Some laws are downright foolish. In Alabama, it’s illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your back pocket, and in Idaho nobody, and this means nobody, is allowed to fish from a giraffe’s back. If you are in a public park in Colorado don’t even think about mutilating a rock.
While we may laugh about these idiotic laws and wonder how, or why, they were enacted in the first place, we would be hard-pressed to come up with a legitimate answer. But America isn’t the only country where you might break a law simply because you didn’t know it existed. If you happen to be visiting the small coastal town of Lyme Regis in England, please be aware it is illegal to “conger-cuddle.” This involves slapping another person with a dead eel. As tempting as it may be, resist the urge.
If you are going to visit another country it’s always best to know ahead of time what could potentially have you calling the US Embassy to bail you out. In efforts to avoid an international incident, here are some do’s and don’ts to remain cognizant of.
Milan has plenty of things to smile about. There is wonderful shopping in the plaza and it’s been said they make the best pizza in the world. But there is more to it. If you’re going to this lovely city, make absolutely certain you paste your biggest wide-toothed grin on your face before going here, and keep smiling till it hurts. Oddly enough, in Milan, it is illegal to frown so turn it upside down if you have one. If you are at a funeral or visiting someone in the hospital you’re exempt from the law, but otherwise, you could receive a fine of $100.
Though some of Milan’s residents say they have never heard of such a thing, even having lived there their entire lives, the fact remains, it’s an old law that was never taken off the books, just like breaking wind after 6:00 PM on Thursday in Florida is still illegal.
If you’re chewing gum to stop a smoking habit, better keep puffing if you’re going to Singapore and wait until you get back home to quit. Chewing gum in Singapore is not tolerated. It isn’t even allowed to be sold. There is a $500 fine awaiting anyone brazen enough to spit their black-market gum out on a sidewalk. Lee Kuan Yew is a famous Singaporean, and the first prime minister, who managed to convert the city-state from a small insignificant port town into a busy international trading hub after its independence in 1965. But, he insisted on doing it in a neat and tidy fashion and chewing gum on the sidewalks simply did not fit into his agenda. According to him, it was un-utopian.
In a book which discusses the important people who helped shape Asia, this was said about Lee and his aversion to chewing gum: “It was gumming up the works. As far as Lee Kuan Yes and his team were concerned, the yucky habit, commonplace in the old days, was a palpable enemy of progress. The way to edge forward toward utopia was simple: simply outlaw chewing gum.”
Other illegal things to land folks in serious trouble are urinating anywhere except in a toilet, not flushing a public toilet, any type of graffiti, littering, expelling mucus from the nose, spitting, and jaywalking. Lee’s idea was to turn Singapore into a “first-world oasis in a third-world region”.
In the Isle of Capri, which is a bright sunny spot, residents get annoyed by the noise those $5 K-Mart flip-flops make when someone is walking down a sidewalk. In fact, any type of shoe which creates excessive noise is illegal so you may as well not even pack them. Locals really enjoy their peace and quiet and will not tolerate any one interrupting it in any shape or fashion.
This is not an old law so if you go to Capri don’t try testing it out to see what happens. Couples have actually been arrested who didn’t believe it was true.
But it isn’t just in Capri where you can’t do this. In an official letter to the Italian courts, President President Francesco Giardino said this, “To avoid a repeat of unpleasant situations at the entrance of the court, we inform you that entrance will not be permitted to people dressed indecently,” The letter outlawed shorts, clothes that are excessively low-cut and/or transparent, miniskirts, and of course, those dreaded flip-flops.
In this small Polish town, Winnie the Pooh is not allowed on playgrounds. The authorities don’t want any half-naked bears, stuffed or not, hanging around where children play. They claimed this was totally inappropriate for children. They also claim Winnie is of dubious sexuality which is totally inappropriate.
It was actually suggested that the bear become the face of a new playground that was being built which caused conservatives to take a closer look at this animated character. He was dubbed as a hermaphrodite and they simply could not tolerate this, citing the bear does not have a complete wardrobe.
One of the Polish council members even claimed that Winnie the Pooh’s author, AA Milne, who was over 60-years-old when Pooh was written, obviously must have had a problem with the bears identity so hacked off his testicles with a razor blade.
As a matter of curiosity though. Do they not have zoo’s in Poland? And if so, do the dress the animals, especially the bears, before allowing children to enter?
In 1986, London passed the Salmon Act. If you simply cannot resist handling a salmon while in public, make certain the circumstances are not considered suspicious or you could be in just as much trouble had you shaken the dust off a doormat prior to 8:00 A.M., or knocked on someones door and ran away without a valid excuse.
The Salmon Law was designed to stop the illegal sale of the fish from black marketers, which is no longer an problem, but the law was never removed.
Not to worry though, a local police officer had this to say, “It’s really important to note that while the canon of English Criminal Law is huge, the police do not use ‘gotcha’ tactics to enforce laws that people could not reasonably be expected to know existed. More laws are created every year than are removed from the statute book and tend to reflect the social conditions and concerns of the time.”
While you’re at it, never fire a cannon within 300 yards of a residence. At least not in London.
In this Australian city, if you’re going to be a neat freak, be careful when you choose to be one. Do not vacuum between 10 PM and 7 AM during the week, and between 10 PM and 9 AM on weekends. The law is current and it’ll cost you $205 if you break it. If someone chooses to argue the point by not paying the fine, it increase to $1000 and subsequent violations will run $2000 bucks. When citizens say they don’t wish to be disturbed, heed their warning.
A few other things you might want to be aware of if you visit Australia. If you are in a pub, and you are a woman, at all costs resist the urge to crush beer cans between your breasts. A 31-year-old barmaid ended up having to pay a $1000 dollar fine for showing off her skills. Unless you want to fined an enormous amount of money, as in $150,000 dollars, do not release a goldfish into any waterway. Anything to do with a carp is illegal. You can’t have them if they are alive or dead and you cannot even have a tiny piece of one in your possession. A law that made it illegal for politicians to lie was abolished in 2006, but for reasons we will probably never know, was reinstated in 2012.
If you visit this Russian city and happen to rent a car, do not let it get dirty. You may find yourself getting pulled over and handed a $62 ticket. Chelyabinsk has a population of over one-million so it only stands to reason there will always be a dirty car or two on the road. Residents claim the law gives the police a reason to pull someone over when they haven’t broken any other laws. The fines are handed out on the spot so any cop who might be short of lunch money that day starts looking for dirty cars. Apparently, this law has worked out so well for them it was later passed in the city of Moscow. The car wash business is thriving.
Also in Chelyabinsk, if your name is Barack Obama, you are banned from entering the city. The sale, importing of, or manufacturing of lace panties is a big taboo. Russia states lace pantie do not comply with their technical requirements. You figure that one out. And do not swear if you are in a theater or at a cultural event. They don’t want to hear it and it’ll cost you if you do.
When you go to the beach in this northwestern French town make darn sure you leave your pet elephant back at the hotel. Don’t attempt trying to smuggle onto the beach. You will get caught.
This is not an old law, it was only passed in 2009. It seems circus’s that came to town were leading their elephants down to the beach area to relieve themselves. And that’s a whole lot of relieving. Locals finally had all they stand of the huge “elephant patties,” and decided to do something about it.
It’s hard to imagine how some of these bans ever made it into law. What’s crazier still is that they’re still on the books. At least, it would be truly difficult to break most of these rules.