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dimanche 30 octobre 2011

VISIT THE FRIENDLY SKIES OF USA..outsiders made welcome here

Despite my repeated visits to this sprawling country and the remoteness of some of my destinations,
Eagle Pass, Texas
Walthill, Nebraska
Eagle Butte, South Dakota;
I am amazed at the continuous, effusive friendliness of americans of all walks of life..
In Nebraska, the receptionist at the hotel where I stay, saw my name on the list of reservations and had already upgraded me to the room with a Jacuzzi bath because she knew I liked to have a bath after a long trip!
This morning, on entering the United Airlines 757 aircraft, I was greeted with a smile and warmth that would take away all the travails of journeys, by G, whom i had met only yesterday on another flight on United Airlines. This Michele Obama-esque lady was a metaphor for the effusion of warmth of America!
You now have a new friend, she said, as I handed her my card after our chat together about things of mutual interest while the plane was being loaded with passengers. I do agree, I have made a new friend!
Workers at the airport (especially MIA and FLL) greet you like an old friend, you are made very welcome in their lounges. Last night the shuttle bus driver taking me to the hotel, after a broad grin wanted to engage me in a conversation about the current ultraconservative leanings of the people he wouldnt be voting for! the Cuban lady just a few years out of our island of love and affection, makes coffee at the suburban shop in Miami which makes the coffee tastes even better and the memories of my days in La Habana even sweeter and the next trip to La Habana of my dreams even more anticipatory!
all of this and more transpired within 24 hours in the US OF A..
Australians are very friendly, tainting me with that enthusiasm while I was growing up there, people dont understand when I say Asians are not as friendly as the Americans.. because a smiling vietnamese, especially in the travel industry, has his eyes on your wallet, the notoriously unfriendly singaporean chinese need no introduction (chinese are less so in Malaysia because there there are some restrictions and more examples for them to follow to be good human beings).
Americans are friendly, because they can afford to be so, they are not eyeing your wallet to get a dollar out of you, they already have that dollar which they would like to spend on you. They see something special in people they meet and they make the move to gain something from an encounter knowing fully well that in this world, most of the casual encounters are of short duration.
Of course these personal affirmations of american genuine gestures do not include the official friendliness accorded to a frequent flier doctor to the indigenous people: almost always upgraded by airlines, entry into their clubs, greetings and help at Avis rent a car at Omaha or elsewhere...the list goes on and on.
My advice to newcomers to this country whether they are from Mexico or India, is : Please dont get caught up in this glitter and glamour, take on the deep values of the americans: friendliness, generosity , hospitality and open mindedness. Dont equate USA with MCDOs and CocaCola..
My personal list of Friendly/Warm countries:
Cuba (the cubans in Miami get caught in the glitter and many a times loose that genuine SOLIDARIDAD we practice in Cuba)
Australia/New Zealand

My friendly cities:
La Habana
Buenos Aires
London, UK
Yangon, Myanmar/Burma

When you arrive in Miami, you would hear this welcome: Bienvenidos a Miami a sus playas.. in Spanish
Where else in the world they are going to greet you in another popular language of the continent? English in Paris? German in London?
Where else, but in the United States of America...
So this morning, sitting at the United Club at Denver airport, I express my feelings towards my American friends and others who are yet to be friends ..
Gracias Merci Beaucoup Obrigado Arigato