Sunday, November 19, 2006

I love airports

Yesterday I arrived in SF opening a new chapter of my life. Passing through immigration went more smoothly than expected and, as a result, I was out of the gate earlier than planned. Sebastian was not there yet, so I had some time to look around and see what is happening around me. I noticed that there were pretty a lot of people waiting at the arrival's gate with flowers. I was wondering for whom they were waiting and soon the mystery was uncovered: these were the families of immigrants (one from Russia and one from somewhere in Latin America) awaiting their family members to join them in the US. It was very touching to see old Russian grandma kissing her children and grandchildren with tears in her eyes, and them taking photos and filming that as it would be the most important moment in their lives... And I couldn't help but wonder if that would not be Russian but let's say American grandma arriving, if there still would be 30 or so people waiting for her at the airport?

The little differences

I am here only since two days and I already noticed several differences between how things are done here and how they are done back in the old world.
First, at the airport I had some trouble using a public phone. I have no idea what I did wrong but instead of reaching Sebastian on his mobile, I got connected with the operator. But in the end he connected me with Sebastian and I even got my money back, so everything went fine.
Second, food prices are outrages. I had to pay 4,99 U$ for a 100 gram pack of regular cheese and 6,99 U$ for 100 grams of President's Camembert...
Third, everything is low fat or no fat. It is hardly possible to find a yoghurt or milk that would have more than 0,01% fat... Also most chocolates are sugar-free. How can they be the fattest nation in the world with all those dietetic products?
Fourth, the shops are open long hours and also on weekends - yes! yes! yes!
Fifth, there is some kind of system for buying shoes and clothes, which is not perfectly clear to me. It seems that you can not simply take what you like and go to any cashier you like, but that you have to stick to one shop assistant to both help you find what you like and also to charge you the money.
Sixth, it is really annoying that they display prices without tax and in the end you never really know how much you will pay.
Seventh, they have great selection of shoes, bags, clothes and jewelry. Shoes are truly great and not so expensive (as compared to other things), but nice clothes are really expensive. With my unique talent I managed to spot a nice skirt for 850 U$ and an equally nice blouse for 2500 U$.
Eighth, I really enjoy discovering all those tiny little differences...