I've worked and lived in the US for several years, some years ago. Lived in upstate NY and Philly . Now I'm a regular visitor with quite a bit of relatives there. To Americans are very friendly , likeable people, its has the best diner style cooking
in the world. I was always surprise at the extreme care societies there go about looking after children
bus stops, 15mph etc) schooling system was quite good , but very very variable.
Americans tend to receive news in a very carefully controlled way, and unlike say Europeans who are deeply cynical of authority , Americans are not. I would classify them, as very na´ve on world affairs , few people outside the obvious intelligentsia seem to look for any sort of deeper analysis. ( this is not uncommon of course elsewhere ). I was always impressed by the patriotism that is present in everyday life ( the flags
etc), in contrast to Europe
where such displays have historical issues.
I never felt unsafe in any particular area, but of course the huge huge disparity between the haves and the have nots is striking for a European, American is a place where you can rise to great heights but fall very far indeed.. Bus travel is of course a wired experience and Americans don't really have a passenger train service
( they so have fantastic freight railroads ..drool)
I was always amazed at the amount of police and the rigorous enforcing of quite meaningless petty rules ( jay walking , loitering , parking the wrong way ( and the way most Americans are very law abiding )
Was also amazed by the drinking rules in Philly ( early 80s) really wired. And later was the fact I still couldn't get a restaurant to serve my 16 year old a glass of wine.
Its a very ordered ,regulated , officious place at times , from a more laid back European. I always felt in the US , anything that wasnt specifically legal
, was regarded as probably illegal , somewhat the opposite in Europe
. I blame the German influence in the US myself. lol .
I did like that I could buy beer
at baseball games , unlike here where football games look like military invasions at times
So , add compulsory world history
, quadruple the size of PBS and ban newspaper that weigh more then 2lbs, it would be a greater place, its already quite a great place
As this isn't the place , I have left out any comments on politics and of course this was all pre 9/11
What I didn't like
The four way stop
The low speed limits (that's improved somewhat )
The lack of a decent fast saloon
The Schuylkill expressway
Lack of world news and analysis
64 channels of rubbish TV. ( I mean when you come from the beeb)
The awful coffee , though this has improved over the years !!
Nobody can make a proper cup of tea or hot whiskeys
The awful bread and parsnips are exotic
What I like
the huge expanses of wilderness
hoagies and Philly cheese steaks
Now , of course with 9/11 and subsequent , much of the na´vetÚ has go e which is actually a pity. Its a scarier place in recent years , the sense of innocence is gone, and Americans are not handling that well.. In time now doubt , they will just accept a level of domestic terror like Europeans have been dealing with for years and to some extent just ignore it. ( which will really annoy the terrorists )