Every year there’s a new list of advice for tourists coming to Croatia. Some of the lists are factual and informative, but some are proposing that there’s a type of Croatian mentality that a foreign person will encounter and should be aware of in order for problems to be avoided. You know, the usual dos and dont’s. What not to mention to the locals, how not to offend them, and their strange customs.
And I always laugh. I feel a little angry, but mostly I laugh. Maybe there’s some sorrow. But mostly laughter. The reason being, it’s always this general, repetitive, copy/paste simplifying of millions of people. Don’t mention the war, don’t expect this, don’t forget that. The advice is so general and is ignorant to the fact that for the most of the planet, being polite and humble is not such an exotic connotation. Or maybe I’m wrong, and the world is a crazy place, and Croats should also get some advice on how to act in foreign lands and develop more prejudices.
1. When in the United Kingdom, don’t get scared when you realise that someones’ worth can be decided on, on their class. Class is something Croats left in the last millennia and it can be shocking talking with the natives and then realising that they believe in the magic values of blood. Respect their local customs and maybe they’ll show you the old shaman woman they call their ”Queen”.
2. When in the United States of America, don’t talk about the war. The tragic wars are part of American history, and the last civil war left a lot of wounds that people feel even today. Some call it the Glorious Uprising, some Rebellion. It doesn’t matter. The wounds are still fresh, people still talk about it, fighting over the names of streets and squares, remembering their dead. Don’t talk about it. Americans are a proud people and have a fiery soul. Years of war made them harsh, but if you avoid that painful subject, they will show you that they’re the most welcoming of people.
3. If you find yourself in Germany, don’t call them France. I know, it’s weird, because, at one point in history, Germany was under France, but for some strange reason, Germany doesn’t like to be called France. So strange I know, but respect the locals.
4. ”When in China, don’t talk how much China sucks” – Confucious
5. Travelling around the world is a great way to try different types of dishes and cuisine. Try to skip sarma and čvarci this time and explore the local spices and tastes.
6. In Canada, you can’t pay with kuna! I know! What?! But it’s true. They don’t use them. Savages!
7. You don’t have to understand English when visiting Australia. Most of the people understand Croatian or some other south Slavic language. Most of the education comes from watching Croatian cartoons and listening to Croatian music.
8. Greece is not just beaches. You’ll be surprised to know there was some sort of civilisation in that part of the world before tourism. Explore the past and learn about things older than your Instagram profile.