Cultural discoveries of foreign countries made through media that are not books. I was playing Fallout 3, and in the area of the Museum of History, I discovered that John Hancock was the first to sign the US declaration of independence, and it occurred to me why people ask for your John Hancock on the dotted line.

#1

In some Muslim countries, when you're a woman and your husband dies, you are supposed to marry his brother.
Found this out when my Gambian husband died.
It sounds disgusting but no, it is not about that, it makes sense in a country without any form of social security.. As a lone woman with lots of kids and no income (many women there do not have paid jobs) this make sure you wil be cared for and your kids too. Also, this way the kids stay in the family.
I politely declined the offer. Brother in law was relieved, he just got married a year before. But I know several men who have like 3 wives, only one chosen and the other ones elder ladies that survived his older brothers.

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Ozean-eyes
Community Member
1 month ago

Omg, I thought this tradition died several decades ago! I'm from a muslim country, and here we don't do this anymore. It's really sad that there are people who still have to. Life is unfair.

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#2

Texans are just as crazy as they are made out to be. (I'm from Wales)

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

Crazy depends on one's definition of "sane".

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#3

I learned when in Paris to greet people with a hello or good morning, etc. BEFORE asking for directions or a question from a local. Got chastised by a cab driver during the entire ride! In retrospect, he was soooo right to school me. 'Merica we are rude generally, and self-absorbed.

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Indosidius
Community Member
1 month ago

I can relate. I went to Reunion Island as part of a joint military exercise, and learned that if you say in French 'Good day, I am from South Africa, I do not speak French, do you speak English?' The shop keepers are much more willing to help you.

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#4

That people in Paris are not rude if you make an attempt to speak to them in French. I visited 10 years ago and was warned about how rude they were, but when speaking with them, I greeted them in French explained I wasn't fluent and they then greeted me in English and were very friendly.

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Ellen Ranks
Community Member
1 month ago

Well. I speak French quite well but have very mixed experiences with Parisian people. The rude people seem to be the ones that interact with/ get bothered by tourists the most. Can't blame them.

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#5

I learned from my sister in law who lived in Romania that there you shouldn’t accept an offer to (for example) lunch until it has been made three times. If they genuinely want to have you for lunch they’ll keep asking. Otherwise it was just a courtesy and they ask only once.

She once made the mistake of accepting straight away (before understanding this ‘rule’) and found her hosts soon disappeared for a while… running off to the shops to buy food!!

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Emmett O'Brian
Community Member
1 month ago

As long as this was understood, I'd be all for it.

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#6

Oh this one might be more fitting. I remember that they would dim or turn down the lights near the beaches close to turtle or tortoise (can't remember) season since when they crack out of their shells they follow the light of the stars and moon towards the ocean. Extra light sources can throw them off and cause dangerous situations.
This is stuff I heard 26 years ago when I was 6 so can't attest to how accurate it is xD

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Vinita Talaulikar
Community Member
1 month ago

Accurate, Morjim Beach, North Goa, India - Olive Ridley turtles come to lay eggs. Dim lights on the beach.

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#7

I learnt firsthand that Germans may seem unfriendly and harder to get to know, but once you're a friend, you're really in! It's hard to find more loyal friends than Germans!

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Laura Mende (Human)
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah, can confirm. We Germans are reserved but willing to know new peoples and cultures and stuff. Keep talking to us! Keep asking! Once you crack our shell, we're nice! I swear!!!!!

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#8

Not really about culture but I remember my first vacation to Crete a gorgeous Greek island that we should not kill cockroaches if we find them at the hotel because the smell they emit summons more if them. This info stuck with me my whole life even though we don't have them in my home country

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Andrew Bridges
Community Member
1 month ago

I checked in to my hotel room in Port Said, Egypt and the whole carpet got up and ran away. I've never seen so many roaches in one place before. Didn't sleep well that night.

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#9

I am a great fan of the Portuguese inventiveness...There is NOTHING a kind neighbor or sr.Batista,living around the corner, cannot do if you find yourself without electricity or a leaking washing machine etc. during the week-end. Not lasting repair,but it will do till you get the proper tecnician. I remember I wanted to paper my husbands room while he was away..having stripped off the old paper I realized my ambition was bigger than my expertise....and went to my local cafe and begged for help.Long story short...by 6 pm the room was done to perfection...

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David Kasunick
Community Member
1 month ago

Jeitinho Brasileiro?

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#10

I just learned, (from my son): In the UK, there is a TV Tax

The TV license fee is a tax on receiving live broadcast television. Broadcast receiving licenses were introduced by the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1904, and were made permanent by the 1924 act. When the BBC introduced television services in 1936, it was covered under the existing license.

Since April 2021, the annual cost has been £159.00 for a color license and £53.50 for a black and white license. Income from the license is primarily used to fund the television, radio and online services of the BBC.

Source:

https://www.taxpayersalliance.com
Wikipedia.org

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Lili Octopus
Community Member
1 month ago

The great side to this is that there is no advertisements on BBC channels. Except for upcoming programmes.

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#11

In the far east you must offer your business card with two hands, otherwise you look like a card dealer in a casino, and it's considered rude. Also, if you clink drinks glasses, yours must be lower than your host's.

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Auntriarch
Community Member
1 month ago

Proffer a coffee holding the cup with both hands. Once you have got used to to this, to give with one hand looks very gauche

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#12

I was playing Fallout 3, and in the area of the Museum of History, I discovered that John Hancock was the first to sign the US declaration of independence, and it occurred to me why people ask for your John Hancock on the dotted line.

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Queen Jackson.
Community Member
1 month ago

He also had the biggest signature iirc

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#13

Being married to an Egyptian as a French chick... insha'Allah (if God wants / if it's God's will) means f**k no 90% of the time

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Tiramisu
Community Member
1 month ago

Even if Allah’s will requires our own input, saying this for something we don’t want to do means that if only Allah wills and we don’t work towards it!

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#14

I have a friend from Morocco and she once was eating at my place and after dinner i wanted to trow the leftover bread in the bin. She told me that muslims never trow away bread out of respect for people whit hunger. In her family they fed it to ducks, deers (we have a deerpark were we live) and ofcourse on the roof for the birds. It filled me whit respect that they do this, do Ramadan and pay the Zikkat to help and think about hunger in the world. From that day (i was 10 years) till now (48) i never trow away bread and donate to foodbanks in my area.

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Cowws
Community Member
1 month ago

that is something we all should adopt!

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#15

How damn good the food is, even the fruit! Picked ripe and not carted across the country, wow so juicy. The butter! The cheese! the bread! Everything here in the US seems to be grown or made for cheapest possible prices, rather than for deliciousness. Except for what you can get from farmer's markets.

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Indosidius
Community Member
1 month ago

So which country is this?

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#16

The Spanish they speak in Ecuador is different for the Spanish you learn in Spanish class.

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Rachel Gonzales
Community Member
1 month ago

U.S. schools really need to start looking at our neighbors rather than across the ocean for a better dialect of Spanish. And no two countries speak it the same way. Americans are way more likely to meet Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Dominican folks, than Spaniards.

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#17

When you're in Russia, you must take off any gloves that you have on to give a handshake to someone. Also, you can't shake someone's hand through a doorway to greet them; you must go out on the porch or they must come into the house.

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Community Member
1 month ago

Btw I learned this from my bishop who went on a church mission to Russia for 2 whole years

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#18

"Pura Vida" its a expression used in Costa Rica to express the enjoy of life , i had an wrong assumption that was a tourist thing,but afer living 4 years here thats clear people live and enjoy life and all aspects of life , late is never late , and it doesnt matter how rich or poor you are people always smiling and open souls to all situation!

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Eris Ea
Community Member
1 month ago

Latin America is the best place to live!

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#19

If you're drinking in South Korea, you must pour drinks with both hands, and when you clink glasses the younger person's glass must touch below the top of the older person's glass. Both of these actions show respect, and to do otherwise is considered rude.

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Eris Ea
Community Member
1 month ago

Asia have so many little things to worry about, no offense I love Korean people, but damn I would be neurotic about this little actions

#20

OK, another one about the French - I've lived in France (not Paris) for 8 years and despite receiving the diplômé de la langue at B2 level (which means I supposedly speak and understand French very, very well), when the French speak normally, they talk REALLY fast and I still don't understand half of what they say, because there's a nuance to the French language you won't get unless you are a native. But if I ask them to slow down, they generally accommodate me, and will even explain phrases to me so I'll know in the future. How cool is that??

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David Furritus
Community Member
1 month ago

I served with a couple of French people. One was Parisian and had a very strong accent, while the other was from Bordeux and you wouldn't know that he was French unless he either told you, or if he was speaking the language...

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#21

Australians refer to people from the US as "Seppos"
It's a shortened version of Septic Tank, which rhymes with Yank.

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Shyla Clay
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm sure we've been called worse.

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#22

Tipping in Japan is an insult. It’s considered to be paying for service you didn’t receive, like the host or wait staff did not meet your needs. Of course near the military base they got used to and welcomed it.

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#23

In the Phillipines, it doesn’t matter how poor you are, if you have guests you provide the best that you can provide. Respect.

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Jette Wang Wahnon
Community Member
1 month ago

Strangely enough that is a trait most commonly found in so-called 3rd world countries....possibly because every-one has had an experience of fallen on hard times and you only survive if you come to-gether...and that translates into hospitality....

#24

Around the island Kawai, Hawaii, there is an island in which tourists aren't allowed to go. The reason for this is because there are people who are native to that island and they don't appreciate tourists. Just a little fun fact I learned on my trip there. (My tour guide also taught us a couple of magic tricks!!)

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4BdN1
Community Member
1 month ago

That would be Ni'ihau. Only native Hawaiians live on that island. You have to be invited to go there. Kauai is the island you visited.

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#25

I learned that in some places in Europe the driving age is 18 and you have to pay 2,000€ for your license most places in the US you get your licence at 16 and it is maybe $50.
In the US you get you licence early but can't drink till 21🤷🏼‍♂️

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Tigerpacingthecage
Community Member
1 month ago

It isn't really 2000 for the license alone, if you have someone to practice with it will be less expensive (you still have to go to a course together though and pay for that so the very least is about 400$) BUT if you don't have someone who can teach you it can easily cost 2-3000. You pay for lessons that are (imo) crazy expensive. Like 80$ for 45-50 minutes in some places (bigger cities are often more expensive compared to smaller ones). It's kind of weird that university is free but taking your drivers license is expensive. And they are pretty strict with who is considered fit to have one. If you have a mental illness for example (like adhd, bipolar disorder, any type of history of addiction etc)it will be harder and you will need a doctors approval.

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#26

I learned how friendly and generous Costa Ricans are. Always willing to help and share their culture with you. Love visiting over coffee (or sometimes beers) and learning about the history of the local neighbourhoods and country.

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#27

Had a friend from the uk online come here for vacation in Florida. She said Americans are creepily friendly. Turns out where she lived people hardly talk to strangers and they don't do the little "hellos" or brief smiles to each other like we do here.

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Brian bell
Community Member
1 month ago

This! Americans are just friendly. Not creepy, not weird, just more friendly overall than in many other places I have been. It isn't that people are rude per se, but just much more stand offish or something (?) It is hard for people to bend their minds around as Americans are so hardcore with politics and issues, but they can talk for an hour to a perfect stranger at a gas station... Other places you just can't get anywhere in a conversation, they just die out. I currently live in Sweden. Lovely people, but good luck making friends!

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#28

I've learned about various Tokyo districts like Shibuya and Kabukicho, which is sort of a Red Light District through Yakuza games. I also learned that Pachinko is really popular down there.

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Angelique Wolferink
Community Member
1 month ago

Wrong Geisha's are not whores

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#29

My parents were missionaries to Alaska (before I was born/adopted) and the Turkish kids would come work at the fish canary during the summer.

When ever the church held a dinner for them, they couldn't drink root beer because the Turkish kids thought it was alcohol.

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Paul Drake
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm trying to imagine a Fish Canary.

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#30

What I learned from my trip to Spain is that everything is later than in Germany. They get up later, eat later. There were literally no restaurants open when we wanted to have lunch at our usual time. That and the afternoon nap, everything just shuts down. But I also realised that Spanish people are more religious.They actually go to the church. Like, in northern Germany, where I come from, barely anyone goes. I'm muslim and I liked that, it reminded me of our Friday prayer.

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Gnub
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Southern culture :) for a significant part of the year, the temperatures are just too high to be reasonable in the middle of the day. In the evening it cools down a bit and life resumes. Also kids often go straight to the beach after school.

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#31

not sure if this fits here. a very long time ago, i was a facility manager which oversaw all the physical aspects of the building. we had hired an older man who was from one of the asian nations (sorry, can't remember which) for custodial services. he didn't speak english very well but during his interview he had shared that he had been a farmer but moved to u.s. to be w/his children/grandchildren. the shift was a night one and he didn't have any issue with that so hired! after several months, he started to asking if i and my son (who was around 5 yrs old then) would come to his house for dinner. since i didn't think that was appropriate i politely refused but at least once a month he would ask. finally, i gave in. at the time of the planned dinner my mom came up fora visit. the night of the dinner i did not feel well. i knew from one of the other staff members who shared his language that his wife was excited and had planned an extensive menu. so, the idea of not showing up because of what i was suspecting was a stomach bug was making me upset. at the last moment, i sent my mom and son to their home with a note saying that i was feeling ill but i hoped that they would understand and allow my mom to come in my place. the following monday (dinner was on saturday) came to work like normal and he greeted with such a grin and spoke so fast that i really didn't understand much of what he said and then he left for home. i asked his same language coworker what he had said and she told me that he was so honored to have been allowed to serve my mom and my son in his home. i explained to her what had happened and that was when she explained that in their culture when i sent my mom and my only son into their home it was the tantamount expression of how much trust i had for him since parents and male children (as she put it "in the old land" are revered). i always wished i could have understood his language and culture more as he was such a sweet man and his wife was just as kind.

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#32

Russians don’t have middle names

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Lara M
Community Member
1 month ago

They do too. The middle name is a patronymic. The standard Russian naming convention is Name Patronymic Lastname. This one is outright wrong.

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#33

I went to England and was surprised the hotel asked me to turn in my key when I would leave for the day. It was so the cleaning staff could turn over my room while I was out. I found it odd I had to do that. Didn't they have a master key?

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Angelique Wolferink
Community Member
1 month ago

If you give your key, they know they can start cleaning.

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#34

People in Berlin are very friendly and willing to help.

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#35

I'm American, and I learned that in Korea there are not different foods designated to different meals. My ex gf is from Korea and cooked the most amazing food all the time, and I never thought about what she cooked when, I just ate it all with a whole lot of gratitude, but one day I mentioned how much I love cooking breakfast specifically, because while I'm good at cooking most types of food, I've got the most energy and focus in the early mornings before anyone is awake, so I got better at breakfast foods. She told me that it was one of the things she found interesting about the US, there being different foods designated for different meals, because in Korea that wasn't really a thing.
I learned a lot from her about Korean culture, and we're still close friends now, (it's in the international lesbian contract that we remain friends), and I still learn more pretty much everytime we talk, particularly since she moved back to Korea recently. I learned about other cultures from her too since she traveled the world and is a polyglot. Coolest person ever.

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Rustyn Birch
Community Member
1 month ago

"it's in the international lesbian contract" I love this. :)

#36

Almost everything, LOL. Mom's fam is from another culture, and the rituals of greetings, respectful treatment/courtesy, food, hospitality, attitudes... It's insane how different it is when I stop to think about it, and compare it to my dad's fam.

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Eris Ea
Community Member
1 month ago

Same

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#37

China only has one time zone

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Nicole Normand
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes, and it's really useful when you have to travel many places like we did.

#38

Canada eats the most Mac and cheese in the world

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#39

Learnt from a neighbour that doing the thumbs up doesn't always mean well done. In some cultures it means F**K you

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#40

When my husband and I went to China for the first time (him to work, me to visit), at the first supper the host - the president of the U. - gave a speech and got me to stand up, which was translated for me to understand. Then everybody else got up and started clapping. Apparently, I got a standing ovation for following my husband to China and support him in his work. For them, that's precious.

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South Monk
Community Member
1 month ago

Erm... its also a signal for everyone in the company to avoid mentioning or inviting your husband to red light stuff... depends on company and bosses/businesses too though. They would respect you even more if you were to have sired several boy or males for your husband.

#41

My mother is Russian so whenever I would get home from somewhere, I would have to change all my clothes, because its the "street clothes" they are dirty, I've been all over the place, etc, "how dare I sit on my bed" when I was younger it used to bother me alot but now I get the logic of it. I don't consider it part of the Russian culture specifically, but of the slavic in general (most probably).Whenever celebrating someones birthday bring flowers for the mother (they gave birth). If you are a guest never come empty handed.

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South Monk
Community Member
1 month ago

Same with some asian families for clothes.

#42

That most of the Japanese people under 50" doesn't know the atrocious things their government/military did! They are as much to blame as the Germans at the time, but Germany have historical memory of that and in Japan they don't teach that in school

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Al Upinya
Community Member
1 month ago

Because people are told by their govts to forget their pasts because they're so terrible and they're forced by govt to be politically correct and taught to be fake nice then that's when people who have accepted political correctness turn ugly and violent from being repressed into fake people because they can't be themselves

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#43

My husband said when he lived in Kyoto for 4 months, he and his fellow international students would go out for drinks from time to time. Apparently there are places in Japan that, with a large group, will leave the bottle at the table so the guests can pour each other drinks. Some would have bottles dedicated to certain customers who were regulars.

Makes sense when you consider in Japan that it is bad manners to pour yourself a drink because it is the responsibility of a good host to make sure their guests glasses are always full.

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#44

After spending many years as an engineer with British Merchant Navy, there is not enough space

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Jette Wang Wahnon
Community Member
1 month ago

Where ? The English Channel ?

#45

A culture from another country? Goat cheese?

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James016
Community Member
1 month ago

Maltese peppered goats cheese is delicious.

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