Wednesday, March 25, 2009

it's the law...

Rome, Italy (April 2007)

It's spring again and by spring of course I mean this Eskimo-like weather that has so far been plaguing New York the whole month of March. However, springtime to me means more than warm weather; more importantly it signifies spring break and spring travel!!! While I have my particular favorites (Paris and San Juan) what is interesting are the particulars of the local laws and customs that most visitors (and even local citizens) are unaware of.

OK, so admittedly most of the silly or downright ridiculous laws do come from the United States, but they're certainly not the only ones in the world who have gone down this road. If you're planning to travel anywhere this spring or summer, it's a good idea to learn some of the laws in other countries. Here are some of the more ridiculous laws from other places around the world to keep in mind:

1. It’s illegal to kiss on a railway in France.
2. Patrons are not expected to pay for food at an inn in Denmark unless they are full.
3. In Atlanta, Georgia, it is illegal to tie a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp.
4. Don’t imitate any animals in Miami; it’s illegal.
5. It’s illegal to shout offensive words in public in Mexico.
6. Beware when collecting stones or shells from nationally protected beaches. You can be caught at the airport for smuggling or removing archaeologically valuable treasures.
7. Taxi drivers in Finland must pay royalties on music if they play songs for paying customers.
8. It’s illegal to sing in public in Florida if you’re wearing a swimsuit.
9. If you’re driving in Utah, be aware that birds always have the right of way on highways.
10. A man may not stand up to go to the washroom after 10:00 p.m. in Switzerland.
11. Failure to flush a public toilet in Singapore after use may result in a fine.
12. In Logan County, Colorado, it's illegal for a man to kiss a woman while she's asleep.
13. A man may be arrested for wearing a skirt in Italy.
14. Taxis in Queensland, Australia, are required to carry a bale of hay. This is a throwback to the days of horse travel.
15. It is an offence for women of ill repute (re: prostitutes and "loose" women) or evil looks' to enter a cheese factory in the area of Ferrara, Italy
16. It’s illegal to be drunk and in possession of a cow in Scotland.
17. Wearing combat or camouflaged clothing is illegal in Barbados.
18. A fine of $25 can be levied for flirting in New York City.
19. In Florida, having sexual relations with a porcupine is illegal.
20. In South Africa, young people in bathing suits must not sit closer than 30 cm together.
21. A woman is legally allowed to kill her cheating husband, only if she uses her bare hands in Hong Kong. The husband's lover however may be killed in any manner desired.
22. Unmarried women who parachute on Sunday can be arrested in Florida.
23. Water guns may not be used in New Year’s celebrations in Cambodia.
24. A pregnant woman visiting the UK can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants – even in a police officer’s hat if she requests.
25. It’s illegal to drive a camel on a highway in Nevada.

"Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered"


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