Following up on Brenna’s insights for first-time travelers yesterday, here are three things I’ve noticed you can’t know about a place until you get there.
1) Under what circumstances it is acceptable to jaywalk. In Norway? Never. You stand back from the curb like a civilized person. In New York? The only reason to stop walking is if you are actually run over by a cab.
2) The degree of public displays of affection. In Marrakech, anything beyond holding hands would cause a stir. In Vegas… well, that stays there.
3) What, if anything, you can eat or drink while walking down the street. Sevillanos are OK with ice cream but not really anything else. On the other hand, Chicagoans will not even blink if you are devouring an entire pizza on a street corner.
Why these things don’t make it into guidebooks is beyond me. What other little details of places do you need to experience yourself to understand?