Monday, July 12, 2010

About Americans Part II

Well, I'm off to London today and feeling rather sad about it - especially the going back to work part.

But before I go, I wanted to leave you with a few last reflections on Americans as a follow up to my last post on the same topic.

Bathrooms in America are TERRIBLE! I mean seriously in my book they are now ranking second worst IN THE WORLD outside of Asia (obviously). Nowhere else in the world has these terrible metal stalls where you can see underneath and between the cracks. When I'm sitting on the toilet here, I feel that everyone is looking at me. And when I'm washing my hands and looking in the mirror, I don't want to see through the cracks of the stalls and accidentally watch someone doing her business. Some things are meant to stay private. The Swedes and the Scandinavians have it right. Very nice bathroom stalls with proper doors you can shut - often with a private sink in every stall. And for some reason, despite being mostly unisex, the bathrooms in Scandinavia are WAY CLEANER than the bathrooms in America. I mean come on Americans why are your bathrooms so gross!?!

There are a lot of vegetarians and vegans in the USA - especially in California

Americans love ICE - Americans seem to only drink cold drinks and therefore use TONS of ice. I actually am not so crazy about ice and I have even been known to drink warm beer (all beer in Indonesia was served warm) when necessary, but I do hate it when I order an ice latte in Sweden and they put about 2 ice cubes in it which melt before they hand it to me. I mean, come on! But Americans use so much ice that there is hardly any room left for the drink. If you want an American to complain, just hand them a warm drink. And it does seem like every American household (including mine) has one of those refrigerators that dispenses ice.

Don't forget to go through the Drive Through - I know that drive throughs exist in other countries but I'm pretty sure it was an American invention and that it's still more popular here than anywhere else. As for me, I love me a good old Dunkin Donuts drive through any day! And I pretty much have driven through the Dunken Donuts drive through on a daily basis since being home.

Microbrew Beer is popular - Americans are crazy about their beer. They like to have lots of different flavors of micro brews on tap. It seems like everyone is doing their own beer these days. I love Sam Adams - Sam Summer is the best - especially if you add a lemon.

Light Beer - Here Light beer means less calories not less beer (umm... hello Sweden). Americans are crazy about light beer. It seems that Coors light and Bud light still are the beers of choice. I actually prefer Sam Adams light. Apparently Budweiser now makes a beer with only 54 calories - I haven't tried this yet. However, I do totally recommend Bud Light lime. It goes down like water and is oh so refreshing!

BBQ's (also known as cook outs) are a big deal in the summer time - traditional fare is hamburgs, hot dogs, maybe some chicken. A summer party is usually a rather casual affair. Someone mans the grill. Often guests bring some kind of dish. People eat on paper plates with plastic cutlery. They tend to eat standing up or can find a seat somewhere. In general eating is much more casual than in Europe where paper plates don't seem to exist and there is more emphasis on sitting down together to eat - even at a picnic or a BBQ.

New Englanders love their seafood - Lobster, clams, clam chowder, scallops - all traditional New England fare. If you are in New England, I totally recommend lobster although outside of New England (unless it's coming from New England), I would say skip it.

Service with a smile - In the USA, we know that the "customer is always right" and therefore Americans are known for their awesome customer service. Whether in a restaurant or a shop, you can count on Americans to provide service with a smile. It might have something to do with the fact that they are working for tips, which brings me to my next point...

When in America, do not forget to tip - Tipping is a big deal here. If you are at a restaurant, you should tip 15 - 20%. If you are getting a coffee, don't forget to leave your change in the tip jar. If you are at a bar, a dollar a drink is the deal. Even if you are at a wedding and it's open bar, you should be tipping the waitstaff (so bring one dollar bills). You should tip all the people who help you at the hotel (bell boys, the person who gets you a taxi). You should tip the taxi driver. And when you are staying at a hotel, it's common to leave a small tip in the room for the housecleaning! And at Christmas, you are supposed to give everyone something extra! In my opinion, tipping is a bit out of control.

Americans love hip hop and rock and roll - none of this Euro dance music for them

Summer means baseball! World Cup? What's that? I say GO RED SOX!


Sara Louise said...

Love your list :-)
Yeah, why the hell do the bathrooms in the US suck? it's weird.
Sam Adams is my favorite and I'd love to be able to get a light beer in France.
My French husband thinks I'm lying to him when I tell him about drive through tellers at the bank.
And why oh why can you not get service with a smile outside the US?! Is it so hard to smile?!

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