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Travel tips on coming to America

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In a recent Yahoo article, a few travel tips from different countries were translated with Google Translate into English so Americans can know what foreigners think of them. Like some stereotypes about New York City, there is a reason stereotypes exist, be it from history or present. But sometimes things are exaggerated simply because of the other person's perception, be it based on experience or misinterpretation.

Despite the bottled water craze going on in America, tap water is fine in most areas. It tastes more or less the same. The only difference is the tap water is free, and bottled water costs at least a dollar depending on where one purchases it. Montezuma's Revenge does not exist in the United States of America.

The Germans, however, have it spot on about the inconsistencies of American boundaries. Americans are never consistent when they say "I'll call you.", "Let's get together sometime!", or "See you later." In fact, see you later is just a casual way to say good bye. The people may never see each other again, yet Americans say it out of habit. A lot of times, things are said out of politeness without real meaning, such as "We should get together sometime." It is similar to how most people friend someone on Facebook after meeting them once only never to speak to them again.

Switzerland has it almost right regarding American conservative culture regarding drinking, nudity, and urination. Of course, it is illegal to urinate anywhere in public although people do it, especially after a drunken night out. Topless beaches do exist though, but they are not as common. Here is a list of America's best nude beaches, if one so desires.

While the Australians were correct that Americans love politics, regardless of whether they know what they are talking about or not, it is not as abrupt as mentioned. A more realistic conversation would go something like this. Bob: "Where are you from?" Jane: "I'm from Canada." Bob: "Oh, I sure wish I lived closer! I'd get all of my prescription pills there! Your healthcare is cheap!" Jane: "Yes, government healthcare. We love it!" Bob: "Yes. What do you think the improvements will be to the healthcare system in America with Obamacare based on experience with socialized healthcare in Canada?" Depending on what America is doing in the world at the time an American travels, the Australian example of abruptly bringing up politics would be done best by a foreigner. When traveling during the second war with Iraq, the minute a person found out that the traveler was American, it was them who brought up politics by saying "Your country is making some bad decisions." or "Do you know anyone fighting in Iraq right now?" As for the water that greets people when they open a toilet lid, the only water one really has to worry about is when there is water ON the toilet seat the night before. Now, depending on who the person is, that might incite some violence if he finds out who did not clean up their mess. But aside from that, toilets are not violent in America.

Travelers from the UK are as likely to catch West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis and dengue fever as they are to catch the Mad Cow disease across the pond. Mosquito bites are common, but diseases from them are rare. Just wear repellent at night if camping in the woods and stay away from swamps. But yes, Americans are proud of their old world connections. Yet, they cannot speak Italian, Polish, German or where ever they claim to be from, nor have they been to the "mother country". It mostly has to do with food and drinking!

Whichever Indian said “Based on my experience everyone need to bring almost every basic thing you need on a daily basis.” must have made a wrong turn and landed in another country when he wanted to come to America. Has he not seen American serving dishes of food, the size of a slab of meat here, family size this and king size that?

The Russians perceive American happiness a bit differently. It is not that Americans are taught to be happy from the cradle onwards. It is a part of American psychology taught from little up that one must smile and be happy. It is not good to discuss problems because everyone wants to be around only positive people. Nobody wants to be seen as the negative one. The power of positive thinking has been instilled in the American mind, and people who do not live it or fake it are an outcast to society. Even if one is a victim, it is not "cool" to be perceived as one. One must always flex his muscle and show how strong he is. Such is the superficiality of etiquette in the United States, just as the empty concept of "We should meet up at some point!" Perception is reality even though reality it is not.

Believe it or not, the most obscene statement was made by the Japanese about American food not being subtle and how Americans can’t make hamburgers at home. American food is as diverse as the people. America is the land of immigrants, and American food is a cuisine of immigrants. But that does not mean that American cuisine is only hamburgers. Perhaps they have never heard of beef and noodles over mashed potatoes or tuna noodle casserole. Those are better comfort foods to many Americans than a hamburger. And yes, hamburgers can be made at home. Grocery stores sell beef patties premade and packages of ground beef that can be made into patties. Every variety of hamburgers can be made at home, even a McDonalds Big Mac. There is many varieties of American food, whether it be home or in a restaurant or subtle or not subtle.

Like the pressure to be seen as positive, a survivor, or a hero in America, there is also pressure not to drink the most out of everyone unless one is at a fraternity party. A six pack a night is no big deal in some cultures. A glass of wine with meal has been the drink of choice for many countries, yet it is still catching on amongst mainstream America. But yes, Americans are quick to label if they deem too much alcoholic beverage has been consumed. If one is at a party and an accident happens, don’t expect to be invited back.

So hopefully this rebuttal can relax some people a bit before getting on the plane. It’s really not a big deal to come to America. Just be polite and have fun!

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