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Reasons I'm Glad I Live In The United States
2004-06-03 - 12:55 p.m.

Reasons I'm Glad I Live In The United States

I have a friend that recently went on vacation to Palermo (that's Italy for those folks that failed Geography. Including me).

He was only there for a week, and he maintains that he really enjoyed his trip. That being said, here are some of his experiences from his "vacation"...

Credit Cards / ATM: Using his credit cards was problematic at best, a lot of places didn't even accept credit cards, and the nearest ATM was a walk over a mile away from his hotel. Why not take a cab you ask?

The Language Barrier: When trying to hire a taxi, some people realize that you don't speak Italian (or you aren't Italian), so they will not pick you up. This makes it difficult to hire a taxi.

When trying to buy a bottle of wine, my friend, who does speak some Italian, wanted to ask some advice. His Italian is, as he explains it, "good enough to get me around town, but not fluent enough to discuss something as arcane as the qualities of a wine". So he asks the guy at the shop (in Italian) if he speaks any English. The guy looks at him, stands up straight, crosses his arms across his chest, and defiantly says "No".

Look, you jackasses, do you not understand that when we visit your country, we are injecting money into your economy? And when we visit your shop, we are directly trying to inject money into your personal bank account?

Transportation: Since hiring a taxi was difficult, my friend and his traveling companion decided to take buses as transportation. During one of these trips, the bus was stopped by the police (not the band, the guys with badges and guns). The police entered the bus, and proceeded to check that everyone had a valid bus pass. This, in itself, didn't seem terribly wrong. However, upon entering the bus, the police bolted the door shut, so no one could leave. Okay, a little creepy, but what made it extra creepy was when the door was bolted, one of the natives whispered to my friend "don't look them in the eyes". I guess that the police might consider that aggressive, and decide to knock you in the head. Alright. Check, please. I'll be leaving your fascist-flavored country right now, thank you very much.

Filth: My friend was telling me that not only did almost everyone smell, because that don't tend to bathe as often as your average American, but the town was very dirty. As in EXCREMENT on the streets. Now, I agree that Americans are a bit too obsessed with germs, and that we may indeed overclean things to the point where people get illnesses from things for which they should have antibodies. I'm not quite that paranoid. If I'm fixing myself a sandwich and drop something on my kitchen floor, I'll pick it up, wipe off the dog hair, and put it on my sandwich. But excrement? On the streets?

These are a few of the reasons that I'm glad that I live here in the United States. I'll give you that we have some towns where the streets might be just as filthy, but I'm pretty certain that I could take 100 bus trips in the next six months and never have the police lock me inside.

Probably. You know, never say never.

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