A few key phrases to get you started...
AUSTRIA: Du g'foist ma. (I like you.)
BRAZIL: Acabei de chegar na cidade, voce poderia me dizer onde fica seu apartamento? (I'm new in town; can I have directions to your apartment?)
SPAIN: A San Fermín pedimos por ser nuestro patrón nos guíe en el encierro dándonos su bendición. ¡Viva San Fermín! (We ask of Saint Fermín, for he is our patron, to guide us in the bull run, giving us his blessing. Long live Saint Fermín!)
UK: Can I borrow a rubber? (Can I borrow an eraser?)
BECAUSE YOU NEED TO GET OUTWAY OUT
Arguably the most technical and dangerous downhill course on the FIS World Cup circuit—and the biggest bash. Austrians blow their horns, the Swiss clang their cowbells, and everybody crowds the course to taunt. Where to Be The Londoner, where tradition dictates racers tend bar for the town's vigorous post-race party (and where "half the alcohol is in the air," according to Daron Rahlves, 2003 champion). Expect Horse-drawn sleighs trotting past speaker stacks pumping European techno. Wild Card The crack of skis slapping the snow as racers may or may not land 100 feet of arm-flailing air from the legendary Mausefalle jump. Sightings Former Austrian champions like Franz Klammer and Hermann Maier. hahnenkamm.com
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
A feverish, four-day party that culminates on Fat Tuesday, with Rio's local samba schools competing in parades, each trying to outdo the others with elaborate floats and extravagant destaques, the feathered, sequined, and often topless dancers. Where to Be The drummers' niche, at the Sambodromo, locus for the main parade, where drummers from every samba school work the crowd. Expect Half-naked dancers that make us Puritans blush—then join in. Wild Card Whatever you want. We won't tell. Sightings Politicians and celebrities mingle among 500,000 visiting foreigners. rio-carnival.net
HONG KONG, CHINA
Hong Kong Rugby Sevens Tournament
A tournament with teams of only seven players, instead of the traditional 15, which allows individuals to shine. Where to Be The Sevens Village—opposite the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium—has a huge screen, a rollicking beer garden, and no entrance fee. Expect Hilarious mini-rugby, played between games, by children ages four to 11. Wild Card Take a high-speed ferry to nearby Macau to gamble in the enormous, lavish casinos of the Asian (and less cheesy) Las Vegas. Sightings Hong Kong's favorite son, Jackie Chan, attended last year, as did former UK prime minister John Major. hksevens.com
Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts
Europe's largest music-and-performing-arts festival, held on 900 acres in the Vale of Avalon—possible burial spot of King Arthur—near the mystical town of Glastonbury, draws more than 175,000 revelers. Where to Be The hedonistic nighttime madness of the parties at Lost Vagueness eventually lure everyone. Expect Great music on six huge stages and numerous side venues. The final lineup won't be available until May, but Amy Winehouse, the Killers, and Björk performed last year. Wild Card Stay out all night, then hike six miles to watch the sun rise at Glastonbury Tor. Sightings Kate Moss and fellow London hipsters. glastonburyfestivals.co.uk
Fiesta de San Fermín
An annual event that supposedly honors Christian martyr Saint Fermín. In reality, it's all about the crazies who run a barricaded course through the city with the six bulls to be fought that day in the ring. Where to Be Vuelta del Castillo at 11 p.m. for the nightly fireworks display. Expect Several thousand people running alongside 1,300-pound bulls. Wild Card Wear a red handkerchief for a week without being mistaken for an ascot fetishist. Sightings Local Spaniards dying (sometimes literally) to run with bulls.