What thing did you discover in another country that just made you envious and want to drag it directly back home?
From Italy, the Esselunga. Esselunga is a supermarket chain.
The produce section in particular is amazing. You bag your produce, then take it to a digital scale. The buttons are all pictures of produce, so you don’t have to worry about knowing how to say “bing cherries” in Italian. Press the button, the scale weighs the cherries, and a little sticker pops out with the weight and price. They probably have these all over Europe, but the only other country where I go grocery shopping is Italy.
The shopping carts have several different compartments, so you can put your small items in the small compartment, and the big items in the big compartment, and you don’t have to worry about forever moving your bread and eggs to the top of the pile.
Err, were you asking for things like the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Which is nice, but really, that Esselunga just blows me away.
from the Czech Republic: Staropramen Pilsner
from Australia: the sense that you’re on earth, but you’re not, really
from Sweden: Anniz
Brazil-- either the Manaus Opera House–beautiful, ornate, victorian, middle of the city, eith a nice view of the jungle in the distance; or CARREFOUR the supermarket chain!!! Really, aside from the digital scales with pictures like in Italy, they were selling CARS in the freakin supermarket, or as they say HyperMarket. All the employees have to roller skate to get around. There’s furniture for sale there too. I am pretty sure there’s a bowling alley in the back. This place wasn’t just shopping, it was an outing. Great prices, too. Oh yeah, customer service in that one was spectacular too.
[sub]THATCHED HOUSES NEXT TO AN AGATE PEBBLE BEACH WITH SWANS SWIMMING IN THE LAKE.[/sub]
[sub]ENDLESS FORESTS, GLACIERS AND MOUNTAIN RIDGES WITHOUT A POWERLINE, ROAD OR MAN-MADE STRUCTURE VISIBLE OUT TO THE HORIZON.[/sub]
[sub]SIPPING ON A DOORNKAAT GENEVER RIDING IN THE DINING CAR OF AN EXPRESS TO COPENHAGEN WATCHING THE RHINE CASTLES SLIP BY.[/sub]
[sub]DRIVING DOWN TO CABO SAN LUCAS TO SEE THE ECLIPSE ON A FIFTY MILE STRAIGHT-AWAY THROUGH THE HIGLAND DESERT. IT WAS SUNSET AND THE ROAD AHEAD SHONE WITH THE SILVER OF THE LAST LIGHT. AS I DROVE IT BECAME A STRIP OF DARK BLACKTOP IN THE MIRROR.[/sub]
[sub]THE DELICATESSENS WITH SEVEN DIFFERENT TYPES OF PICKLED HERRING. THE FISH FRICKADELLER (PATTIES) WITH REMOULADE SAUCE AND GREEN BOTTLE TUBORG LAGER.[/sub]
[sub]THE TRANSCANADIAN HIGHWAY THROUGH THE FRASER RIVER CANYON AND THE ROAD UP INTO BANFF AND JASPER. [/sub]
[sub]THE AIRPORT IN FRANKFÜRT WHERE YOU CAN GET OFF OF THE PLANE AND WALK DOWNSTAIRS TO THE TRAIN STATION.[/sub]
[sub]THE ROADSIDE TAQUERIAS WHERE YOU COULD GO NUTS FOR $5.00 AND BARELY WADDLE AWAY AFTERWARDS.[/sub]
I’m sure that you meant odd little inventions but these are some of the wonderful things I’ve encountered in my travels.
South Africa: driving through Kruger Park, we were chased by an angry male elephant.
You haven’t lived untill you’ve tried to outrun a 4 metric ton animal. On a dirt road. With a Nissan Sentra. Which your travel mate conventiently shifts into second when pulling away.
Aweseome pictures, though.
Definitely German Beer, those boys have that stuff down. Hey, I thought we won the war, by the way??
The women. Everywhere I went, everywhere I looked, attractive women all over the place.
In South Korea you can get beer with your whopper at BK
Unfortunately that sort of things gets you arrested. Believe me, I’ve tried.
I used to come home with; woodcarvings from Bali, sarongs from Malaysia, textiles from Java, silver jewellery, I could go on all day, but I won’t.
Then there was a shift, pretty soon I was bringing home fewer such things, now my bags were full of condiments, tea, bamboo toothpicks, etc.
But the two most valuable items I have returned with are:
Being white and from a western nation, finding myself, for an extended period in some far flung backwater and discovering the realities of being a visible minority. The concept is easy to comprehend, the reality has a whole different taste.
The opportunity to see with ‘new eyes’. Once you’ve tried it you’ll discover nothing else compares. Worse than any known opiate for addiction. When it’s happening it’s all so heady, you can feel yourself changing, but you can’t really process it’s true depth till you return to your own culture. Seeing your own culture reflected back at you in a less than attractive fashion, is also a valuable experience.