When Traveling, You Should be Aware of these Strange Laws in Foreign Countries
Traveling to a foreign land is exciting. I have seen many places throughout the world, and I never get tired of spending time in new cultures. Even if you haven’t traveled out of our country, you know that in the U.S. alone, traveling from state to state can show you a different way of life. We are an eclectic nation set in an eclectic world. But our laws are fairly straightforward, and we’re used to them. There are probably a few federal and state laws you find ridiculous, but you’re going to have to trust me – any ridiculous U.S. law pales in comparison to the nine laws I’m going to list in this blog post. As if this were a transcript of an old episode of Ripley’s Believe or Not, here are nine things you didn’t know are a law… and some of them are sure to make you scratch your head!
- Australia: In the southeast state of Victoria, Australia, you probably won’t find any light bulbs for sale at the local hardware store. You see, the Victorian parliament apparently believes that changing a light bulb is a feat of great difficulty, because it is only legal for a licensed electrician to – yes, I’m going to say it – change a light bulb.
- Canada: O, Canada! Many enjoy visiting this nation filled with friendly people because it is an unspoiled part of our world. Canada is covered by a ton of tall, glorious trees, but if you’re somebody who loves to climb them, you may not want to vacation there: If you’re visiting Oshawa, Ontario, and you climb a tree, you’re breaking the law!
- England: I’m not sure how you can enforce this one… but it is illegal to die in any of England’s Houses of Parliament. But you’d be dead: How do they convict you? And how can you decide when and where you’re going to die? I mean, you can under certain tragic circumstances, but if you drop dead without warning…? This one just doesn’t make sense!
- France: If you’re a product of the ’80s, you know all about E.T. If you’re a child of a product of the ’80s, you know all about E.T. This beloved alien found its way into all our hearts when the movie first came out; we all wanted E.T. dolls. If you lived in France, however, too bad! You cannot sell a doll in France unless it has a human face. (But E.T. looked somewhat human!)
- Samoa: Women will rejoice in this law. If your husband is really bad about remembering certain special dates (like, say, your birthday), suggest moving the family to Samoa. Why? Because if you live in Samoa, you can have your hubby arrested for forgetting your special day instead of just making him sleep on the couch!
- El Salvador: I hate to say it, but while this law may be quite drastic, it does make you think! Here, if you are caught driving under the influence, you will face some hefty fines, perhaps some jail time and, hopefully, the loss of your license. In San Salvador, capital of El Salvador, they’ll put you in front of a firing squad. That’s a bit much, but I imagine there aren’t too many people driving under the influence in San Salvador.
- Sweden: This is another law that doesn’t make any sense to me. You can’t die in Parliament in England (I’m still wrestling with that one), and you can’t hire the services of a “woman of the night” in Sweden. If you’re thinking, “Joe, that’s pretty much illegal here, too, except in Nevada,” prostitution is legal in Sweden. So you can sell sex, but you can’t buy it. What?
- Switzerland: Perhaps soundproofing is poor in Switzerland apartment buildings because, in many places, you cannot flush your toilet after 10 p.m. if you live in an apartment. This is polite, I guess, and it ties in with the country’s noise ordinances. And if you’re a man and you have to go during the night, sit down: Urinating while standing is also illegal after 10 p.m. I’m not sure how they enforce this one any more than the death in Parliament law…
- Thailand: If you go “commando,” I don’t want to know about it. But if you go “commando” in Thailand, you could be arrested. Bangkok, Thailand, has a reputation for things of an illicit nature, but just don’t leave your hotel room without any underwear on – you’ll get in trouble!
As you can see, there are some interesting laws throughout our world. Some are strange, some are funny, and some just don’t make any sense at all. I’m sure we have some laws here in the States that also make you scratch your head! Still, when traveling abroad, even if you don’t understand the law, follow it anyway. You’re in another land, and you might not have the same rights we have here. No matter how ridiculous the law might seem, obey it… and have a wonderful time while you’re there!