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View Diary: Y'all Need to Go Easy On the Comparisons with the United Kingdom (388 comments)

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  •  Well, I do. (14+ / 0-)

    I haven't traveled as much as I would have liked, but I've been to Europe (twice!) and to Canada and, more broadly, around the U.S. enough to experience some of our regional variations.

    Sure, there are plenty of Americans who simply can't afford to go to Europe, or Asia, or Africa, or even to Mexico.

    But there are plenty more Americans who are so insular that they react like a schoolyard friend of mine:

    "Well, I've never been anywhere else but here, but I know this is the best place to live in the world."  "Here" being the town and county she'd lived in until the ripe old age of, iirc, ten or twelve.

    By that age, I'd already been to California (thanks, Mom & Dad!) and a bunch of other states.

    So there's that deliberate insularity in our least imaginative citizens as well.

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 12:45:56 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  It's a reasonable point (24+ / 0-)

      But there is no real history of travel. A trip from where I live to California is like going from England to North Africa.

      From my home in Kent, England, I could be in Paris in ninety minutes ... It's close enough to go for lunch!

      Indeed we did, once or twice, drive to Paris just for dinner.

      I hope Americans travel more in future, because it helps, and it's fun.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 12:50:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was a brief period in time (12+ / 0-)

        when one could travel from New York or Washington, DC to Paris for, if not lunch or dinner, than the weekend at any rate. Provide one could afford the fare on the Concorde of course.

        I really think it would be in everyone's best interest were travel in general, and international travel in particular, to be made speedier, less costly and less difficult. The former is a matter of research and economic will, the latter more a matter of political will and common sense.

        I recently had a on-line conversation with an acquaintance in Mexico who, with his partner, had spent Christmas and New Years in London and Paris respectively. He is works part time and is a graduate student; I don't know what his partner's situation is but apparently it took them three years of saving money to be able to take this trip which is a fairly lengthy one.

        He would like to come to the US (and in particular to San Francisco) for a visit. It would likely take him half as much time and surely cost less than half as much money to fly from Mexico City to San Francisco as it did to fly to Europe. Unfortunately the US consulate in his city has refused to issue him a visa based strictly on his net worth. I find this utterly unconscionable, as does he of course.

        •  First time I visited (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          glorificus, worldlotus

          was in 2003 and I was in Marland for two weeks over Thanksgiving.

          The round trip airfare from London was about $400, but prices have gone up quite a lot since then, and I didn't have to pay for any accommodation.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          Who is twigg?

          by twigg on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 01:40:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The last time I priced a trip to Europe (11+ / 0-)

            I simply gave up. I am not poor by any means but, as I do not use credit cards and only purchase things I actually have the money for, it was simply out of the question. No doubt it is more expense to fly from the West Coast to Paris or London than from the East Coast (and vice versa) but I seem to recall being able to do that in 1998, and to fly to Sydney a couple of years later, without robbing a bank ten to fifteen years ago. The last time I checked, overseas fares seemed almost obscene.

            •  $1368 Porland OR to Santago Chile RT (8+ / 0-)

              Just got the ticket for trip #5. I go there every year to visit family (son and granddaughters)
              Actually its not too bad: The first time I went there it Was about $1100.

              Ive been to Europe 3 times, GB twice. I really like GB, I don't know what others are talking about, I always feel OK walking around there. They can watch me all they want to.
              . I really enjoyed it a lot.  I ws there in 2001 and again in 2004 and I remember some of the conversations I had about Iraq---I said it was a real mistake and that we'd be there a  decade---which I only missed by less than a year. they must think I'm prescient.

              Ive never been ashamed to tell people I'm american and, well, I sorta have an internal bar against lying.
              I have traveled many places in the world over many years and it seems to me like the people you ttalk to with the most grudge against Americans are......Americans. Its sorta angering to hear them badmouth the USA and others have mentioned it.

              Chile is a country that could have legitimate grudge against the USA----and yet I get the feeling that Chileans like and respect  the USA more than many people I read here. To some people here (on DK, not this post)  its the Great Satan every time. Some Americans overseas badmouth America worse than anyone. ('Sup, Democrats Ramshield?)
              i thiink that some thing really exceptional aabout Americans is all the breast beating we do about how awful we are. do other countries do that?

              Happy just to be alive

              by exlrrp on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:12:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're right, exlrrp. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                exlrrp, maybeeso in michigan, twigg

                It's kind of a reverse snobbism - or more accurately, reverse xenophobia (if that's possible!).

                Back when I was teaching at the university, I accompanied a faculty member on students trips to the Czech Republic. Not only some students would often say "The Czech way of [something] is better than ours," but so would my colleague.  Example: When we were served lunch in pubs (we didn't go to expensive restaurants where it might have been different), all the tableware was brought to us laid on a saucer, not set at each place, and we'd pass the saucer so each could get a fork & knife. Nothing necessarily better about that, but just different. Nevertheless, "Oh, this is better than we do it in the U.S.!" And then of course there was the occasional one who from fear, I guess, thought nothing there was as good as in the U.S. ;)

                At least we got the out of the country for a few weeks!

                Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

                by Miniaussiefan on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 05:04:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  that may be because the US believes (7+ / 0-)

          everyone is really an immigrant....

          When I went to the US in 1983, it was at Christmas and my sister in Pennsylvania (who I had not seen for 7 years) had had two children that I had never met - but everyone I met there, everyone, assumed that I was in town to check out immigration.   Visiting family?  No, not plausible, no way.  I had a good job in London, that I might value?  Hey, you can find one here!

          It annoyed me then and still amuses; I learned to say "no" slowly and politely, about ten times a day.

          A Mexican, interested in seeing other places and cultures?  Come on.....

          •  Or assumptions that one is an immigrant... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            twigg

            ..based on either appearance or place of birth.

            As a young adult, I found myself astonished, amused or perplexed by these assumptions.

            Depending on what region of the US I was living, I've been thought to be a range of ethnicity: from Roma to native Aleutian to Latino/Mexican to Indian (India), etc....all based on my appearance at the time.  Heh, long hair in braids-I was Indian or Native American.  Had a tan, I was Latino/Mexican.  Wear certain clothes, I was an exotic (fill in the blank)

            Not long after the Vietnamese boat lifts, I was asked by a future in-law (in the midwest)-on first meeting- if it had been hard to learn English or eat American foods instead of just rice.

            I was politely stunned when I realized, that because of current events, an assumption was being made that I had just "fell off a rice boat" (their jargon of the day).

            This came out of the mouth of one who was an educated exec-albeit one who had not traveled much & apparently could not hear my very southern accent.  The only thing this person heard was where I was born.

            Opened my eyes early on about people perceptions & assumptions.  Amusing, because I was adopted as a tot & raised by very white people with American founder ancestry-from both northern & southern regions of the US-and had/have an uber southern accent as a result of my early southern "roots".

            Standing beside my blonde haired mama & brown haired daddy or other family members, I blended in, I guess.  Not as exotic looking I guess as to make others think I was a furriner..or immigrant.  Very weird, that.

            Interestingly, the only people that ever correctly pegged my biological ancestry was when I lived abroad (Europe) or were Hawaiian.

      •  Europeans travel more because they have (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ahumbleopinion, twigg, worldlotus

        much longer vacations for one, and less geography in general to cover in their own countries ( Russias aside ) as I write this from a mild 49 degrees F in NJ, my friend just called me from a fishing boat in FL where it is 70 on the Gulf. It's a big country. the oddest for me was traveling to Quebec and seeing my fellow North Americans dressed the same and listening to rap in English but speaking French, and for the most part moving easily to English when I spoke to them. I found myself bonding with an Aussie family overlooking that famous waterfall; we were fellow Anglophiles, after all....

    •  Oh my, yes, Youffraita! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cambridgemac, tommymet, twigg, worldlotus
      "Well, I've never been anywhere else but here, but I know this is the best place to live in the world."  
      And even this: "Well, I went to [somewhere] once, but there's nothing like being back in the ol' USA, God's country!" I have facebook "friends" from high school days (why, Lord??) who write something similar to any comment or link I post about another country.

      And that's one of the reasons I spared myself our 50th reunion event last June. ;)

      Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

      by Miniaussiefan on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:52:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is also a state of mind . . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg, Cartoon Messiah

      If you are able to afford to travel abroad or even elsewhere in the US, it is an excellent way to learn about the world.

      However there some people who can't afford it. Yet they are just as broad minded, because they use the tools they have available like books, the internet(when used properly) to travel in a way they can afford.

      Fear also plays a role, American who don't travel can be scared of any number of things. Especially when the only news you here of is danger/risk.

      Last year my Parents went to Luxor, it was perfectly safe and they had a lot of the tourists site to themselves and their driver because no one was there.  You didn't that story on the news only that riots/etc in Cairo.

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