Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lines and Crowd Situations

The funny thing about traveling abroad is that you pick up on some of the characteristics of certain people from different countries and notice different aspects about Americans whether you are sitting on an airplane, waiting to de-board in Spain, or sipping a cafe con leche (coffee with milk) at a sidewalk cafe in Barcelona.

So here are a few of the idiosyncrasies that Alyssa and I noticed on our trip to the Spanish land.

Alyssa read a book titled Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost. It's the story of a guy who visits China and tries to understand the culture. Anyway, he ends up buying a train ticket but when the train arrives, turns out people in China don't stand in line, so there is just a mob of people trying to get on the train. He ends up not making it onto the train because of all the people pushing and shoving to get on the train.

So basically, there are no lines in China.

Cut to our flight from Grenada to Barcelona. On any flight there is always a line of people waiting to get off as the passengers in front of them get their luggage from the overhead compartments. It is never fun waiting for everyone to get their bags, but it is necessary. However, we were on the plane with people from China.

And let me remind you, there are no lines in China.

So, while everyone else was waiting for the people in front of them, the passengers from China (we know this because we saw their passports), who were in the back of the plane, gathered up their luggage and sprang into action. Squeezing and pushing, bumping and shoving past everyone, they made their way off the plane. Everyone passenger that they made it past just stared incredulously. Alyssa and I remained in our seats and just watched this mini fiasco. Awesome.

Onto the Americans. Throughout Spain it was obvious who the Americans were. They were a bit louder than most people, slightly heavier, and much less sophisticated in their dress. For example, I wore tee shirts all week.

It was at one outdoor cafe, one night, that we were absolutely sure that the loud, boisterous table next to ours was surely a group of Americans. But, as it turns out Canadians can be just as noisy and gregarious as we, Americans, can be.

Americans also stare much more at nude sunbathers than people from any other country. And people from every country outside of the US have a much more open minded policy to public nudity. It was pretty awesome. Aviator glasses are pretty much essential for anyone going to a European beach who do not want to appear to be American.

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