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.
and Kathryn from Omaha TV
Kathryn of Omaha TV is on, Mars TV is connected, and Mars Man is with Barack Husain Obama in Honolulu in an undisclosed location under a coconut tree.
Kathryn: Go ahead, Mars Man, you are on!
Mars Man: Thank you, Kathryn. Viewers, we are here with the US President hiding in Hawai. Dear Mr. President, how does it feel to be on eternal vacation in your homeland?
BHO: I take the Fifth.
Mars Man: Excuse me, sir, but you are not in Congress. You can speak freely here, no fear. Your obedient servants in America must’ve felt that they needed that new car smell you talked about a bit earlier than you expected.
BHO: They’re misguided. My smell is pretty good. Just got half a gallon of aged Old Spice on sale in the drugstore. As for my eternal vacation, that’s in the eye of the beholder. Eric Holder will get me back soon.
Mars Man: But Holder has also been deposed.
BHO: He will find a subtle way, as he did with Fast and Furious. And there is still the Executive Order. And I have my pen and phone. And I still have a free Obama phone, and if they take that away, I have a few boxes of them left in my wine cellar here.
Mars Man: You must’ve heard that John Kerry went to Paris to apologize for your absence at the World Rally in Paris and that he was accompanied by a singer totally unknown in France nobody could hear.
BHO: We tried Beyoncé, but the Military blocked her from going. Joe Biden was willing, but he sings false.
Mars Man: You must feel pretty impoverished here in your new hiding space.
BHO: It’s no different from the White House. We were pretty broke, anyway. And have a lot of debt.
Mars Man: Something on the order of nineteen plus trillion, we hear. That’s a great legacy.
BHO: The same as other Presidents. Bill and Hillary were dead poor when they left. That freaky Bush had to sell his football club to pay off his. I’ll just write another book and get my money back.
Mars Man: Hillary’s publisher lost millions on hers.
BHO: Sure, but she kept the ten million dollar advance. I can write and speak a lot about my legacy, and they’re willing to pay me high fees in the millions, dwarfing Hillary’s extra fees for nonsense speeches about how poor she was. I grew up in the ghettos of Nairobi and Jakarta. I can talk about my birth certificate. Best hoax ever.
Mars Man: What legacy would you speak of?
BHO: I have many. Take Obamacare. Carries my name. Historical. Fast and Furious. To rub that silly nose of Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio in it. IRS Audits of those wealthy Republicans that yielded a lot of money from unlawful Cayman tax shelters, and stopped those subversive Tea Party extremists. Worth at least ten speeches at a million a pop.
Mars Man: But your Democrat party lost the elections.
BHO: You’re wrong. We won. Two-thirds didn’t vote because they supported my policies.
Mars Man: But the Republicans have the majority in Congress thanks to voters not supporting your policies.
BHO: All rubbish. What Republicans? They always cave when I raise my finger or call on Sharpton to blackmail them. Why do we need a Republican party anyway? One party, the Democrats, is good enough. Would save the taxpayers a lot of money.
Mars Man: What are the many other legacies?
BHO: Stopping the Keystone pipeline. After all, I have a lot of shares in Buffett’s railcars transporting oil. Solar energy, called Obamasun. Millions of acres covered with solar panels. All made in China. Biofuels. Windmill farms.
Mars Man: But we are told Solyndra went bankrupt with five hundred million taxpayer money gone down the drain, the electrical car got busted, and wind farms kill the American Eagle, your treasured national symbol.
BHO: In any war, be it drones or fossil fuels, we face collateral damage. An unintended consequence we shall have to accept as the cost of doing business. As for the national symbol, too bad for the bird, but Obama’s face would be good enough, especially because it’s black. And black is beautiful.
Mars Man: Benghazi was a major failure of your Administration. Four brave Americans dead among which your Ambassador. Why was that poopoed by your underlings?
BHO: I’ve said many times before that Benghazi was Hillary’s Department. I can’t help her three o’clock phone was off the hook. I tried my best to help her out by sending Susan around the Sunday shows and because Susan loves me she did a fabulous job. Everyone believed she told the truth, as we always do.
Mars Man: But you said you could keep your doctor, your insurance plan and pay much less premium, and none of that proved true.
BHO: That’s old hat. We’ve explained all that. Sometimes the truth is better not told.
Mars Man: What is your view on Trumps’s take-over of your Government?
BHO: It’s illegitimate. They won’t get away with it. My underlings have launched an appeal to the High Court.
Mars Man: Judge Roberts may not be as friendly to you this time as he was with Obamacare. Both of you seem to have peculiar views on what is legitimate. But the way we see it on Mars, things will be a lot better in the USA, even the world. Your trillion foreign debts are going to be paid off; demonstrations will stop, and Russia and China will shut up. The IRS will be abolished, and taxes will be greatly reduced. Americans believe in themselves again. People say they’re relieved not to see you on TV anymore with your hands wobbling while you’re running down the steps of Air Force One.
BHO: Don’t ridicule my daily exercise. I can’t play golf all the time. As for Russia, we made rubble of it. China needs our money for our Solyndra panels. Iran will get their bomb regardless, so why bother. Not even the military can do anything about that. It will put the Shiites and the Sunni Muslims on a level playing field. Israel has the bomb already, so why not Saudi Arabia, too.
Mars Man: People on Mars are glad we are away far enough when it all blows up.
BHO: That’s how it is said in the Scripts: doomsday is here. I said I would fundamentally transform America and I did. Even the world. You can’t take that away from me. That’s my greatest legacy. I have to go back to Michelle now. She promised me a dinner of suckling pig if I voted for her Senate seat.
Mars Man: Fair enough, Mr. President. Greetings from Mars…..
The TV screen goes blank because a bomb went off somewhere. We are trying to fix the connection.