First Impressions of USA

Ok – so everybody wants to know how chaotic the security procedures were at the various airports after the recent Heathrow scare. Well, sorry to disappoint you – the queue’s were short, the staff were efficient, and everything happened on schedule. In fact, at JFK we took about 1/2 hour from landing to exiting the airport. The only problems we had were that my deodorant was confiscated when we boarded the aircraft!

You have to experience America to really understand it. Everything is bigger, better and faster! Everything you buy in the supermarkets is big – from packs of tea, to vegetables, and huge packets of laundry detergent. The variety and range of goods is staggering, from entire rows dedicated to crisps (OK – chips), tons of different teas, and of course Oranges from South Africa. This was in a small supermarket.

So far, I am amazed at the level of customer service. Everybody we encountered at JFK were friendly, they all greeted you and were all helpful. This included the huge security guard standing at the exit to our aircraft when we arrived.

The road we took from the airport to Wilmington (where I am currently typing this blog) is eight lanes (in each direction) – so sixteen lanes in total!

USA is a very patriotic country, many of the houses have USA flags hanging outside.

There is a lot of ‘bad’ things we often say about ‘The American Way’ and how they support each other almost to the exclusion of anybody else, but I think that perhaps us in South Africa can learn a thing of two from USA. Imagine the ‘South African Way’, and support for each other. Imagine a world-class level of customer service in South Africa. Imagine a country where you don’t have to keep everything kept behind barbed wire, electric fences and armed guards.

Anyway – enough thinking, I am off to explore Wilmington…


ps: I am writing this on a 5 Gig fibre optic Internet connection – at somebody’s home…

2 Responses to First Impressions of USA

  • Hey guys! Good to hear you are there, we are all REALLY jealous :) but in a good way only.

    I went to the Kenilworth centre yesterday and your post came to mind… I mean, it is quite a big shopping centre for us, it’s like the whole southern suburbs shop here, right? And its size must seem like an around-the-corner café to the civilised world.

    With regards to the flag outside the houses – hmmm… I have found statements of patriotism like that are usually related to some form of minority movement, right? What are they saying – “I support the war/go Bush”? But, I don’t know, ye know, just wondering. I mean, you won’t hang out the new SA flag, it’s kind of stating the obvious (the royal we all love the new South Africa), but you may see an old Transvaal flag or Oranje/Blanje/Blou still popping up every now and again, making a statement…Just trying to prod some debate here ;o) !!!

    That Internet connection, phew… I guess this trip might become just a little bit of a prod in the side of how much we are still in the dark ages over here. Stupid Telkom.

    Have tons of fun, remember to keep your FlickR account busy, hey?

  • Hi guys

    You sure sound as if you are having a ball (been reading the posts in reverse chronological order ;-)) And yes, isn’t the food over there crazy? It’s just so… available and the bad stuff is so easy to get. And it’s also true what you say – we always mock the Americans for being so overtly patriotic but maybe as a country we could learn something from that.

    Interesting what you say about the “support the war” etc stickers. When we were in El Paso last year, there were lots of stickers saying “support our troops” and a friend travelling with us was disgusted that they were such a militaristic society and that they were “obviously” pro-war. But you forget that places like El Paso have huge military bases and many people living in the city have husbands, wives, sons, daughters etc etc in Iraq and elsewhere, facing the possibility of beign killed in action every day. There is a huge difference between supporting the was and supporting the troops, not all of whom may agree with the war, but who have no choice but to go and fight for their country or lose their livelihood. It’s always easy to judge when you ignore the context…

    Keep the posts coming – great to share your experiences!

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