Sunday, December 13, 2009


After a week in Seattle I am clear on at least on thing about America: there is no typical American. I knew it would be difficult to stereotype a nation of about 308,000,000 people but I took my prejudices nonetheless. On arrival however I was immediately confronted with friendly people who themselves had strong opinions on Americans (of course not the ones living in Seattle). I therefore obtained a clear picture on the habits and customs of all Americans (from the point of the Seattleites). From talking to the locals I could conclude that: "the west coast is the best coast", "Seattleites are the most liberal Americans", "the most educated people in America" (this could be verified on wikipedia), as well as "the city with people that read the most in America". Personally I enjoyed the company of many of the locals (and non-locals living in Seattle). They are friendly and hospitable and talk slightly less than I expected. They are also knowledgeable on many other cultures and countries (but I should probably mention that most of the people I spoke to were academics). Lastly, any nation with individuals that can function in the imperial system can not be totally unintelligent and I am really glad that the Swedes don't use ounces, miles, feet, gallons, fahrenheit, dollars (and quarters = 0.25 dollars), inches, etc.

Seattle is located in between an ocean inlet and lake Washington. In addition the Olympic mountains and the Cascade mountain range (including mount Rainier) are visible on clear days:

Seattle is also known for the space needle:

with stunning views from the top:

Seattle is also famous for Starbucks coffee and a visit would not be complete without a cup from the first Starbucks (1971), located at the famous Pike Place Market.

The coffee is quite nice (slightly better than average) and not very expensive. I suspect that the coffee culture in Seattle also influence the way Seattleites see themselves as asking for a "Skinny Tall Latte with Wings" would the reduce bravdo of any immigrant Texan.

Lastly, a few things about Americans are true, even in Seattle. They have huge cars (even if they claim that the cars in the south are bigger). Food are served in very large portions while soft-drinks are continuously refilled in 50cl glasses to complement meals. I also found that some services are not as smooth and efficient as in Sweden (it is however at some places still much better than in South Africa).

All in all, I would like another visit to the home of the brave and the land of the free, this time with Carina, before I make any decisions on staying in America.


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