August 22, 2007

Back from the USA

Back home. Heat. Absolute quite. Parking paradise.
It is August and everyone is still away.
But we are here. Juggling jet-lag, finishing off work upstairs with our Romanian workmen and shuffling our son back and forth to volley practice morning and afternoon while he navigates the empty city streets with his "foglio rosa" or driving permit.

Cross-cultural highlights from our US trip to Alaska and California.

Best air conditioning moment. Exiting the Fairbanks, Alaska airport into 50 degree (F) temperature with drizzle conditions only to enter a hotel shuttle van with blaring air conditioning -- a true cultural mystery. No oil shortage in Alaska for sure! Italians (and the rest of the world) will never, never understand the American obsession for extreme air conditioning.

Great signs telling us what to do and not to do: No diving into a hot tub?
And why would you try to climb on top of an oil pipeline, unless you were really, really stupid?
Notice the bullet holes? Guess that sign worked.

The food thing: just too much of it.
Mexican burritos for four (more like eight?).

Delta airline "snack" -- a choice of chips, granola bars (pure fats and sugar) or salted peanuts. First class got a wider variety of chips. How lucky!

Bus stop just outside Anchorage (tire blow) at 6:30. EVERYONE broke out the snack food, what else is there to do when a tire blows out but eat.

We had great food on our trip. Very often. No time interval to get hungry and the next meal was already on its way. We tried to have dinner at 10:00 in Santa Barbara, but at that hour you can only drink -- if you are over 21.

The drinking thing. My 18 and 19 year olds couldn't enter a bar with their 21 and 23 year old cousins even just to hear the band that was playing and have a coke....They all ended up hanging out in a hotel room instead. A great American experience, being carded and sent to hide out in a room. I suppose this produces responsible adults.

Organization: fantastic! Cruise West was the best, even under the stress of a tire blow-out. The timing, organization, attention to detail, customer service, care was amazing to watch -- American expectations in the sphere of customer service are indeed very high. We, instead, stood in awe as they catered to our every possible need.

Horizontal hierarchy: The captain, engineer, hotel manager were all there helping pass our luggage along up the plank together with their hard-working staff. Objective-driven teamwork at its best. No "barone" allowed, all for one and one for all. Almost shocking to watch.

Dryers: An Anchorage moment.

Nature: A Santa Barbara moment.

A domani,
E

1 comment:

Judith in Umbria said...

I was cruising along enjoying your take on things American and then I hit the dryers. Culture shock. I do just remember them. If those could fly to wet Umbria for the winter it would be Paradise here.