Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Travel etiquette - A short guide

Thank you for choosing to visit Kalania, now open for the first time to international visitors. For the first time, tourists can take in the sights of our sulphur mines, lava fountains, and accredited burns treatment unit.

Now, as Kalania has been isolated for so long, there are a few customs that may seem ‘quaint’. We strongly advise that you respect these traditions, in order to avoid causing offence.

When greeting, it is considered polite to approach the oldest person present first – in this way, you tacitly acknowledge that their wisdom is superior, and that they are the most likely to die before you’ve finished greeting everyone. Kalanian women should be greeted with a nod of the head, unless married, in which case one should bow. It is considered a cardinal insult, punishable by death, to use the wrong greeting. It is also considered a cardinal insult to ask a woman her marital status. It’s quite a hard law to enforce.

Kalanian men smoke like chimneys; through a hole in the top of their head, and only with planning permission. Kalanian women watch the six o clock news religiously; while wearing silly hats and lying to children. Should you wish to participate in either of these activities, please dress accordingly.

While in Kalania, you may wish to sample one of our national dishes: salmon marinated in its own indifference, or pan fried chicken on a bed.

When offering or accepting food, it is considered polite to use both hands. At least one foot should be kept on the ground. Before eating a meal, it is traditional to sing the first verse of the Kalanian national anthem. It is considered a cardinal offence, punishable by death, to get the words of the national anthem wrong. It is also considered a cardinal offence to publish or otherwise disseminate the words of the national anthem. Again, it’s one of those rules that’s quite hard to enforce.

Fancy dress is legal, provided all parties dress as Peter Gabriel circa 1974.

Tipping is considered acceptable in restaurants, unacceptable on street corners, and cruel to sleeping cows. Kalanians hold animals in high regard; if you have a free afternoon, why not visit the Kolossov horse sanctuary? There are no horses, but it is a chance to see the village’s two most horse-like men.

The Kalanians are family-orientated people: on Thursdays it is considered impolite not to face a child while talking. Should you lack a child of your own, or should you have forgotten to pack it, you can find one to rent on most street corners.

Kalania prides itself on its progressive society. Here, women are not restricted to stay in the kitchen. No, most women’s ankle-chains will extend into the lounge, garden, and rhyming-parlour.

It is considered bad luck to place an empty bottle on the table, sneeze after saying the word ‘mortgage’, or to have invested money in Greek property after withdrawing it from Icelandic Banks.

Kalania is home to Bipolar World, Europe’s largest Cold War themed theme park. There you can ride the Yeltsin skelter, perestroi-carousel and the d├ętentea cups. Laugh at the House of ICBMirrors, and marvel at the Marshall Planetarium. You can even get your photograph taken with the Russian Octopus.

It is illegal, and considered incredibly bad manners, to wear a watch, own a clock, ask the time, or be late. Again, it’s one of those rules that proves difficult to enforce. On a related note, most Kalanians think that we operate two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. If you own a watch, you may wish to adjust it accordingly, before they seize it in customs.

We hope that you enjoy your stay.

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