Unlike other countries on this list, N. Ireland was a hard one! I adore this little country, and have a thousand and one positive things to say about it. After thinking long and hard, I’ve decided that a small beef I have is that it’s hard to find quick, healthy food, at least in my experience. Most pubs and restaurants don’t serve a lot of healthy things, and with all the chinese and fish and chip shops around, it’s easy to be lead down the wrong path. Go into a grocery store, and other than a few sandwiches and a salad or two, pickings are slim. Most microwaveable food is fish and chips, or meat pies. People give the US crap for being unhealthy, but we’re not the only ones. I’ve never noticed a very health conscious attitude in N. Ireland.
So, one of the things I find frustrating about Germany is how hard it is to find a bathroom. (Now, this is true of most of Europe I’ve been to, but we’re talking about Germany right now). When you do find a public bathroom, which are few and far between, you have to pay for it. That doesn’t bother me so much, I’m going to assume taxes in Germany don’t pay for the maintenance of bathrooms. (Do ours here in the US?) However, it drives me nuts that it is so difficult to find a bathroom. I swear everyone in Germany either has the bladder of a camel, or is extremely dehydrated. You can go eight, nine hours walking around, driving around, without a bathroom. By that time I would have had to go at least three times, and that’s being super conservative drinking water!
There’s a lot of things I could say about Japan, but most of those opinions would only be because I’ve read articles and heard others talk about it, not from personal experience. The most I’ve spent is three weeks in Tokyo, so compared to other people who’ve studied there or taught there, I’m not one to talk about a lot of things. One of the things I can talk about is how ridiculously nicely dressed all the girls are (and how in opposite, the guys dress SUPER casually). If you think girls in Europe are obsessed with fashion, you should try going to Japan. These girls walk over tons of hills, in sticky humid weather, through rain and on train, in six inch heels, with frilly skirts, short shorts over tights, and miraculously perfect hair. No matter how dressed up I was, I always felt fat and under dressed around my slender well dressed Japanese companions.
India was a hard country to pick the worst thing from. India has some amazing things, gorgeous landscape, gorgeous people, beautiful religion. However, I have never felt as some of my classmates felt that they could live in India and love it. Trash is a huge issue in India, and I think that’s what I dislike the most in India. There is absolutely no infrastructure for the waste in India. It lines train tracks, streets, it is everywhere. Unless you go to a very very rural area of the country, the smell of trash will follow you. You learn to block it out, traveling there, but it’s never truly gone.
This one was easy!: Being vegetarian in France is really really hard. Not impossible, especially if you eat seafood, but nearly. The last time I visited France I was seventeen, and as such had only been a vegetarian for four years. This is a country that loves its meat. In grocery stores you will find huge long shelves stocked with meat, of all kinds. Most French dishes have meat as the main ingredient, and to have it without meat is unheard of. The family I stayed with had a very hard time wrapping their heads around the concept that I could have, say, spaghetti sauce without meat, or rice without chicken.
I don’t know what they’re called, or if they’re around year round in Scotland, but when I visited, I was constantly barraged by these tiny little flies that drove me nuts. I think they might be gnats? They stung sometimes, they would fly around in swarms, and had a fondness for going up my nose and into my mouth. They seemed to be attracted to water and- Ugh, I really, really hated those things.
Hoh boy, Statia. Statia, Statia, Statia, you dry, oil covered, boring, dangerous tided, expensive, drunken island. There are so many things I could say about Statia, but I think one that encompasses all things about this weird, forgotten island is how much no one wants to be there long term. At least no one I met, which included a couple of locals, interns at the botanical garden, my co-workers, and my boss. Everyone who talked about living on the island told me a version of the same thing: they were there temporarily. They were waiting for a new job, waiting to finish their internship, etc.
London(yes I know it’s not a country but that’s the only place in England I’ve been to)
I’ve only been to London once, so please don’t take this as a sweeping opinion of all residents of London, but I remember most people in London not being overly friendly to us. No one was overtly rude but I also never got any warm fuzzies. Is this because everyone in London is sick of tourists? Or sick of Americans? Or perhaps sick of American tourists? Who knows. Who knew someone could be so snobby about me calling it the tube rather than “metro” or “underground”.
I’m stretching my memory here, because it’s been six and a half years since I went to Israel. After sitting down with my mother and talking about some of our experiences there, I remembered about the public transportation there. Public transportation is difficult to use, and it’s also very expensive. On retrospect, it would have been a lot smarter to just rent a car. We had assumed that driving would be difficult and dangerous in Israel, when it actuality it’s fairly easy and renting a car would have been cheaper. A lot of cities in Israel are easy to walk around, but it’s not so easy getting from one city to another.