Saturday, November 16, 2013

What Others Think Of America

I think Aussiebagger's post on the café was very interesting:

"When we visited several things stood out to us. The coffee culture. Starbucks etc everywhere. I don't drink coffee and I felt left out!
 Pickup trucks with big engines everywhere with one person in it and hardly ever anything in the back.
Big cars, we thought most must have only one seat. Most people here drive themselves as well, just in smaller cars.
Small Semi Trailers, mostly bogie trailers, they are mostly tri axle trailers here. No B-doubles or truck and trailers, no Quad dog trailers and never a road train. But trucks everywhere.
The first time I flushed a toilet I went back to see if it was stuck open because it took so long to flush and used so much water, I thought the room was gonna flood! It seemed like a waste of water.
Dining out was completely different, the greetings from the waiters was big, the water on the table much appreciated but the cheque thing and tipping were very different for us.
The size of meals. Often us farmers don't get enough to eat here at a restaurant, never a problem on our tour.
The gun culture, that many need a gun to feel safe. I have guns in a gun safe in my workshop, I have never brought one into my house.
I enjoyed the strong and frequent references to God in daily life. It was more common to be a Christian, the best thing you have going for you I think.
I see more and more American things occurring in Australia all the time, like the franchises, credit, larger meals, overweight people, the gym culture, rap (I cant call it music) and sales people telling you what you want to hear, weather it is true or not.
I would like to see some of the better things picked up like pride in country, Christianity, country rock music and watching out for pedestrians.
sorry to ramble on!!"

I agree we are the land of waste but I don't think we are all "raping the land.!"  That really stuck with me, didn't it!  We do waste water and that is going to have to slow down or stop.  It is not good to waste a precious resource like soil or water.  Air pollution, I think we have done a good job at a very high cost.

It's interesting how we view each others country and cultures when we visit.  The U.S. is still my favorite country to visit followed by New Zealand, Australia and Europe.  With all their differences, they are most similar to us.

What do you think of Aussie's perceptions of us?


Ed Winkle


  1. I agree with him on the franchises, credit, large meals, overweight people, and rap. The gym culture is probably needed by so many with desk jobs. As far as the land goes, it's not all about the farms. Invasive plants are taking over just about everywhere. Vast areas of the countryside in Oregon are being covered with Scotch Broom and at the other end, lets not forget the kudzu to name a couple.

  2. Some of his observations are on the money, others are more a prejudice from his upbringing. MuddyValley's right about invasives - multiflora rose, autumn olive, Russian olive, tree-of-heaven, muslims, illegal Mexicans, etc.

  3. The Wine Industry, People from California, oh wait, that is the same thing...

  4. I read the article Chris posted with interest, and shared many of the same thoughts in that article, although few were things I "couldn't believe", like the article says.

    You've got to get rid of tipping though, it shouldn't be a way to allow employers to pay waiters peanuts, they should make a decent base salary, not get charity from every customer. Incoming phone and text charges are just wrong too, no other country has that. The person who calls you pays for the call, especially if it's spam, it shouldn't be any different between a land line and a mobile phone. Talking about spam, the constant calls for phony surveys, charities, political organizations are also very wrong, the do-not-call register should not make exceptions for these organizations, this is still unsolicited calls.

    I hate the credit card and credit score system too, it is so inconvenient for the customer.

    As for the food, there is really no other word but awful: Produce and milk that have no taste whatsoever, butter that just feels and taste like fat, not a nice butter spread for bread, only 3 choices of meat: beef, pork and chicken (and a little bit of turkey too), but even worse, only a few types of cuts for each of them, which makes it impossible to cook many recipes from scratch. Any superstore in France has 3 times as many different animals, and maybe 5 times as many different cuts. Barely any fish, the situation is even worse than for meat, very boring same limited choice if you like fish. Nobody ever buys shellfish around here, so I can't trust their freshness either and haven't bought a fresh mussel or shrimp in 10 years. So much junk food in the stores it's unbelievable. I once counted the different flavors for the exact same brand and type of yogurt, there were over 30 artificial flavors with funny names. I would have preferred many different types of yogurt cultures, or a choice of different "fromage blanc" (I find the semi-liquid and hard curds mixed texture of cottage cheese a bit disgusting, not mentioning the total lack of taste).

    I guess what I didn't know and shocked me most is the constant police presence in the streets. The USA have really become a police state, and it's ironical given that they have a very high crime rate and the highest number of incarcerated persons in the world, it jumped from 500,000 in the 80s to 2.3 millions today, with an additional 4.8 millions on parole or probation. This is totally insane.

    On the positive side: Cheap used cars (not as true anymore now that old bangers have been retired), Amazon for everything (it's mostly cultural items and electronics in Europe), Netflix, the large population that makes it possible to find mates however obscure your Church or interest is, the large wild areas (Europe is populated even in mountainous or wild areas, space is at a premium), the tameness of the wild life (probably more hunting pressure for millennia in Europe). There are also great regional or international cuisine in restaurants or special diners, and some markets with different choices of foods, but only in some very limited areas, not around here unfortunately, even though it has a diverse population. And let's not forget jazz, blues, Cajun and folk music, being at the vanguard of technological and social progress, and too many other things to list.

  5. I always appreciate the comments I get on the blog articles and today's are very good.

    On the tipping, for some reason, our society tips those we think who provide service whom we don't think are paid enough, Federal Minimum Wage or less. We saw one son work in the restaurant business and saw him and his peers struggle without tipping. We learned to be good tippers for many servers at many restaurants and many other places.

    My barber is the best I've had and she only charges $10 for a senior haircut where that haircut would cost $20-$40 elsewhere. I have learned to tip her well.

    We have learned to grow and find and consume foods which are nutrient dense and tasty. That varies around the world, we have found. I wouldn't say the foods we find are awful though some are, we have learned to grow and find those that are delicious.

    Given Aussiebagger's background or not, I found his observations very thought provoking.

    Thanks all again for your comments and I encourage more from my readers. They give me great insight into what you are thinking and what I should concentrate on.


    Ed Winkle