This article was shared on the web a couple of weeks ago while the United States was celebrating their Independence. It was especially interesting for me to read while I was traveling the East Coast with Yeni, my Cuban friend, boss and the Dean at the seminary.
"A lot of people around the world have ideas of what America is like, possibly thanks to Hollywood, or their local news channels, and maybe from what they've heard from families and friends. But then, they come here, to the grand old United States, and their minds explode."
Here is Yeni's list, published with her permission:
- The streets are clean and well-cared for, there isn't any trash.
- When entering a store or restaurant, you are greeted with a "Hello" and "How can I help you?" by the employees. They don't seem annoyed, but really want to help. The customer service provided in the U.S. looks very different than my home country.
- "Everything is big." The infrastructure and buildings are much larger, especially compared to Managua.
- The cities seem to be more organized with a strong attention to detail. They are creatively designed and kind on the eye.
- There is air conditioning available everywhere. You can avoid the heat if you want to.
- No one seems to be informed or excited about the World Cup.
- The GPS is amazing. You can easily get where you need to go without getting lost.
- The interstate system is quite amazing. Our fastest road in the city of Managua is 60 kilometers or 37 miles an hour and there are stop-lights at every cross street.
- There seems to be a church on every corner. In some places that we visited, there were streets just filled with big, beautiful churches.
- There seem to be cheaper prices (electronics, gas, cars, etc.) even though people make more money. Exceptions include housing and fruit.
- There are not security guards at every store.
- Toilet paper is always available, you don't need to be prepared with a wad in your purse.
- You can comfortably walk down the road with your purse and phone out and you will most likely be okay (although I am certain that there are places in the U.S. that this is not the case).
- People are friendly, but a bit more distant upon first meeting.
- Traffic laws are respected.
- People yield for pedestrians.
- There are issues of economic poverty and violence. Not everyone in America is living the "American dream."