Monday, August 25, 2008

Five quick Reasons I love America

More from The Great American Holiday!!!!

  • Parking: In America, there is always enough parking. The parking spaces are big enough that an entire car can fit inside them and still leave room to open the doors. The paking lots are planned by people who have given the matter due thought, so the traffic pattern rarely results in everyone from the right lane needing to turn left, and everyone in the left lane needing to turn right as we have at City Center here. People in America are very polite when they park, and don't crowd you, park behind you, or park crooked.
  • Home improvement and repair: Giant, 24 hour hardware stores that have everything in stock, and are staffed by helpfull people who will sell you what you need. Handymen who arrive at roughly the appointed time, and repair your broken widget to an appropriate standard, and conforming to saftey codes.
  • Public transportation: I can take the bus day or night, from any corner of my chosen city to any where else. Taxis that come when I call them, charge me fairly, and never, ever, try to feel me up.
  • People: Holy shit. People are so courteous there. I have never heard the words "excuse me" so much in one month.
  • Customer service / staffing: In America if you suck at your job, you get fired. Honestly, I used to fire people like I was blowing my nose. This leads to a national work ethic and customer service mentality somewhat superior to what I often see on display here.

Tomorrow or the next day, ust to keep things balanced, a rant and rave about the American Embassy here. My greivances are great, and varied.


Abid said...

How long and where did you live/visit in America? Some of these are very far-fetched for some places in the country.

-Parking: Depends on which car you drive, but American culture (stupidly) requires everyone to drive the biggest, most petrol-hungry truck they can afford. Thus, parking spaces are made bigger.

-I don't know which home improvement store you went to, but in Chicago, most are not 24 hours. Both Home Depot, Menards and Lowe's close at 10pm.

-As for public transportation, *especially* buses, your statement is VERY incorrect for most American cities. Los Angeles in particular (the second largest city in the country) has absolutely NO public transportation that is usable (no subway, crappy bus routes). New York does, but the majority of American cities do not.

-People, I agree upon. American people are generally nice! :-)

MarkO said...

I live in America and have visited Oman about 4 times I think, but only driven there once... Only taken taxis there as public transportation. But here are my comments:

Parking: I come from Europe and there we have generally small cars and small parking spaces. In the US, there are larger cars (plus many SUV's, Minivans, pick-up trucks) and larger parking spaces. I find parking here is a breeze compared to Europe. In places I've visited in the Middle East, including Oman, I've noticed that they manage to combine the somewhat larger cars with the smaller parking spaces, which is not a good combination.

Home Improvement Stores: It is true that these are not 24 hours, but unless you want to buy a sink replacement at 2am then this doesn't matter. Stores like Home Depot are very impressive indeed.

Public Transportation: The previous commenter repeats a common fallacy about Los Angeles: There *is* a Subway there (e.g. there is a subway station right at Hollywood and Vine). I have taken the subway from downtown LA out to Pasadena.

Public transportation tends to be hit-or-miss in the US though. New York has an excellent 24-hour bus and train service, but that is the exception. Here in Boston the buses and trains end at about 12.30am and start again at about 5.30am, and the train is only useful if you live near one of the few lines.

And, yes, I definitely agree customer service is better due (I think) to the US practice of "at will employment" (which works both ways: people can be fired easily, but can also switch jobs easily, this gives an incentive to take care of good workers in case they suddenly leave).

Great blog, by the way. Oman seems to have a really great blogging culture.

Omanymous said...

you should have a post the reasons why you love Oman :-)

Leo Americanus said...

I am sad to say that I was at a Walmart the other day at a little hick town on the East Coast and I duly witnessed a shopping cart that someone had most kindly placed directly behind another car in the style we're all used to in Oman. Today, in the same small town, I witnessed two kids sprinting across a 4-lane highway during rush hour (speed limit 55 mph). Maybe the cultures will merge some day? Or maybe not. But these little, familiar sights made me think of Oman. Sniff, sniff. Yet, even though I'm getting fed up with the size triple-X people who tend to stand around in the aisles at the Walmart, I'll still take it over Lulu.

L_Oman said...

I agree that there is ample parking in most places, but cities - HA! No way. I think people are more courteous by far there - I totally miss the 'excuse me'.

Which hardware store is 24 hours? I miss the helpfulness @ HD / ACE there for sure.

In the area I'm from, there is no public transport however downtown area there is.

And yea - customer service is way over the top there!

Looking forward to the embassy post. I've never had trouble in dealing with them yet (touch wood).

Suburban said...

I didn't think I would get any comments on this one!

Abid,Marko, THanks for commenting! Nice to have you guys drop by.

I lived in the states for a little over 20 years, from when I was a medium size kid. I took a job in Europe, and eventually decided to move to Oman to be closer to family. It's been almost ten years since the last time I was in the states, even for a visit. Our holiday lasted a month.

We stayed in a medium sized city somewhere between Chicago and Las Vegas. It's an exceptional place, and probibaly the nicest place to live in America right now. I don't want to be too specific.

The Biggest Home depot in the state used to be open 24 hours. Perhaps with the housing slump they have now revised thier opening hours. My next-door neighbour and I used to prowl the isles after a the night clubs closed down. I did a lot of home improvement work between the hours of 04:00 and 08:00.

We drive some big-ass cars here in the GCC too, and the lots should be large enough to accomodate the cars here. But they aren't. Some of the parking lot design in the Gulf borders on criminally neglegent.

EUrope can be forgiven for the nightmare that is parking, anywhere. THier cities were built long before cars came along. You don't really want to tear down a 600 year old building just to widen the streets.

Here, with new stuff being built all around us it's pretty short sighted not to ensure that buildings include ample parking for thier tennants or customers. Like, We have a clean slate, let's do it right the first time!

Los Angeles has pretty appaling public transportation, as I recall. The city we stayed in has 24 hour bus service to almost anywhere, and an Excellent light rail system in progress linking the outer suburbs with the inner city. We used the same Taxi driver the whole trip, and he drove a Hybrid Camry. It was awesome.

Omanymous, I'll post some of the reasons I love Oman soon. I have lots of reasons to love it here.

Leo, Oman misses you. And yeah, what is the deal with fat people at Wal-Mart? I saw very few really corpulent people on our holiday, except at Wal-Mart.


In hind sight I should maybe have called this post things I love about X city. I Understand that Public transport is pretty bad in the south. Having almost never been in the south, I wouldn't know though!

The Embassy post is coming tomorrow.

If you would like to have some hassle, get pregnant and have your baby here in oman. THen take your scary foreign baby, and your scary foreign husband to the Embassy and try, just try, to get a US passport and citizenship for the kid.

I kid you not, My experience was fucking unbeliveable.

Then, If you have the time, get a divorce and ask your now estringed and foreign husband to go and cancel the kids American passports without your knowlege. Until recently, the Embassy would be only too delighted to do so.

After that, send them an email asking if they could lay on some egg nog for the holidays, as a sort of good will gesture to egg nog addicts within the sultanate. Don't expect a reply.

etc... Grrrr.