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Old 06-13-2011, 12:21 PM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
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There are some European countries that do have a fairly high level of gun ownership. They tend to be wealthy and safe at that.

In Norway, for example, about 1 in 3 household has guns.
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,960 posts, read 27,383,424 times
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I live in Canada, in the province of Québec to be more precise. I live about 120 km from the U.S. border. Canadians share many things with Americans, although Québec and the U.S. tend to be more "foreign" to one another due to language and cultural differences.

In any event, here are my impressions about what stands out to me when I go to the States.

Huge food portions in restaurants: Depending on where you go in Canada, some Europeans may find food portions bigger than what they are used to. But in the U.S. it is often bigger than what you get in Canada. The whole "small, medium, large, extra large, super-size, etc." just blows me away every time. Also, when we go to a family restaurant I am often astounded by the size of the dessert that comes with my kids' meal!

The Shopping: selection is far greater and prices are much lower on almost everything in the U.S. And what I also find is that even the smaller cities in the U.S. have waaaaaaaaay better shopping that comparably-sized (or even bigger) cities in Canada. Shopping in a city of 30,000 people in the U.S. often seems like shopping in a Canadian city of 150,000 people.

Attitudes towards alcohol: this is especially true when you come from Québec, which has the most relaxed attitude towards alcohol in North America probably. I can't count how many times my wife and I have been out in a family restaurant with the kids in the States and have been the ONLY people in the entire place with wine on the table. We have even been stared at because of this. Now, I know that if you go to a fine restaurant in a big city in the US people have wine with their meal (I've been there too), but we've even been to fairly decent restaurants in small towns and cities and very few people seem to have wine with their meals. Aside from big city urban hipsters it seems.

The Extremes: Find the absolute nicest parts of pretty much any urban/suburban (or even exurban or recreational) area in the States and you will be hard pressed to find any place with as much obvious wealth in a similar locale in Canada. On the other hand, generally the worst of the worst places in the U.S. are worse than almost anything you might ever see in Canada.
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Old 06-14-2011, 06:57 AM
 
Location: NJ
16,954 posts, read 11,836,648 times
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Default cardinals, woodchucks and deer

Based on hosting some canoe trips in central NJ for visiting Euro co-workers is:

Diversity of wildlife, trees and plants

opportunity to fish for so many species

firearm ownership and privelege to hunt

Large selection of places to hike without crowds and in such close proximity to NYC

Funeral homes

privately owned pick-up trucks

deep snow

Skies filled with Airplanes always present

Lack of historic buildings, areas to the extent seen in European countries.

Impression given by US contact for move to US when asked where people hike, the professional answered, "in the malls".

What surprises me is the incorrect information hired professionals give to Euros who may be considering a 3 year job assignment in the US.
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:21 PM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
15,534 posts, read 17,764,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
I can't count how many times my wife and I have been out in a family restaurant with the kids in the States and have been the ONLY people in the entire place with wine on the table. We have even been stared at because of this.
Where do you eat? In my lifetime, I never suffered the slightest social proscription for drinking wine whether I was the only party drinking wine or there were two empty bottles on every table. Never been stared at even once.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Huge food portions in restaurants: Depending on where you go in Canada, some Europeans may find food portions bigger than what they are used to. But in the U.S. it is often bigger than what you get in Canada. The whole "small, medium, large, extra large, super-size, etc." just blows me away every time.
Oh, I get it. Wine is considered out of place in restaurants that "Super-size" things. Most wine in America is served in decent restaurants. I would expect to be stared at if I drank wine at some dump like McDonalds.
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:58 PM
 
Location: 59°N
5,220 posts, read 5,878,885 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
There are some European countries that do have a fairly high level of gun ownership. They tend to be wealthy and safe at that.

In Norway, for example, about 1 in 3 household has guns.
I guess that is true. There is around 1.2 million guns in Norway. Most of these weapons are hunting rifles and shotguns. Assault rifles and machine guns, for example, are not legal to buy or own. I guess the only exception is service weapons for military personnel.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, La
2,037 posts, read 4,560,322 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
Where do you eat? In my lifetime, I never suffered the slightest social proscription for drinking wine whether I was the only party drinking wine or there were two empty bottles on every table. Never been stared at even once.



Oh, I get it. Wine is considered out of place in restaurants that "Super-size" things. Most wine in America is served in decent restaurants. I would expect to be stared at if I drank wine at some dump like McDonalds.
wine is pretty universally accepted here. It is alcohol and Cajuns love their alcohol. We have drive through daiquiri shops even. As in alcoholic beverage you can buy in your car.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,960 posts, read 27,383,424 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
Where do you eat? In my lifetime, I never suffered the slightest social proscription for drinking wine whether I was the only party drinking wine or there were two empty bottles on every table. Never been stared at even once.



Oh, I get it. Wine is considered out of place in restaurants that "Super-size" things. Most wine in America is served in decent restaurants. I would expect to be stared at if I drank wine at some dump like McDonalds.
They were two different statements in my post. In my post about wine I wasn't referring to McDonald's or Burger King. I was referring to sit-down, table-served family-type places like Olive Garden, Applebee's, etc.

And I did give a nod to "fine" restaurants in my post, BTW. (Which I do not consider Olive Garden or Applebee's to be, just in case you are tempted.)

Anyway, it's not a big secret that Americans aren't big wine drinkers (at least not by the standard of most Western countries). There is no value judgement there - just a fact. A majority of households in the U.S. don't even own a corkscrew!
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
5,899 posts, read 8,426,137 times
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Very interesting thread, i ve read it all!

Im from Argentina and lived in USA for a couple of months when i was 18 (10 years ago) after i finished high school. If i went there now, probably i ´ll found much more things that surprise me, but at that time, this things surprised me the most:

Highways/not walkable cities: Let me clarify that i lived in Minneapolis and Los Angeles and i couldnt believe all the highways! I mean, there i was in the city of Minneapolis (a 600,000 city at that time-maybe less, i dont remember-) FULL of higways like if it was freaking Tokyo or Sao Paolo!!! I saw all the highways, and i wonder: where the hell is the people?? The fact is that i was in a town full of higways. i will never understand that!.
After spendind some time in CD i hear most of the suburs are like that, im shocked. I think highways are to blame for the obesity epidemic everyone is complaining about in this forum. You CANT walk in those cities!! If i ll live there i ll be obese, too, non obese american should be given rewards!.
Take in count that i live in Buenos Aires, probably one of the most walkable cities on earth, a place where i wouldnt dream of having a car, specially cause traffic is hellish!, and cause finding a place to park can be impossible and/or super expensive, and mostly cause public transportation works really well here. But, anyway, i prefer to walk. I almost walk everywhere and im surrounded by people, millions of people, 24/7. Its even too much. Imagine what i felt when i was there: where the hell is the people?? how do you walk? This was even more shocking in LA, where i never saw people!! I mean, isnt LA supposed to be a big city and all? where the hell was the people?? It was too weird, like a city written by 1984 writer George Orwell, like a dystopia!! I was really truly dissapointed at LA. It had beuatiful landscapes but you hardly see any people and you harldy felt anything. Whats a big city witouth a soul? Just a town with highways and hidden people. Bad!

Huge portions and refills: me and my friend (i traveled with a friend from highschool) went to this big fancy restaurant to have dinner once (before that we only ate in the fast food places like taco bell, arbys, etc) and the portions were HUGE. We order a steak each one and we both left more than half of it. We could have easily shared one and it woud have been too much, too. Incredible. And the refills!! OMG, i noticed this when i went with my family when i was 13, that you guys had refill! It was like dreamland to me! when you are a kid all you want is eat soda non-stop! I loved it then! When i think about it now that i live a healthy lifestyle, is that this huge portions and refills contribute to the obesity empidemic too much, too. Im telling you, its NOT easy to be thin on that country!

Everything was so un-expensive!: specially clothes. I remember i came back here with wonderful, $5,$6 dollars clothes, lovely jeans for 10 bucks, dresses. It was all so great!!

Politeness: everyone smiled at you and said "hi", "good evening" "how are you?". I noticed this specially in Minneapolis, you felt really well treated by everyone, people said hi in the streets and sometimes they even chat a little. People from BA could learn from this, specially the being polite part, since you can go to buy something in the store and if the clerck isnt in a good mood, it will show! But i guess this rudeness is a huge cities thing? even in this thread people said that in USA huge cities people are more rude, cause of course people is more stressed in big cities. I did noticed that in LA peopel werent as friendly.

Ignorance: Basically, people from USA think that anything southern than USA, its Mexico! They asked us all the time if we only ate tacos and how come we werent dark skinned? when we told them how was argentina like they looked at us with blank stares like we were talking about a new world or something. Weird!. Plus, they dont know nothing about geography, they know so little its hilarious. And i mean grown ups! .

Cars: everyone has cars, this is just unthinkable here! Girls 17 yo all have cars, and a family can easily have 4 or 5 or 6 cars! theres no way this would happen here! Not even in the rich families! Not even in my home city (a smaller city when a car is more useful and traffic isnt crazy like in BA) and no way in a million years you will find 4 cars in a home in BA. Actually, cars here and not an indispensable item. You can have it or you can never have it and its the same. In USA is the other way around.


Oh, and i have more but im gonna stop now, this is just too long!
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:47 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
15,534 posts, read 17,764,884 times
Reputation: 30881
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
They were two different statements in my post. In my post about wine I wasn't referring to McDonald's or Burger King. I was referring to sit-down, table-served family-type places like Olive Garden, Applebee's, etc.
Upon rereading your post, I now see what you were saying. I must point out though that Olive Garden and Applebees are barely a step up from McDonald's. They are basically "sit-down, table service" fast-food. Why would you want to open a bottle of wine to a dinner where the sauce was heated in the plastic bag it was shipped to the restaurant in?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Anyway, it's not a big secret that Americans aren't big wine drinkers (at least not by the standard of most Western countries). There is no value judgement there - just a fact. A majority of households in the U.S. don't even own a corkscrew!
I guess I lived a sheltered life. Not only did I assume everyone had a corkscrew in their house, I assumed everyone carried a knife with a corkscrew in case they came across a bottle while away from the house ;-)

Also, until recently I worked in a restaurant, (a bar-and-grill, not fine dining) that serves 20+ bottles of decent wine (not to mention keg upon keg of micro-brews) per night. In backward and uncouth New Mexico, no less!
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Old 06-15-2011, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
21,960 posts, read 27,383,424 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
Upon rereading your post, I now see what you were saying. I must point out though that Olive Garden and Applebees are barely a step up from McDonald's. They are basically "sit-down, table service" fast-food. Why would you want to open a bottle of wine to a dinner where the sauce was heated in the plastic bag it was shipped to the restaurant in?
Agreed about the quality of Applebee's, etc. However, my point is that people in many other countries will still have wine with their meal when eating in these types of places. Many people will have wine with ANY type of meal. It's just what they always drink when eating.

Not so much in the U.S. it seems.
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