Americans don't know too much about the rest of the world. I'd be willing to bet that most Americans don't know which continent Algeria is located on. What makes a coast an Ivory Coast? And most importantly, is Ecuador in the northern or southern hemisphere?
Everybody (I hope), knows what the World Cup is. 32 countries send their pride and dreams in the form of a soccer team to bring home the title of "best team in the world." What these countries also send, though, are fans, strange customs, food, and histories.
Here are some tidbits about the countries of all 32 World Cup countries. Enjoy learning!
67 percent of the population watches the same daily soap opera. If that's not national unity, I don't know what is. Also there are more Portuguese speakers in Brazil than there are in Portugal.
The equivalent of the Croatian census is called the NUTS. Croatians also gave us the modern necktie, which you can either be grateful for or angry about.
In Mexico, there is a rabbit called the Volcano Rabbit (which is admittedly a lot less exciting than it sounds; they live close to volcanoes). Caesar salad originated in Mexico, and is not named after Julius Caesar (this turned my world upside down). Most notably, a donkey was imprisoned in 2008 for biting someone and kicking two women, which is a sign of a fine justice system.
Cameroon means "river of shrimp," which should make everyone excited. Cameroonians make wine from date palms. If they can do that, then there is nothing they can't do.
It is illegal to wear flip flops while driving. A Spaniard invented the mop, which is easily one of the most important inventions out there. There are numerous surfaces on which a broom just won't do the trick.
The Dutch afford great liberties to pregnant women; if you are pregnant you are temporarily allowed to pee in a canal, something that is usually illegal. 70 percent of global bacon is produced in the Netherlands. There are more bikes than people, two million more to be exact.
While it is illegal to interpret dreams in Chile, there are also no indigenous poisonous snakes, which clearly outweighs not being able to interpret a dream.
It is illegal to wear hot-pink pants after noon on a Sunday. There are more kangaroos than humans in Australia.
Colombians like to eat cheese with their hot chocolate. Colombia is also home to 1754 species of birds, the most of any country. Among other things, this means more bird poop on your car. Colombia is a major global producer of lingerie.
Greeks consume the most feta cheese per capita.
Ivory Coast is an ivory coast because lots of ivory was exported from its coasts during the 15th and 16th centuries. The country itself once won an Oscar. Didier Drogba, perhaps the country's most famous soccer player, is credited with helping to broker a cease-fire in his country that brought a five year civil war to an end.
Fact: Japan has unlimited fun facts, and they all speak for themselves. It is illegal to dance in commercial airplanes and in clubs with less than 710 square feet of floor space. Unfortunately, this turns out to be most clubs in Japan. There are more adult diapers than child diapers in Japan. Japan's trains are the most on-time, averaging only 18 seconds of delay. There are more pets than children in Japan. Japan grows square watermelons because they are easier to stack. You can do it too. When done properly, it looks something like this.
There are three cows for every person in Uruguay. The literacy rate is close to 98 percent. Both of these are reasons to celebrate.
Babies and small children are given coffee. It is mixed into their baby bottles. McDonald's and other fast food restaurants do home delivery. Costa Rica's version of bullfighting pits 22 people in a ring with a bull. They slap it, pull its tail, and annoy it until the bull gets pissed off and hurts someone.
If you find a whale on the beach you cannot keep it. The head belongs to the king and the tail belongs to the queen. Horses, donkeys, and ponies must have a horse passport. Finally, it is illegal to die in the House of Parliament.
The mayor in the town or Eraclea forbade the building of sandcastles and collecting of sea shells. Two tourists in Capri, Italy were arrested for wearing excessively loud flip flops. Thank you, Capri.
Men may not relieve themselves while standing up after 10 p.m. Hopefully, this is not enforced (unless it is intended to negate the increase of global splash-back and inaccuracy that occurs after 10). It is illegal to mow the lawn on a Sunday. Switzerland also has an Anti-PowerPoint political party.
Ecuador is located on the equator, and is therefore in both the southern and northern hemispheres. Guinea pig is considered to be a delicacy. Panama hats, for the most part, are made in Ecuador.
It is forbidden to name a pet pig "Napoleon." It is also illegal to roller-skate while drunk, which does make sense. In an extreme act of nationalism, France implemented a law stating that between 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., 40 percent of the music on the radio must be sung in French.
The name Banana Republic was first used to describe Honduras because of the influence the U.S. banana companies had on the country. In Yoro, Honduras fish supposedly fall from the sky once in a year during in what is called the lluvia de peces (which for you non-Spanish speakers, means "rain of fish"). There is also only one natural lake in Honduras. That's a lot fewer lakes you could potentially drown in. This country has clearly taken serious steps towards furthering national security.
Soccer is surprisingly not Argentina's national sport; pato is. Pato is a mix of handball and polo, with the early version of the ball being a duck, or pato, in Spanish. The tango originated in the brothels of Buenos Aires.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In rural areas (and other parts of the country), Rakija (plum brandy) is often consumed to start the morning. Also in rural areas, births and marriages are often celebrated with gunfire. Makes you wonder about those rural areas, doesn't it?
Iran's second largest export is rugs. Many Iranians consider yogurt to be a miracle food. Yogurt is finally, it seems, being appreciated for what it really is-magic.
Nigeria has 510 distinct dialects that are used today. There is Hollywood in America, Bollywood in India, and Nollywood in Nigeria. The Nigerian film industry produces the second most films in the world, after Bollywood.
A pillow can be considered a "passive weapon." It is illegal to ice-skate faster than 50 miles per hour. During Octoberfest, which is really in September, the amount of beer consumed could fill three Olympic swimming pools
Portuguese is an official language in nine countries. That is a lot. Portugal produces the most cork in the world, because apparently there is such a thing as a cork tree, and apparently Portugal has the most of them.
Ghana plans to launch a satellite in 2015. The last three presidents have been named John. The president before those three had John as his middle name. In rural town, Ghanians paint their livestock to keep track of them.
Divorced and widowed women in Florida are not allowed to skydive or parachute on Sundays. Americans collectively eat 100 pounds of chocolate every second. Perhaps the greatest law ever passed anywhere, in Oklahoma it is illegal to make ugly faces at dogs. Really, after all the great things dogs do, why make an ugly face at them.
It is legal to throw brussel sprouts at tourists. Can we start throwing hamburgers at tourists? In the 70's, light beer (1.5 percent alcohol) was served at school lunches. Both Smurfs and french fries are Belgian.
The first thing to know is that Algeria is located in northwest Africa. Secondly, there is a Pokemon, Fennekin, that is named after Algeria's national animal, the Fennec fox.
Russia has a larger surface area than Pluto. That's right, Pluto. Way back when, it used to be a planet. The Russians were 12 days late to the 1908 London Olympics because they were not yet using the Gregorian calendar.
Korean babies turn one when they are born. Everybody becomes one year older on January first. Your personality is judged on your blood type.