Some Interesting Facts From My Travels

Last modified on July 21st, 2009

Whenever you travel somewhere new, there are invariably a bunch of local customs or behaviors that you encounter that are completely opposite to those back home. I try to keep a mental list in my head such that I can try to seem less out of place when I return to a location a second time. Here’s a partial list of things that I’ve encountered on my travels that are different in various locations:

  • In the United States, soft drinks are called “Soda”, not “Pop”. Most people will either giggle when you say the latter, or not know what it means
  • In Oregon, all gas stations are full service. You’ll get in crap if you try to fill up your own car
  • In San Francisco, you need a ZIP code to fill up with gas. If you don’t have one, the machine won’t work. I suspect 90210 is pretty popular, even up there
  • In Japan it’s generally rude to fill up your own drink when it’s empty. Typically if you notice someone’s beer is about to run out, you grab the communal bottle and fill it for them
  • In Montreal most convenience stores carry beer and wine, and are open 24 hours
  • In Massachusetts it’s illegal to sell alcohol on Sundays. So if you’re there for a weekend, stock up early. Strangely enough they still sell beers at Fenway on Sundays

I’ll try to think up some more. If you have any, feel free to drop a comment and I’ll add it to the list.

12 responses to “Some Interesting Facts From My Travels”

  1. paul says:

    i hate that in oregon – i really like doing my own pumping. and i’m far too immature to take that last sentence the way i actually meant it…

  2. Duane Storey says:

    Yah, I agree. About the gas. Not sure about your pumping.

    Strangely enough though, I’d rather fill up my own gas tank. But I also complain about the lack of good customer service nowadays, so I’m torn.

  3. Kimm says:

    Richmond only has full service… Maybe I was spoiled growing up some might say, but I think if I don’t have to get out of my car and smell like gas afterwards then I’m all for it.

    Back a few years ago there use to be a big price difference between full and self service now there isn’t.

    I do agree with you… there is a lack of service at a full/self gas station and it stinks. I can’t stand clerks who rather play on their cells then deal with a customer.

  4. Lynn says:

    I have to chuckle at the Soda vs. Pop thing. The US is actually quite divided on the subject. In the Midwest, it’s “Pop”. In Michigan, you ask for “Pop”. In Buffalo, the city is split roughly 50/50 between people who’ve migrated from further East and further West, so I’ve had many a heated discussion on the topic with other Buffalonians back in the day. It’s basically on the “Soda/Pop” border, if you will. I’m pretty sure most people in the US do in fact call it “soda”, though.

    In the South, aparently any kind of soda is referred to as “A coke”. So if you wanted an organge soda you would ask for “an orange coke”. Apparently. I only have hearsay from my cousin in Louisiana to verify that.

  5. Lynn says:

    Gosh, sorry for all the typos – must be time to go home!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Actually, pop vs soda is regional. John’s never said soda 😛

  7. Tyler says:

    Robyn says soda occasionally and I like to bug her about it. She lived in MN for a while so I guess it grew on her.

    I remember having to put in a zipcode for gas in WA and then it declined my visa. The attendant said it was because i used a US postal code with a Canadian Visa.

    @Kimm The Full serve are dying out. I personally don’t like the full serve and will drive to a self-serve. Dont know why, I just prefer doing it myself.

  8. Duane Storey says:

    Good to know about the pop thing.

  9. Duane Storey says:

    @Tyler – I don’t mind full serve, but it seriously took about 15 minutes to get gas when it should have taken about 3. The attendant was just way too slow, and trying to service about 8 cars at once.

  10. cinema l'amour says:

    Hmm, you’re not correct. In Montréal (well, in all of Québec), alcohol cannot be sold after 23:00h. Last call in bars is 03:00h. Most private dépanneurs will close at this time as there is no real point in staying open. The couche-tards, etc, will remain open but lock their alcohol coolers (with a padlock).

  11. cinema l'amour says:

    I was editing my comment and it wasn’t clear. Shops cannot sell alcohol after 23:00h. The small ones close at this time. Bars will sell alcohol until 03:00h.

  12. VancityAllie says:

    In Costa Rica, always ask the taxi driver how much before jumping in. They don’t use meters there and will arbitrarily overcharge you if you aren’t careful 😉

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