I'm now back from my sojourns abroad, and in the brief period where one is reminded of what is different about one's adopted country, I thought it would be fitting to round things out with a post on what the same thing would look like if written about these fair shores.
-The system in lifts of labelling the floor that exits to the street level is such a small act of sheer genius, rather than trying to shoehorn everybody into the 'ground floor is the street, no, first floor is the street, no...'. Other countries should take note.
-The US has the best public bathrooms that I've ever seen. (I hear Japan is interesting too, but I haven't been). Due to a combination of squeamishness about hygiene and high technology, you rarely have to touch anything at all. In addition, the divider walls between urinals are a brilliant compromise between efficiency and privacy.
-There is a crassness to some of the people that I can't forebear mentioning. They talk loudly, the women are very made up, and the political culture is very in-your-face. Try sitting through one of the political party conventions if you don't believe me.
-Dedicated bike lanes are good, but freeways (in low traffic periods) are fantastic if you have a nice car. The existence of me having a nice car is entirely endogenous with a number of things that make this place great. Low taxes, and demanding consumers that result in efficient markets.
-Oh Lordy, the restaurant service here dwarfs everywhere else I've been. You don't wait for your bill, but there's no hurry to pay it. You don't wait for your water refill. The soft drink refills are free, virtually always. Give me American restaurants over any other country.