’ USA, there are things that I am sure we do not realize. I was often asked while I worked in New Orleans, why women are allowed to show our breasts here. I would always return with “if you can’t do it in your city, you can’t do it here” but most people do it anyway. Yet it is illegal!
Or while hiking in the Grand Canyon, the adage, “remember to leave it like you found it,” really applies. We were even told to not burn or bury our used toilet paper but to pack it out. Really? But I followed our guide’s suggestion; just thinking about it being in my pack was somewhat overwhelming.
What I am trying to say is go and have a good time. Research where you are going! Ask your guide or contact the embassy. Enjoy the culture and the food and surroundings, but don’t do anything that would embarrass your mother.