If you’re looking for somewhere to go on vacation, it might be worth making Normandy your next travel destination. There’s so much to see and do there that you’re bound to have an unforgettable trip abroad.
So Many Beaches
France is a great country to visit for beach vacations because so much of it is exposed to the coast. If you’re going here to soak up the sun, though, you’ll want to stop off in Normandy. The region is lined with warm beaches that are great for relaxing on, and they’re especially ideal if you’re traveling as a family.
No vacation is complete without a little sightseeing. Luckily, Normandy has an incredible landmark to visit in the form of Mont-Saint-Michel. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is steeped in history and home to some of the most astonishing architecture in all of France. You’ll come away from your vacation feeling incredibly cultured after seeing this place for yourself.
All The Food
Like many places in France, Normandy is known for its delicacies which include apples and cheese. While you might be able to find these foods in most regions, Normandy’s produce is a cut above the rest. Don’t believe us? Then perhaps it’s time you traveled there and tasted these foods for yourself. A slice of local Camembert and some Tarte aux Pommes should soon clear things up.
So Many Photo Ops
Whether you’re a social media-obsessed millennial, or someone that just loves taking photos, Normandy is a great place to get snap-happy. The region has so many picture-perfect villages and breathtaking cities which blend more modern architectural styles with the beloved classics. Your phone camera will be going a mile a minute here.
If a European vacation is on the cards, you can’t give Normandy a miss. This is one place that will change your life for the better.
A Russian Woman Who’s Been Living in India for 9 Years Shares 40+ Local Traditions She’s Struggling to Get Used To
Blogger Anna Tihaya was born and brought up in Moscow but moved to India with her family. Tihaya writes a blog titled “Indian Wife,” where she shares interesting shreds about her life as a local. These aren’t things you’ll find on the regular travel guide.
Potatoes Need a Pair
In India, potatoes are never eaten alone. They are considered ingredients of curry or sauce that are served on the side of rice. Tihaya once cooked veggies with potatoes for her family. Needless to say, her Indian husband was pretty surprised.
Insects and Lizards
It’s practically impossible to remove lizards and insects from the houses in India. You can call the exterminator and the results would last about a week or two before the pests return. Locals are used to this and aren’t bothered, completely unfazed if there’s an ant on their plate.
Tihaya’s house is home to a gecko that even built its family there and she has since watched them grow. Apparently, given traditional gecko sounds, she deduced that it’s still in the house.
Skin Bleaching Sagas
Countries vary in their idea of the “perfect face.” In India, beauty standards are set to light skin, long shiny hair, and big bright eyes. The local beauty industry caters to these requirements.
Amongst the most popular salon services are waxing, skin whitening, pedicure, manicure, and many hair spas. Some women will even use special concoctions with turmeric as they believe it will take the fine hairs off the face. However, this leaves many with faces as yellow as a sunflower.
Rarity of Women’s Health Doctors
Gynecologists either have their own small chambers or work in big, corporate hospitals. Either way, there’s no medical file containing a patient’s history. When you visit a doctor in India, they will listen to all your complaints and note them on a piece of paper.
Then, you’ll be handed a prescription or a list containing instructions on what you have to do. Nobody really has the time to be concerned about what you make of those recommendations.
Hugs and Other Skinship
Men in India aren’t afraid of showing their affection, and they do so in different ways. There are many other countries in which men hugging is considered too “feminine” and so, males just settle for a conventionally “manly” handshake.
However, in India, male friends often walk hand in hand and don’t run from giving the other a hug. It’s not uncommon to see friends riding one bike with the one in the passenger seat holding the man in front of him tightly. In our opinion, it’s rather endearing.
Three Times a Day
India has a hot and humid climate — to the extent that you could be standing in the middle of the road for just 10 minutes and you’d be drowning in your own sweat. Indians are super careful about their hygiene, which nullifies the effects of these extreme temperatures.
The average person takes multiple showers a day, up to four times on a super hot day. Locals prefer putting sandalwood powder on themselves to soothe the skin. They wash their hair regularly and apply a cream that’s rich in coconut oil afterward.
Cooking Every Day
In today’s busy world, it’s hard to even cook one meal a day without running late for this job or that errand. Still, Indians take their food seriously, and many aren’t comfortable with the idea of using a refrigerator so dedicatedly.
This habit might date back to the older days when people didn’t have refrigerators to preserve their food. Even today, families will store the ingredients in the fridge but never their meals. Indian housewives, especially the villagers, will cook fresh food for every meal.
No Toilet Paper
Restaurants and cafés in India don’t have the standard rolls of toilet paper waiting for you when you walk into the bathroom. Instead, there are special rooms to wash hands before and after your meal.
The amount of sinks available depend on how popular the restaurant is. Since Indians eat with their hands, there isn’t a big need for tissue or toilet paper. Keep in mind, though, they only use their right hand for eating purposes. Clean hands at that.
No Relationships Before Marriage
Can you imagine having zero to no interaction with someone before tying the knot with them? India is big on arranged marriages, causing youth even today to rely on their families and shrinks to find them a “suitable” match.
Apart from that, relationships before marriage are frowned upon. There are a handful of large cities like Delhi and Mumbai in which the terms “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” do exist. Still, even couples who aren’t yet married try their best to keep their relationship under wraps in order to avoid drawing attention.
Have You Eaten
India is one of the most hospitable places on the planet. The national religion, Hinduism, compares guests to God — and so, people are generally very warm and welcoming, especially towards foreigners and visitors. This belief is such a strong and meaningful one that it has even been made the tagline to promote tourism. If you’re visiting a friend during lunchtime, they as a host will seat you and serve a variety of dishes.
You’ll be convinced into eating so much that you might feel like you’re going to explode. In India, when two people meet up, they always ask each other if they’ve eaten or not — it’s common courtesy.
Typists Are Everywhere
A percentage of the population still doesn’t have access to computers. This becomes a huge problem when something needs to be typed. Luckily, the people of India have created a system that works — wills, applications, and any other documents can be typed on the street.
You’ll find clusters of typists nearby the road sitting at small tables near courts, police stations, and more. On that note, cyber cafés are also a thing in India. If you’re unfamiliar with cyber cafés, they’re shops in which people pay to get admission to the café where they can use the internet for a fixed amount of time. Wild, isn’t it?
Pregnancy and Return
Indian beliefs say that a pregnant woman shouldn’t be idle as this could negatively impact the baby. She’s discouraged from being a full-fledged housewife, and is fed healthier foods. When the woman is seven months pregnant, she usually returns to her parents’ house.
She comes back to her husband after the baby turns three months old. Within this time, the new mother is supposed to learn the ropes of caring for a baby. And get this — the entire process in which it must happen is chosen depending on an astrologist’s prediction.
Not the Cleanest
It turns out that the places where babies are born aren’t always the cleanest. Local doctors are totally aware of the risks and from the moment an expecting lady steps foot into the hospital, they start administering antibiotic treatments. They continue to do so until she leaves.
Interesting fact — patients aren’t fed in hospitals. When Tahiya got pregnant and had to be taken to the hospital, it was her husband who brought her an assortment of her favorite foods including chocolate croissants, vegetable sandwiches, and yogurt. The good news is that her babies were just fine.
Big Appetites and Bigger Palates
Indians believe in the following philosophy — “the bigger the meal, the better the meal.” They have big appetites and they’re proud of it. A standard meal, also called a Thali, is pretty huge. The server brings a dish containing a lot of metal plates.
You eat the rice and/or bread by mixing it with sauces, curries, and chutney. After the main course, you indulge in sweets and a cup of tea. Indians share the same love for tea as the English. Lunch is also really cheap, as it’s about a dollar on average!
Curse of Dowry
While this mindset has changed radically over the past few decades, some families are still displeased when they have a daughter. The big reason behind this is due to the dowry. When a girl is married off, the groom’s side usually demands money, property, or household items for the wedding to be finalized.
The bride’s family might be forced to purchase a car, a house, or even a piece of land! If a family can’t afford to pay the dowry, there’s a chance they might not be able to get their daughter married.
Not All Muslim Women
The first image to pop into many of our minds when we think of a Muslim woman might be ladies covered from head to toe in burqas. However, that’s not the case in India.
Tihaya expressed her surprise in the fact that many Muslim women can be spotted in colorful, bright clothing on a daily basis. It’s all allowed there and the woman couldn’t be happier. These clothes come in a variety of patterns and designs.
Time for Manicures and Pedicures
There are always those little things about a country or culture that makes our heads and ask, “Wait, really?” Well, in India, you can’t cut your nails or trim your hair after sunset. Locals are pretty strict about this rule whether you live in a village or big city.
Tihaya’s husband also grew up knowing that hair and nails can’t be cut on Fridays and Tuesdays. Upon asking why she couldn’t do so, he replied that every Indian will say the same — it increases negative energy in the house.
Indians are extremely family-oriented and love children. On average, an Indian family has two or three kids. Kids are a big part of people’s lives here, and they make sure to flaunt that in more ways than one — dressing them in different clothes, taking them to restaurants, and walking with them in the evening.
You will even see fathers bringing their babies along to their workplace or even when they’re out with friends. Indian fathers are dedicated by nature and spend a fair share of time raising their kids. If you ask us, the fathers of the rest of the world can learn a thing or two.
The Temple of Bald Heads
Venkateswara Temple of Tirupati is known all over the world for a very specific attribute. People from across India visit this holy place to sacrifice their hair to the deity. Interestingly enough, anyone who wishes to do so must pay a fee of 50 rupees.
They are then handed a razor along with a receipt. The hall is filled with dozens of benches and barbers with people waiting in long queues. Anna herself has gone there and had a barber shave all her hair off in one go. This photo was taken right after.
Six Different Seasons
How many seasons do you experience? Chances are, you’ll say either two or four. Many regions only have two seasons to count, which are summer and winter. However, being that India is extremely unique, it should come as no surprise that the country gets to enjoy six different seasons, all bringing significance in their own way.
The order is as follows — summer, monsoon season, autumn, fall, winter, and spring. And knowing the festival-loving place that India is, there are one or two events associated with the arrival and departure of a certain season.
Nation of Vegetarians
Indian is the vegetarian haven of the world. Vegetarianism is amongst one of the traditional aspects of Hinduism, leading about 60% of the population to maintain a life without consuming meat. India is also the country that consumes the lowest amount of meat.
As an alternative, they have equally tasty dishes based on cheese, tofu, and vegetables. If you’ve never tasted signature dishes like “Palak Paneer” or “Samosas,” you’re missing out. The best part is that given how diverse the cuisine is, you won’t run out of things to try.
Dangerous Living Conditions
The capital of India, Delhi, has been termed the most polluted capital and the 10th most polluted city in the world. In fact, according to the World Air Quality Report — a research report conducted by Swiss company IQAir — India makes up 22 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world.
This becomes easier to understand when you realize how massive the population is, with 22 million people living in Delhi alone. The smog from factories and car exhausts has made breathable air a distant dream.
One Diverse Land
India is diverse culturally and filled with people of all religions and ethnicities. All of the world’s major religions can be found here. Although 80% of Indians are Hindus, you can also easily find followers of Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism, and other religious faiths.
The locals try to maintain a situation of harmony with each other, with the growing acceptance of the person of a different faith. Hindu kids can be seen celebrating Eid with their Muslim buddies and Muslim children can be found enjoying Diwali.
Mustache and Money
What would you do to get a raise at work? Work harder? Come up with various plans to increase profits? Butter up your boss one way or the other? Or, grow a beard? In India, all three plans work. Indian police officers with mustaches receive bonus payments.
Mustaches and beards are thought to make a man more masculine. In addition, it’s an indispensable part of Indian folklore. This is also why a lot of police officers or constables can be seen sporting a beard.
Land of Spices
India is one of those places in which someone with a bland palate wouldn’t have a good time. People here believe in delicious, flavorful dishes that will make you smack your lips and lick your fingers after eating. Indian cuisine is heavily reliant on a blend of complex spices.
There’s also an organization directly under the government named Spices Board India that regulates the development and promotion of spices on an international scale. Cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cumin, coriander, nutmeg are amongst the most popular ones.
Say No to Separation
There’s an assumption that one out of every two marriages ends in an annulment, but not in India. This country has one of the lowest annulment rates across the globe. Only one out of 100 marriages end in separation here. There are certain reasons to account for that.
One, Hinduism insists that the bond you form with your spouse when you tie the knot is supposed to last until the end of time — transcend the boundaries of life and beyond. Another one is how annulment isn’t viewed in a positive light.
The Love Commandos
In Hinduism, the caste system is rather strict. These subsections inside the faith are often the root of huge conflicts, mainly intercaste relationships. Extremist families won’t let their children mix with others of “low birth,” often leading to traumatizing events of honor homicides.
If a boy from one caste is seen mingling with a girl of a lower caste, they might end up in a life-threatening situation. Many are stepping forward to stop this practice, one of them being the organization, Love Commandos.
For Drinking and What Else
Soft drinks satiate our craving for unhealthy sugar and deliver small packets of caffeine. There’s no way to deny that these beverages are packed with harmful chemicals and preservatives that could be damaging in the long run.
This information would scare the general public, but never the Indian farmers. Those tricky individuals use Pepsi and Coca-Cola as an alternative for pricey pesticides. They will casually make a spray bottle out of the can or plastic container and spray their plants. It’s concerning how it actually works.
Rich Female Community
As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, India is enjoying rapid growth in almost every monetary sector. Statistics show that 18 Indians are liberated from the shackles of poverty every day. However, two-thirds of the population still live a rather miserable life due to a money crunch.
Under these circumstances, you wouldn’t expect Indian housewives to own about 11% of the world’s gold. To put things into perspective, that’s more than the joint stocks of Germany, Switzerland, the United States, and the International Monetary Fund.
Rejection of Civilization
India has control over Sentinel Island, part of the Andaman Islands. This territory of land remains uncharted for the most part, virtually untouched by the strict grip of modern civilization. The local tribe, the Sentinelese, don’t wish to contact the outsiders at any cost and have always reacted violently to repeated attempts of communication from the civilized nations of the world.
Survival International protests, lobbies, and uses public pressure to maintain this state of separation so that the islanders’ wish is respected.
Homeland of Chess
India is often regarded as the land of chess. The locals call the game “Chaturanga,” which literally translates to “four divisions of an army” — namely the infantry, cavalry, chariots, and elephants. There are lots of Indians with their names etched on the walls of the Chess ‘Hall of Fame.’
According to FIDE, India houses 66 Grandmasters, 20 Woman Grandmasters, 125 International Masters, 42 Woman International Masters, and over 33,000 rated players as of September 2000. Tihaya might casually have to play chess with her husband from time to time.
Babies With Eyeliner
If you’re walking down the streets of India and see a baby wearing eyeliner, don’t freak. It’s called kajal (also Surma or Kohl), and it’s an ancient eye cosmetic in the country. Unlike streamline eyeliner, which is made from a ton of artificial pigments and color, kajal is made from soot.
The baby’s lower lid is lined with a layer of eyeliner, which is believed to shield the baby from all evil eyes. Some locals believe this is good for the baby’s eyesight but there’s no scientific proof of this.
Life Is Dance
Indians love a handful of things and they’ve become a distinct part of the grander, more intricate scheme of their culture and traditions — one of these things is dance. Aside from the famous dance moves and music videos that Bollywood celebrities break into, there are eight kinds of classical dances.
Indian dances portray emotions that wouldn’t be felt in any other form of expression — truly incomparable to anything. You might look at these dancers and feel the intense urge to join them.
Gestures as Means of Communication
Ah, the (in)famous Indian gesticulation. Dancing is one outlet of emotions for the Indians, and so is making gestures and facial expressions that literally any other part of the planet can’t decode. Seriously, if you’re not a local, it will take you years to even start understanding how these work.
The head bobbles and hand movement can easily confuse tourists. This practice perhaps originates from yoga and Indian classic dangers — where a range of mudras, or hand gestures, are used. This is another thing that makes India a mystery.
Love for Films
When you hear the word “Bollywood,” does anything specific come to mind? You may be thinking of green-eyed beauty Aishwarya Rai Bachchan from the Hollywood comedy flick, The Pink Panther 2, where she played an ultra-gorgeous thief. Or perhaps you thought of Shahrukh Khan, the undisputed “King” of Bollywood.
In one of the biggest filmmaking centers in the world, many genres are produced in Bollywood. Most of them feature a masala genre — a blend of love stories, action, thriller, and more.
Steel Tableware Instead of Porcelain
For immigrants who move to India from a foreign land, adjusting to the usual customs and traditions can be quite daunting. The majority of Indian homes don’t use porcelain or clay pottery. Instead, they use steel tableware. There are multiple theories breaking this interesting practice down.
Some claim it’s practical to use steelware as it isn’t as fragile as glassware. Others say that pottery made of mud is regarded as “unclean and impure.” Whatever it might be, porcelain potteries are a rare sight in Indian homes.
All the Bread
Bread is to India as pasta is to Italy. The latter boasts an impressive 350 types of pasta while India appeals with the biggest variety of bread in the world. Not only are they different in shape, but they also come with unique fillings, ingredients, cooking molds, and even different cooking methods.
From puri filled with potato mixtures to the quintessential chapati, every bread is loved and appreciated. Some breads are deep-fried, some are cooked in clay ovens, and some include garlic. In other words, you can say goodbye to your diet if you’re planning a trip to India.
A Unique Lunchbox
There’s a massive lunchbox delivery system in motion in India. The idea is that since Indians are used to only eating fresh meals, it doesn’t make sense to carry their lunch with them to the office in the morning, as the food won’t remain “that fresh.”
So, family members or services cook fresh lunches for the working individuals and a special delivery person (called a Dabbawala) picks the lunchboxes up, delivers them, and returns them to the same addresses after they’ve been eaten.
Fixed Prices on Packages
As tourists, there’s a common fear that the local sellers will take advantage of your limited knowledge and exploit it. They might be asking for higher prices than what they’d ask from locals, but in India, the sellers can’t rip you off. Every product in the market (that’s been produced in India) comes with a fixed price.
MRP stands for the maximum retail price and it limits the shopkeeper’s ability to charge customers more than the decided value of the item, which is stated on the package.
The Festival of Colors
Undoubtedly one of the most interesting festivals in the world, Holi is the celebration of love through the fun play of vibrant colors. It’s like the Spanish festival of “La Tomatina” but here, instead of tomatoes, you’re throwing colors each other’s way.
Holi is also called the “festival of love,” or the “festival of colors.” There’s a wide array of powdered colors on display during this festival and people can choose. Holi has gotten international recognition with many foreigners celebrating it outside of India.
Right Hand to Eat
This isn’t just for India but more like a rule for Asia at large. Many regions of the continent still believe in the right-hand rule in which eating with your left hand is considered unacceptable.
Since the left hand is used to perform some unsavory functions, it’s considered the unclean hand in some cultures, and something you wouldn’t want to associate with food. Indians eat, pass on objects to others, and shake with their right hands.
Marriage to Animals and Trees
The notion of animal marriage or tree marriage could make anyone’s jaw drop — if they’re not from India and not familiar with its culture. Now, the general question is why would anyone marry a cow or dog? Indians are strict believers of horoscopes and refer to that before making important life decisions.
If that says someone is about to face bad luck, the person is suggested to marry an animal or tree. These unique unions are taken to be the person’s first marriage and absorb the “curse’s” blows. The second wedding with a human supposedly goes peacefully.
How Many Languages
While most countries have two to three languages at the very most, India is home to over 1,600 different languages. Out of these, 122 falls under the major language category. More than a million natives speak 30 of these languages.
A child born in Tamilnadu will grow up speaking Tamil, Hindi, and English. Primary schools make sure to incorporate various language courses. India is one of the biggest English-speaking nations in the world as well, coming second only to the USA.
Plastic Waste as Tuition
Innovation is what separates you from the crowd. While the whole world is worrying about the long-term impacts of increasing tuition fees, an Indian school has come up with a revolutionary idea that will help them decrease environmental pollution all whilst educating kids.
Children are asked to collect and deposit plastic waste, which is considered their fee instead of money. Not only are poor students able to stay in school, but it also raises awareness around recycling plastic.
Indians Worship Cricket
It would be safe to say that the game of cricket isn’t limited to the playgrounds and TV sets anymore for Indians; it’s a spiritual thing. People are super invested in the national teams, celebrating wins and mourning losses.
If you want to experience India in its rawest forms, try to watch a cricket match. You can join the kids as they play with makeshift equipment, or you can simply buy a ticket to watch a professional match. Either way, you’ll be amazed at their fervor.