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Dave discovers new appreciation of home

August 20, 2002 12:00 am

By DAVE SMALLEY

JUST BACK from an extensive trip through beautiful and cool Europe. It was a smashing time-as Austin Powers would say, “Yeah, baby!”-but as happens after most long trips, it feels great to be home. With that in mind, here are the Top Things That I Missed About the United States While Touring Europe This Summer:

1. Good showers. While the U.S. clearly loses the battle of beautiful architecture and inner city grandeur and glory, by George we’ve still got the edge in showers. A nice powerful blast of water dispersed through a modern shower head with plenty of hot water-don’t take it for granted, kids.

2. Television choices. While Europeans have centuries on us in terms of culture, art, music-basically the core of Western civilization-they lose out when it comes to TV. Britain is the worst offender, with a tiny handful of stations mostly run by the government and hence showing generally tedious programs (or “programmes” as they would spell it). Germany has more choices, but insists on broadcasting everything in-get this-German! While that is well and good for its population to better understand the shows, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard “The Simpsons” dubbed into German. Disturbing.

3. Businesses that stay open. It’s amazing how often stores in Europe are closed. While this might result in a better quality of life for workers, for a consumer it’s maddening. The people I met from different countries were mostly wonderful people, but they seemed surprised at my requests to find, say, a CD store that was open at 6 p.m., or a bank that was open on a Saturday morning. Even restaurants closed at what seemed to me to be peak eating times.

Don’t get me wrong-Europe is an amazing place of wonder and beauty. But it’s got its own wacky lifestyles that make it clear we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

-D.S.



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