Sunday, July 22, 2007


Back in the USA

I've spent a few days traveling in Florida and noticing how different things are. Everything seems bright, glossy, and new: houses, restaurants, streets, sidewalks. Cars-- besides being bright, glossy, and new-- are big. The people are big, too.

Perhaps it's a bit of reverse culture shock.

The resort towns in Florida are much wealthier than any of the balnearios I saw in Uruguay. I'm in Naples right now and it seems extremely rich. Some of the private homes along the ocean are as big as hotels.

I still hear lots of Spanish: in the stores, in restaurants, on the radio. I drove through a Hispanic neighborhood outside Naples yesterday. The houses were small and every driveway held 3, 4, or 5 vehicles, with pick-up trucks and contractor's vans outnumbering sedans. Strikingly different from Montevideo. My surface analysis: it's hard to live in the US without a car; cars are cheap relative to housing in South Florida; and jobs are so abundant here that anti-immigrant politics are being driven by culture, not economics.

Not surprisingly, it's really hot and humid here. (Although, unlike Uruguay, everything is air conditioned.) I'm finally comfortable with idea that it's both winter and summer at the same time, in different places. Intellectually, I'd known that since grade school, but emotionally it's starting to feel okay.

Restaurant food is different as well. To start, it's expensive relative to Montevideo. The service is different: you don't need to close your menu to indicate that you're ready to order and the waiters always visit you mid-meal to see if you need anything, which felt a little odd at first. There are many more dining options; I've had Cuban, Peruvian, and Thai food as well as Southern-style barbecue.


Yay!!! The blogs continues!!! Besides eventually getting to your surplus photos, hearing the description of your re-acclimation is great!
This is exactly what I wanted to ask you... After reading your blog for so many months, after knowing how you interpreted my country in such a clear way... it would be wonderful to have you introduce us to your place, share with us what is so natural for you but new for us. Would you please continue doing it?
There are houses like that in some zones of Punta del Este.
Hey, Chuck!! So back in the US?? How does it feel?? Well, I could read about that :) Did you learn a lot of Spanish??

And how's your family?? give them my regards, please!! I've been missing the US and the people so much!!!
I'm still checking everyday Chuck with my fingers crossed hoping for more--but we know you're busy. Hola to the family!
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