The Commonwealth games have come and gone for another 4 years and what a show it was (the dancing teacakes specifically – we’re still hungry). If you looked at the medal table and saw a travel checklist never fear, we’ve pulled together 12 weird and wonderful facts about the lesser known member states of the Commonwealth, as well as some of the big boys.
12 weird facts about commonwealth countries
1. Grab a bratwurst… in Africa?
That’s right, Namibia was a German colony and as such the capital, Windhoek, is full of central European architecture and German food…in the middle of a desert. Trust us, it’s pretty disorientating.
2. A Tall Tale
Dominica’s modern name comes from the day of the week it was spotted by Columbus (Sunday in case your Spanish isn’t up to it), but it’s original name is Wai’tukubuli which means “Tall is her body”.
3. Only one way out
Lesotho in Southern Africa is one of only three countries in the world completely surrounded by just one other country. We’re not telling you the other 2. We’re not!*
4. State sanctioned relaxation
Tongans take Sundays seriously and will attend church up to three times while swimming, fishing and all other activities that constitute “work” are against the law. The rules don’t apply to tourists – but we reckon some officially mandated relaxation might be a good thing for most of us.
We could stay on that beach for a day if we had to...
5. Talk to me Guyana
Guyana is officially the only English speaking country in South America. But don’t fret if English isn’t your Lingua Franca (sorry no French) – other official languages include Creole, Hindi and Urdu.
6. Spit that out. No wait don’t!
Ok, Singapore is hardly obscure, but did you know chewing gum is illegal in this city state? Oh you did? Well did you know that Singaporeans are the fastest walkers in the world? Pitty there was no walking in the Commonwealth Games!
Giant water spitting lion fine. Gum? No.
7. It’s just down the street….
The accolade of the longest street in the world belongs to Canada. The road in question stretches from Lake Ontario all the way to the USA boarder and is 2000km long! We do not envy that milkman.
8. Trouble in paaarrrrrrr’adise
The Seychelles is part tropical paradise, part former pirate hideaway. In fact the booty of famous pirate Olivier Levasseur (what, you’ve never heard of him?) is rumoured to still be buried somewhere in the white sands.
9. He wont be doing much hitch-hiking
In the jungles of beautiful Belize runs a short, squat goblin with no thumbs and backwards feet who protects the animals of the forest. Seriously. It’s called Tata Duende. It’s been on stamps.
10. This is a real thing.
Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania is the westernmost home to the world’s largest species of crab, the coconut crab. The name sounds pretty cute right? It’s not.
See. Not cute. Courtesy of Olivier Lejade on Flickr
11. Do you think it had a Youtube channel?
In a burial site in Cyprus the remains of what’s thought to be the world’s oldest pet cat were discovered – dating back at least 9,500 years. Reports that it could play the piano in a suit remain unconfirmed.
12. Could they just turn around?
Kangaroos and Emus appear on the Australian coat of arms because they can’t walk backwards and represent the forward progress Oz strives for. They’re also pretty cool.
*Ok ok they’re San Marino and Vatican City, geez.