He Said/She Said: Wish We Had at Home

He Said/She Said: Wish We Had at Home

We have mentioned the things we miss from home, but there are a few things we have found on the road that we would love to introduce to Americans.  There are a lot of things that make America great and have created it’s world super power status, but Asia has some things that would improve life even in America.

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HE SAID…

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The United States of America is pretty great, there really is everything.  I was once watching TV with my father when a commercial came on for a special screwdriver that allowed you to reach screws in really hard-to-reach places.  The commercial was filled with clips of a man using this tool to reach screws in absurd locations; places I never imagined there could be screws.  My father remarked that this was what made America great; someone had this problem, came up with a solution, and is now selling it.  This really differentiates the USA from other countries, when people have a problem they either solve it or complain incessantly about it until someone solves it for them.  Here are a few things the rest of the world has that would make the USA a bit more wonderful.

Snack stands, everywhere.  In most Asian cities it’s hard to walk 100 meters without finding someone selling food from a cart.  OK, let me digress quickly, did that last sentence cause you to do math?  Did “100 meters” confuse you?  What the USA needs to do before any of these other things is adopt the metric system, it’s ridiculous that we prefer miles, quarts and pounds…  Back to food carts though, it’s great to be able to walk a block and pick up a fruit shake, egg rolls and a pancake.  I am certain that no stand meets our fire or food safety code, but really when I am eating my pancake do I care?  Not at all.

Craving a Krispy Kreme? No need to wait in line you can buy it on the street.

Along with food, other entrepreneurial people are selling what you need…immediately.  Ever leave the house on a bright and sunny day to find yourself caught walking in a storm later?  Of course, but in other countries someone would be waiting outside your office with cheap umbrellas and rain-jackets.  If you forgot to fill up your gas tank, someone has gas for sale.  No need to pray for a gas station to appear, someone has you covered, whatever your needs may be.

Did you say you needed gas? Asia has you covered, no matter where you are.

Lastly, what Asia specifically excels at is design.  The USA is fundamentally an ugly place, everything is built for functionality, lacking any style and design.  Walk through a mall in Asia and you will see more style than you would in a year in the USA.  The buildings are works of art, surrounded by parks filled with public art.  The bushes are sculpted.  Whenever possible, beauty has been injected into objects so that you spend your day surrounded by ocular bliss.

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SHE SAID…

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While many of Asia’s quirks drive me crazy, especially the incessant calls to buy this service or that product, or the tortoise paced internet speeds and the vomit inducing transport, there are a few things that I would find beneficial back home.  First of which is real bargain shopping, not the kind you find on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  The kind of bargain shopping available to you at any time if you are willing to haggle.  With the current economy this style of shopping makes sense to me, apply the rules of supply and demand.  If I want to buy something I can always find someone to sell it to me for less in Asia, at home everything is a fixed price.  Often times I am just looking for a small discount to tip the scales and justify me buying a product I’ve already decided I want, so forget the marked price and let’s talk…

Another thing that America could really learn from Asia is effective public transport.  Considering the language barriers in China I was surprised how easy it was to get around a country the size of China.  It was easy because their train system is incredible, fast and affordable, you just need to know how to buy train tickets.  On top of that, once you get to your destination frequent public buses abound.  In almost four months in China we took a taxi less than half a dozen times.  If the U.S. could get organized it would revolutionize domestic travel and allow me to skip the maddening airline issues that plague travel at home.

China has the largest, most state of the art public transit system we have ever seen

Finally, the U.S. could really learn a few things from Asians approach to fitness.  You don’t need a fancy gym membership with a sauna, whirlpool and weight lifting area to stay in shape.  All you need is an empty parking lot or a clear patch of grass to get in your morning workout.  It was always fun to see people gather for Tai Chi early in the morning throughout China or do a quick warm up before starting work in the parking lot.  Sometimes you would see chains such as Tesco, a grocery store chain, offering fitness classes with bumping music for free to their shoppers in the parking lot as we witnessed in Thailand.  I can only imagine how much these random acts of free fitness would help America’s obesity epidemic.

Morning Tai Chi, no gym needed

There are no doubts in my mind about how America became so great and a huge part of that are all the rules that Asia lacks, but America could still learn a few things from Asia.  I would personally appreciate it if we adopted the metric system, the public transport system improved and snack stalls were installed nation wide but I know that’s asking for a lot.  So, for now I will head to Asia for these “luxuries.”

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Comments

» BKA :
Dec 15, 2011

The outdoor Tai Chi in China was amazing, toss in badminton by the 100’s and yoga everywhere, it was indeed a cultural revolution, compared to Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner comments ctrical of my/our profession, parks and rec. because we have created a culture of 7-8 “classes on Wednesday’s” as acceptable workouts instead of in-bedding it into our very being…….good observations as usual…..love dad

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, I figured you would pick up on the criticism of our culture’s approach to fitness as it hits home for us park and rec people. The tai chi really makes sense and promotes social interaction too. Asia has quite a few things we’re going to miss, but we can’t wait to be in a place where everyone speaks English after spending 12 months trying to communicate.

» Sharad :
Jan 5, 2012

Its because the Stonecutters keep the metric system down

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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