Verdict on the USA: The Friendly Nation

Trip Start Oct 15, 2008
Trip End Nov 24, 2008

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Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, November 9, 2008

I already knew the US would be a land of contrasts - I never expected them to be this stark, though. Here are the new, polished, suburban neighbourhoods with their prettily manicured lawns, clearly built for the wealthy, well-educated PhD's from the research triangle - and then here are the incredibly (at least for a Dane) poor neighbourhoods, with worn-down ramshackles, barely keeping out the weather and certainly not fit to pass a test by Danish authorities. Here's the beautiful, beautiful nature with everything you need - and the boring, boring inner cities and mall landscapes.

But mostly, here's a country whose reputation in many countries is of a superficial and arrogant people - and all I saw was a lot of incredibly friendly people. Yes, I have to get used to everyone (even the guy passing me in the street) asking me 'how are you', without answering them back 'well, you know, I'm a little bit...'. But you certainly make so many more friends in this country, than you do living in for example Paris.

Take it from me; of the 25 nights I have spent in the US since arriving on Oct 15th, I have only spent 6 in hotels. I spent 16 nights on Lansing Avenue with Meredythe and Irwin in Durham, 2 nights with their wonderful friends Karen and Bill in New York (oh, we'll just call them, they're really nice people, I'm sure they don't mind you sleeping there !) and one night with Hendrik in Washington. And I've known Hendrik the longest; less than a month ! All of these people let me into their homes, just like that - I'm amazed and grateful.

Besides that, I also briefly met the nice Danish family, the Bollerslev's ! A funny co-incidence, I bothered them with phone call number 50 from the Obama campaign - and I ended up having breakfast with Marian and Tim halfway round the world on a Tuesday morning. Funny, isn't it ?

I had expectations and prejudices when I arrived - we all do. The AT&T company was exactly as incompetent, inflexible and piss-me-off-annoying as I had feared it would be. But the hope and Yes, We Can attitude won a big victory. And the American hospitality exceeded my already high expectations - thank you for doing that, guys !
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