10 Quirks about America you don’t know yet
After we’ve already
given 10 quirks about Mexico,
we’re giving 10 about Americathis week. This is actually the most peculiar country we have come across. It’s really a different world. Read here what makes America so peculiar. This way you are better prepared when you go there! Have fun with the quirks about America.
Going to the restaurant and eating something there is without a doubt completely different than with us. For starters, the operation is different. The waiter welcomes you when you come in and takes you to a place he/she chooses for you. You rarely walk into a restaurant and choose your own place. Not only this is separate, but also the fact that they clean your plate immediately when you’re done eating. Even though your partner is still working. We would find this very rude, but in America it is the custom. They also pay the bill on their own when they find that you are not going to order anything anymore. Going to a restaurant in America is a good test where you will notice differences between Europe and America. We didn’t find going on restaurant in America sociable. Americans just do it for food. Purely functional and not because it is ‘cosy’ or ‘fun’.
If anything can be said about Americans, it is that they come across as aloof and reasonablycool. Many Americans are reserved and won’t be addressing or greeting you anytime soon. In shops or at the café this is completely different. Here the vendors or servers are énorm friendly, but this does come across as fake. They will almost always enthusiastically and exaggeratedly ask:‘Hi, how are you doing?’. And in addition, they often give you a compliment. All this made us feel bad about the average American. Not very sincere and sometimes even false. Of course, not every American will be like this, but we have (often) gained this impression there.
Not only do we find Americans aloof,but they’re certainly not modesteither. In fact, many Americans often talk about themselves and like to brag about themselves. We, as modest Europeans, do not always enjoy talking to Americans. Of course we got to know other people, such as the family from Durham where we were allowed to stay. These people were incredibly sweet and down to earth. Frankly, they looked more European than Americans. They even drove a European car where you have to switch (not automatic). Anyway, Americans are by no means modest and see everything as great. Take them into account and let them just be who they are.
In America, they are also very much ahead of us in many areas. We sometimes thought it was ‘the land of the future’. That’s not always positive, but it’s usually special and fascinating to see. For example, when we booked from Uber, we were asked if we wanted to be taken from A to B in a self-driving car. So this is a car where there is no driver present. The car is completely self-contained. We found this a bit scary and turned down the offer. In other words, we in Europe are really not ready for this, but in America it is possible.
In America, it is also customary to always tip after leaving a café or restaurant. How much you tip depends on how well you liked the service. Usually 18 to 20 of your account is the usual number you tip. That seems like a lot, especially when you know that the prices in restaurants are already quite high. But if you don’t, you could risk a fine. So not tipping is a criminal offence in America, and you do better. Maybe you already knew this… but we think this is one of the quirks about America.
The way you
go to the beach in Mexico,
the reverse is true in America. In America, you won’t see crowded beaches where visitors bring plenty of food and drink and play loud music. It is even forbidden to bring alcohol on the beach. In general, no alcohol is tolerated on the street, but on the beach they are extra strict on this. Going to the beach in America we actually thought boring. There is little atmosphere to experience.
There are also strict rules on the metro. For example, it is not allowed to eat and drink on the subway. With us, it’s different. We often drink and eat something on the bus or tram or metro. We in America didn’t even dare to open a bottle of water on the subway because the prohibition signs that are present in the subway seem very impressive. There is also regular monitoring here so be warned!
Maybe you already know this, but maybe it’s new to you, too. In America, soft drinks are (almost) free to order anywhere. So you order and pay for a glass of Coke (or water) once and during the entire time you stay in the store this glass is refilled free of charge by the waiter (or in self-service restaurants you do this yourself). As mentioned before, in America it is not the intention to go out for a ‘cozy’ and long dinner. So it’s not really the intention to stay in the restaurant for hours. But in principle you can just keep drinking ‘for free’ all night. This does not apply to alcoholic beverages. According to us, this one is a nice one in this list of quirks about America.
Another remarkable thing in America is television. The programs they broadcast are surrounded by huge commercial breaks. There is in fact more advertising than the actual TV show to see. This we found a very annoying way to watch TV. It’s definitely not relaxing. That’s why most Americans have Netflix.
This allows them to watch tv shows and movies undisturbed. We think that ordinary television is almost certainly dying out there. In Belgium, people still follow a lot of TV programmes or certain channels, but that is not the case there. Not only the TV programmes are full of advertising, but also on the radio you hear nothing but advertising. There is little music and a lot of advertising. And also the kind of advertising is sometimes very different than with us. For example, it advertises loans and even competitors such as Apple and Samsung attack each other directly in advertising campaigns. Something that is forbidden in Belgium.
If there’s one thing you need to know for sure about America, it’s that the military and the country are sacred. Anything to do with the military and military action is sacred to the Americans. Their patriotism is enormous and can almost be seen as a belief. We have seen a huge amount of commemorations and military action in the month and a half we have been in America. Everything that has to do with the military gets a lot of respect and attention. You’ll also be constantly reminded that you’re in America, because everywhere you see the Star-Spangled Banner (the flag of America) and once a week you’ll hear the national anthem. For a sports match or at yet another commemoration. It’s a big deal for the Americans, and they attach great importance to it. So be respectful when you hear the national anthem and try to follow the crowd in their ritual as best you can. So these were the quirks about America.
10 Quirks About America
We could tell more quirks about America, but we’ll be busy forever. Do you find America, like us, very surprising and unusual? Or do you not like this at all? Let me know what you think of this huge country!
Would you like to learn more about America? We would like to introduce you to this special country in our personal blog.
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