16 November 2007

Being Flogged By Naked Russians

Lonely Planet recently announced the sale of 75% of their company to BBC Worldwide. Most LP readers, according to comments on the Lonely Planet Blog, seem to feel good about the possibilities of this maneuver.

If you subscribe to Lonely Planet's email list, you will sometimes surf your way into culture stories such as "Bathing Naked With Russians" -- which I've excerpted here:

"Russians like to belt each other with venik (birch sticks) while they bathe[...] The moment I felt that first light brush of another's branch on my buttock I was like a terrorised deer[...] They then proceeded to thrash me[...] I don't know if anyone has ever said you haven't really lived until you've been flogged by a naked Russian, but I'm saying it now. Once you get over the alienating culture shock it's quite relaxing."

Kudos to Lonely Planet for, among other things, managing to expand readers' perceptions about other cultures. Some of us may thrive on 'culture shock', but for those who don't, LP provides ample warning.

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