What is your most memorable experience in a new country?
The most memorable experience I've had was being arrested in my hotel room in Japan after being there for only 42 hours.
I was arrested because my travel companion (at the time my boyfriend) had mailed drugs to our hotel room. I was arrested because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This kicked off a 35 day stay in Japanese jail. Culture shock was immediate and jarring. I went from sleeping in a bed to sleeping on a tatami mat. I went from eating whatever I wanted to eating cold bento boxes full of who knows what...usually fish or cold tempura, with another box of rice. I found out that I was getting approx 1,200 calories per day, and I lost 25 pounds during my stay.
I was released on December 25th, with no charges filed. This was extremely lucky for me, since the Japanese law system is known for a very high conviction rate.
I will never ever forget this, and I will cherish my freedom forever.
I've also written about this in another answer: Krysta Storer (クリスタストーラー)'s answer to What was your scariest travel experience?
Thanks for the A2A!
During my first hour on the ground at the Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam U.S. Soldier Depot in 1966 I had the occasion to visit an outdoor toilet erected by the Corps of Engineers.
It had no gender designation, no lock and 6 wooden seats perched above the depository, a hole in the ground. I failed to notice these distinctions were a bit of a departure from the facilities back home.
As I used the facility, two local young ladies employed as grounds keepers at the base came in and proceeded to do the same thing.
Suffice it to say, I was in dire need of a cultural orientation when I had recovered from the shock of the experience.
My favorite movie is The Third Man, a 1949 film set in post-war Vienna. In 1980 I got to spend a 4 day vacation in Vienna with my first wife, and got to see many of the places featured in the movie. The most memorable was walking down the tree lined boulevard that is seen at the end of the movie. We also found the street where the car accident happened in the movie, with the Joseph statue, and not far from there found the real Mozart Cafe, which turned out to be on the outside just like the one in the movie, but the interior was not at all the same. Oh, and we rode the Prater ferris wheel, the one with the cabins, which Harry Lime (Orson Welles) rode with Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten).
Among many memorable experiences while backpacking, on a budget, through Europe was an invitation to stay at a local home.
We had just disembarked in Ischia from the ferry when invited. We stayed for several days, where we caught up on laundry, ate meals with our hosts while exploring the island.
Our broken Spanish, French and German having to suffice instead of Italian. Our same fallbacks while in Portugal.
Seeing real Mount Everest with my own two eyes, after walking up the high and long mountain paths. I am sure it's worth going.