My mom recently traveled half way across the world to spend some quality time with us. This is her first time ever in the US and I thought it was interesting to see what she thinks of this place. So I present, her take on the ways of America after spending a few weeks here. You can also follow her on her blog On the Top of my Mind . Her guest post below:
After much resistance to the invitation from my children to visit USA, I was gradually convinced to consent to the offer. My reasons for hesitation were multi-fold; the top-most being the thought of long flying hours which I feared could aggravate my back problems. Another fear was leaving home for so long; I knew that I will face a huge pile of accumulated work once I go back. Last but not the least I would miss my routine and social circle. The fact that I would see my children and meet them and would get to spend time with them, weighed heavier against the reasons for my not coming.
Once I set off, I completed my journey comfortably as I found the hospitality level of Lufthansa airlines quite high. The staff (ground as well as on-board) was very polite, courteous and helpful. The food served was good and offered various choices. The airline though, should seriously consider updating its air-crafts – the seats were too congested, reading lights were very dim and fell somewhere else. There should be individual TV screens for the passenger’s entertainment as common screens are a thing of the past now. Moreover, their programmes lacked variety. Showing satellite pictures of the position of your plane for hours together is too much on the nerves of already tired passengers. Apart from these inconveniences, it was a hassle-free journey and I landed in one piece at St. Louis.
I was out of jet-lag soon (which I think I never really suffered from as my sleep pattern in India was quite erratic or Americanized as I am a late sleeper and late riser there). Here it has become an `early to bed and early to rise’ kind of a thing which suits me very well.
I want to share a few interesting observations about America compared to back home in India-
1. People are trustworthy here. The whole establishment runs on mutual trust and honesty. You can do shopping from choosing stuff to billing and paying yourself without any checking on you and nobody takes advantage of that.
2. If you have ordered something by mail and if you are not at home when the delivery arrives, the parcel will be dropped at your door-step and you will find it safely lying there when you return home. The parcel may contain an article worth 10 dollars or worth thousand dollars!
3. The staff on duty at tourist sites is very polite and most of these places may not charge you any entry fee. Sometimes there is a request for a humble donation for the upkeep of the place, that too in a very dignified way
4. People wait with patience in queues and there is no elbowing and pushing to `get in/out first’. Not even from Indians…hmm why this happens only in amrika?
5. Americans, I observe, have no concept of saving, conservation and preservation of personal, public or natural resources. Everything is produced on mass scale to use and throw. I find it quite disturbing when I see there are electric lights in porch driveway/street etc which are switched on 24/7 and that this is mandatory and residents have no control on switching these lights off! And then Americans talk of global warming to the whole world
6. Every food package comes with the accurate calorie count which indicates a very health conscious state; on the contrary, I feel Americans indulge too much in eating and people are mostly over-weight, plump or obese here. This means no one is bothered about what is written on the food packet. This is another case of preaching and not practicing.
7. I fail to understand why the size of a dime coin (10c) is smaller than that of a five pence coin?..Strange! And do you know the cost of making a 1-cent coin is higher than 1 cent? In India, the cost of making the 20-paise coin was higher than the actual value of the coin which is why people are known to have started melting it and selling it for scrap metal !!
8. Wal-Mart is India’s Big Bazaar – `Isse sasta aur achchha aur kahin nahi’
9. I had heard that the weather forecast is quite correct and dependable in the US. This is correct but….I have noticed that the forecast announced for a day in advance of 4-5 days is changed according to the changing weather before somebody can say – you said so. In other words it means that you look out of the window, see some dark clouds and announce possibility of it raining. i.e., what you see, you get!
10. I have seen a very interesting thing here. Parents tie a small, soft toy at the waist of their small kid and this toy has a long belt, like a leash, which is held by the parent when the child is walking along on the road. And I have also seen people walking their dogs in prams. This is just the opposite of what we do back home- we walk our pets tied to a leash and carry small kids in prams!
11. Motorcycles are allowed to emanate any decibels of noise!