Robbins: More strange laws from around the globe |

Robbins: More strange laws from around the globe

This is the second part of a series. Read Part I here.

Strange magic/Oh, what a strange magic. — Electric Light Orchestra

In the first part of this series, we looked at some seriously weird … shall we call it “stuff”?

We saw laws on the books forbidding chickens from crossing roads, those clamping down on nude hiking in the Alps, sanctioning parents for naming their child something untoward, against peeing in the ocean and unrepentant yodeling.

What will they think of next?

Well, that’s what this column is all about. Welcome to the world of the weird from around the world in law!

Want to be stylin’ in Athens? Knock yourself out. But if your particular style includes stilettos, nope, not at the Parthenon or the Acropolis. Why you’d want to knock around on those ancient cobbles in ankle-breakers in the first place may be anybody’s guess but if some instinct in you says you must, maybe give it a second thought. Maybe pull out your nifty blue haze/orange Hoka One One Bondi 7s instead?

Want to make like Mary Poppins and feed the birds? Maybe on the steps of London’s famed St. Paul’s that’s a thing. But to the south in Venice, it’s a no-no. In fact, in Venice, where the pigeons are often like something out of a Hitchcock horror flick, if you’re caught contributing to their delinquency, it’ll cost you a pretty lire. Instead of the tuppence a bag, be prepared to shell out the equivalent of 1,000 greenbacks. Which by anyone’s lights, I presume, ain’t chicken feed.

OK, OK, I get the no-high-heels-scarring-up-the-ruins thing. And the let’s-not-inflict-a-horror-movie-on-the-bedraggled-denizens-of-Venice. But mandatory Speedos? By law — or loi, if we must be exact — men in France (I kid you not) may not wear loose-fitting swimsuits on beaches, at public swimming pools, or other public places where a swimsuit is de rigueur. Something to do with being sanitary so they say. But I’ve got my own suspicions that there’s a powerful Speedo lobby just off the Palais Bourbon.

While we’re on the subject of attire…

Should you, when you are done casting seed to the birds, care to stroll the Thames from St. Paul’s to the Palace of Westminster in a shiny suit of armor, you just might find — “So sorry, old chap” — that, owing to a 700-year old law, you are barred from wearing your special duds within the British Parliament. Drat!

If, to console yourself from that bitter disappointment, you hie up to Scotland and drown your sorrows in a pint or three of Tennent’s, best not saddle up a cow for the ride home. You see, when riding a cow in Scotland, or you’re otherwise in charge of a cow, or horse, or steam engine for that matter, in the words of Herman Melville, “It’s better to sleep with a sober cannibal …”

Want to blend in with the locals in Barbados? Or, better still, want to blend in with Barbados itself? Hating to continue on my theme of being the bearer of bad news, but better not. Wearing camouflage in many Caribbean island nations is reserved exclusively to the military. Maybe perfect your calypso, soca, or reggae instead.

In our current COVID-constrained world, I’m betting this one’s up for grabs. But according to a 2018 Danish law, masks may not be worn in public. Um … OK.

Say a guy walks into a bar. Specifically, a guy walks into a bar in North Carolina. Then a girl walks into the same bar. They talk. They flirt. Maybe, they hoist a drink or two. And before you know it, one thing leads to another. They thumb wrestle and the loser gets to choose what hotel they will check into to get to know each other better. Just to top that particular Sundae with a maraschino, they say that they are married. May as well sign up for the wedding registry. In the Tar Heel State that’s all it takes to find themselves common law man and wife. Best to fess up in the First in Flight State before you find yourself, well … grounded.

With New Year’s just behind us here, thank your lucky Yankee stars and stripes that you didn’t celebrate (unless you did) in Cambodia. Those spoilsports forbid squirt guns in the capital of Siem Reap to help you ring in (or perhaps soak in) the New Year.

And lastly, for this iteration of the weird, there’s this to dishearten you in the New Year. If your post-COVID travel dreams include Russia, and those dreams include wearing lacy underwear while there, so sorry, but nyet. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s 2018 boast that Russia had “some of the most beautiful hookers in the world” (not that I’m suggesting that only hookers wear lacy underwear — one need look no further than Sacha Baron Cohen to know that), sorry gents and ladies, in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, proletariat underwear only please; underthings must be made with a minimum of 6 percent of cotton.

Whatever will they think of next?

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