One thing that a trip does is to juxtapose your own cultural values and customs with those of another. As I am now over halfway through the trip, I’d like to take a moment to pause and examine some of these differences.
Some of the things that I now more fully appreciate about the United States is:
—although we still have a long way to go, there is a definite growing awareness in the US of waste and the treatment of our environment
—white bread and other processed foods, though still popular with kids, are not a nationwide snack
—people don’t stare blatantly at you
—you don’t have to barter for every single thing
—people don’t come up to you when you are sitting in a restaurant and try to sell you kitchen towels or pens with flashlights
—personal space is generally respected
—noise pollution is not usually acceptable
The things that I appreciate in Colombia that is lacking in the States are:
—a great public health infrastructure
—public tranport is cheap and very accomodating: a bus will stop and wait for someone to go into a store and obtain their groceries
—people get onto buses and sell juices and tintos
—fresh cheap juice! fresh cheap juice!
—need your shoes shined? go to the plaza and sit down on a bench.
—small stores and restaurants on every single block