The roads ahead, and behind

I’m back home again after 10 days in the US. Two days working at the US HQ on the east coast, then a week with Mom and the family in California for Thanksgiving. I’ve had two bouts with jet-lag (which I’m enjoying while writing this post at 6am, having been awake since 2:30am) and two bouts of culture shock. You’d think that after all this time of traveling back and forth from Europe and the US I’d be used to it by now. Not.

Here are some things that hit me right away when I arrive in the US:

Terrible roads. Whether you are in the Boston area or California, the roads suck. They are full of cracks and holes and half hearted paving attempts. It’s worse than Belgium.

The size of cars, or should I say, the proliferation of SUVs. They are everywhere. Gas guzzling monsters. And Americans have the nerve to cry about gas prices and warring over oil! Hello! Look what you drive! In California I picked up my rental “car” only to find that they only had SUVs left. Great. Now I have to pay more for gas too.

The in-your-face selling of everything, even prescription drugs that you can’t actually go out and buy anyway. Doesn’t matter. Go ask your doctor for xyz drug, go on, ask, ASK, no DEMAND that your doctor give you this drug because you heard all about it on tv and it must be for you!

I won’t even START with Black Friday. Madness. No where else but in America can you find such shopping frenzy.

Lack of anything at all “newsy” in the news. No news about the rest of the world. No news stories deeper than a headline in the evening tv news. Not even news about the Iraq war. It’s like a news black out over there. Isn’t anyone concerned about that? Aren’t you wondering what is happening outside your front door?

These things give me serious culture shock.

Now, I’ve only been home to Amsterdam since Sunday afternoon. I spend 90% of my time here. But still something things hit me in the face when I get back.

People in Amsterdam are aggressive.  They bike aggressively.  They drive aggressively.  They can be very rude.

Shopping at a neighborhood AH for groceries between 5:30pm and 6:30pm is something to be avoided at all costs, but also something Mom must experience when she comes over.  Amsterdam living at its best.

The weather sucks.   Yesterday, Monday, back to work.  I first checked http://www.buienradar.nl and all looked clear.  I walked downstairs to get on my bike, and it started raining!  Damn.  Go back upstairs, put on rain pants, go back down and face the rain and the bike while tired and jetlagged.  Sigh.  Welcome home.

Well, that’s enough for now.  It all sounds pretty negative, which only goes to show you that there’s no perfect place to live, you just have to find the place with the post positives for you to be happy.  I’m sticking with the Netherlands.  They have great roads.

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