I finally got to writing my Memoirs. In the process, I remembered my many cultural shocks. If you traveled the world over as I did, you may recognize some of your own experiences.
THE “WEST” AND “SORT OF WEST”
- USA: Americans think only they are sane. The rest of the world thinks Americans are insane and they are sane. And everything in America looks and tastes the same, and their girls are xenophobic.
- Russia: Taking a bath is against the rules unless you do it in vodka.
- Holland: Bikers don’t look right or left and run you over, yelling YOU are stupid. Plus ample dog poop and the only place where I got robbed three times over the years by the same people. Guess once: Starts with an “M”, Holland’s most popular ethnic Moroccan invaders.
- Belgium: Toilet paper cut from old newspapers and no sinks to wash your hands. Language either Flemish or Walloon, either way unintelligible. Breakfast: French fries, mussels, and beer (or “rouge”, red wine). Lots of smokers.
- France: Toilets with black holes, no seats, and pissed-over footsteps and no sinks to wash your hands. Plus subway stink is the world’s worst. And heaps of dog and pigeon poop. Food is way too expensive and waiters are rude. And French love is a myth. Americans in Paris made that up because they don’t know what love is either, only in the movies. But I made some very good friends and had lovely moments.
- Spain: Males can’t leave a girl alone. Females are locked up 24/7. And I can’t sing serenades in Spanish.
- Portugal: As many windmills as in Holland. They look spooky. Don Quixote traveled from Spain to Portugal to fight them.
- Italy: Males can’t leave a girl alone. And females eat too much pasta. And there’s too much pigeon poop, too.
- Germany: One menu only: bier, wurst, und sauerkraut. And too much hoompa hoompa.
- England: no menu at all, only rain, and after joining the EU they still drive on the wrong side of the road. Maybe that will change after Brexit.
- Ireland: All Irish have gone to New York to join the Democratic Party. Only Poles and Romanian pickpockets are left.
- Scotland: Rain, cold weather, smoking chimneys, and nobody speaks English.
- Switzerland: Swiss-French unintelligible; Swiss-German unintelligible, Swiss Italian, well, who knows; I don’t speak Italian. Traffic priority signs for frogs, cows, and turtles. The Swiss put holes in their cheese to attract American off-shore money. Raclette sits in your stomach for two weeks and causes terrible farts that kill your co-worker in seconds.
- Rwanda: Twice destroyed in thirty years with old colonial help.
- Burundi: Twice destroyed in twenty years with old colonial help.
- Central African Republic: snakes in and/or under your bed, wasps in your toilet, and pygmies running between your legs.
- Cameroon: The food looks great but you can’t eat it.
- Congo-Kinshasa: Everybody cheats.
- Congo-Brazaville: Nobody cheats. It’s forbidden by law.
- South Africa: Go visit a shopping mall to get shot at and run for your life.
- Tanzania: Dar es Salaam has too many SUVs and nobody knows how they were paid for.
- Kenya: Wildlife is for tourists and the airport road is to kill the tourists.
- Ethiopia: The table cloth is edible but you wouldn’t think that when you go to bed.
- Mali: That’s where Timbuktu is and when I got there I finally understood why everybody says it’s nowhere.
- Guinea: Why for heaven’s sake did the colonialists put that country on the map?
- Ivory Coast: Must be called Côte d’Ivoire to show it was once French and that’s why it is what it is.
- Ghana: The only place in Africa on the West Coast that seemed to work because it had a direct KLM flight from Amsterdam.
- Nigeria: The one place in Africa that should work but doesn’t. Night flight out to safety.
- Bangladesh: Delicacy: cockroached curry. Eating with your fingers; spit reservoirs in every corner of every corridor; toilets are bastions of urine, providing the main perfume in office buildings; and beware of the Dhaka “run” if you want to survive.
- India: more of the same, but a little bit more sophisticated and the best food in the world. And heavenly Kashmir should be declared neutral territory for everyone to enjoy, not just Islamists, not just Hindus, not just Pakistanis. Just let it be.
- Malaysia: A mushroom garden with millions of multicolored edible mushrooms and a McDonald’s in Kuala Lumpur. What a place to live.
- Singapore: The country that everyone wants to ape but only Singaporeans know how to run.
- Taiwan: The only place where China is not China but everyone speaks Chinese and a tree you can slide through to become rich if you don’t fear getting stuck in the middle for the rest of your life.
- Philippines: Manila TV is like American TV – just as awful. In the countryside you find its beauty, but you may get struck by a typhoon.
- Indonesia and Bali: Djakarta is like Lagos, but outside the city, Java is a jewel. And on Bali, they serve the best suckling pig on earth. Go visit Bali’s interior to see the real Indonesia and its terraced rice fields. Heaven on earth. But the hotel bills are hellish.
- Hong Kong: British geniality mixed with Chinese Confucianism. Foremost a good cuisine, especially on the street, but everyone wondered how long the good life of one country two systems would last when the Brits handed it over to Communist China. The day of reckoning has come.
- China: More bikers than in Holland, and I never had real Chinese food before, not even in Amsterdam or NY China Town.
- Macao: Beware! Bought my wife a sapphire ring that turned out a piece of colored glass.
- Japan: Plastic food in the window is for show and not for eating. You must bow when meeting people in the elevator. And even a GPS can’t find where you’re going.
- Hawaii: advertised as little Asia but no, it’s pure America.
- Saudi-Arabia: The place where beautiful women are kept in hiding and your head gets cut off if you dare looking at them when they come strolling out after 11 p.m., or for saying something about their beauty.
- Lebanon: A Falafel tastes as good as a bomb.
- Jordan: An oasis in the desert and the only place in the Middle-East where I could ride a horse, have dinner in the open with a lovely woman, and feel at home, and where I might have stayed if she had said “yes.”
- Guyana: Loud. Loud dogs, loud crickets, loud vehicles, loud music, loud people but great curry and the best rum in the world. Drives on the wrong side of the road because the British stole Guyana from the Dutch in the 100-year European wars. Beautiful and savvy women, always showing a pleasant smile; and everything stays the same.
- Surinam: Neighbor of Guyana and awfully isolated but Surinamers don’t mind. People speak fluent Dutch (the only country outside Holland and Flemish Belgium that does) as Surinam was a Dutch colony until 1975. My greatest shock was that while speaking Dutch they are not Dutch at all, and their beautiful women bite.
- Curacao: The place to live but too expensive to retire.
- Bonaire: For scuba divers and iguana lovers only.
- Jamaica: The place where I spent my Millennial and tore both of my shoulder tendons when climbing back into my capsized sailing boat, leaving me burdened with lifelong Jamaicanitis.
Mars Man is back at Lu Kung Si’s office in the Empire State Building for an interview with the Governor of China’s Province America. Mars visits Lu on behalf of Mars City TV which is interested in hearing Lu’s views about China’s Plans to invade Mars to make it a Chinese Province as well. The interview is relayed through Omaha TV with charming anchor Kathryn. Lu speaks first.
“You know, Mars, that Planet Earth’s Napoleon in his days already said that China was a sleeping giant and that Planet Earth should worry when it awoke. You see what happened to what was previously called the USA. You ask what China’s Plans are for Mars? Tell your audience they would never have it any better: daily access to Peking Duck and Chinese food, the main staple of America’s carry outs, even long before it became a Chinese province.”
“May I remind you Lu that Mars people have different bodies than you have. We live underground, have worm farms, plant farms, eat olms, salamanders, and wild bats, a delicacy as good as Peking Duck. We do not keep messy flee-infested poultry. Chinese could not live on Mars.”
“China would build structures above ground, Mars, acclimatized to Planet Earth conditions, bringing in our own food and drinks.”
“Unlike Planet Earth, we manage our climate and would make sure that storms, heat and cold would wipe you off our surface. My wife Kathryn cannot come with me. I have to come here but I have the ability to change into a human body, and that’s a secret you cannot steal.”
“I must remind you not to speak in adversarial terms, Mars. China does not steal. We acquire technology through partnerships, ‘Made in China.’ Find me one box in Province America without that label. We make things together and in exchange, we use our label. Walmart likes it, so does QVC and so many others, and so do we. Those that do not go out of business.”
“Lu, on Mars, we do not use cheap malnourished Chinese labor to make a profit on what we sell. You have no future on Mars. So spare yourself the trouble and stay away.”
“You don’t understand China, Mars. China aims to rule the universe and Mars will be one of our provinces in space from where we dominate Planet Earth.”
“Mars will import redundant flatulence from the failed New Green Deal and make your landing impossible.”
“Don’t fool yourself, Mars. We acquired NASA and the Russian Space Station. We put our footprint on the Moon. Mars will be next. Venus and Jupiter will follow.”
“The inhabitants of these planets will eat you alive, Lu. Contrary to Marsians, they like Chinese food. It’s a suicidal move.”
“China has 1.5 billion people and that’s too many. We must ship the overload off to space, starting with the Tibetans and Urghs, and unruly residents of Province America. Those deplorables as defined by comrade Hillary Clinton, including racists, sexists, homophobics, xenophobics, Islamophobics. Like the Brits did with sending their criminal crop to Australia. Only true collaborators of China are allowed to remain on Planet Earth.”
“How will China get to Mars?”
“Before you leave, we will X-ray your body to re-engineer it and replicate it for our own use.”
“X-rays do not work on my body, Lu. Besides, if you try that I will turn you into a Mars bar with devastating power. When somebody eats that bar, that person will also turn into a Mars bar, and so on. That might be a better policy to deal with your population problem.”
“Don’t try April Fools Pranks on me, Mars. I can arrest you for disrespect of a senior Chinese official. I insist you follow me to our health room.”
Lu rises, but his face and body crumble with a painful scream. All that’s left on his desk is a Mars bar.
When Mars Man leaves Lu’s office, he pushes the icon ‘Utilities’ on his smartphone to restore Lu to his human condition. He needs him for further interviews but knows that Lu will think twice before trying to take his body next time.
Talking China: Some of you may remember Mars Man, Chief Anchor at Mars City TV, married to Kathryn of Omaha TV in a happy mixed extraterrestrial marriage. Mars Man visits Omaha TV regularly, landing in a nearby razed cornfield with Space Scooter One. In view of all the current talk about trade negotiations with China, we repeat Mars Man’s visionary interview a year ago with Lu Kung Si, China’s Governor of the US, about the status of the former US, which is now a prosperous province of China, with the help of Bernie Sanders.
“Dear viewers, I am Kathryn Holliday, spouse of our dear Mars Man. Today we air Mars Man’s long-awaited interview with Lu Kung Si, China’s US representative, in his new office at the Empire State Building in New York, taped last July. We do not have permission from Lu Kung Si to air this interview, but we do so on behalf of Mars TV. Mars City TV, are you connected? All right, here we go:
Mars Man: “Lu, nice meeting you again. You have a magnificent office here. You can see the whole world. On a clear day, you can even see Beijing. On the other hand, I hear you have no clear days in Beijing.”
Lu: “Thanks for your welcoming words Mars Man, but we Chinese usually are more polite at the start of an interview instead of throwing mud.”
Mars Man: “Blame my Americanization for this, my apologies. After all, the US has been sending these rovers to Mars and they infected us with their bad manners.”
Lu: “You are forgiven, but I must give you a red flag in accordance with Chinese State Rule 180437. No democracy or free speech here anymore. One more and you are out the door.”
Mars Man: “How are you dealing with the US now that you have submitted it to your communist culture of serfdom?”
Lu: “I warn you Mars Man for framing your questions in an adverse manner. Americans will retain freedom more or less like Hong Kong, within prescribed limitations. We use American security systems, which we borrowed from the NSA, to control the Americans. Besides, we have over one hundred scientific torture methods, including our well-known water drop and slow death by a thousand cuts. No Miranda rights and Department of Justice susceptibilities. We have abolished the ACLU and their members have all been sent to labor camps or been incarcerated for life.”
Mars Man: “That must discomfort many American citizens. On Mars, we are concerned about China’s militarism and aggressive totalitarian methods. After you have made the US your subsidiary, other countries of Planet Earth fear losing their freedom. We understand Europe is next.”
Lu: “Who says we do not belong to the free world? We have elections too, you know, but we keep order with our one party system. The US lost the taste for discipline. Other countries, including Europe, should learn from us and adapt. Several are communist already. President Obama was our avid student and did most of our preparatory work so that we could just walk in here and take over without fundamental change. It was too late for Trump to stop that.”
Mars Man: “But your mercurial capitalist policies are pure state rule and make everyone unhappy.”
Lu: “You remember former President Obama crying on TV that he had this messy democracy to deal with? That’s what brought down the US.”
Mars Man: “But all your excess money is invested in your military.”
Lu: “Has Mars forgotten Planet Earth’s history? A century ago, China was invaded by Japan, Russia and Western countries, including the US, and Shanghai was made into an American brothel. We suffered a lot of misery and we don’t want that to happen again.”
Mars Man: “All right, but where do you need all that weaponry for that was reportedly fabricated with what they say stolen US technology?”
Lu: “Mars Man, I must warn you. You sound if Mars is on the side of the West what’s left of it. We only need to open NASA’s files to invade Mars, don’t forget that.”
“Mars Man: “Point taken, Lu, but please answer the question.”
“Lu: On the stolen technology, that’s because we are good at stealing and reverse engineering. We know math. The American kids did not do their math to America’s peril. We must rule the world to protect China. ”
Mars Man: “On Mars, we thought the land of Confucius was the image of peace, wisdom, and respect for humanity. Didn’t he say ‘Don’t impose on others what you don’t wish for yourself?’”
Lu: “That’s grossly taken out of context. Don’t confuse Confucius with Western linear thinking. Confucius also said: ‘The cautious never err.’ Read our White Paper on China’s Peaceful Development. It’s on the Web.”
Mars Man: “I don’t read Chinese. Give me the gist, please.”
Lu: “It makes the case that China does not interfere with other countries’ internal affairs and does not bully other countries, such as America did. We only come when invited, as we were by Obama and Walmart.”
Mars Man: “Your child policy has created a massive growth of only male people. What are the sexual implications of that?”
Lu: “These are questions you are not allowed to ask. Remember our Rule 180437. Your former Vice President Joe Biden fully understands this one-child policy, so go and ask him.”
Mars Man: “Let me put it differently then. How will you deal with the striking increase in Chinese male homosexuality with all these single men? I thought homosexuality was forbidden in China. What do these guys do if there aren’t any girls left?”
Lu: “We have a vibrant girl doll production in China that can satisfy the most sexually driven men. They giggle, coo, wriggle, kiss, moan, and can do it up and down. The military gets them free. We have all types, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanics, you name it. Demand in Province America has already exceeded our wildest expectations. Even lesbians love them. I can send you our vendor list if you want.”
Mars Man: “Thanks but no thanks, Lu, they don’t work on our Mars bodies. Goodbye and see you next time.”
Kathryn of Omaha TV: “That was it, dear audience. OMAHA TV risks to be closed by the Chinese authorities for broadcasting this interview. Only NBC is still functioning with their communist staff under Chinese state control. Soon we will have to travel to Mars to get the real news.”
A blank screen appears.
Kathryn of Omaha TV: “Dear viewers. Today we show Mars Man’s long awaited interview with Lu Kung Si, China’s US representative, in his new office at the Empire State Building in New York, taped last July. As you know, we are now a prosperous province of China and have special permission from Lu Kung Si to air this interview unabridged. Mars City TV, are you connected? All right, here we go:
Mars Man: “Lu, nice meeting you again. You have a magnificent office here. You can see the whole world. On a clear day you can even see Beijing. On the other hand, I hear you have no clear days in Beijing anymore. Too much pollution?”
Lu: “Thanks for your welcoming words Mars Man, but we Chinese are usually more polite and wish you well at the start of an interview instead of throwing mud.”
Mars Man: “Blame my Americanization for this, my apologies. After all, the USA has been sending these rovers to Mars and they infected us with their bad manners.”
Lu: “You are forgiven, but I must give you a red flag in accordance with Chinese State Rule 180437. Two times more and you are out the door.”
Mars Man: “I hope that by that time our interview is over. Let me start. Soon the American people will remember the fiercest attack on their country by Islamic fanatics, as you know called 9/11. How are you dealing with this, now that you have submitted the USA to your own mentality of serfdom?”
Lu: “I warn you Mars Man for framing your questions in an adverse manner. Americans will retain a substantial freedom of action, more or less like Hong Kong, within prescribed limitations. As to their remembrance of 9/11, we will fully respect their memorial services and any ceremonies will be allowed. As to the Islamic threats, we have our own in China and we know how to deal with them. Islamic extremists will not be allowed to subvert our society, including those we annex. We will mainly use American security systems, which are quite adequate. Besides, now that those terrorists know we are here, they’ll think twice about trying to attack as they will be physically ripped apart without our blinking an eye. We have over one hundred scientific torture methods, including our well known water drop and slow death by a thousand cuts. No Miranda rights and Department of Justice susceptibilities. We have abolished the ACLU and their members have all been sent to labor camps or incarcerated for life.”
Mars Man: “That must comfort many American citizens. However, on Mars we have the impression that the remaining free world is uncomfortable about China’s militarism and aggressive stands. You have now by way of speaking annexed the USA and made it your subsidiary. Are the other countries of Planet Earth right to be concerned?”
Lu: “Who says we do not belong to the free world? We have elections too, you know, but we keep order with our one party system. The USA lost the taste for discipline. Other countries, including Europe, should learn from us and adapt. President Obama was our avid student and did most of our preparatory work, so that we could just walk in here and take over without fundamental change. He had already done that. However, he was a bit too eager and making such a mess of it that he was taking us all down the cliff. So we had no choice but to take over his regime to set things straight and save our own economy from collapsing too.”
Mars Man: “But your capitalist policies are pure state rule and your monetary policies are keeping the Yuan artificially low to encourage exports and keep imports to a minimum. Other countries’ economies are suffering from that.”
Lu: “This problem has been largely solved by our annexation of the USA. It emerged from a simple marketing strategy. Western economists do not make a distinction in our methodologies. We apply capitalist production and marketing policies, but do not accept democratic rule as that fouls up any sound economic system. The western socialists, and that includes Obama’s regime and his socialist cronies in that cackling Congress, don’t understand you need capitalist methodologies to compete and make money and fund your programs. You remember former President Obama crying on TV that he had this messy democracy to deal with? That’s what brought down the USA, as his efforts to impose a one party system collapsed with that Tea Party monster. Mao and Lenin used communist or socialist economic rules and it utterly failed. We have learned from that. Remember Ding Chao Ping? We only apply strict communist state rule to our country management to keep our large population in sync with our state policies. Russia does too. We do not indebt ourselves like Obama did. There is only so much you can tax and spend before the “other people’s money” runs out and you go belly up, as the USA did. We can sell cheaper because we are more efficient without all these ridiculous environmental regulations and do not burden our export industries to pay for nonsensical social programs that don’t work. We abolished all that and most Americans are happy with that. Chinese know how to take care of themselves and Americans will too. We keep our currency in check and don’t use the printing press like the American Bernanke did. There you have it in a nutshell.”
Mars Man: “And all the excess money you make is invested in your military.”
Lu: “Has Mars forgotten Planet Earth’s history? Do you forget that less than one hundred years ago, China was invaded by Japan, Russia and Western countries, including the USA, and that Shanghai was made into an American brothel? We suffered a lot of misery and we don’t want that to happen again.”
Mars Man: “All right, but where do you need all that weaponry for that was reportedly fabricated with what they say stolen technology?”
Lu: “Mars Man, I must warn you. You sound if Mars is on the side of the West what’s left of it. We don’t have plans to invade Mars, as the USA had. So know your friends when you ask questions like these or else we might have to start invading you too. I have to issue you a second red flag. Mind your words. On a Mars invasion, we only need to open NASA’s files, don’t forget that.”
“Mars Man: “Point taken, Lu, but please answer the question, since I am only at the second red.”
“Lu: On the stolen technology, that’s because we are good at stealing and reverse engineering. We know mathematics. The American kids did not to their peril and are now learning it again, and if they refuse they are sent to labor camps till they do. That’ll teach them a lesson. Others on Planet Earth steal as well, Pakistanis, Indians, Iranians. We keep a keen eye on these murky peoples. When their stealing is not in our interest and they get things before we do, we act, another reason why we had to come here. Now we don’t need to steal USA secrets anymore, as they belong to us. Made in larger China, if you wish. On the need for it, we have a large country to defend, and now that we have annexed the USA it is even larger. We want to make sure others respect us for what we are before they do us in. Taiwan and some Russian, Vietnamese and Japanese islands are disputed territory and when the time comes, we will reunite.”
Mars Man: “But is that not a belligerent tone? On Mars, we thought the land of Confucius was the image of peace, wisdom and respect for humanity. Didn’t he say “don’t impose on others what you don’t wish for yourself?”
Lu: “That seems a very liberal translation and grossly out of context. Don’t confuse Confucius with Western linear thinking. Confucius also said: “The cautious never err.” So we took our precautions and Obama gave us the key. He was glad to because he was in over his head, so we did him and the Americans a favor. Read our White Paper on China’s Peaceful Development. It’s on the Web.”
Mars Man: “I thought China had only pink paper and that’s what I found in Third World country bathrooms. But I can’t read Chinese. Give me the gist, please.”
Lu: “It makes the case that China does not interfere with other countries’ internal affairs and does not bully other countries, such as the past USA did all over. We only come when invited, as we were by Obama and Walmart, because Obama had lost his marbles and Walmart wanted to extend its market share of Chinese goods.”
Mars Man: “How does China intend to deal with its internal issues? As I said at the beginning, you have serious environmental problems. You can’t inhale a breeze of fresh air in Beijing and Shanghai isn’t much better. Then you have that one child policy that has created a massive growth of only male people. What are the sexual implications of that?”
Lu: “These are questions you are not allowed to ask and I am not willing to answer. Remember our Rule 180437. You got a third red flag and have to leave in five minutes or you will be thrown out by my personal thugs. The American former Vice President Joe Biden fully understands this one child policy, so go and ask him.”
Mars Man: “But you said you were a freedom loving nation where you can discuss these things openly, I suppose without handing out red flags?”
Lu: “Free in Chinese does not mean the same as free in English. I cannot answer your question because you don’t speak Mandarin.”
Mars Man: “Let me put it differently then. How will you deal with the striking increase in Chinese male homosexuality with all these single men? I thought homosexuality was forbidden in China. What do these guys do if there aren’t any girls left?”
Lu: “We have a vibrant girl doll production in China that can satisfy the most sexually driven men. They giggle, coo, wriggle, kiss, moan, and can do it up and down. The military get them free. We Chinese take care of our men. You can pack them in your briefcase, your rucksack, your pocket, blow them up at home or in your hotel, take them to the beach, whatever, and they act and feel just like real women. The added advantage is you can make love to them wherever and whenever you want, you never have a fight, no complaints about headaches if you know what I mean, they never age, and when you get tired of them you throw them out and buy a new one. We have all types, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanics, you name it. Demand in Province America has already exceeded our wildest expectations. Even lesbians love them. I can send you our vendor list if you want.”
Mars Man: “Thanks but no thanks, Lu, they won’t work with our Mars bodies. Thanks for the interview, Lu, very informative. I take your red flags as a souvenir back to Mars. Till soon.”
Kathryn of Omaha TV: “That was it, dear audience. I hope you had your remote handy for the kids during the last part of this interview. Mars Man is traveling back to Mars City. All the best and till next time when he and our panels meet again.”