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For anyone who wants my perspective of each of the 12 countries I've been to, here are the pros and cons of each:
In case anyone's interested, here is the full text of my country summaries. Contrary experiences and observations are welcome.
America â€“ Itâ€™s where I grew up, and in a nutshell Iâ€™d say itâ€™s good for careers and if you like to work to death. But a nightmarish hell for dating and social life, as well as mental health, among the worst if not the worst. Very cliquish and non-inclusive (unless you go to a church). Hard to meet people too, as strangers rarely ever talk to each other unless introduced by mutual friends or for business-related purposes. Plenty of political and religious freedom, but the lifestyle is based on conformity to the rat race and excess consumption. (See Propaganda vs. real life in America ) Also, the people there tend to act too arrogant and bravado for my taste. Comparatively speaking, it is friendlier and more sociable in the Southern part of the country, and the folks who live inland are nicer and more down-to-earth in comparison to the folks on the coast who are snotty, stuck up, and live in a fake artificial world. Very beautiful and well-maintained National Park system though, plenty of diverse recreational areas for the outdoor adventurer. Great place for business and making money, but not for fun or for living life to the fullest.
Canada â€“ Similar to the US in some ways, but different in others. The people share the same values of independence, individualism and autonomy as the US does. But Canadians tend to be more educated and informed about the rest of the world than Americans are, and are more health conscious too. Hence, the people there are far thinner than Americans. Like the British, they are very polite and low key, but reserved and distant. (But without the British sarcastic dry humor of course) To me, they seem too distant and ghost-like for my taste, almost as if they were in a different dimension. Thus, I donâ€™t resonate with them much, and in fact, they donâ€™t even seem â€œthereâ€� to me. They arenâ€™t wild, festive or passionate the way that the countries I like are. But if you love quiet, peace, and seclusion, it is a nice place for that.
People there tend to be low key, mild mannered, and have good tempers. They donâ€™t get angry or lose their cool quickly the way Americans do. Nor are they as hateful of others whom they are against.
The country has plenty of fresh beautiful nature and national parks, a paradise for the outdoor adventurer. But the weather is mostly cold the majority of the year, too cold for my taste. The country prides itself on PEACE, as it does not like to get involved in foreign disputes, wars, and control/conquest like American does. Instead, it likes to remain neutral and live in peace. And thus, I am neutral about Canada too, as I donâ€™t love or hate it. Itâ€™s just â€œthereâ€�. Lol
The women are beautiful, many tall and thin white beauties. But they are very cliquish and distant. Easy to engage in polite conversation with, but hard to get dates with or involved with. When asked out, they tend to immediately say they have a boyfriend/husband or that they are too busy to date.
Taiwan â€“ Where I was born and my ethnic descent. Great food, superb family values and strict morals/ethics. But lacking in culture or intellectualism. Little appreciation for art and creativity, but extreme focus on practicalities such as work, money, and academic achievements. Very one dimensional mentality (see http://www.happierabroad.com/Asian_Mentality.htm) where every action is divided into only two categories â€“ work/study and play. Like America, they have the belief that the purpose of life is work â€“ hence a workaholic is seen as the ideal citizen. Women there are strongly conservative and prudish, afraid even to shake hands, or even to have their picture taken. They arenâ€™t easy to meet, and like Americans, donâ€™t talk to strangers unless introduced by mutual friends. But they are very monogamous and loyal though, so once you get a partner there, he/she is pretty much yours. Most people there marry their first or second boyfriend/girlfriend. However, a lot of white males there have boasted good success with women there, as well as sexual conquests. But not all of them, as some report the same as me. Lately, the women there have become more independent and Westernized with the increasing affluence of the country, and not as modest, loving, or dependent as they were traditionally.
Japan â€“ Very clean and modernized, but as we all know, very expensive as well. Its capital of Tokyo is considered the most expensive city in the world. Like Germany and America, things are very orderly there. And safe as well.
Like Taiwan, people are very strict, serious, and orderly, but humble and modest. Very little tolerance for differences, and strict adherence to uniformity is expected. And like Taiwan, too workaholic and studyaholic for me. People are also very cliquish, and donâ€™t talk to strangers. When I was there back in 1990, no one there even looked at me and I felt like I didnâ€™t exist.
Women there are very beautiful, educated, and have light pale skin. Some consider Japanese women to be the most beautiful among Asian women. The women traditionally make very loyal, pleasing and subservient wives, but of course, with Westernization they are changing a bit. As for dating, you wonâ€™t do well there unless you are White or Japanese, as they see other Asian races as being inferior to them. Generally racist and xenophobic.
Russia â€“ Very large, the biggest country in the world. Composed of many different subethnicities, provinces, and dialects. I spent a year there, so I could say a lot about it. However, Russia is considered a paradoxical mystery that not even its own historians understand it. The country and its people seem to revel in chaos. Thus no formula or pattern can be relied upon there.
The people are very sociable and love meeting new people. Very festive too. Beautiful women are approachable and love meeting foreigners and making conversation. But the people have a highly pessimistic mentality and culture, and like to refer to themselves as â€œhappy pessimistsâ€�. Also, many there are angry and resentful, especially the elderly, which can be seen on their faces. And there is a cold harshness inherent in the Russian character, personality, and emotion. Those who need romance, tenderness, and sensitivity will find Russian relationships cold and lacking.
Russian women are tall and beautiful, and considered among the most attractive in the world. But with the introduction of capitalism, theyâ€™ve become super greedy and without ethics or conscience. Though they are sociable, they are not very physically warm, and they BS a lot and are very changeable too. They are very educated, speak several languages, and dress well.
Prices are generally cheap there, but some things are overpriced, such as clothes, electronics, going bowling, etc.
Beautiful architecture in its churches and downtown areas, especially in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But residential areas tend to be ugly and look run-down. Most buildings look like they are from the 50â€™s and 60â€™s. (which they are)
The food is also not good and often tasteless to Western taste buds (though of course, Russian people love their food, as all nationals do), and there is very little variety in the cuisine. Even expensive restaurants serve very mediocre food by Western or Asian standards. They simply arenâ€™t skilled at using spices and flavors. Or perhaps their taste buds are just different than ours.
Weather is cold and snowy most of the year, except in the southern parts of the country which can be warm and humid.
Overall, a fun and interesting country with lots of culture. But deeply corrupted, greed has run rampant since the fall of communism. Racism and xenophobia are on the rise there, as well as skinhead groups. Some fear the country may be headed toward fascism too. So the nation is turning into a dangerous and unstable place, which it always has been in most of its history.
If you must go there, I suggest going to the Eastern half of the country, as itâ€™s safer and less racist.
Ukraine â€“ I only spent two weeks there. Very similar to Russians except they are more reserved, especially on the Western side of the country, I hear, which is where the â€œpureâ€�Ukrainians.
Latvia â€“ One of the Baltic states. A small country located right next to Russia, it is more modernized in comparison. The people are pleasant, cheerful, modest, low key, easy going, and dress well. The people are sociable and not stuck up or snobby. And unlike Russians, they do not have a look of resentment or anger on their faces.
Lots of European style architecture and buildings, especially in its capital of Riga. Nice vibrant color. Good quality food. A cute cheerful vibe permeates Latvia, making it seem like a town out of a fairy tale or Disney movie. Same with the language and people too.
Prices are affordable, not as cheap as Russia, but not as expensive as Western Europe or America.
Women are sociable, friendly and like meeting new people. But they are a bit reserved and not easy to get close to. Also, they tend to treat foreigners as novelty items rather than humans to get close and intimate with. Cultivating relationships there takes time.
Overall a very pleasant and positive experience, and a good middle ground between Russia and modernized Western Europe.
Estonia â€“ Another Baltic state. Tiny country north of Latvia. Similar to Latvia except its people are Finnish, so they are more reserved and private. Prices are kind of expensive though, almost as high as in the US. Itâ€™s Old Town in Tallinn is very attractive and breathtaking, cute and colorful.
Women are nice and polite, but reserved and not â€œeasyâ€�. They dress well too. But they are not stuck up, snobby, or anti-social.
Lithuania â€“ The third Baltic state. Small country south of Latvia. My favorite of the Baltics. Similar to Latvia, but I find its people to be the friendliest, most cheerful and pleasant. I liked its vibe the best too. Prices are very cheap, and food is so tasty.
(Note: The three Baltic states above have a strange rivalry among each other, and may say biased things about each other, which you should ignore, because all of them are pleasant places)
Poland â€“ The last country in Europe that I visited. Nice culture, lots of history (especially with its demolition in WWII), historical sites, and museums. People are on the reserved side and not as easy to meet. They are the snobbiest in the countryâ€™s capital of Warsaw, but get friendlier and more festive as you go south toward the countryâ€™s cultural capital of Krakow. Lots of green pastures, beautiful European architecture, and magnificient holy cathedrals. The culture is based on Catholic values, so Americans tend to fit in well.
The women tend to be skinny and attractive, but do not have the high fashion sense as in Russia or the Baltics. They are nice but reserved and a bit hard to get to know. However, they tend to prefer white males for romance, so a colored man will have trouble getting real dates there, though he will have no trouble befriending women or socializing with them.
Overall, a great cultural experience.
Mexico â€“ I was only there for one day and night in one of its worst areas, the border town of Tijuana. A seedy tourist town where anything goes, it attracts the worst of Mexicans - the greedy, hustling, scammers, whores, criminals, etc. And even many normal Mexicans are afraid to go there.
However, I can say that Iâ€™ve experienced its reputation of being very open, wild, festive, and inclusive. And thatâ€™s normal for Spanish mixed descendents.
Philippines â€“ My favorite country for meeting women so far, and where I am now. As I mentioned earlier, itâ€™s women tend to treat you the best. They are tender, romantic, sweet, dependent, and have a way of making you feel like a real man. (not to be sexist, but perhaps they play their female evolutionary roles best?) And they are easygoing, pleasant, cheerful, playful, positive, and easy to get along with. But they tend to not be well educated, and not intellectual, so you wonâ€™t get much stimulating or intellectual conversation with them.
Filipinas tend to be very skinny (though thatâ€™s changing with the rise of fast food and donut franchises everywhere, as well as ignorance about nutrition). And they come in a variety of colors, ranging from very dark, to light olive complexion, to light pale skin similar to Orientals. So they come in a nice variety of colors and shades.
For more details, see my ecstatic updated entitled â€œFrom pessimist in the US to optimist in the Philippines â€“ Why I like Filipinas Bestâ€� at http://www.happierabroad.com/ebook/Page94.htm
Cost of living is very cheap. And your dollars here are multiplied 4 or 5 times in purchasing power. Single attractive women are available everywhere, and are very approachable and easy to meet. They appreciate nice guys and treat them the way they deserve to be treated, thus a nice guy will get complete justice here.
The country has a simple culture which is nowhere as rich, elaborate, or colorful as Europeâ€™s. There are some Spanish architecture and European style towns here (e.g. Vegan) as well as artsy cities (Baguio). But to many, thatâ€™s ok, because the caliber of women sure make up for it.
Warm weather year round, and with over 7000 islands, offers countless white sand beaches for your recreation pleasure. Thus, itâ€™s a hot spot for American retirees.
Like many third world countries though, there are a lot of scammers, beggars, cheaters, hustlers, and opportunists, but they are located mostly in Manila and Angeles City. But most people are kind, warm, and hospitable. They are not strict, but are very lax.
Food isnâ€™t that great compared to other Asian countries, unless you are a Filipino. The cuisine lacks variety, skill, taste, sophistication. People are not very nutrition-conscious.
It is also the least racist of the Asian countries, and most nonjudgmental. People donâ€™t complain or criticize, and mixed kids are not discriminated against.
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"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World