of Australians and Americans

World Youth Day - Part I - The Pilgrims Pilgrimage

Simpson and his donkey

One of the things that I have always found interesting is the fundamental differences in approach of Australians when compared to that of Americans. Of course these are dangerous generalisations. But on the whole they hold true of the people I have met. It is mostly true of the sort of people I travel with.

Australians are always worried about creating distortion and of overpaying. So they want to preserve a place as it is. They reject change, especially change that they might have caused. So they think that to be friendly in their interaction is to leave a small footprint of their existence. They do not want to make the world a giant theme park designed to cater to Australian tourists.

Americans are mostly concerned with the experience. They treat the world as a giant theme park. On the money side, if it is cheaper than the price in the USA, then it must be a bargain. They treat the world as just another part of the USA, with an interesting folkloric content.

An example with food. In Beijing I was disappointed at how expensive the food was. It was in the price range 15 to 30 yuan. (@ about 8 yuan to $1 AUD.) This is because in Harbin I had meals for 2 or 3 yuan. Maybe the meals in Beijing were of a higher quality, but not that much better. If the Americans get a meal for this price they are astounded at how cheap it is and want to give a heft tip to make up the embarrassing difference. Perhaps the Americans are happier, if not a little poorer.

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