What are the thoughts that come to you when I say “Europe”? Old buildings, cobblestone paths, perhaps some green scenery of the countryside? What about your general experience? Do you find yourself doing certain things or behaving a certain way in Europe that is different from when you’re in Malaysia? Read on to discover 8 things that Malaysians (highly likely) experience in Europe!
1) You Hug Your Bag So Closely Like You’re in a Relationship With It
Also see: putting locks/cable ties on your bag zips. In Malaysia, we have snatch thieves and armed robberies. But not in Europe, because all they want is your money. So, there is an abundance of pickpockets who subtly reach into your bag for valuables. Some are so professional that they can slide your phone out from the front pocket of your jeans without you knowing it. Maybe there is no 100% way to prevent pickpockets, but hugging or locking your bag certainly helps.
2) You Never Miss Any Chance to Use the Toilets
For two very simple reasons: 1. you have to pay to use most (if not all) public toilets, and 2. sometimes, even when you have money, money can’t buy you toilets. Public toilets are a scarcity in Europe, so even when you don’t really have to go, you go anyway, because you never know when you’ll see the next toilet. I don’t know about you, but paying (and praying for) the availability of toilets makes me miss the free and widely available toilets in Malaysia.
3) But the Toilets Don’t Have What?
It has become such a norm in Malaysia that when you first use an European toilet, you realise in horror that it is missing one very important thing. A bidet shower, or a water spray. Oh, the toilet woes of Europe. They have toilet rolls, of course, but no water spray? What do you do for washing yourself? Well, you just can’t. So you grit your teeth and settle for the paper. And then the minute you get to your room, you bolt for the shower.
4) You Take A Lovely Walk, and then Another, and Another…
Many European cities and towns are old and historical, and are therefore listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I’ve learnt that what that actually means is that you do a lot of walking. Sure, it’s a refreshing experience at first, but when you’ve been walking for days… We city people are simply not used to it, because we travel on four wheels more often than two legs. However, there is one walking activity no one complains about: shopping. Not so tired anymore, are you?
5) Where’s the Rice?
You try local food, but after a while you get sick of it, and you crave for home food. Oh, fried rice, nasi lemak, and char koay teow, where art thou? By then, even cup noodles taste better than the chicken chop or fish n’ chips! Also, somehow, Europeans don’t really believe in vegetables or ketchup (gasp!) either, so it’s meat meat meat all the way. If you’re a self-proclaimed carnivore, that’s great! Otherwise, you’d face difficulties trying to get a balanced meal without overspending.
6) You Still Need the A/C No Matter How Cold It Is Outside
Two minutes ago, you were shivering in the wind. Two minutes later, indoors, you’ve discarded your layers and are anxiously looking for an A/C switch. If there’s no A/C, you can’t sleep. It’s as simple as that. Even if someone tells you to “just open the window a crack to let the breeze in, it’s the same!”, you don’t believe them. After all, you’re used to setting the temperature to 16 degrees Celsius at home, then wrapping yourself up, so you’re going to do the same in Europe. Even if it’s snowing outside.
7) Squares, Churches & Statues
In honour of the rulers, warriors, and mythical Greek Gods, countless statues have been erected all over Europe. Also, in each town, no matter how big or small, there will definitely be a main square. The main square is the most happening place in the area, usually adorned with a fountain or statue, surrounded with cafes. Roman Catholicism was and still is prevalent in Europe, and everywhere you go, you can see churches in all their centuries-old glory.
8) Wait, Why am I Here Again?
You don’t need me to tell you that Europe remains one of the top holiday destinations today, and sometimes, it can get a little too overwhelming. Here’s what happens: you arrive at a beautiful, popular tourist spot, only to find that about a few hundred people had the exact same desire as you. You can’t really enjoy the attraction due to the ridiculous crowd, much less take a picture. Your picture will turn out to be 80% people and 20% attraction, and that’s if you’re lucky.
Have you experienced any of these? Or do you have any other experience that you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!