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I've traveled around the world. I've been all over. I've seen it all. Courtesy of Google Earth.
I've always felt that western countries are lacking in something, but I couldn't identify exactly what it is until recently when I was looking around Cartagena and Medellin in Colombia and Bangkok (Manila isn't yet covered by google street view). I was imagining really being there and what it would feel like. Then I realized what it is about places like that.
1) You never know what's round the corner.
In the UK where I live you have the high street where nearly all the shops and businesses are, and then you have residential streets where there's nothing but houses (which mostly look the same), the exceptions being the occasional pub (usually on a corner) or a corner shop. The closer you get to central London the more unpredictable it gets and there's more of a mix, but mostly it's predictable. And in almost every town centre you get the same large chains. Then you have areas that have a different feel to them. Some are one way, others are another way. You almost always know where you stand. Each area has its own feel (albeit very similar). It's good in one way, because at least you know what to expect and can get what you need regardless of where you are, but it's also very boring and predictable.
In south east Asia, latin america, and probably other places too, you just don't know what's round the corner. You could be walking past a small restaurant and then next door is a hotel, followed by a patch of grass and a bit of rubble, then a bike shop, then someone's house, then a school, then a couple more houses or apartments, then a computer shop, then a bar, etc etc. It doesn't matter if you're in the middle of town or in the outskirts, you never know what's coming up next. Go to google earth and zoom into the middle of Bangkok and look at it. Then look at the outskirts. Whereas if you're in central London, you know it. The architecture and the monuments and the style of the streets tells you. There's not a huge difference. Then you have Manila, a collection of random areas lumped together in any old order. It's mix and match everywhere.
It's a lot more interesting. In London, a big deal is made of anything that is even remotely of any quality,and the rest is boring and average. In these other countries, good quality is the norm, and it's just not a big deal. The architecture doesn't stand out, and there's no sense of grandeur, but when you look closely you can see all sorts of interesting stuff going on.
2) People live their lives on the street.
There's so much action on the streets of south east Asian and Latin American streets. It's nothing spectacular, just normal every day life. but it's really interesting to see it on display. In western countries people don't do that. The only people who do are the scum class, people living in housing estates, the kind of people you'd see on the Jeremy Kyle show, and actually it's quite interesting even though it's low class behaviour you're seeing. And when you see a bench in a public place, it's most likely used by bums rather than normal people. In Spain, a bench in a square is for normal people. In London, unless it's in the centre, a bench is a hangout for bums. And whereas cafe culture is real and genuine in places like Spain, Italy and France, in England it's a pretentious attempt at being cool.
But in these other countries you can see real life. Normal life. Nothing spectacular, just people out on display. And it's so interesting. It's effortless. And I think living in places like that must be more enriching and satisfying than living in a place where everyone is locked away and living in their own bubble.
Whereas western countries try to compensate for their boring lifestyle with monuments, grandeur, tall buildings and hype, non western countries, especially the warm ones, just put ordinary life out on display, and that makes it far more fascinating. You can't predict it. You could be looking for a place and have absolutely no idea what it's going to look like. There are no visual anchors, no familiarity, no pattern. Even the layout of the streets is totally different. Look at London or almost any US city. You've got a small city centre, and then the rest is an anonymous sea of suburbs that stretches for mile upon boring mile. But look at Barcelona, Bangkok, Manila, Rome, Medellin etc, it's a random maze with different layouts side by side.
So I think that one big reason why non western countries are more interesting is that they prioritize real life, and let it speak for itself without any hype. It's like living art. It makes life much more interesting and satisfying.
Some people will say that the only reason why traveling is appealing is because other places are different on the outside, but that really everywhere is the same. That's not true. There are high quality people, and there are bad quality people, there are high quality cultures, and there are low quality cultures. Some cultures really are superior to others. Same with women.
Wow! Guess I'm not the only one that enjoys walking in big cities. I've done this in both Manila and BKK. Manila wasn't my cup of tea and I walked thru areas of town that I didn't feel safe. At 6'4 and 220 lbs most folks leave me alone but some guy attempted to steal my wallet in Ermite District of Mania.
I've never had any problems in BKK which is definitely turning into my favorite city. My wife and I go to the Thai beaches but we definitely enjoy power walking in BKK. It's a blast!!! Certainly never boring but then again, I'm a city kid at heart.
Tell me about it, living in the suburbs is about as exciting as watching cement dry. There is no culture, no fun and nothing to do in the suburbs. You could almost die of boredom living the suburbs!
I may move into the city after all before I go insane living the boring suburbs! The suburbs are death to your social life.
"When I think about the idea of getting involved with an American woman, I don't know if I should laugh .............. or vomit!"
"Trying to meet women in America is like trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics."
Yup, the only authentic street life I see during the day in my home time is various permanently unemployed dirtbags roaming around seemingly aimlessly before going to sleep in the public library or whatever, as well as a surprisingly large number of wasters going around picking up discarded cigarette butts.
At the grocery store an obligatory greeting I've been hearing from cashiers lately is "Have a safe day!" Not have a "nice day" or a "good day" but a safe day. What? Is the day normally unsafe? Do I normally dodge bullets, encounter tidal waves, and get into car chases on my drive home from buying bread at the grocery store?
To me this is why the West is so boring. Everyone is completely obsessed with safety, with everything. I mean, I don't know. Not dying is nice and all. But it gets ridiculous. For example, I pick wild blackberries and raspberries during the summer. About half the people I know refuse to eat them simply because they're wild and "there could be diseases" or "they could be poisonous." Everytime I say I'm going to do anything at all here, I get a rebuttal of "I heard on the news that ____." To paint a f***ing garage door here I have to read through and sign about 25 pages of liability documents for a company. I don't know, I heard a Russian telling a story about how when he was a kid he'd go to the forest and dig up WWII hand grenades and tank shells and blow them all up in a bonfire. Obviously doing that is unsafe by any measure. But in USA most states ban even lighting off tiny firecrackers. There's an attempt to plastic coat, dull, blaze orange, whatever, everything and anything in USA to make it safer, but it rarely even succeeds at even making it safer. There's a push to ban toys especially, for being "unsafe" and it's absolutely disgusting to me to do this, as it robs kids of a proper childhood.
These are banned here in USA. Because oh no, they could hit a kid in the eye! The EZ-Bake oven is now banned, because kids could burn their fingers on it.
We are just a country of quite simply, tremendous pussies. "Safety" is the number one goal in all of life here in USA, not actually enjoying life. This is why the West is boring.
Last edited by onethousandknives on August 7th, 2015, 1:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Bingo! Just as I said it before: A lot of men are frustrated in life because they lack MALE testosterone!
It has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with being told what to say. it's contrived and unnatural. I'd rather have sincere bad service than insincere good service. Unless it's something really important.
I wasn't talking about that aspect even, though that is a weird mostly US culture thing, too.
But what I said still stands about the "safety" aspect of USA.
I would even say the safety thing applies to human interaction. In USA I've noticed, if I pass by an Eastern European or Asian person, they may just not care I exist. And that's fine. But I notice with Americans, if you pass by someone on the street, generally they'll shy away from you in an intentional attempt to avoid contact with you, not because they don't care you exist, but because they're literally afraid of strangers.
Yeah, there's kind of an "insect-inclination." It's like always trying to put something in a category or a division. The way with information can be like that, too. No simultaneity or fluctuation included, just "one step, two step, three step- same way every time" type of shit. Such mental rigidity is astounding. Also, it's like there's a drive to have a specific "move" for everything.
Friedrich Nietzsche writes about this in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The last man Nietzsche predicted, would be one response to nihilism(notice all the dooms day shit on this website?). The last man is tired of life, takes no risks, and seeks only comfort and security. He fears the pain of hunger; he fears sleeping in the cold; he fears injury and death at the hands of others. He desires the comfort and ease that a paycheck provides, despite the mediocrity and lack of fulfillment that his job provides. He believe that conformity is the only option. He lacks the imagination, courage, and ambition to think of new, more exalted forms of life. These are the Hollow Men, the Stuffed Men about whom T.S. Eliot wrote. These are the Last Men. According to Nietzsche, the goal of the modern State is to change the whole of mankind into this Last Man. “It is the purpose of all culture simply to breed a tame and civilized animal, a domestic pet.” The last man is the goal that Western civilization has apparently set for itself. The lives of the last men are pacifist and comfortable. Every individual lives equally and in "superficial" harmony. There are no original or flourishing social trends and ideas. Individuality and creativity are suppressed.
The society of the last man would go against the theoretical Will-to-Power, the main driving force and ambition behind human nature; as well as all other thriving life, in the universe. Nietzsche said that the society of the last man would be too barren and decadent to support the growth of great individuals. The last man is possible only by mankind's having bred an apathetic creature who has no great passion or commitment, who is unable to dream, who merely earns his living and keeps warm. The last men claim to have discovered happiness, but blink every time they say so.
Onethousandknives: Good observations. Look at that bullshit garage door laser. It's a better idea to have what came before it: the door would come back up if it encountered resistance on the way down. This way, if someone was under it, they wouldn't get crushed. Now there's this laser beam that not only makes it an inconveinence to close the door, but doesn't work as well because a kid could have easily have their leg under the door where the beam wouldn't be broken & the door would keep coming down. It's a less safe measure of doing things that causes more problems. Yet, the law gets pissy if you don't get those installed.